How to engage every audience this holiday season

Laptop with wrapped Christmas presents and ribbon around

The holiday season means different things to different people. Each one of your customers will have different values and expectations tied to the season. If you take the time to consider your audience, and craft email marketing campaigns that appeal to their specific values and wants, you will reap the benefits.

With a huge cultural shift to online business in recent years, many brands find themselves with a broader and more varied customer base than ever before. For an effective campaign, it’s crucial that you make every customer feel understood and valued.

To do this, you need to look at the data you have on your customers, and use technology such as segmentation, personalization, and AI. Let’s explore some of the things you need to consider, and how to navigate them to create a holiday campaign that converts across the board.

Consider regional nuances

As companies seek to grow their customer base by expanding across regions, it’s important to recognize this isn’t a copy and paste exercise. Different regions have different cultures, practices, and celebrations. You will need to create localized content to ensure you’re sending accurate communications.

Let’s look at Christmas for example. There are different traditions surrounding the holiday, depending on where you are in the world. In Germany gift-giving occurs on Christmas Eve, in America gifts are swapped on Christmas Day itself, and in Mexico you wait until the 6th of January to exchange presents – to name a few. Being aware of cultural practices like this will better inform your messaging, and also help out in a practical way for things like last delivery dates and last-chance promos.

You also need to consider regional differences when you’re creating campaign content such as imagery and copy. In Australia, Christmas falls in Summer, so an image of snow and hot cocoa around the fire is not going to resonate. Check your copy too, making sure that any playful copy such as song lyrics, idioms, and phrases are culturally understood.

Be mindful of religious considerations

The holiday season is made up of a variety of holidays, many of them at least originating from religious celebrations. Whether you’re talking about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Ōmisoka, you need to be respectful, and sensitive.

Your campaigns must be culturally sensitive to religious holidays, you don’t want your brand to appear disrespectful, ignorant, or presumptuous. You shouldn’t need to discuss religious elements, but ensure you’re aware of different celebrations and their connotations if you are incorporating them into your content.

You need to be aware of this when writing your copy. There’s a balance to be found between recognizing the religious nuances, and also not appearing to push a religious message, as it wont be suitable for audiences that are of a different religion, or no religion at all.

Similarly, if using any imagery with religious connotations, make sure you fully understand what you’re creating. A seemingly simple design tweak that has a religious symbol involved could result in a disrespectful, or offensive image. Essentially, knowledge is power, and variety is something to celebrate, not shy away from.

Utilize personalization

One size doesn’t fit all, especially for brands that offer a wide range of products or services. Personalization is nothing new to marketers and with the holiday season being so rich in culture and occasions, it’s a great time to utilize it.

Personalization allows you to tweak campaigns to appeal to different segments easier. Utilize personalization and dynamic content blocks to show different imagery to different personas. Representation matters in your imagery and people resonate with content they can identify with and relate to. And remember your regional considerations here, your customers in Australia are more likely to be surfing at the beach than ice skating.

As the holiday season is chock full of sales messages, it’s super important that your content is relevant and appealing to the person receiving it. Make your content relevant, and make it valuable. An email with an AI-powered personalized product recommendation block will make someone’s holiday shopping easier, therefore adding value.

Use personalization tools and dynamic content to serve up content that is relevant and appealing to the reader, resulting in an improved customer experience.

Spend time on segmentation

Segmentation and personalization go hand in hand. With inboxes busier than ever, make sure you’re not overwhelming your subscribers by sending everything to everyone.

Use zero-party data from your preference center as well as behavioral data such as on site browsing and email clicks to inform your campaigns and audience segments. By segmenting customers this way, you’re seriously improving the accuracy of your campaigns as customers receive content related to things they’ve already expressed an interest in.

The holiday season is also where you should be using our RFM and eRFM modelling tools. This insight will help you split your audience into pots using our segment builder. Once you have these groups defined, you can tailor your promotions based on what motivates them. Sending smarter campaigns that resonate, and therefore result in a higher conversion rate is far better than sending to all and hoping for the best.

Practice human-to-human marketing

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again because it’s important; remember you’re a person, speaking to another person. And let’s not lose sight of what the holidays are all about. Yes, of course, we must be commercially minded and hit those targets, but it’s more than that. The holiday season is about celebration, and spending time with those closest to us. Let that genuine emotional aspect shine through on your communications, it’s a way to show your brand’s personality, and build loyalty based on an emotional connection.

In the same vain, remember that not everyone sees the holiday season as a time for celebration. We’re not saying you need to channel your inner Grinch, but try to offer alternative content too, such as a link to new in or a blog within campaigns that are heavy with holiday content. It’s also super important to be mindful of the language you use. Some people don’t have a family to be with, others find religious holidays hard. Use broad, all encompassing language to make everyone feel involved and welcome in your celebration.


The holiday season truly is the most wonderful time of the year, and for a whole host of different reasons. We know that marketers are super busy, but we promise that by taking the time to curate your campaigns to appeal to all members of your audience, you’ll see results. When you make your customers feel recognized, understood, and appreciated, they’re going to warm to your brand. This will create better results now, and better retention for the future too.

Front cover of how to run a successful cross-channel holiday campaign

Run a successful cross-channel holiday campaign

Holiday season is big business, and that means it’s a busy one for marketers, but it needn’t be stressful. This guide breaks down how you can ensure your holiday campaigns are slick, consistent, and successful across all of your marketing channels.

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