2013
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Inspirations
from the Email Swipe File
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14 Important Email Holiday Designs

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A swipe file is a record of your top-performing campaigns that you return to for learnings and
ideas. It was this concept that inspired us to create the Email Swipe File on Pinterest, where we
share the emails and landing pages that excite and impress us. In this report, we highlight 20
examples from the pinboard that illustrate 14 important holiday email design tactics.

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14 Important Email Holiday Designs

  1. 1. 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File
  2. 2. 2 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 3exacttarget.com exacttarget.com A swipe file is a record of your top-performing campaigns that you return to for learnings and ideas. It was this concept that inspired us to create the Email Swipe File on Pinterest, where we share the emails and landing pages that excite and impress us. In this report, we highlight 20 examples from the pinboard that illustrate 14 important holiday email design tactics. Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File Kristina Huffman Design Practice Lead ExactTarget @etdesign Holiday Email Tactics: Trumpet the Start of the Season Be Festive Bring Seasonal Flair to Triggered Emails Accommodate Santa’s Fat Fingers Incorporate Learnings from Other Seasons Remember Christmas Past Help with Gift-Finding Encourage Wish-Sharing Get Progressively Better Create Urgency Be of Service Provide the Perfect Last-Minute Gift Delight Spirits Don’t Stop on December 25th
  3. 3. 4 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 5exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Neiman Marcus Type: Promotional email Send Date: October 9, 2012 Subject Line: The Christmas Book has arrived! With 178 layers, the animated GIF in this email announcing the launch of Neiman Marcus’s Christmas Book makes a huge impression! Plus, the first animation frame is solid in case the animation is blocked by Outlook 2007-13. – Kristina Huffman, Design Practice Lead View the Neiman Marcus email on Pinterest → More inspiration: The holiday season is one of the most anticipated times of the year. Clearly mark the transition with some fanfare, a holiday-themed re-skin of your email template, or some holiday expectation-setting. Trumpet the Start of the Season Neiman Marcus →
  4. 4. 6 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 7exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Zappos Type: Promotional email Send Date: November 11, 2011 Subject Line: Just a little holiday heads up... Expectation-setting can be critical to subscriber satisfaction. In this email, Zappos gives their subscribers a heads-up that they’ll be increasing their email frequency during the holiday season. It’s also a timely cue to subscribers to start their holiday shopping. – Andrea Smith, Design Lead, Content Marketing & Research View the Zappos email on Pinterest → Trumpet the Start of the Season
  5. 5. 8 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 9exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Bed Bath & Beyond Type: Headers Send Date: November 2012 Holiday headers are a great way to inject some seasonal flair into your email template. Rather than a single holiday header, Bed Bath & Beyond created four and rotated them throughout the holiday season. – Chad White, Principal of Marketing Research View the Bed Bath & Beyond headers on Pinterest → Retailers hang garlands, decorate Christmas trees, and splash red and green all over their stores for one reason: It sends a clear signal to shoppers that it’s time to start buying gifts. You should apply this same principle to your email designs. Be Festive
  6. 6. 10 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 11exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Pre-season footer Seasonal footer Urban Outfitters Type: Gift services footer and social media bar Send Date: November 2012 While getting holiday motifs and links above the fold is critical, don’t neglect the rest of your template. In this email, Urban Outfitters added some seasonal links to their footer and turned all their social media buttons into ornaments, which was really clever and fun. – Chad White, Principal of Marketing Research View the Urban Outfitters footer on Pinterest → Be Festive
  7. 7. 12 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 13exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Triggered emails are not “set it and forget it.” Make your transactional, welcome, cart abandonment and other triggered emails seasonally relevant by adding seasonal imagery, promotions, and service content. Walmart Type: Welcome email Send Date: November 2012 Subject Line: Welcome to Walmart! Tis’ the season for special savings on great gifts. During the holiday season, Walmart made their welcome email seasonally relevant by adding holiday messaging to the subject line, using their holiday email template, and packing the email with gift promotions. – Jay Miller, Senior Marketing Consultant View the Walmart email on Pinterest → Bring Seasonal Flair to Triggered Emails
  8. 8. 14 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 15exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Bring Seasonal Flair to Triggered Emails Williams-Sonoma Type: Back-in-stock email Send Date: December 2012 Subject Line: Now Back In Stock While some back-in-stock emails are sent by request, Williams-Sonoma sent this one to subscribers who browsed this product and abandoned their site because it was out of stock. They wisely add seasonal secondary messaging to better speak to holiday shoppers. – Tana Babcock, Design Consultant View the Williams-Sonoma email on Pinterest →
  9. 9. 16 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 17exacttarget.com exacttarget.com This will be the first holiday season with responsive email design, a tactic that will really shine on high-mobility days like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas. But simple mobile-aware design tactics like using larger text, images, and buttons will also bring holiday success to retailers. Accommodate Santa’s Fat Fingers JCPenney Type: Gift services footer Send Date: December 2, 2012 Subject Line: Everything On Their List At Great Prices Everyday JCPenney was ahead of the curve with this touch-friendly gift services footer. Mobile-friendly is now an imperative. – Chad White, Principal of Marketing Research View the JCPenney footer on Pinterest →
  10. 10. 18 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 19exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Incorporate Learnings from Other Seasons Ice.com Type: Promotional email Send Date: December 11, 2012 Subject Line: The Reindeer Game! Play to Win up to 30% off... Ice.com leveraged the success of a Halloween jack-o’-lantern game email by re-skinning it with delightful reindeer for the holiday season. That’s a smart way of extending your winning campaigns. – Susan Prater, Senior Marketing Consultant View the Ice.com emails on Pinterest → When it comes to seasons, the holidays are a completely different animal. But that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate tactics that worked for you in earlier months.
  11. 11. 20 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 21exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Remember Christmas Past Norm Thompson Type: Promotional email Send Dates: 12/10/07, 12/8/08, 12/16/09, 12/7/10, 12/9/11, and 12/11/12 2012 Subject Line: 30% OFF ends today. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! These emails from Norm Thompson best exemplify what having your own personal swipe file is all about. They identified a top- performing email years ago and have brought it back year after year with incremental improvements. – Chad White, Principal of Marketing Research View the Norm Thompson emails on Pinterest → Every holiday season is slightly different, but how subscribers responded to your messages last year is still your best guide forward. Take your winning campaigns from Christmas past and improve or reimagine them for your Christmas present. 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
  12. 12. 22 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 23exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Help with Gift-Finding J&R Type: Promotional email Send Date: November 28, 2012 Subject Line: Introducing Our 2012 Holiday Gift Guides J&R’s holiday emails featured their gift guides extensively. They debuted them in this email, promoted them in a banner at the bottom of subsequent emails, and dedicated several emails entirely to some of the gift guide personas. – Anna Meier, Design Consultant View the J&R email on Pinterest → More inspiration: A good deal is no good if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Help your subscribers find gifts at different price points, in different categories, and for different people in their lives. Uncommon Goods →CB2 → Gift guide email Gift guide banner Email dedicated to “geek” persona
  13. 13. 24 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 25exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Encourage Wish-Sharing ShopNBC Type: Promotional email Send Date: November 12, 2012 Subject Line: Win a spending spree! Pinterest gives retailers a very public and share-spurring platformforwishlists.ShopNBCusesasweepstakestoencourage subscribers to set up a wish list on Pinterest in this email, whichincludes the 4-point instructions right in the email. – Kristina Huffman, Design Practice Lead View the ShopNBC email on Pinterest → Help your subscribers do your marketing for you by making it easy and fun to share their holiday wishes—and dangling the chance for a Christmas miracle doesn’t hurt either.
  14. 14. 26 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 27exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Landing page Email Tiffany & Co. Type: Promotional email Send Date: December 13, 2012 Subject Line: Drop A Hint (or Two) Forward-to-a-friend (FTAF) has been largely supplanted by share-with-your-network (SWYN), but Tiffany’s “Drop A Hint” feature gives it new life. The preview of this fun, well-branded message shows you exactly how the information you provide will be used. – Amanda Monroe, Design Consultant View the Tiffany & Co. email on Pinterest → Encourage Wish-Sharing
  15. 15. 28 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 29exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Get Progressively Better Newegg Type: Promotional email Send Date: November 13, 2008 Subject Line: Hands Down, Our Best HDTV Deal of the Season! $499.99 42” LCD HDTV and more What if you could send your subscribers the perfect Black Friday offer? Newegg tried to do that with this progressive profiling email, whose landing page form let subscribers select from 8 product categories and 7 prices ranges—for 56 different combinations. That’s hefty segmentation! – Chad White, Principal of Marketing Research View the Newegg email on Pinterest → Because many subscribers are making once-a-year gift purchases, segmenting emails during the holidays based on past behavior can be very hit and miss. Do progressive profiling to determine their short-term interests. Email Landing page
  16. 16. 30 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 31exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Create Urgency OfficeMax Type: Promotional email Send Date: November 26, 2012 Subject Line: HOURS LEFT to Shop Cyber Monday Because they accurately show the time remaining for a sale or other event, countdown clocks powered by “live content”— like the one in this OfficeMax email—are becoming more common because of the urgency they create. – Hannah Kleyn, Design Consultant View the OfficeMax email on Pinterest → More inspiration: The holiday season is a cascading waterfall of deadlines. Sales expire, items sell out, and shipping deadlines pass. Drive home the urgency of these deadlines to increase sales. Timberland →
  17. 17. 32 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 33exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Create Urgency Bass Pro Shops Type: Promotional email Send Date: December 1, 2012 Subject Line: Saturday Only Web Busters + Free Shipping One of my favorite tactics for creating urgency is updating image files with “SOLD OUT” overlays, as Bass Pro Shops does here. It’s the equivalent of seeing empty shelves in a store, which makes you worry that items you might be interested in will be out of stock soon, too. – Chad White, Principal of Marketing Research View the Bass Pro Shops email on Pinterest → More inspiration: Home Depot →
  18. 18. 34 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 35exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Be of Service Lands’ End Type: Gift services footer Send Date: November – December 2012 Gift services footers (GSFs) pull together many service-related links all in one handy package. A longtime user of GSFs, Lands’ End creating this jumbo-sized one speaks to the performance they’ve seen from them in the past. – Chad White, Principal of Marketing Research View the Lands’ End footer on Pinterest → More inspiration: Your email subscribers represent your most loyal customers, and some of them will be turning to your emails as much for service information as for deals. So make sure that order-by deadlines, store hours, gift wrapping details, and other information are clear and easy to find. Nordstrom →
  19. 19. 36 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 37exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Provide the Perfect Last-Minute Gift Sephora Type: Promotional email Send Date: December 23, 2012 Subject Line: Gift instantly Sent on eGift Card Day, this Sephora email stood out for not only promoting the usual e-gift card and store combo for last-minute shopping, but then also promoting social gifts and Passbook. – Kristina Huffman, Design Practice Lead View the Sephora email on Pinterest → More inspiration: The e-gift card has long been dubbed “the perfect last-minute gift,” but the rise of smartphones and tablets and the digital delivery of apps, games, books, and magazines mean brands have more options for procrastinators and forgetful Santas. Barnes & Noble →
  20. 20. 38 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 39exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Delight Spirits Lands’ End Type: Season’s greetings email Send Date: December 25, 2012 Subject Line: Merry Christmas I love this Christmas send. The design is beautiful and striking, the copy is simple and impactful, and the secondary messaging is a nice, engaging social call-to-action. – Susan Prater, Senior Marketing Consultant View the Lands’ End email on Pinterest → More inspiration: By the time Christmas arrives, some subscribers may be feeling shopped- out and overdrawn. It’s the perfect time for a season’s greetings email that demonstrates that you’re a brand with heart. J.Jill →Sur La Table →
  21. 21. 40 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 41exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Delight Spirits Email after first open Post-contest email Email after several opens Email after several opens Style Campaign Type: Season’s greetings email Send Date: December 24, 2011 Subject Line: Xmas slots - refresh to play :) Pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with an email, Style Campaign created a Christmas slots game that’s played by refreshing the email. Each time it’s opened, you get another spin and a new chance to win points. Those who opened it did so an average of 14.5 times, with one recipient opening it 980 times! – Chad White, Principal of Marketing Research View the Style Campaign email on Pinterest → More inspiration: Style Campaign →Walmart →
  22. 22. 42 | 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File 2013 Holiday Inspirations from the Email Swipe File | 43exacttarget.com exacttarget.com Don’t Stop on December 25th Pinhole Press Type: Post-holiday survey email Send Date: January 8, 2013 Subject Line: We want to know what you think! Christmas messaging doesn’t end on Dec. 25—or even in December. This post-holiday survey email is a great example of sending the right message at the right time with the right incentive. – Anna Meier, Design Consultant View the Pinhole Press email on Pinterest → The holiday season stretches into the New Year. In addition to after-Christmas sales, consider encouraging subscribers to redeem their gift cards, buy accessories for their new gadgets, send “Thank You” gifts and cards, and take other actions.
  23. 23. exacttarget.com Want more? View the Facebook Swipe File on Pinterest → View the Email Swipe File on Pinterest → Download “The Best of the Email Swipe File” →

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