New Year Email Strategy

It takes a mighty fine New Year email campaign to attracting shoppers who've been sold to all throughout the holidays.

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New Year’s Eve is all about parties and saying goodbye to the old year (maybe even “good riddance!”). New Year’s Day is devoted to fresh starts, New Year’s resolutions and change. New Year emails that appeal to those general influences will strike responsive chords with your shoppers.

Ecommerce traffic tends to spike over the New Year weekend because retailers create a sense of urgency with timely promotions.

This shows that while the New Year marks the end of the holiday season, it doesn’t mean you should abruptly stop emailing subscribers and lose the momentum you built during the holidays.

Now’s the time to get all the marketing tricks out! Wish your subscribers a Happy New Year, get creative with your subject lines, and test some of the other New Year email marketing ideas we’ve listed below.

New Year Email Examples and Subject Lines

Share party inspiration

This brand, a DIY video community, is all about helping its members live life better, and this email, sent the day after Christmas, holds up that brand promise. It speaks to both the party-goer and the party-giver with easy-to-access inspirational and instructional videos, a clean, uncluttered email design and a color scheme that resembles the classic red-green-gold of Christmas but is just different enough.

Note how the subject line is also anything but promotional. This email is a great example of how you can use New Year email newsletters as a way to drive traffic to your site.

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Challenge the cliché

Frank Body takes on the cliché “New Year, New You” expression both in its email subject line and inside its New Year’s email. While other brands encourage their subscribers to start the year with new habits and goals, Frank Body tells their customers they can stay just the way they are. At a time where many people may feel like they need to start improving a bunch of things, taking a bit of the pressure off for them is a great idea. You can bet that will leave a positive impression.

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Wish them a Happy New Year

After the flood of promotional emails people had to deal with the weeks before New Years, a simple Happy New Year message goes a long way.

Microsoft’s email subject line makes it clear they only want to wish their subscribers a Happy New Year, and the message itself is short and sweet, showing a fireworks animation displayed on a Microsoft laptop. It’s a very subtle way of promoting one of their products near the end of the holiday season.

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Help your subscribers look great

Interesting timing on this email: H&M sent it on Dec. 19, just as the last-minute Christmas rush is hitting its peak for many emailers. The preheader and content at the bottom of the message are nods toward Christmas shopping, but the hero image, black/bronze/gold colorway and message copy clearly promote stylish looks to celebrate the year end in. The following emails withing this email marketing campaign reverted back to the Christmas theme.

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Consider different party personalities within your list

We picked this email because it covers all of its customer bases: the party people and the people for whom big noisy bashes are one of Dante’s circles of hell. It can be tricky to pull off an email with a split personality like this but M&S makes it work because it offers stay-at-homes not just a curated product collection but also a feature to read as you curl up in your comfy clothes.

On top of that, both the subject line and the pre-header make it clear this email contains something for everyone.

Finally, this email was sent on December 19 and so it smartly suggests recipients to get an e-gift card if they still need to buy some presents. As there is so little time between Christmas and New Year, mixing a bit of Christmas marketing into your New Year emails isn’t a bad idea.

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Look forward to the next year

While your customers are rebooting their lives on New Year’s Day, why not clue them in on what your company’s year is going to look like? This email from Kit and Ace uses its New Year’s greeting to restate its value proposition for its customers. It moves far away from the standard template of pretty people in attractive clothing with this no-frills, black-and-white format that focuses on the value message: same great apparel, new lower prices.

Notice how the email itself doesn’t offer discounts. If the recipient is interested in getting some new gear, they need to click through to the site to find out what the “adjusted price” is.

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Offer free shipping

Some brands extend the holiday sale season all the way into the New Year. John Fluevog uses on-brand wordplay in its subject line to introduce its New Year sale. The email body consists of an animated sale message that’s impossible to look over, headed by the company logo with the company name for recognizability and a short and sweet bit of copy containing multiple links back to the store.

The next section of the email gets a different design and contains a selection of the shoes on sale as well as a free shipping offer as an extra incentive for subscribers to hit that call-to-action button.

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Show them you're relevant

This New Year email by KEH Camera is pretty smart. The subject line (“What’s your resolution this year?”) first makes us believe this is a typical “new year, new you” email but then we open the email and see they’re talking about camera resolution. Their question is a pun that’s continued within the body of the email, guaranteeing us that KEH’s type of resolution is one we won’t struggle to keep. Furthermore, the products it promotes are all high-resolution cameras.

Can you give a fun twist like this to your marketing to make your products New Year-relevant?

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Wrap up the year with a clearance sale

Lenovo shows how you can wrap up the year with this New Year email sent on December 31 and followed by a few follow-up emails in the first week of January. The subject line makes it very clear what the email is about: the recipient’s final chance to get some deals. Doing a clearance sale is a good idea if your ecommerce business needs to get rid of some inventory and calling it a “clearance sale” is fitting for the last sale of the year. After all, everyone wants to clean their slate to start the new year off right, don’t they?

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Motivate your list

Performance wear brand Castore tailors its New Year wishes to its audience of high-performing athletes and sports lovers. Instead of showcasing its products, the brand sends a motivational New Year letter to its list. It’s quite different from the minimal copy we’ve seen in the other New Year emails above. Just like the copy of the email, the subject line focuses on inspiring the recipient, not selling to them.

One thing that could have made this letter even better, is a human touch. If you want to test this approach with your own New Year’s email, try adding some personalization or signing the letter with the name of the founder or CEO.

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New Year Email Ideas

The challenge for email marketers around New Year: attracting shoppers who are bruised and battered from an avalanche of last-minute, desperation-tinged emails, post-Christmas sales and closeouts, and real-world distractions such as travel, parties, and downtime, not to mention depleted wallets and exhausted credit cards.

But consumers are also ready to spend the gift cash and cards that showed up in their stockings or appeared via internet magic. Anything that promises a fresh start and a change of pace from the year that just concluded will be appealing, too.

Freshen up your New Year email templates. Experiment with email subject lines, touch up your copy, and A/B test design elements to start the New Year off right.

Not sure how? We’ve listed our favorite tips to follow when creating your own New Year emails.

Play up the party.

For many shoppers, New Year’s Eve is all about getting together with friends and family, whether that includes dressing up and going out or gathering people together to party at someone’s home. If you sell party-related items, your mission is clear: help your subscribers celebrate in high spirits. That can mean getting them dressed up in your New Year’s collection or helping them throw a memorable bash at home. What matters is that they’re using your advice or products when the ball drops.

Emails that wrap helpful content around promotions give your readers more reasons to read instead of swiping past them – and help you increase your click-through rates. Buying guides that showcase collections, how-tos for makeup, party planning, putting together playlists and the like offer valuable content.

Say "Thanks for a great year!"

Major holidays, from Easter to Veterans Day to Thanksgiving and all the way through to the end of year give you an excellent opportunity to send greetings to your customers. The end of the year is a perfect time to thank your customers for their patronage, however they express it, through shopping, renewing memberships, or using your services.

An end-of-the-year thank-you email is also an excellent “white space” email – a message that gives your customers a little break from New Year’s promotions but gives you a fresh, relevant reason to be in your customers’ inboxes.

Fuel optimism for the new year

Hangovers aside, New Year’s Day is the day to start over. Fuel that optimism with content that looks forward to the coming year. (See the next section on introducing new products.) Use bright colorways that fit with your brand and cheerful copy that encourages customers to think positive.

Introduce new products and initiatives

You don’t have to lay out your entire plan for the year, but your customers are probably ready to look ahead. Use one or more of your New Year emails to offer sneak peeks of products and services that you have in the pipeline, even if you’re not ready to raise the curtain all the way.

You can also segment your email list and offer sneak peeks to your loyal customers only, or send them to everyone and treat your whole list as VIPs.

Tempt customers to spend their gift cards and certificates

Check with your finance people to see what the most popular gift-card amounts were this past holiday season. Then, put together a product assortment that reflects those popular amounts, with a few higher- and lower-end products to round out the mix. Include instructions on how to redeem gift cards, whether in person or in-store, and add a price incentive to encourage more shopping.

Following this strategy, New Year’s can mean a great opportunity for reaching your sales targets in Q1!

When to send New Year’s email campaigns

According to our data, companies begin sending New Year emails during the first week of November. While this may seem pretty early, it’s the perfect timing for some industries (think travel, for example). How early you should send out your New Year’s email campaign depends on your targeted audience and the products or services you’re promoting.

Craft clear New Year email subject lines

Subscribers might be a bit email-tired after the holidays so you can’t slack on your New Year’s email subject line. Try using different subject lines for different segments of your audience and keep track of which New Year emails from the best performed best in terms of open rates.

Lastly, check our database to see what kind of subject lines your competitors our using for their New Year email campaigns.