Thanksgiving Email Strategy

Thanksgiving once was a day to spend with family and friends. Enter the Internet, where stores never close unless the site crashes.

Explore all 107 Thanksgiving emails

Sign-up for MailCharts to start planning campaign for Thanksgiving with our curated examples.

Try for free

Pro tip: Scroll down for hand-picked emails.

Goodbye, “Thanksgiving,” hello “Gray Thursday.”

The COVID-19 pandemic changed Thanksgiving Day shopping habits in 2020, but it didn’t stop people from buying. Many stores opted to close on Thanksgiving, reversing a recent trend, or to retain reduced store capacity protocols to reduce crowds. 

Shoppers responded by spending a record $5.1 billion for the day. This continued growth in online browsing and buying cements the need to have a strong email strategy in place, especially for stores that have both brick-and-mortar and ecommerce operations.

Keep these two thanksgiving stats in mind as you create your Thanksgiving marketing plan:

Thanksgiving Email Examples & Ideas

Attitude of gratitude

Sending a personal greeting on Thanksgiving is a natural when the founder’s name is part of the brand. We like the message as well as the subtle sales approach this email takes. It pictures Tory in some of the items from her fall line – it’s always good to see how the clothing looks on a real person.

Sign up free for 107 curated examples

Help customers succeed

Thanksgiving has a raft of angles for your copy: food, family, memories, traditions … and if you can sneak in some tips that help customers celebrate successfully, you become a valued partner. Crate and Barrel’s email reads more like a food magazine story than a promo email but also weaves in a collection of relevant products.

Sign up free for 107 curated examples

Count down and give away

This email series combines two great sure-fire tactics: a countdown list and a giveaway. The daily “gratitude” list fits perfectly with a Thanksgiving theme. The giveaway is simple – and it names the winners. That gives recipients even more incentive to open the next email in the series.

Sign up free for 107 curated examples

Have a chuckle

The preheader “Thanksgiving love from the across the pond” sets the tone for this cheeky email from UK-based Boden. It sends up the Brits’ bemusement with American-style Thanksgiving while also sending a sincere message of thanks and a promotion for people who are in shopping mode.

Sign up free for 107 curated examples

Buy now, use later

Need a new approach to persuade customers to buy up all of your seasonal stock? Here it is: Tell them to stock up for next year! It’s a natural approach for this childrenswear brand because kids grow out of their adorable holiday outfits, but it would work for any brand whose products are tied to a season or holiday.

Sign up free for 107 curated examples

Copywriting for the win!

Moosejaw takes ecommerce emails seriously, but their messages are more like a party than a promotion. For Thanksgiving, they tap into a question that has bedeviled generations. It’s also a clever way to give a Thanksgiving promotion some second- or third-day life. (P.S.: It’s “stuffing” when it bakes inside the bird, “dressing” when it’s made separately.😉)

Sign up free for 107 curated examples

Thanksgiving Content Strategy

Here are four email strategies that can help you ace your Thanksgiving email planning.

Let culture guide you, but also look at the data

Thanksgiving Day is associated with family gatherings and the religious (but non-denominational) aspect of giving thanks. That distinguishes it from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where the focus is squarely on scoring deals.

That’s the cultural. Now, consider the data part. Analyze historical traffic and email data from your last Thanksgiving Day to understand what your audience is doing.

Did they click on your emails and browse or buy? Did open rate meet expectations but not click rate? That signals high interest but low intent.

Thanksgiving is still emerging as a shopping holiday. Summarize the insights you draw from your analysis to show how Thanksgiving email activity and shopping behavior reflect or differ from the days that follow to help others on your team understand what’s going on and to avoid making disastrous tactical decisions.

Remember the "thanks" in Thanksgiving

Don’t overlook the chance to say, “Thank you,” even if your Thanksgiving emails are all about deals and discounts. Dedicate one email out of your Thanksgiving-weekend plan to thank customers and wish them a happy holiday.

You can send only a Thanksgiving greeting, with no promotional content, or attach a greeting to your standard promotional email. Use the next strategy to decide which approach you should take.

Move “lean back” browsers to “lean forward” buyers

Knowing your data can help you decide what kind of promo to send. Let’s say your brand sends only a nonpromotional “thank you” email on Thanksgiving. But, your data shows your customers browse and buy in sizable numbers on Thanksgiving. Not including an offer could mean you’re losing out on sales.

Consider A/B testing your Thanksgiving email. Send a nonpromotional “thank you” email to half and a similar message with a promotion attached as a secondary message. (See the email examples above for some steal-worthy ideas.) Use the results in your Thanksgiving plan for next year.

Note: Analyze the impact a Thanksgiving offer might have across the five-day weekend to determine whether it poaches sales from the rest of the long weekend.

Increase visibility for more clicks

As with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving Day email volume can flood inboxes. An early-morning email could get lost in the shuffle, while a late-afternoon message could miss the activity window after things settle down.

If you send a promotional campaign in the morning, consider resending it in the afternoon to those who didn’t open or click the first time around. Revise the subject line, especially if the original one was time-sensitive.

However, know that everybody else is tacking “Last Chance!” and “Final Hours!” onto their emails. So. look for another way to stand out.