Thanksgiving Email Examples and Strategy

Thanksgiving is a day to spend with family and friends... and a major shopping holiday. Make sure your Thanksgiving email campaigns are up for it.

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Thanksgiving spending was a litthe lower than expected in 2021 and at the time of writing, it’s too early to tell if people will be willing to spend more again in 2022.

If you want to have your slice of the pumpkin pie this holiday season, it’s crucial to start your Thanksgiving email campaigns on time and to stand out. To help you reach your revenue goals, we’ve put together a list of great Thanksgiving email ideas, including examples, to serve as inspiration.

Further down this post, we’re also sharing some general tips on how to create a great Thanksgiving holiday email campaign.

Thanksgiving Email Examples & Ideas

Have an attitude of gratitude

Sending a Thanksgiving message is a natural thing to do when the founder’s name is part of the brand. We like the message, which gives the recipient insight into what Tory is grateful for, as well as the subtle sales approach this email takes. No prices or discounts are mentioned. Instead, the email lists three types of products (regular wear, sportswear, and tableware) and how Tory uses them.

The email design focuses on clearly displaying the products against a white background and both the regular text and call-to-actions consist of simple black-on-white text.

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Share expert tips

Thanksgiving has a raft of angles for your copy: food, family, memories, traditions, … and if you can sneak in some tips that help customers have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with joy, you’re bound to leave a good impression. Crate and Barrel takes it even a step further by letting celebrity home renovator Patti Wagner share her top tips for a happy Thanksgiving. The recipient doesn’t even have to click through to a blog post as the tips are shared directly in the email.

The tips provide an amazing opportunity to list a few products that go with them, as Crate and Barrel does as well.

When you have value to provide, it’s okay to send longer messages like this one.

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Count down and give away

This email series combines two great email marketing tactics: the countdown list and the giveaway. The daily “gratitude” list fits perfectly within the holiday spirit of Thanksgiving and the giveaway acts as a great incentive to get recipients to open 12 emails in a row. Not only are subscribers entered into the giveaway automatically; each email in the series also names the winner of the day before.
Lastly, the email design clearly has three distinct sections for daily gratitude, the giveaway, and a sales offer.

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Have a chuckle

“Can you post Turkey”? The subject line of this email sets the tone for this cheeky email from UK-based Boden. It transitions smoothly onto the pre-header, which announces some “Thanksgiving love from across the pond”. Inside the email, the recipient finds a Thanksgiving message of gratitude as well as a discount offer.

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Suggest subscribers buy now to 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. The Thanksgiving sale offering 40% off acts as an extra incentive and the many images do an incredible job at showing how the kids in the recipient’s life could look for the Thanksgiving dinner.

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Create clever copy

Moosejaw takes ecommerce emails seriously, but their Thanksgiving messages stand out because of the fun copywriting that accompanies their offers. In this email, they tap into a question that has bedeviled generations.

The quiz topic is only continued in the middle of the email after the recipient has already scrolled past some Thanksgiving discount offers.

While this Thanksgiving message is still heavily promotional, the fun copy breaks up the offers a bit and allows the brand to communicate with its subscribers in a more conversational style.

(P.S.: It’s “stuffing” when it bakes inside the bird, “dressing” when it’s made separately.😉)

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Put your customers in the spotlight

Even when you don’t sell Thanksgiving-related products, you can use your Thanksgiving messages to showcase how customers use them.

Jewelry brand James Allen does this in a great way. Not only does it thank its loyal customers with 25% off, it dedicates an entire email to them. By featuring couples that have one of their engagement rings, the brand showcases its products and social proof at the same time. So smart!

Express gratitude and highlight the role your products played in your customers’ bright moments as a way to introduce your sale and entice your subscribers to get their loved ones (or themselves!) a Thanksgiving gift.

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Keep it simple

Clothing brand Taft keeps it super simple with this email message. The subject line wishes recipients a “Happy Thanksgiving” while the email copy contains a close-to-perfect Thanksgiving message that lets subscribers know how much the brand appreciates them. Not only does it express how extremely grateful Taft is for its customers, it also wishes them an abundant Thanksgiving “filled with joy, kindness, and gratitude.”

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Thank your team

Many brands thank their customers or invite customers to be grateful for their loved ones. It’s less common to see a brand be grateful for its team and partners. In this email, Sock Fancy shows appreciation for the hard work of its team members as well as its suppliers and manufacturers.

The message is signed by “Stefan”. Having an actual human being behind it makes it more personal. On top of that, Sock Fancy’s positive attitude toward its team makes it a brand you want to support, and it also reminds us that Thanksgiving is the perfect time to say thank you not just to family, friends, and partners, but also to that incredible colleague, that awesome boss, and whomever else makes our lives a little better.

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Thanksgiving Content Strategy

Use the emails above as inspiration for your own Thanksgiving email campaigns. Create a Thanksgiving email template based on what’s been working for you so far, and start A/B testing with your template as a default.

Targeting various segments within your list? Not a problem, you can create multiple Thanksgiving email templates for different customer profiles.

But don’t get started just yet. First, read our Thanksgiving email marketing strategies below so you can ace your Thanksgiving messages this holiday season.

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 part of it. Now, consider the data. Analyze historical traffic and email data from your last campaigns to understand what your audience responds to.

Did they click on your emails and browse or buy? Did open rates meet expectations but not click rates? 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

Saying “Thank you” can go a long way. Even if your Thanksgiving messages are usually all about deals and discounts, you can dedicate one email from your campaign to thank customers and wish them a very happy Thanksgiving.

You can send a simple message without any promotional content, or attach a warm wishes to your standard promotional email. Use the next strategy to decide which approach you should take.

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

Understanding 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 marketing campaigns. Send a nonpromotional yet thoughtful message 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.

Resend emails 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.

Get creative with Thanksgiving email subject lines

To stand out in the inbox, you must optimize your email subject lines. While it’s great to wish your customers a happy Thanksgiving, try to experiment with some more creative subject lines as well.

Experiment with long and short messages

It only takes a quick message to wish someone a happy Thanksgiving but as you’ve seen in the examples above, there is a lot you can add to your Thanksgiving wishes. Showcase your products in a Thanksgiving setting, highlight how customers are using your products, and let them know how much you appreciate them with a sale. There are plenty of options to turn your short message into a proper Thanksgiving email, but make sure to test if that is also what your audience responds best to.