Retail holiday calendar for Q1

This directory below links to MailCharts’ email strategy pages for Q1 holidays with strategic advice, tactical suggestions, and plenty of email examples. Strategy pages are accessible to all ecommerce email marketers, non-subscribers along with Free and Pro MailCharts users.

New Year (Jan 1)

New Year
Martin Luther King Day (third Monday of January)

Martin Luther King Day

Lunar New Year (Varies according to lunar calendar)

Lunar New Year

Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14)

Valentine’s Da

President’s Day (third Monday of February)

President’s Day

International Women’s Day (March 8)

International Women's Day

St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
St. Patrick's Day
January to March is Q1 in a classic business calendar. Many marketers see this period as time to take a breather after the hectic weeks of the holiday season. But it’s also your best opportunity to review your email marketing efforts over the past year and begin building an email strategy for holidays in Q1 and beyond.

Q1 Email Marketing Tips and Strategies

Go ahead and take a day to celebrate your wins. You and your team deserve it! But also devote time to review what you learned about your customers and how they interacted with your email campaigns.

This is an excellent time to dive into all of the data your ESP, CRM and marketing automation platforms have collected for you over the last 12 months and look for trends (positive and negative).

If you have to file a year-end report on your email marketing performance, you probably have done this already. But if not, look for metrics that track two levels of performance:

  1. Activity metrics: These are the easiest to collect because your ESP should report them for you. They measure what your subscribers do with your email messages, including opens, clicks, unsubscribes, and spam complaints along with delivery to the inbox. Track whether they are trending up or down and note sudden dips or spikes.
  2. Goal metrics: These measure how your campaigns performed against your goals and include conversion rate, revenue per email or revenue per 1,000 emails and average order value. For ecommerce email marketers, these “money metrics” are the ones that most accurately measure campaign success.

Why you need an email strategy for Q1 holidays

January is deceptively quiet. Just when you thought it was safe to kick back after sending out your last New Year’s campaign, boom! Your holiday calendar suddenly starts to fill up.

Somebody is bound to stop you in the hallway, send you an email or a Slack, or ping you in your project manager to ask you the question every ecommerce email marketer dreads: “Hey! What are you doing for MLK Day?”

That’s when MailCharts data, strategy and curated email lists can come to your rescue. Our suggested strategic plans follow key dates on the retail holiday calendar. Customize them for your brand, campaign and program goals and then review our hand-curated lists of holiday email examples. These make it easy to jumpstart your creative process for subject lines, images, copy and calls to action and get ideas for building automations and managing frequency and cadence.

So, why should you stay focused on holidays in Q1? Aside from Valentine’s Day, these smaller events don’t bring in the same sales and revenue as Q4 holidays and themes like Thanksgiving, Black Friday/Cyber Monday and Christmas.

But federal holidays (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President’s Day), world events (International Women’s Day) and cultural events (St. Patrick’s Day) give you hooks for campaigns that appeal to shoppers or tap into the relevance of current events. Your holiday angle can give even the most basic end-of-season clearance sale a creative kick.

(And yes, we have a list for this! Check the Sales and Discounts* curated email example list for fresh takes to attract bargain-hunters.)

Updating email processes in Q1

Beside short-term holiday planning, Q1 gives you opportunities to research new strategic directions and changes you want to make in your email marketing program, like these:

  • Creating or updating email templates for promotional, triggered and targeted messages
  • Revising your sending frequency
  • Rethinking your promotional strategy
  • New ways to raise revenue to meet your current year’s revenue or retention goals
  • Adding or updating email journeys (creative content, sending frequency, promotional strategy, workflow)

Nurture your newcomers

Q1 is more than a kickoff to the annual retail holiday calendar. It’s also a time to build on your gains from Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas.

These brought in lots of new customers and first-time buyers. Q1 is the time when you can nurture these new customers and keep them coming back to browse and buy.

You have time in your email calendar for campaigns like a multi-email welcome journey, informational campaigns that focus on your brand value proposition, how to buy and use your products, and storytelling about your people, history and products.

Dropping your new customers into the firehose of nonstop promotions sap the momentum you built up in the previous months. January and February are prime months to introduce new customers gradually. (But always give them a reason to buy).

Bonus email marketing tips for Q1

  • Appeal to shoppers who want to relax and recharge after the frenetic holiday season. This is natural for health and wellness brands, but brands in other verticals can adopt this strategic approach.
  • If you have been in retail long enough, remember the “January white sales” that elevated clearances on household linens like sheets and towels into an annual event. Themed clearance sales make everybody happy, especially you because you can move out old products to make room for new collections.
  • If Valentine’s Day is a significant revenue holiday for your brand, use successful tactics from Q4 to pique shopper interest and drive clicks and conversions. Gift guides and how-to-buy advice can be welcome alternatives to generic promotions.


Our favorite posts to prepare for Q1 emails

Take a look through several of our favorite blog posts covering a few thought-starters for your Q1 campaigns.


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