There's still plenty of time to create an effective holiday strategy - and to promote it with the right type of email marketing.

Creating a seasonal content strategy can pay huge dividends, but it’ll go off even better if you’ve have a concurrent email marketing plan. When it comes to executing the most successful holiday campaign, the data indicates you’re better off starting as early as possible.

Not all email messages should be Christmas-themed. It seems brands would be better off sticking to general winter-holiday-themed sends (and other non-religious holidays) if they want their emails to be opened and clicked. According to a YesMail Interactive study, for basic holiday-themed messages, the highest open rates are actually in October (14.8 percent), followed by November (14.3 percent) and December (13.9 percent).

But Christmas-themed emails do get a boost right before the actual holiday. The open rate for messages sent between Nov. 23 and Dec. 30 is 5 percent higher than for sends going out from Nov. 4-22.

Want to know more about constructing the perfect holiday strategy?
Check out this
blog post outlining how to optimize content for the end of the year.

Lay the groundwork for email success

So what does the perfect holiday email look like? Some best practices carry over from the rest of the year, and some are unique to Q4:

 Be familiar: As Brafton reported, people are much more likely to open emails from companies they know. While the holidays shouldn’t put a stop to email prospecting, it may be a better idea to go all-in on a strategy that makes past customers and established leads click.
 Use language carefully: Some terms are simply more enticing and interesting around the holidays (for example, “shopping,” “tricks” and “quick”). This is just as true for email as it is for content, so use the right language accordingly.
 Show, don’t tell: Visual media is extremely important for getting clicks in marketing emails, and when people have less time to read – or even skim – around the holidays, a picture may indeed be worth a thousand words.

Of course, this is all predicated on getting started early. Half of all marketers have started planning their holiday campaigns before Halloween. So how is yours coming?

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.