Holiday Email Opt-Outs: An Empathetic Approach to Subscription Preferences

Holiday Email Opt-Outs: An Empathetic Approach to Subscription Preferences

As email marketers, we know the importance of holidays, which allow us to create timely, playful content that drives conversions. That’s why we spend so much time planning holiday email marketing campaigns

But as humans, we also know some holidays can be difficult. For example, receiving a deluge of Father’s Day marketing emails can bring up feelings of grief for those who don’t have fathers in their lives. Brands have started to acknowledge this by offering email recipients the chance to unsubscribe from specific holiday emails—you may have even seen one such email in your inbox recently. 

Hi Vu, We understand Mother's Day and Father's Day can be a sensitive time. If you'd prefer not to receive emails from us about these holidays this year, easily remove yourself by clicking below. Don't worry, we'll still keep you in the loop about coffees and new products we hope you'll love as much as we do, just no Mother's Day or Father's Day stuff. With love, The Blue Bottle Team

The holiday email opt-out trend aligns with a broader shift in brand messaging to become more empathetic and value-focused to help businesses build relationships with customers. 

This post will explore the pros and cons of offering holiday email opt-outs and considerations for businesses thinking about implementing this tactic. 

Why offer a holiday email opt-out?

Email marketing is constantly evolving to keep up with consumer trends, and in the past few years, brands have been more adaptable than ever. This new trend of offering holiday email opt-outs is likely related to 3 recent shifts in brand communications:
  1. The pandemic affected every industry, including the emails brands send. As we all processed the difficulties of the pandemic and other major events in the past few years, brands took on a more empathetic tone.
  2. Younger generations impact the way businesses communicate. Gen Zers, for example, demonstrated that they care more about a brand’s values than an established name. In fact, a study by Wunderman Thompson found that 85% of Gen Zers think brands should care about more than just profit. And as their spending power grows, they become an important audience for marketers, prompting marketers to respond by showcasing their brand’s values. 
  3. Personalization has gone from a nice-to-have to a must-have for brands. In our 2022 Global Messaging Engagement Report, 57% of respondents said personalization would influence whether they thought an email was memorable. Plus, 47% would share information with businesses to get more personalized content. 
In line with these trends, email marketers now put more emphasis on personalization, empathy, and values in their communications. A great example of this is the holiday email opt-out, which gives recipients the option to bow out of emails related to holidays that can be difficult for them. 

So far, we’ve mainly seen opt-out campaigns related to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, which makes sense because communications about these holidays can remind recipients of their difficult feelings related to parents or children. But the same can apply to Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or any other holiday, and it could thus become a broader trend in the future. 

From a metrics perspective, sending emails that are irrelevant to the recipient can ultimately impact your engagement metrics and deliverability. It’s better to send a recipient fewer, highly relevant emails that will inspire them to open and click

Pros and cons of holiday email opt-outs

Not sure whether holiday email opt-outs are right for your business? Let’s look at the pros of this tactic as well as possible cons and how to avoid them. 


  • Email opt-outs are a sensitive approach toward holiday marketing. These give recipients the opportunity to avoid certain holiday messaging—at least within your emails—showing that you care more about their experience than blasting out a Father’s Day deal to as many people as possible. 
  • Email opt-outs help you segment your holiday email lists. These are good opportunities to further refine your existing segments and ensure you only send emails that resonate with the recipients. Want to learn more about segmentation? Check out The Essential Guide to Email Segmentation.


  • Email opt-outs can have the opposite effect of what you intended if not done carefully. That’s why it’s important to get the messaging right and make holiday email opt-outs as easy as possible—and to avoid flooding recipients’ inboxes with emails reminding them of the very holiday they want to avoid. We’ll offer some tips on how to do this below. 

Considerations for businesses offering holiday email opt-outs

If you’re ready to try out a holiday email opt-out, we can help. Here are a few key elements to consider in an A/B test to see what resonates best with your audience. 
  • Keep the language short and tactful. The point of this type of email is to be mindful of people who want to avoid messaging around a certain holiday, so don’t use more copy than necessary. 
Like Mother's Day, we understand that for some, Father's Day may be a difficult time and we'd like to give you the same opportunity to opt out. To stop receiving Father's Day emails, just click the button below. As always, we'll still keep you up to date on all of the other wonderful things happening at Etsy.
  • Use a preference center. This way, the recipient can opt out of various holidays or types of messaging at once, and you can avoid asking the recipient about multiple holidays throughout the year. 
  • Make the unsubscribe experience quick and easy. Double-check that the link or button takes the user to the right landing page, where you’ve autopopulated their email address, and all they have to do is select Unsubscribe. This might sound like a no-brainer, but we’ve seen instances where the unsubscribe link takes the user to the homepage, creating a frustrating experience. Additionally, if you use the preference center tactic outlined above, keep the list short and easy to navigate—recipients should only need less than a minute to unsubscribe from the desired lists. 
  • Be careful of accidentally unsubscribing the user altogether. Make sure you can still send these recipients other promotional emails if they wish. 

Manage your email segments with Twilio SendGrid

Sending targeted, thoughtful emails strengthens your email program, but it takes time to learn about your audience and segment your lists appropriately. However, with the right tools, you can level up your segmentation and email list management strategy. 

Twilio SendGrid’s Marketing Campaigns helps you manage your contacts with manual lists or dynamic segments and use data insights to send highly relevant emails. You can also create simple, customized sign-up forms that allow you to capture the information you need to tailor your email content. 

Try Twilio SendGrid for free to get started, or contact Sales to learn how to use customer data to power personalized communications with Twilio Segment.

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