Your 2023 Holiday Email Campaign Handbook

Gear up for holiday email sending with tools and resources that'll help you make 2023 a success.


The holiday shopping season is the most important time of the year for retailers. Retailers can drive as much as 19% of their overall annual sales between November and December alone. This makes it a high-stakes time of year for businesses — and especially for email marketers. 

Luckily, a strong holiday email marketing strategy can help you reach new customers, engage existing ones, and drive sales for your business. This year, we expect many businesses to double-down on channels with proven ROI like email, so it may be harder than ever to stand out in crowded customer inboxes. 

To help, we’ve compiled the best-of-the-best tools and resources to give you an advantage this holiday season. In this updated 2023 Holiday Email Campaign Handbook, you’ll find blog articles, guides, and webinars designed to give you essential tools to streamline and optimize your email program ahead of the most wonderful time of year. 

With so much riding on the holiday season, your business needs to be aware of the trends and consumer expectations that are shaping the end of the year. Here’s a brief look at the top trends you should know to prepare for a successful 2023 holiday shopping season.

1. Inflation may put a damper on consumer’s holiday budgets

While inflation is starting to cool, high interest rates continue and student loan payments are resuming, so experts expect consumers to pull back on discretionary spending. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are looking to spend an average of $832.83 per person this holiday season, down 5% compared to last year’s $879.32 average. Don’t fret just yet — Salesforce estimates that global sales this holiday season will reach $1.19 trillion globally, consistent with 2022 sales figures. 

2. Consumers will hunt for deals and discounts

Because of these financial stressors, we believe consumers will be on the hunt for a deal this holiday season, especially the week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Be sure to advertise your latest sales via email to catch the attention (and business) of holiday shoppers. 

That said, our 2023 Global Messaging Engagement Report found that consumers grow weary of the same sales advertised over and over again. Be sure every message you send them has a unique angle they will find interesting. For example, instead of just sending them the same email advertising that you have 50% off sale, consider highlighting your “discounted sneakers” one week and “on-sale gifts for dad” another to mix things up. 

3. AI will play a bigger role than ever before in holiday shopping

Experts predict that artificial intelligence (AI) will play a significant role in holiday shopping this year. Instead of turning to Google for gift ideas, a large number of consumers are expected to turn to ChatGPT when it comes to questions like “What are the best toys for a 13-year-old boy?” or “Top gifts for a grill master who has everything.” 

What does this mean for your business? If you can’t beat them, join them! 

Consider using AI to generate copy for your emails, landing pages, gift guides, and more. It can not only help you streamline your workload and automate manual tasks, but also build more personalized experiences at scale for your customers. 

Chapter 3: Set Expectations Early


While this holiday season’s going to be different, it’s nothing you haven’t handled before. With everything that’s going on, do your best to stay informed and set realistic expectations so you know what to anticipate.

Holiday Email Marketing Best Practices for 2023 and Beyond

Looking to create a wildly successful holiday email campaign? Here’s everything you need to do before, during, and after the holidays to create a successful holiday email program that will carry you into the new year. From inspiring holiday email examples to helpful tips to ready-to-use seasonal campaign templates, this is your one-stop-shop for all your holiday email planning needs.

13 Tips to Prepare Your Email Program for Black Friday Success

Grabbing your customers’ attention in Q4 is difficult. But in order for your emails to be seen and read, they need to reach your recipients’ inboxes in the first place. Here are a few tools to ensure your deliverability is in tip-top shape for the holidays!

‘Tis the Season for Deliverability: Prepping Your Marketing Strategy for the Holidays

Watch this on-demand webinar to learn how to build customer engagement strategies that enhance your customers’ experiences and maximize your holiday revenue. You will learn how to expand engagement while becoming increasingly digital, while considering personalization and channel selection all built on a secure foundation.

Chapter 4: Holiday Campaigns Start With Your List

There’s no holiday email campaign without a homegrown, top-notch email list to send it to. With the holidays right around the corner, it’s prime time to give your list some much-needed TLC. Here are a few tips and tools to keep handy.

Grow your contact list with up to 15 Signup Forms.

Marketing Campaigns advanced plan

Whether your email list is 1,000 or 1 million strong, you need signup forms to keep it growing. If you’re looking for some signup form inspiration, start your trek here. You’ll find a variety of irresistible ideas to get subscribers jumping to join your list—plus tips for creating compelling signup forms.

With your email list healthy and growing, you’ll need to follow a few best practices to keep it polished and rust-free.

  • Enable Double Opt-In. Double opt-in is an ideal method for collecting email addresses because it requires your recipient to demonstrate a genuine desire to receive your emails, helping you weed out unengaged recipients early on.
  • Validate Addresses. Not everyone is who they say they are on your email sign-up page. In fact, some of the email addresses captured on your site will be invalid or fake and getting caught sending to those emails can harm your deliverability rates. With our Email Validation API, you can verify emails before sending them—decreasing bounces and increasing delivery rates to the intended mailbox.
  • Clean Your List. Just like you always need to maintain your trekking gear, make it a habit to scrub your email list regularly. Remove invalid, non-responsive, and duplicate email addresses as often as you can. Do it before and after the holiday season to keep your list squeaky clean.

The Best (and Worst) Ways to Verify Email Addresses

There’s a right way and a wrong way to verify email addresses. This time of the year is prime for gaining brand-new customers and subscribers—guarantee the quality of your growing list by verifying new contacts with the gold standard.



Denis O'Sullivan

Denis has spent the last decade in the email delivery world helping brands get their messages to the folks that want them.


“Unexpected volume increases can result in deferrals and blocks. Make sure to warm up your volume to Black Friday and Cyber Monday levels over a number of days, rather than overnight.”


Email automation can feel daunting and cumbersome, but it’s far from the challenging mountain it’s made out to be. With the right tools and a little know-how, automation can help you create deeper connections with your audience and save you a boatload of time.

Holiday Email Marketing Strategy Automation Guide

Writing and sending individual emails in a series-long holiday marketing campaign can be a tedious, time-consuming process. Here’s how to use email automation to free you from mundane execution-related tasks, as well as boost top-funnel awareness and set a strong foundation for success in 2024.

Email Marketing Automation Best Practices in 2023

Despite automation’s clear benefits, only half of companies currently use it. Why? Because trying new things can be intimidating. Not to worry—our guide will show you just how easy automation can be.

3 Email Marketing Automation Mistakes To Avoid

Don’t get over ambitious too quickly. While email automation can provide necessary relief, you’ll want to be aware of a few common pitfalls. Armed with these insights, you’ll be prepared to create powerful automations while avoiding catastrophe.

How to Build Your First Email Automation With Marketing Campaigns Free Plan

Ready to build your first email automation? Go on a step-by-step walkthrough with one of our email experts and learn to build a high-quality automation from scratch. From account signup to sending your first campaign, see what the entire process looks like.

Getting Started with Automation

Ready to get a little more ambitious with your automations? This tutorial shows Twilio SendGrid Advanced Plan users how to create and manage custom automations. You’ll be an automations pro before you reach the end of the article!

Chapter 6: Test, Test, and Test Some More

Email testing is a sure-fire technique for breaking in new email tactics and ensuring the quality of every message you send. Just remember, the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is true — especially during the holidays. You don’t want to blindly experiment with fancy GIFs or countdown clocks during the most important time of year. That’s where email testing comes in handy.

Email Testing Walkthrough and Examples: Send Flawless Emails Every Time

Don’t let image rendering, broken links, or spam filters get in the way of your sending success. This post will teach you how to confidently test your emails to perfection and eliminate “uh-oh”s or “whoopsies.”

Chapter 7: Holiday Email Inspiration

Now, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty details. While we can’t create your holiday campaigns for you, we can provide enough holiday inspiration to get your wheels turning. 

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Email Examples and Insights

With the online shopping holidays quickly approaching, we dug deep into our inboxes to pull out some of our favorite Black Friday and Cyber Monday email marketing examples from past holiday seasons. In this article, you’ll find some clever campaigns that are bound to inspire your own festive email campaigns.

3 Ideas for Thank You Email Campaigns

We ask a lot of our customers, especially during the holiday hubbub: buy this, look at that, sign up here. It’s a lot, which is why it’s so important to take a step back and show your gratitude with a kind “thank you” campaign.

8 Responsive Free Holiday Email Templates (Downloadable)

Want free holiday email templates for your marketing campaigns? We’ve got you covered. Our Twilio SendGrid designers put together 8 exclusive downloadable templates you can use for everything, from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

The 47 Best Holiday Email Subject Lines (Real-Life Examples)

The right subject line can grab your recipients’ attention and ensure they open your email. These creative holiday email subject line examples straight will help inspire you to create your own attention-grabbing email copy.

101 New Year Email Subject Lines: Templates, Tips, and Examples

New year, new subject lines? Check out these fun and festive subject lines to help your messages stand out in recipient inboxes and your business start off 2024 with strong open rates.  

121 Cyber Monday Email Subject Lines to Boost Open Rates

Cyber Monday is one of the busiest days of the year for email. When you know customers are being inundated with promotional messages, how can your emails stand out? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite Cyber Monday subject lines to inspire you and increase your odds of earning an open.

Check out our free template gallery for grade-A, pre-built email templates.



Whether you send transactional or marketing emails, it’s critical your emails reach the inbox— especially during the holiday season. It doesn’t matter how clever and beautiful your email campaign is if nobody ever sees it. With a few tools and resources, you can take control of your deliverability and ensure your emails finish their journey.

Twilio SendGrid’s 2023 Email Deliverability Guide

No matter what type of emails you send, all businesses have the same goal: getting to the inbox. This is where deliverability comes in.

If delivery isn’t your thing and you’d like a little help, consider partnering with our experts. We offer a variety of services to take your email program to the next level. Whether you need help with implementation or ongoing support, we have options for customers of every size and budget.

Chapter 9: Adopt a Multichannel Communications Strategy

Email is only one part of the customer engagement experience. Expand your communications program by adding complementary channels like SMS, chat, in-app notifications, ads, SEM, display, and more.

Using SMS and Email to Engage Your Customers in 2023

Enhance your existing email program by adding a way to send real-time updates, alerts, notifications, reminders, and confirmations. SMS combined with email creates a seamless customer communication experience that’s scalable, reliable, and downright powerful.

How to Use SMS to Grow Your Email List

Your email list is your most important marketing asset. It’s the lifeblood of your marketing program—the sprinkles to your frosted doughnut. Use your existing SMS program to drive new, high-quality subscribers.

The Ultimate Guide to Omnichannel

Omnichannel is all the buzz—and for good reason. In this guide, we share how an omnichannel strategy can unlock a complete view of your customers’ behaviors and preferences so your business can deliver the exceptional service and hyper-personalization that today’s email recipients crave.

Chapter 10: The Best Gift of All: Personalization

This holiday season, give your subscribers just what they want: relevant, hyper-personalized messages and deals. According to Twilio’s 2023 The State of Customer Engagement Report, two-thirds of consumers say they will quit a brand if their experience isn’t personalized and while 91% of brands report that they often or always personalize engagement with consumers, only 56% of consumers agree.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you personalize your messages ahead of the winter holidays: 

How to Use First-Party Data for Marketing Email Personalization

With third-party cookies going away in 2024, it’s time to start collecting and experimenting with first-party data — and the holiday season is the perfect time to learn more about your users. Learn how top brands are using information gathered through sign-up forms, purchase history, and other customer interactions to personalize their emails.  

Beyond the Basics: Personalization Tactics That Actually Convert

In this guide, we share how to build a unified data foundation that can help your business build custom campaigns seamlessly at scale. You’ll also find helpful templates and real-life examples that you can use to inspire your own personalized customer experiences. 

15 Ways to Use Data to Engage Your Customers

We all want more data, but data is only as good as your strategy to apply it. Here are 15 ways you can leverage data to optimize your messaging and create personalized experiences across channels.

Chapter 11: Get Festive

While the holiday season can be a hectic time for email marketers, you can rise to the occasion! You’ve been learning about your customers and refining your email program all year. Now, it’s time to put these learnings to the test and see how your campaigns stack up. 

You’ve had a great year so far — let’s finish Q4 out strong and drive those much needed conversions for your business.

Happy sending!

Get Started with SendGrid

SendGrid helps you focus on your business without the cost and complexity of owning and maintaining an email infrastructure. And with a full-featured marketing email service that offers a flexible workflow, powerful list segmentation, and actionable analytics, all of your email needs are met in one simple platform.