Planning your holiday email campaigns? You should be.

There are any number of tried and true approaches to engaging your subscribers over the holiday season. Gift guides, in particular, tend to be high performers. In fact, I strongly recommend that, rather than running just one gift guide campaign, you consider the following ideas to extend your gift guide campaigns throughout the season. Even better, several of the examples below combine multiple concepts into one campaign!

1. Price

The most straightforward gift guide is to offer by price. Gift givers generally have a threshold in mind for each recipient, and this allows them to shop from a category of products that fit this criteria.

Bed Bath and Beyond - Shop By Price

2. General

Holiday parties abound during the season and sometimes require a more general gift that appeals to a wider audience. Sometimes the party requires a gender-neutral or gender-specific gift. These exchanges can involve “stealing” an opened gift that is coveted by a subsequent opener. Calling out gifts ideal for these more generic holiday parties makes it easy to stock up and bring the best gift to the party.

Front Gate - Shop for Him Shop for Her

3. Gender

A gift “for him” call-to-action might work, but you can also dedicate an entire email and be even more specific. In this example from Piperlime, there are gift suggestions for the boyfriend, the hubby (hopefully not both!), the dad and the brother, in addition to a “Shop Gifts for Him” call-to-action.

Piperlime - Gifts for Guys

4. Recipient

Relatives aren’t the only ones who get gifts, though, and providing a gentle reminder to get a gift for someone outside the family can be a great service to your busy subscribers. For example, teachers, co-workers, or even a beauty stylist could all be in line for a nice surprise. It can also serve as an easy reference for those individuals that can be difficult to shop for such as a teens or grandma, as shown in this example from UncommonGoods.

UncommonGoods Shop By Person

5. Personality Or Interests

Instead of simply calling out “Shop for Him” or “Shop for Her,” try organizing gifts by personality or lifestyle. This requires more preparation, but it’s more engaging for the subscriber. In this example from Land of Nod, gifts are organized by a child’s interests. If you’ve heard that Billy loves drawing, it makes it easy to shop a category to find a gift that’s sure to be a hit.

Land of Nod - Shop by Personality

This works for adults, too. In this example from Red Envelope, gifts for mom are organized by interest or “mom tenure.” Rather than using a broad catchall like “Shop for Mom,” Red Envelope has taken it a step further to organize gifts by type of mom –- making the gifts more likely to be more relevant while also making the buyer feel like it’s a more personal selection.

Red Envelope - Gifts for Mom

6. Age

Who captures the magic of the holiday season more than a child? Toys are a huge focus for gifting, but it’s hard to keep up with what’s cool and what isn’t. In this example from Target, the shop-by-age gift guide makes it easy for any aunt, uncle, or grandparent to select an appropriate gift.

Target - Shop by Age

7. Color

This one might sound silly, but sometimes you can’t go wrong with a gift in their favorite color. I personally know a six-year old who loves anything in orange. Everyone has a favorite color, and it’s an easy question to ask before selecting a gift. In this example from Crate&Barrel the color aspect is also a play on words.

Crate&Barrel - Shop by Color

8. Product Type

A larger inventory may warrant shopping categories organized by product. These can be convenient for shoppers, too, if they generally know what kind of gift they want to purchase. For example, perhaps a college student would love something for their dorm room (Shop Home), while your son’s best friend would prefer a DS game (Shop Electronics). Another approach is by size, such as Shop Stocking Stuffers, or Shop Big Gifts from Santa.

Walmart - Shop by Category

9. Parties

Don’t forget that shoppers can also gift themselves, especially with the party season. If they are attending a party, they’ll be in search of hostess gifts for their friends. In addition, subscribers may be looking for a new outfit to wear to the party, or new decorations to dress up their home to host the party, like in this example from Pottery Barn.

Pottery Barn - Parties

10. Top Rated

Subscribers will feel confident in their gift selections by shopping top-rated gifts from other customers. Sephora presents a long list of four- and five-star rated products along with customer reviews in this example below.

Sephora - Top Rated

Gift Guide Navigation

Gift guides aren’t just for single email campaigns! Update the navigation in all of your emails for the season to include a form of gift guide shopping. Then, when the subscriber is ready to buy, these options are readily available no matter which campaign they open. In this example from J&R, a section of the email is dedicated to gift guide navigation accommodating both general targets (men, women, kids), interests (geeks, gamers, photographers) and price (under $100, under $50, under $20).

J&R - Gift Guide Navigation

Put A Bow On It

Hopefully, these gift guide examples spur some ideas of your own as you put a bow on your final holiday email calendar. Take this opportunity to work with your merchandising teams to select products for your gift guides in advance of the hectic season.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Email Marketing | Channel: Retail | Email Marketing | Email Marketing Column

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About The Author: is Director of Digital Direct/eCRM at DEG, a full-service digital consultancy based in Kansas City. Leveraging her 14 years of experience and thought leadership in digital direct marketing, she and her team lead email and SMS strategy, integrations, and campaign execution for flagship brands like Crocs, Helzberg Diamonds, MathWorks, Cabela's, Life is Good, and TITLE Boxing. In her spare time she runs half marathons, cheers on her beloved Royals, and drinks copious amounts of coffee while trying to exhaust her eight year-old daughter, five year-old boy, and one year-old golden retriever.



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