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Email Best Practices

Thanksgiving Email: Five tips to make your customers feel appreciated

With the Black Friday sales just after Thanksgiving, there’s a chance for email marketers to press pause and give thanks to loyal customers. And with that comes the creative freedom to make an email campaign that’s heartfelt and sincere.

Hermes is running behind a turkey

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If you’re like us, you probably started fantasizing about that delicious Thanksgiving spread as soon as you started working on your holiday email marketing campaigns. Knowing how soon Thanksgiving will be here makes it easy to forget about email when you lose yourself in a daydream about the feast in your future. But before you get to the food, you need to plan out the perfect Thanksgiving email campaign.

The truth is, your subscribers are probably bombarded with ecommerce emails, all convincing them to buy what’s on offer. Instead of only capitalizing on the holiday season to boost your sales, why not use this time of year to show your customers how much you appreciate them? Give our tips a try, and you and your customers will be feeling that warm and fuzzy feeling only a Thanksgiving dinner (and email) can bring.

How to write a good Thanksgiving message

We get it – Thanksgiving deviates from the status quo. Instead of selling to your audience, you’re appreciating them. Sounds easier said than done, but really it’s easy if it comes from the heart. Let’s look at the classic tropes of a warm Thanksgiving message.

Here are four things to keep in mind.

Know your audience

You wouldn’t send the same Thanksgiving card to a corporate colleague that you would a gym buddy, so make sure you adapt your message to your audience.

Use all the information at hand – well-researched personas, CRM personality profiles, demographic, and data from your email service provider to understand and visualize your subscriber before picking up the pen. Leverage advanced tactics like personalization and segmentation to make your messages ever more personal.

Make it genuine, heartfelt, and authentic

Thanksgiving is generally a time when we stop our lives to focus on the important things in life: friends, family, and food!

And while you won’t be replacing turkey on the family table, you can instead bring something fresh to your reader’s inbox – authenticity. Rather than showing off your company and products, send a Thanksgiving message to connect to the customer on a deeper level and celebrate them as the hero of your story.

Let your brand voice shine through

Your brand voice is the personality that comes across in your messaging. Usually, we have to tone it down for product and news updates to get the message across, but with a Thanksgiving message, we really get to express our brand fully.

So, embrace the creative opportunity and craft an email message that will really makes your contacts smile!

Imagine you’re sitting around the Thanksgiving table with your customers supping wine and you raise a toast. What would you say? How would you say it?

Choose a good Thanksgiving email subject line

You already know it – email subject lines are a key part of the email marketing strategy that have a huge impact on open rates and conversions. That’s why we always recommend coming up with a few strong subject line ideas to A/B test.

Obviously, Thanksgiving is a period where brands choose to be grateful and appreciative, but that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate a bit of cheekiness to your subject lines and maybe add a couple well-chosen festive emojis.

To inspire you, we asked ChatGPT to help us come up with the best Thanksgiving email subject lines for your heartfelt messages to customers. Here’s what it came up with:

  1. "Thanksgiving Gratitude: We're Thankful for You!"

  2. "Giving Thanks for Your Loyalty and Support 🙏"

  3. "Our Thanksgiving Gift to You: Heartfelt Thanks"

  4. "A Special Thanksgiving Message Just for You"

  5. "Thankful Hearts, Happy Customers: It's All Thanks to You!"

  6. "This Thanksgiving, We're Thankful for Customers Like You"

  7. "You're Our Reason to Give Thanks: Happy Thanksgiving!"

  8. "Appreciating You on Thanksgiving and Every Day"

  9. "Thanksgiving Wishes from Our Family to Yours"

  10. "Giving Thanks: A Special Gift Just for You!"

And with Thanksgiving happening in the middle of the holiday shopping season, we know many brands will choose to promote some Thanksgiving deals, incorporating a special offer or a coupon. Alternatively, you can create a sense of urgency by reminding customers Black Friday will be the last chance to benefit from some of the special Black Week deals.

Here are some subject line examples from ChatGPT if you’re looking to pair up Black Friday sales and Thanksgiving email marketing campaigns:

  1. "Feast Your Eyes on Our Thanksgiving Specials 🦃🍂"

  2. "Unlock Thanksgiving Savings: Exclusive Offers Inside!"

  3. "Get Stuffed on Savings this Thanksgiving 🍽️"

  4. "Counting Our Blessings: Thanksgiving Discounts Await!"

  5. "Thanksgiving Delights: The Ultimate Shopping Experience 🍁"

  6. "Gobble Up Savings Before They're Gone!"

  7. "Thanksgiving Cheers! 🥂 Your Exclusive Deals Inside"

  8. Special deals for a great Thanksgiving

  9. "Thanksgiving Feast, Black Friday Feast: Get Ready for Incredible Savings!"

  10. "Give Thanks Today, Shop Black Friday Tomorrow - Exclusive Deals Await!"

5 tips to win your customers over with a Thanksgiving email campaign

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so it’s time to think about email marketing. Not sure where to begin? Here are our top tips to win the heart of your customers during this time of the year.

1. Keep your Thanksgiving email template simple

Be the calm in your subscriber’s Thanksgiving holiday inbox storm. While everyone is promoting Thanksgiving sales, try sending an email just to say “Thank You” and “Happy Thanksgiving”, and hold off on the salesy talk for just a little while. Your friendly Thanksgiving email will remind customers why they subscribed to you in the first place. As a result, you might actually score some brand loyalty and influence them to make a purchase further down the road.

Don’t go overboard on the email design, either. Simple emails with a powerful Thanksgiving email subject line and good personalization can go a long way to make your subscribers feel appreciated. Of course, the opportunity for fun imagery and GIFs comes with the holidays, so we won’t judge if you want to crank up the cheese factor a bit.

Thanksgiving message with flowery pulsating GIF and “Thank you” message

Sakara’s Thanksgiving message is sincere and personalized

2. Reward your most loyal customers

Where would you be without your wonderful repeat clients? Take the time to create a Thanksgiving email with your best customers in mind. You can throw in an exclusive offer in your email message or a chance to double their rewards on holiday purchases to show them how special they are to your business.

Your customers will probably be more interested in stuffing their tummies full of, well...stuffing on Thanksgiving Day and spending time with their family, friends, and loved ones. So, try to give them a little extra time to redeem the special promotion in your email newsletter. You might even want to give your subscribers early access to your product line sale to show them just how thankful you are to them.

Decorative Thanksgiving email with GIF message carousel

Nordstrom’s Thanksgiving holiday campaign is stunning

3. Remember to give back

If your brand supports a particular cause, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to show your customers what their purchases or donations have accomplished. Since the holidays often inspire people to give back, telling your customers about your cause can also increase support. Of course, showing that your brand is also making a difference is a great way to inspire loyalty in your customers.

Thanksgiving email title says, “One registration = one thanksgiving meal”

Thanksgiving is all about giving back

4. Send Thanksgiving emails that capitalize on the holiday spirit

Why not use your Thanksgiving email as a chance to send a special welcome to your newest subscribers? Let them know that even though you haven’t known each other for long, you’re happy they’ve decided to join your list. You could send them a personalized message from a leader in your company or just a friendly picture of your team with a nice note. This is a great way to start building your relationship with new customers and give them more insight into your brand’s personality.

You can also use the holiday to send a reactivation email to your old contacts that haven’t been active for a while. You can always remind them that despite drifting apart, you’re thankful for them. Since consumers expect to receive more emails around the holidays, you might just reignite that old flame with the ones that got away.

Dark mode email with background peering through house window

Artifact Uprising reminds subscribers what Thanksgiving is all about

5. Add a Black Friday mention to your Thanksgiving email

As we said, it’s great to let your customers know you appreciate them without asking them to make a purchase. You may also want to throw in a quick reminder about your Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) sale since your customers will be ready to do some serious shopping after recovering from that food coma.

Anne Taylor’s little mention of Black Friday

5 heartfelt Thanksgiving email examples from leading brands

Want some more inspiration for your Thanksgiving email campaigns? Check out some of our favorite examples!

Google - Feel thankful for the little moments

It's idyllic – cooking s'mores around the fire with the family whilst listening to fairytale stories. Google capitalizes on this holiday spirit with a series of family-oriented moments centering around their smart assistant.

This email hits you in the heart, not the head, by sharing warm and sentimental uses cases such as learning and storytelling. So, rather than getting buried underneath hundreds of sales emails this Thanksgiving, try something heartwarming instead. You can still plug your product offering by taking a subtle and indirect approach with content your audience will find value in.

Now let’s take a look at the design. Look at the imagery and notice how the illustrations are soft and playful, tapping into Google’s brand colors. Like a storyboard, the email separates out into “postcards”. Each card contains headers and bold quotations directing the reader's eyes, making it easy to scan for those in a hurry.

The Home Depot - Thank you

What speaks gratitude like a big bold “Thank You”? The Home Depot centers its email around a best wishes message to express gratitude and a tip on beating the queues. If you’re going to use a GIF in your email, make sure it’s not overbearing but subtle, like this one with scattered autumnal leaves fluttering in the wind.

The Home Depot email

We talked earlier about rewarding your customer. Well, this example does just that with a “$200 OFF” offer highlighted in their trademark orange. Calls to action, like the leaves, are scattered across the page, so there's truly something for everyone.

Uber - Flying to the feast?

There's nothing more stressful than arriving at the airport late. Uber taps into this customer pain point with a perfect problem and solution match. As well as problem solving, Uber benefits by educating customers on how to use their product effectively.

Email with the header “Getting to the airport early? That’s gravy.”

Rather than pelting your audience with random sends, be transparent about your intentions. A short message – “Check your inbox every Sunday for more holiday how-tos” – gives readers transparency and manages their expectations. Wrap your message up in a short and punchy email with bespoke illustrations, and you’ll be flying into people's hearts this holiday season.

Casper - Happy Thanksgiving from Casper

Mmm, delicious pumpkin pie… But what have beds got in common with Thanksgiving? Well, we all know that after you gobble all that delicious dessert, all you’ll want to do is sleep it off on a bed (from Casper). It’s easy to get discouraged if your product has nothing to do with Thanksgiving turkey day. But dig deep, and you can always find a narrative that connects your product to the holiday.

Thanksgiving email with pumpkin pie decorated with crescent moon.

People like riddles, so make the reader think a little with questions like, “What comes after dinner”? There are many design style choices you can make in an email. Our previous Home Depot example goes for a dense design with multiple calls-to-action (CTAs), while Casper’s email opts for something minimalist with just one CTA. Consider your marketing strategy goals for your next Thanksgiving email marketing campaign and choose the design accordingly.

Now it’s your turn: Send the best Thanksgiving email

And there you have it – the simplest way to let your contacts know you care. Taking time to remind your subscribers that you appreciate them is sure to put a smile on their faces (in between plates, of course). Your customers will feel fuzzy, full, and ready to shop ‘til they drop after receiving your Thanksgiving Day email.

If you’re starting to plan for the rest of the holiday season, check out our holiday email guide. Or if you’re wiped out after the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving, we have some ready-made holiday email templates that you can edit inside Sinch Mailjet’s Email Editor. It just might be the best gift you receive this Thanksgiving!

Send your Thanksgiving email campaigns with Sinch Mailjet

Create and send the best holiday email campaigns with Sinch Mailjet. Use one of our predefined templates or design your own with our drag-and-drop Email Editor and send them straight to the inbox.

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This blog post is an updated version of the post “Make Your Customers Feel Appreciated This Thanksgiving“, published on the Mailjet blog on November 18th, 2016 by Patrika Cheston.

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