10 Experts Predict Holiday Email Design Trends

Staying visible, standing out, and keeping your audience engaged is indispensable for businesses in this world of cutthroat competition.

That is because the moment your customers’ attention shifts away from your brand, it becomes increasingly difficult to bring them back.

The chances of this occurring increases exponentially during the holiday season — especially when your customers are ‘bombarded’ with promotions from every direction.

The best way to combat that is to STAND OUT by taking inspiration from existing design trends and creating extraordinary emails. But, don’t just take our word for it: 6 out of 10 industry experts believe that email design will play a major role in the success of your email campaigns this holiday season.

Email Design Trends to Look Out for This Holiday Season

Interactive Elements in Emails

When the scope of including CSS in an HTML email was introduced in 2014, it opened the gateway to user interactivity.

Most of the different animations and functionalities that are possible on web pages using JavaScript are now possible in emails. This coined a new term ‘Mailable Microsites’ for emails.

Top industry influencers such as Christopher Donald, Jaymin Bhuptani, Tink Taylor, Kara Trivunovic and Lauren Gentile firmly believe that this holiday season is all about improving user interaction by making emails interactive.

Let’s take a close look at exactly what they have to say about email interactivity:

Christopher Donald states that just like the previous year, interactive emails will be prevalent. More specifically, Chris has great faith on countdown timers in cart abandonment emails. Whether you combine it with a discount or not, a countdown timer can contribute towards the overall lift in conversions.

A great example of this is when Dr. Marten Shoes used a countdown timer to create urgency in their Cyber Monday Sale email while announcing the time when the sale would end.

Dr Marten Holiday email design

On the other hand Tink Taylor, Founder & Director, Dotmailer stresses on “optimizing plain-text messages for email recipients who have turned off images.

This is to ensure that you engage recipients above the fold, by using kinetic or interactive elements that’ll help draw in the reader in addition to using succinct, easily digestible content that can be consumed well on mobile devices.”

Kara Trivunovic, VP/GM Client Services, Epsilon believes that while leveraging the kinetic/interactive approaches, email marketers also need to make use of the advanced applications of HTML5 coding.

At the same time, Lauren Gentile, VP Creative at Epsilon presses hard on the mobile email opens (and so emails need to be responsive which is discussed later) and that emails should have an interactive element as simple as a drop-down navigation menu or advanced elements such as interactive carousel with individual CTAs.

Adding interactive elements in your emails is not the finish line though.

While interactive elements can increase the face value of your brands, improper fallback cases can ruin the experience and cost your brand dearly.

But, you can also take interactivity in emails to the next step:

Gamification in emails

Gamification in emails is not a new concept.

It is based on the fact that subscribers are required to complete some task to take part in a friendly competition.

Gamification can be as simple as posting a tweet or a picture on Instagram that is dynamically updated on the email using dynamic content blocks.

Litmus used the above tactic during Litmus Live Conference ’16. Subscribers had to tweet, guessing the name of the third city where the conference would be organized and then share the email with someone who they think would like to attend the conference.

After hitting a certain number of shares, Litmus revealed the name. Moreover, the twitter feed was dynamically displayed with the up to date guesses from participants.

This greatly increased the brand engagement and subscribers were kept on their toes for updates.

Taco Bell has taken an even more literal definition of email gamification.

They have been using interactive elements to create games that can be played right from your email.

Although the emails are purely promotional in nature and don’t provide any discount, it still gives users an interesting experience, which is great for branding.

Minimal Email Design

If you are concerned that a large group of subscribers won’t be able to experience interactivity on their devices, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

You can still dazzle your subscribers with some minimalistic emails that convey your message in an organized way without using too many design or computing resources.

To take this minimalist approach one step further, you can combine it with a GIF that easily represents the idea you want to portray.

In their holiday email, JCrew included a GIF along with their email copy and used it to convey a part of the message directly in the animation itself.

Jcrew holiday email design

Another example is the Thanksgiving email sent out by EmailMonks, which had an animated GIF along with a coupon code.

EmailMonks Thanksgiving holiday email design

Responsive Email Design

Two-thirds of emails are now being opened on mobile devices first. This has led to a very important rule of email design: always make your emails with responsive design.

Moreover, with mobile shopping hitting record numbers last year, it’s very important that your holiday emails (and associated landing pages) be responsive.

Wrapping Up

Whether you have started your Holiday email marketing planning or are stuck at square one, taking a peek into the ongoing email design trends can help you create emails that your subscribers will be excited to receive.

Have you observed some other design trends that we may have missed? Share them here and let’s start a conversation in the comments below!

About the author:

Kevin is the Head of Marketing at EmailMonks – one of the fastest growing Email design and coding companies, specializing in crafting beautiful email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and much more. Download free email templates for your next marketing campaign directly from the EmailMonks site.

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