Best Attention-Grabbing Strategies for Your Lunar New Year Emails

Best Attention-Grabbing Strategies for Your Lunar New Year Emails
06 February, 2024 • ... • 1251 views
Natasha Zack
by Natasha Zack

Holidays are always an opportunity to reach out to your customers. Using a holiday as a premise, you can remind people of your brand, strengthen connections, and subtly (or openly) promote your products. But while some holidays are easier to handle, others are a bit more tricky. 

One example of the latter is the Lunar New Year aka the Chinese New Year, which is closely connected with Asian culture and traditions. How relevant is it to your business? And how do you craft attention-grabbing Lunar New Year emails that resonate with your audience? Keep reading to find out the best tried and true strategies.

The significance of the Lunar New Year for email marketing

Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival, is one of the major and most revered holidays in China. Contrary to popular belief, it is not exclusively a Chinese holiday, as it is celebrated in many Asian countries, as well as by people in other places across the globe. So, it is better and more correct to call this holiday Lunar New Year and not Chinese.

Unlike the Western New Year or Christmas, Lunar New Year doesn’t happen on a fixed date. Instead, it is tied to the lunisolar calendar and occurs when the first new moon comes out after the winter solstice. The 2023 winter solstice fell on December 21, and the first new moon will appear on February 10, 2024. That is when the Lunar New Year 2024 will take place. Another notable difference from the Western tradition is that the Lunar New Year celebration lasts for the whole 15 days. In China, a festival is held annually, which attracts tourists from all over the world. In total, billions of people celebrate Lunar New Year, which makes it one of the biggest holidays in the world. 

Such scale and scope make the holiday an important event for businesses. Around the holiday, brands of all calibers launch Lunar New Year campaigns to acknowledge customers who celebrate it, foster connections, and promote relevant products. The majority of these brands use email marketing, as email still remains one of the most efficient, cost-effective and convenient among all marketing channels available. So, if you’ve already got your list of winter emails to send out to your customers, add Lunar New Year emails to it.     

Luckily, it is not that hard to put together a successful Lunar New Year campaign: all you need is to learn more about the holiday, see a few good email examples, and discover some strategies that work for your customers. And we’re here to help you with that. Below, you’ll find all the essential ideas and strategies you need for a winning Lunar/Chinese New Year email campaign. 

Best content ideas for your Lunar New Year email newsletters

If you need some inspiration to get started, here are some awesome email content ideas to use in your Lunar New Year emails. 

  1. Incorporate traditional symbols and colors

Using relevant colors in the email designs is the easiest way to create the right mood and evoke positive emotions in your readers. For the Lunar New Year designs, you can rely on red and gold hues as these are the traditional colors associated with the holiday. In Asian culture, these colors symbolize good luck, happiness, wealth, and longevity. In 2024, emerald green, which symbolizes growth and harmony with nature, is also considered a lucky color. 

In this example from the UK bakery Cutter & Squidge, red and gold hues are incorporated into all images featured in the email, making it look festive but not over-the-top. This is a great way to highlight the festive nature of the email while showcasing your products at the same time.

In this Lunar New Year email from the UK bakery Cutter & Squidge, red and gold hues make the images look festive and evoke instant associations with the holiday.
Source: Milled

Incorporating traditional symbols and items associated with the Lunar New Year is also a common practice with brands that send Lunar New Year email campaigns. The most popular of these symbols are the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, and the zodiac calendar itself. 2024 is the year of the Wood Dragon according to this calendar, so this animal is the most relevant symbol you can use. 

Other relevant symbols include fireworks, red envelopes, lanterns, and tangerines. Many brands that issue limited edition products to mark the occasion use these symbols to decorate product packaging as well. It lets them feature the product in the holiday emails while also putting holiday-associated imagery front and center.  

Here’s a great example of this tactic from the stationery brand Papyrus. Besides featuring the zodiac calendar in the hero image, the email also uses the red and gold hues as well as some neutral colors to balance the design.

A Lunar New Year email from the stationary brand Papyrus featuring the zodiac calendar and the red and gold colors in the hero image
Source: MailCharts

Important 

Asian traditions, just like any traditions, are complex. So, there are a lot of details a person outside of that culture can miss or misinterpret. For example, certain colors and items bear negative connotations in China and other Asian countries, which makes them inappropriate to use in your Lunar New Year emails. These include the colors white and black, and items such as knives, scissors, handkerchiefs, and more. To avoid embarrassing mistakes, run your creatives by someone familiar with Asian culture and traditions and double-check your Lunar New Year emails before sending them out.

  1. Integrate national motifs

Apart from traditional holiday colors and symbols, you can use national Asian motifs to decorate your holiday emails. The most popular motifs in Asian cultures — particularly, the Chinese one — are most often inspired by nature and include the depictions of animals, flowers, and natural phenomena. Some notable examples are clouds and cloud patterns, waves, bamboo plants, plum and peach blossoms, dragons, coins, and hand-held fans. 

Here’s a beautiful example of incorporating traditional Chinese motifs in a Lunar New Year email. Kurt Geiger, the British shoes and accessories brand, uses dragons, waves, and a dark red hue for this outstanding holiday-themed design. 

A Lunar New Year-themed email from Kurt Geiger incorporates waves and dragons into its design.
Source: Milled
  1. Send relevant wishes

New Year is the time when people send their best wishes to each other, and Lunar New Year is no exception. To distinguish your Lunar New Year email from a typical Happy New Year email, use a new year message with traditional wishes of prosperity, growth, wealth, and good luck. You can also wish your readers a Happy Lunar New Year in relevant languages such as Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and others, depending on the readers’ location and nationality.   

In this stunning example from a New York fashion brand Kate Spade, a line in Chinese that reads “Happy New Year” nicely complements the hero image design. The red and gold color palette is also here — but the main focus is the product itself.  

A Lunar New Year email from the American fashion brand Kate Spade features a line in Chinese that reads “Happy New Year” as well as a “Happy Lunar New Year” line in English.
Source: MailCharts

If you prefer to play it safe and would rather not use the language you don’t know, just send your readers relevant holiday wishes in English, like the American cosmetics brand Origins did. 

A Lunar New Year email from cosmetics brand Origins features a red-and-gold hero image depicting a dragon rising from the waves, and wishes of health and good fortune to the readers.
Source: MailCharts
  1. Focus on your products

Even if you don’t have a limited edition collection with custom packaging to suit the occasion — and especially if you do —  you can incorporate your products into your Lunar New Year-themed hero images. This tactic required some designer work, so you definitely cannot get away with a generic template here. But the result is usually worth the effort. 

Here’s a lush example from the French haircare brand Kerastase. The hero image in this Lunar New Year-themed email places the product from the brand’s themed limited edition against the red-and-gold backdrop that also features a dragon shape. Nothing exceptional —  but the quality of the designer work makes all the difference.  

A Lunar New Year email from Kerastase featuring a limited edition product against the Lunar New Year-themed backdrop in the hero image
Source: MailCharts
  1. Educate your readers

Providing value in email newsletters is a proven way to retain your subscribers. And the Lunar New Year can be a great opportunity to expand their knowledge on Asian traditions while promoting your products at the same time. 

Naturally, this tactic is meant for the broader audience — for example, for your Western customers who don’t necessarily celebrate Lunar New Year but have already heard something about this holiday and its significance. 

Here is how Harney & Sons, an American tea brand, uses this approach in its very informative and beautifully designed Lunar New Year email. Yet again — notice the red and gold colors and the company’s limited edition product.  

A Lunar New Year email from Harney & Sons features a high-quality themed hero image and an excerpt from a blog article about tea culture and its connection with Lunar New Year celebrations.
Source: Milled

Pro tips  

As mentioned earlier, Lunar New Year celebrations last over a fortnight. This presents you with an opportunity to send not just one, but several Lunar New Year emails with different content. For example, you can create a series of emails where the first one is focused on holiday greetings and relevant wishes, and the other one is more promotional. Promoting products that are relevant to both Lunar New Year and St. Valentine’s day is another good tactic that can save time and boost your campaign’s performance because these two holidays often overlap.

Next steps: Personalizing content to resonate with recipients

So, you’ve put together your Lunar New Year email templates, and they look awesome. But the work doesn’t end there. To make the most of your campaigns, you need to employ strategies that can boost performance. One of these tried and true strategies is personalizing your emails. Here are some personalization best practices to follow.  

Segmenting by demographics

Email segmentation is a powerful personalization technique that allows brands to target specific groups, or segments, of their customer base with custom-tailored messages. You can segment your base by many different characteristics from gender and location to behavior patterns, depending on the specifics of your current email campaign. 

For Lunar New Year campaigns, segmenting by demographics — by location, first and foremost — is the most relevant approach because it allows you to reach out to customers from different countries and cultures with the most appropriate messages. For example, you can greet your customers from China in Chinese, or promote an article about the holiday and its traditions to your Western subscribers.    

Adding customized subject lines

Personalized subject lines are another good way to grab your readers’ attention. Since the subject line and the sender name are the only elements of your email the recipients see before they click to open, this tactic can help you increase open rates and thus improve the overall performance of your Lunar New Year email campaign. 

Typically, subject line customization comes down to greeting each recipient by name, and this can be arranged using merge tags in your subject lines. With a professional ESP, this is a simple process that takes less than a minute.

Subject line personalization in Selzy
In Selzy, you can quickly add a merge tag to personalize your email subject line

But there are other ways to make your Lunar New Year email subject lines more engaging. For example, you can add relevant emojis or symbols, or greet your recipients in a relevant language depending on their location. 

Tailoring promotions and offers

Apart from subject lines, you can tailor email content, including promotions and offers, to the needs and tastes of each customer segment. Here, merge tags and dynamic content — i.e., content that changes automatically according to your presets — can help as well. 

In addition to greeting your customers by name in the email body, you can offer different products to different customer groups — for example, based on their gender or preferences. You can also send exclusive offers to certain segments — for example, offer a larger discount to your most loyal customers and a smaller one to all the rest. However, this level of personalization might not be worthwhile in holiday email campaigns like this, so don’t use this tactic if you are short on time and doubt the benefits. Sometimes, less is more.

More next steps: Testing, tracking, and improving campaign success

Got your Lunar New Year emails all ready? Now, make sure your campaign delivers the best results by running tests, measuring results, and making improvements when necessary. 

Testing your campaigns

When preparing your campaign template, you’d often have more ideas than one which might possibly work. Running A/B tests is how you compare your options and choose the one with the highest potential. If you’re using a professional email marketing solution like Selzy, the bulk of the work will be done for you automatically. Once the test is complete, you’ll be able to pick the winning email based on hard data. 

Tracking open, clickthrough and conversion rates

To understand how your campaign performs and make the necessary changes if possible, use email analytics to track your metrics. The crucial metrics include open rates, click-through rates, and conversions — but you might want to check out delivery rates and bounce rates too. 

Analyzing this data will help you assess the overall performance of your campaign and identify the weak links. For example, if your open rates are lower than usual, your subject line might need fixing, and if the CTR is below expected, the problem is likely somewhere in the email content. 

Optimizing your future campaigns

Once your Lunar New Year campaign wraps up, remember to analyze the results and use the insights to optimize your future campaigns. You can also create some Lunar New Year email templates combining all the winning elements from your previous campaigns. Just make sure you add the necessary tweaks when you decide to use these templates the following year because each new year — especially the Lunar New Year with its succession of zodiac animals — is unique. 

Final thoughts

Lunar New Year aka Chinese New year aka the Spring Festival is one of the biggest festive events in the world. To businesses, it presents a great opportunity to acknowledge their Asian customers as well as everyone celebrating the holiday, and promote their products at the same time. 

If you are sending out Lunar New Year email campaigns, the following strategies will help you make the most of them. 

  • Incorporate traditional Chinese and Asian colors, symbols, and motifs into your email designs, and send relevant greetings. But remember to run your ideas by someone familiar with the culture to avoid embarrassing mistakes. 
  • Personalize your emails to better connect with your readers. Some tried and true personalization techniques to use include segmenting your customer base by demographics, customizing your subject lines, and tailoring promotions and offers. 
  • Always test your campaigns before sending mass emails. Also, track crucial metrics such as open rates, CTRs, and conversions, and use the data to optimize your future campaigns. 

Using these strategies, you’ll craft attention-grabbing, successful Lunar New Year email templates for your campaigns that will resonate with your audience, strengthen connections, and boost your sales. 

Good luck, and Happy Lunar New Year!

06 February, 2024
Article by
Natasha Zack
I’m a professional journalist with 10+ years of experience. Throughout my career, I’ve worked with various kinds of media — print, online, broadcast. Currently, I write copy for brand media and teach English part-time. I also have my own edtech passion project dedicated to teaching English via Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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