Guide on Sending New Year Newsletter and Ideas on What To Include

Guide on Sending New Year Newsletter and Ideas on What To Include
16 December, 2022 • ... • 1564 views
Daria Zhuravleva
by Daria Zhuravleva

The end of the year is anxiety-inducing for many, including email marketers. Should you even send New Year newsletters if this holiday is not a big deal on your markets of interest? How to make a New Year email work? What can you write about?

Keep reading to learn about why New Year newsletters are important and get some inspo for your December email marketing campaign.

Why send out New Year newsletters

You’re mentally drained after all the Black Friday and Christmas sales hassle. So are your subscribers — by the end of December, they’re probably burnt out from holiday fuss and seasonal depression. Why would they open your New Year email in the first place? Why should you bother writing them?

New Year only sounds like an unnecessary marketing milestone — end of year newsletters have their benefits.

You invest in customer relationships

Wishing your customers a happy New Year is like wishing them a happy birthday. Emails like this might not increase your revenue instantly. However, acts of courtesy like a New Year newsletter help you in the long run.

Holiday emails are important for establishing a rapport with customers. If you show your audience that you care and remember about them, they’ll stay with you for longer. So, in return for putting effort in a good New Year newsletter, you’ll get customers with a higher LTV.

New Year is still a holiday

The National Retail Federation defines the holiday season as the period from November to December, which includes Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. According to the predictions by NRF, in 2022 Americans will spend up to $960 billion dollars during this period, which is up to 8% higher than last year. 

Holiday sales 2002–2022
Source: National Retail Federation

However, the NRF’s definition of holiday season includes way bigger events like Christmas, Black Friday, and Thanksgiving. Why write a New Year newsletter then? Consider this graph.

New Year’s Eve plans in the US survey by National Today
Source: National Today

These are the results of National Today’s survey of American citizens. As you can see, only 3% of participants don’t consider celebrating New Year’s Eve in any form — despite Christmas being a more popular holiday in the states. Especially considering the COVID risks that are still present, most people will have a family holiday.

New Year plans of Gen Z and millennials in the US according to the November 2020 and 2021 survey by YPulse
Source: YPulse

Here’s another survey from YPulse. They asked Gen Z and millennials in the US about their New Year plans in 2020 and 2021. As you can see, the staying in tendency is still present but in 2021, less people were eager to cancel their usual plans, and only 37% of participants intended to celebrate at home in the first place. However, all of these people are still celebrating. For you, it means two things — regardless of the COVID situation in 2022, you still can get some profit out of New Year email campaigns:

  • If most people stay in for New Year, they might go online shopping out of boredom — and that’s your time to shine and promote holiday discount codes and other online events.
  • If it’s safe enough for most people to party, you can promote offline events.

New Year is a respawn point

While Western markets don’t treat New Year as a holiday as big as Christmas, many people perceive the end of the calendar year as a “respawn point”. People treat this date as a symbol of starting a new life. According to last year’s YouGov survey, 23% of adult citizens considered making New Year’s resolutions, the majority of them being young adults and middle-aged people.

New Year Resolutions survey
Source: YouGov America

Aside from setting goals for the future, New Year is the time to take stock, both global and personal. That’s why people are interested in yearly recaps of all kinds. One of the most popular personalized recaps is Spotify Wrapped. It’s a separate page in the app with yearly statistics of everything you’ve listened to with top artists, songs, and such. Each year Spotify also adds different creative quirks to their basic stats — for example, in 2022, they created an MBTI-style typology of listener personalities. Last year, more than 120 million Spotify users accessed the Spotify Wrapped page, which is more than 60% of their current Premium subscribers. And, according to the CivicScience survey, 80% of Spotify users reported their Wrapped experience as positive or neutral.

Spotify wrapped favorability survey 2022
Source: CivicScience

How can email marketers use this data? Since New Year is a symbolic date for many, you can appeal to that symbolism in your New Year marketing campaigns. For example, you can provide a personalized Wrapped-style recap or summarize what your company achieved this year.

So, should you make a New Year newsletter? The short answer is yes.

New Year’s newsletter ideas and best practices

Treat New Year campaigns as any other holiday email marketing campaign, except for a few specific features. Let’s talk about what makes a good New Year newsletter and what you can do to make it work. 

Come up with a catchy subject line

An email subject is the first thing your subscribers see when they open their email apps. It’s “the face” of your email — it can make or break the first impression. Subject lines are important for open rates — and if subscribers don’t even open your emails, all your efforts put into writing a copy or coming up with a cute design will be futile.

Here are some tricks you can use to make your New Year newsletter subject lines effective and enticing:

  • Use the sense of urgency. New Year is an anxious holiday — everyone is striving to finish their current errands. Appeal to that anxiety by setting a deadline and including urgency markers like “Last chance” or “Expires now”.
  • Use emojis. Emojis are a great way to stand out visually and create a festive mood. However, don’t overdo it — too many emojis look cringey, annoying, and borderline spammy. Stick to 1 or 2 emojis in your subject line. We suggest using holiday-themed emojis like 🎆, 🎄, ✨, 🎉 or 🎅.
  • Reveal the offer right away. Subscribers need a valid reason to open your email. Whether you offer them a yearly review or the epic sale of the year, tell about it in your subject line.
  • Use humor. As we mentioned earlier, the end of the year is the season of anxiety for many. But you can provide a sense of comfort and relate to your subscribers by coming up with a funny, ironic, or self-aware subject line. They will think “Wait, I’m not the only one burnt out now” — and give you clicks.

Include a special deal

Last minute gifts for loved ones or a present to praise yourself for enduring all the holiday season hardships — people are still down for some shopping after Christmas. That’s why including a special deal in your New Year newsletter is a good decision. The problem is, you have to prepare something truly special after all this Black Friday and Christmas sales craze.

New Year email from Vanity Planet
Source: MailCharts

Straight up discounts might not work this time — take inspiration from Vanity Planet. In this email, they offer a free item with purchases from a certain selection.

Take a chance to pitch a product

New Year is the time of excitement for the future. That’s why pitching new products and collections won’t look like a desperate attempt to jump on the bandwagon. Enable this excitement and keep your subscribers hyped by announcing new drops in your New Year newsletter.

New Year email from Oakley
Source: MailCharts

Here’s how Oakley announced their new eyewear collection on New Year. They played on the “New Year, New You” idea that is important to many people and introduced a new edition of futuristic glasses. High-quality product photos in the sci-fi aesthetic with neon lights in the background and the minimalist email design, this email makes you feel like cyberpunk is here. Maybe we’ll get a jetpack to pair it up with these glasses!

Craft a holiday-themed newsletter design

It’s easy to design an email campaign for Christmas — throw some reds and greens, mistletoes, snowmen, reindeers, you name it. If you’re lazy, there are many Christmas email templates out there on Pinterest. But what about New Year design? This holiday doesn’t really have a color theme or specific attributes aside from Chinese horoscope animals that would distinguish it from Christmas.

Take a look at Dior:

New Year email from Dior
Source: MailCharts

In this email, this high-end cosmetics brand didn’t use any winter holiday clichés. Instead, they created a tasteful custom illustration that conveys the general idea of festiveness. 

Here’s another example of a great design choice from a luxury brand:

New Year email from Armani
Source: MailCharts

Like Dior, Armani added a custom illustration — and they also used a generally festive black and gold color scheme, similar to Black Friday emails.

Talk about New Year’s resolutions

We already mentioned that New Year has become the symbol for a fresh start to many people. You can appeal to that concept by describing your company’s New Year resolutions — or inviting your subscribers to come up with their own. 

For example, you can use a tactic similar to Fitbit:

New Year email from Fitbit
Source: Fitbit

They suggested help with sticking to your New Year’s health and lifestyle resolutions — using their premium subscription.

An alternative tactic is subverting the idea of starting a new life since January 1st whatsoever. Take a look at this email from 3rd Ritual, a wellness and spirituality brand:

New Year email from 3rd Ritual
Source: Really Good Emails

They sent a sophisticated newsletter that rejects the idea of constantly fixing yourself and suggests observing your own spiritual evolution instead. That’s a pretty refreshing idea in the age of social media pressure, isn’t it?

Give your subscribers reassurance

Let’s face it: the last three years were a ride. Many people might have changed their attitude towards the New Year because of all the doom and gloom happening. Some seek hope that all these misfortunes will be over next year, others feel anger, with no holiday spirit in sight. You can appeal to these frustrations in your New Year newsletter.

This men’s hair care brand brilliantly played on the longing for stability in life and came up with the promo code that supported the joke about a possible zombie attack:

New Year email from Modern Mammals
Source: Really Good Emails

A joke like this would be off-putting in an email from Dior, for example. But if your brand’s tone of voice allows being this frivolous, don’t be afraid to slightly subversive marketing content.

Make a year review

Since New Year’s symbolic meaning is also about revisiting the past, you can play on it and make a year review. Highlights, personalized recaps, or the summary of your company’s impact on the world — all of these tactics will work.

New Year newsletter from Vivid Seats
Source: Milled

This is a standard New Year highlights newsletter. Vivid Seats is a service for buying and selling concert tickets — so it makes sense for them to do a music recap of the year. If your business is related to music in some way, you can do the same thing. For example, if you’re doing email campaigns for a record label, you can list the best releases of the year and add a link to a playlist on Spotify.

5 New Year newsletter examples to learn from

Now that we learnt the best practices for a good New Year newsletter, let’s take a look at some of the best examples. We picked 10 best New Year emails for your inspiration.

Saako Design: Highlights done right

Saako Design is a niche home decor and accessories business. Founded by two graphic designers, “design meets art” has always been their main premise. This is what their 2021 yearly highlights looked like:

New Year newsletter from Saako Design
Source: Milled

In this email, Saako Design almost followed last year’s Spotify Wrapped brutalist anti-design approach — but without sacrificing usability. We like these vibrant color blocks and contrasting color combinations — they look artsy but remain readable at the same time. Another good thing about this recap email is the choice of highlights. An especially graceful decision was highlighting the color of the year and illustrating that part with a Pantone card — it refers to the graphic design roots of the brand.

Isadore: Here’s what we’ve done

Isadore is a sustainable cycling apparel brand. They strive to reduce consumer waste, their CEOs claim to know most of their factory workers personally, and some of their clothes are made from recycled materials. Here’s their 2021 year review newsletter:

New Year newsletter from Isadora
Source: Really Good Emails

In this email, Isadore listed their sustainability achievements and other meaningful events. What we like about this recap is that they don’t show off in front of a reader. Instead, Isadore makes their customers part of their achievements, like it would be impossible without their help. This email is not for the company’s pride — but for customers too, so they will think “We had a great year together”. Emails like this work great for nurturing a loyal community around your business.

Kaomoji: T-shirt of the month

What if your brand is not like Isadore — you don’t have a mission, you’re just making some fun niche merch? Learn from kaomoji. This clothing brand inspired by anime and Asian pop culture in general sent a newsletter that highlighted most prominent events and drops across the year:

New Year newsletter from Kaomoji
Source: Milled

Look at their choice of monthly highlights — new employees were the main events of November, May, and February. This brand treats their subscribers like their friends that deserve to know how it’s all going inside the company. But this email is more than a friendly newsletter. Although we love the playful tone of the copy, we can’t help but appreciate how this email sneakily sold us kaomoji’s next year drop. Remember what we said about pitching new products? This is how you do it right.

Hitch: The yearly report

Why did we choose a boring wall of text as one of the best New Year newsletters?

New Year newsletter from Hitch
Source: Really Good Emails

Here’s the problem with “green” brands. Greenwashing is real — many companies throw buzzwords like “eco-friendly” and “sustainable” here and there for PR purposes. But it only covers up their damaging production practices, poor work ethic, and so on. That’s why if sustainability is your brand’s value, you need to actually prove it — otherwise, you will lose your audience.

In this newsletter, Hitch did a great job protecting their reputation as a genuinely green company. They’re not throwing a wall of text full of buzzwords at you just for kicks — they actually listed what they’ve done, with numbers and clear descriptions of all their initiatives. That’s a great tactic that makes your brand more trustworthy — and we think other green brands or even non-profit organizations should write reports like this one from time to time.

NOGU: Top 21 of 2021

This email is not the most creative one from our list — but it still works:

New Year email from NOGU
Source: Milled

This brand of designer jewelry and accessories simply made a list of the top 21 most popular items from their online store and gave a discount code for one of these items. They also appealed to the sense of urgency — this is the past year’s collection, all of these bracelets and necklaces will be discontinued soon. The design and the premise of the email is pretty simple — but it works great as the last sales email of the year.

Wrapping up

New Year is not a big holiday — but it’s still a big milestone in the email marketing schedule. Whether you want to empathize with your customers, take the last chance to boost online sales, or make a Wrapped-style year recap — writing New Year newsletters is a good practice. Here’s how to make it work:

  • Come up with a catchy subject line — and make a good impression from the start.
  • Include a special deal — another discount code or a free item.
  • Take a chance to pitch a product — get your customers excited about the future.
  • Craft holiday-themed newsletter designs — use tasteful illustrations and festive colors.
  • Give your subscribers reassurance — we’ve all had bad years.
  • Make a year review — a personalized recap or a public report of what you’ve done this year.
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16 December, 2022
Article by
Daria Zhuravleva
Fundamental linguistics major, failed scientist, bilingual freelance writer for living, music journalist for life. Writing for Selzy since May 2022. Hobbies include songwriting, DJing, film photography, poetry, hiding in the woods, and wearing all black.
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