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

Guide on Sending New Year Newsletter and Ideas on What To Include
22 December, 2023 • ... • 2717 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 in 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 these email newsletters if your audience will ignore them?

New Year only sounds like an unnecessary marketing milestone — end-of-year email marketing 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 into 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 $966 billion during this period, which is up to 4% higher than last year. 

Holiday sales chart from 2003 to 2023 showing gradual increase year over year with some setbacks
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 with the top 3 activities being spending time with family, staying at home, and going to parties
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 various health risks that are still present, most people will have a family holiday.

According to another survey, 33% of Americans celebrate New Year’s Eve, and 30% celebrate New Year’s Day. This is no small number! And these people celebrate both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day twice. This means that you have quite an engaged audience ready for your New Year newsletter campaign.

New Year plans survey with the top three answers being no plans, staying at home with family, and partying and going out
Source: CivicScience

Here’s another survey from CivicScience. They asked Americans about their New Year plans in 2021 and 2022. As you can see, despite the pandemic being over, the staying-in tendency is still present. The number of people intending to stay at home for the New Year’s celebration actually rose from 30% the previous year to 35% in 2022. All of these people are still celebrating. For you, it means 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 on your products and other online events.
  • If people decide to party, you can promote offline events your audience can attend.

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, 37%  of Americans planned to make New Year’s resolutions, and another 17% were unsure about it.

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 2023, they created an MBTI-style typology of listener personalities. Last year, 156 million Spotify users accessed the Spotify Wrapped page, which is 69% of their current Premium subscribers. And, according to the CivicScience survey, 75%  of Spotify users reported their Wrapped experience as positive or neutral.

Spotify wrapped favorability survey 2022 and 2023. In 2023, 30% of users found it favorable, 45% — neutral, and 25% — unfavorable.
Source: CivicScience

How can email marketers use this data for their content? 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 your audience with 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 template design will be futile.

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

  • Use a 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 announcing discounts and a gift with purchase from the Bogos & Bundles collection
Source: MailCharts

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

Take a chance to pitch a product

New Year is a 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 advertising the new Shift collection
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 marketing photos in the sci-fi aesthetic with neon lights in the background and the minimalist email template 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 the New Year template 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 with a blue and gold illustration of the brand’s store and a short holiday wish
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. You can follow in their footsteps by using a combination of blue and gold in your email newsletter templates.

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

New Year email from Armani with a black and gold banner illustration showing a building
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 marketing emails.

Talk about New Year’s resolutions

We already mentioned that New Year has become the symbol of a fresh start for 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 with a banner text “Hi, 2022 resolutions. Meet Premium”
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 altogether. Take a look at this content marketing email from 3rd Ritual, a wellness and spirituality brand:

New Year email from 3rd Ritual with the heading “New Year, Same Sacred Self”
Source: Really Good Emails

They sent a sophisticated email 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 contemplating that the coming year can bring a zombie attack and offering a promo code stash to add backup supply
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.

Inspire the celebrations

How can you feature products in a New Year campaign in a natural and effective way? You can base your email content around celebrations and recommend to your audience a party theme or a menu. This makes your products a great addition to the event and helps promote them without blunt advertisement.

New Year newsletter from Desmond & Dempsey describing a New Year party idea with pajamas and whiskey
Source: Milled

Desmond & Dempsey suggested a pajama and whiskey party idea and shared a cocktail recipe. The photographs from the brand’s collaboration event with the same theme make the whole campaign even more festive and fun.

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 Fly By Jing with the brand’s sales, events, news articles, and collabs data
Source: Milled

This is a standard New Year highlights newsletter. Fly By Jing sent an email campaign celebrating the brand’s growth with sales, news articles, events, and collabs data. The statistics shown are interesting and impressive and meant to show the customers that they are a part of something big and exciting, a vivid community. The button at the end also reminds the subscribers to pick up their favorite products for the last time in the year.

5 New Year newsletter examples to learn from

Now that we learned the best practices for a good New Year newsletter, let’s take a look at some of the best campaign examples. We picked the 5 best New Year emails for your inspiration. Discover how you can promote your products in the end-of-the-year email campaign, which templates to use, and what content to send.

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 featuring the most popular product, category, pattern, and more of the year
Source: Milled

In this email, Saako Design almost followed Spotify Wrapped’s 2022 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 campaign 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 Isadore describing the brand’s milestones and accomplishments of the year
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. This campaign also has one of the most aesthetically pleasing templates.

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 the most prominent events and drops across the year:

New Year newsletter from kaomoji featuring highlights from the first 7 months of the previous year
Source: Milled

Look at their choice of monthly highlights — among collabs and collections, there is a trip to a theme park to celebrate employees’ birthdays. This brand treats its subscribers like friends who 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 made us want to shop the sale right in the first paragraphs.

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 describing the brand’s impact and climate initiatives
Source: Really Good Emails

Here’s the problem with “green” brands and products. 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 in one campaign. 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.

Cuzen Matcha: A thank-you card

New Year is a great time to send a thank-you email to your customers. A heartfelt message reinforces your connection with the audience and adds to your retention strategy. If you want to make the campaign more personal, send an email from the company’s founder.

New Year newsletter from Cuzen Matcha with a hand-drawn New Year card, a message from the company’s co-founder along with his photo
Source: Milled

This email from Cuzen Matcha is a unique message from the brand’s co-founder with a simple yet genuine hand-drawn holiday card. It’s a nice touch that makes the readers feel special and valued. The email also highlights the year’s milestones and encourages the email recipients to collaborate with the brand.

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.
  • Inspire the celebrations — give recommendations on how to throw a unique New Year party.
  • Make a year review — a personalized recap or a public report of what you’ve done this year.

This article was originally published in December 2022 and was updated in December 2023 to make it more relevant and comprehensive.

22 December, 2023
Article by
Daria Zhuravleva
I'm a writer with 3 years of experience, knowledge and interest in all things IT and marketing, and a passion for the English language. As a staff author at Selzy, I see my mission as an educator who makes your life easier by explaining complex topics in a digestible and somewhat entertaining way. Hobbies include birdwatching, all things music and art, writing freeform poetry, and hiding in the woods.
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