The Ultimate Guide To Thanksgiving Emails: Ideas & Tips

The Ultimate Guide To Thanksgiving Emails: Ideas & Tips
13 October, 2023 • ... • 5680 views
Valeria Shulga
by Valeria Shulga

Do you think that Black Friday is the only occasion to treat your customers with special offers and discounts? Don’t ignore Thanksgiving — consumers plan online shopping for Thanksgiving, so don’t miss a chance to win them over with bright and festive campaigns.

In this article, we put together the best-performing Thanksgiving email marketing techniques. Step by step we’ll guide you through the creation of a festive campaign: from crafting a catchy subject line to the contents and timing of a good Thanksgiving email. Plus, you’ll see examples of Thanksgiving email campaigns you can use as your templates.

Why send out Thanksgiving emails

Thanksgiving week is the time when most customers shop for the holiday season. In 2022, a record 196.7 million Americans shopped online and in-store. Thanksgiving Day alone brought businesses $5.3 billion in revenue. The average amount spent on holiday-related items was over $325.

These numbers are expected to grow this year. And your company can get its share of holiday sales thanks to a clever email marketing campaign.

A GIF showing a woman walking in a shopping center and her partner, buried under shopping bags, following her closely

So, the festive period is a great marketing opportunity to remind customers about your brand, treat them with special offers and discounts, and simply thank them for their loyalty. It will make your relationships warmer and more effective.

What is the best time to start your Thanksgiving email campaign?

Good timing matters a lot for your email campaign because it affects open rates, sales, and even your brand’s reputation. Follow these simple steps and your Thanksgiving emails will be a success:

  1. Maximize the possible buying period by sending your emails in advance. Start the campaign several days before the holiday — it is possible that your subscribers will have other things to worry about on a festive day, and they may not read your message. A good time for a Thanksgiving email is at least a day before the date. Plan your campaigns and schedule a holiday email series using automation.
  2. To stand out from the crowd, you can send your emails a week after Thanksgiving. For example, you can let your contacts know that the holiday sale has been extended or is still ongoing.
  3. Add a Black Friday mention to your Happy Thanksgiving email. Throwing a quick reminder about upcoming sales to the Thanksgiving campaign is an elegant way to let your customers know you appreciate them without asking them to make a purchase.

For precise day of the week and hour recommendations, check out our article on the best time to send emails.

How to write a perfect Thanksgiving email

If you are not sure where to start your Thanksgiving message, follow our step-by-step guide to win the hearts of your customers during this time of the year.

Create a catchy subject line

The email subject lines are the first thing your customers see when they open their inboxes. They should be enticing enough to make the prospects read a message.

There are several ways to craft your Thanksgiving subject line:

  1. Express gratitude. That’s the most common marketing tactic. Thanksgiving is a nice occasion to say thank you to your customers and convey the spirit of the holiday.

Good examples:

  • With Gratitude
  • We’re EXTRA thankful today
  • Thankful. Grateful. Blessed
  • Giving Thanks
  • Thanks for being you
  • What we’re thankful for
  • A little thank you treat for you
  • A thank you from our CEO
  1. To stand out in your subscribers’ inboxes, spice up your subject line with cute themed emojis. They may be related to the holiday or not — it depends only on your taste and your marketing strategy goals.

Good examples:

  • Ready to FALL? 🐿️🍁🌲 Start with these candles + $10 off
  • Fall-nomenal deal: 😮Your 15% OFF coupon awaits
  • Flying to the feast? ✈️ 🦃
  • Happy Thanksgiving from [Your business] 🦃
  • 2 tips for bringing the holiday party to you 🍴🎉
  • Exclusive Thanksgiving offer 🦃
  • ❤️ Featuring YOU: Happy Thanksgiving From Brandless!
  1. You can start your email marketing campaigns 2-5 days before the holiday season. That’s a great chance to give people more time to read it, as many of your prospects may be busy on Thanksgiving. In this case, your subject may look as follows:
  • Happy Thanksgiving Eve!
  • Thanksgiving Eve! 40% Off EVERYTHING!
  • Pre-Thanksgiving done right with overstuffed pizza
  • Thanksgiving prep made easy: 20% off your order – in stores & online
  • Turkey Talk: Preorder Your Willie Board Today!

Other great Thanksgiving subject lines examples:

  • Feeling Fall. Feeling Sweaters
  • It’s Decorative Gourd Season!
  • Thanksgiving Deals
  • Your Thanksgiving begins here
  • The perfect Thanksgiving outfit
  • So Fresh and So Fall
  • A Thanksgiving we’ll never forget
  • Live the give
  • Gobble Up These Deals
  • What Thanksgiving means to us

Want to see more examples? Check out our article on Black Friday email subject lines and grab your subscribers’ attention.

The contents: show some gratitude to subscribers

As soon as you’ve determined the subject line, it’s time to write a sweet, but persuasive message.

Thanksgiving is a great occasion to express gratitude. Keep your email short and to the point, but convey appreciation, which is the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Remember that this day your customers have a lot of other things to do ( 🦃 won’t cook itself), so don’t make it too long.

Here’s a nice example from Sonder that is written according to the best practices of Thanksgiving messages.

A Thanksgiving email with one short paragraph of text and a button to access the website
Source: Really Good Emails

This email is short but sweet, looks festive, and expresses love and gratitude to the customers. A perfect blend for marketing success!

Reward your customers

Sometimes just saying thank you may not be enough. Show your customers how valuable they are to your business, including an exclusive offer to your email message.

A Thanksgiving email announcing a $25 in delivery fee credit with no code
Source: Really Good Emails

This message by Postmates leverages the opportunity to treat customers, and, at the same time, grow their business. Offering a free credit for Thanksgiving day is an easy and elegant way to remind your clients how thankful you are to them. Plus, it is a great marketing opportunity since not all of their email contacts are going to cook, some will definitely order takeout.

Use humor

If the tone of your brand allows that, add some humorous vibes to your copy. Sure, there is no need to turn the whole message into puns and comics like in Halloween-themed emails or Black Friday campaigns, but adding a couple of fun lines could be appropriate.

A Thanksgiving email with a GIF of a Turkey and a holiday checklist
A funny Thanksgiving checklist combined with a festive discount code will definitely make your customers smile. Source: Medium

You can make a fun landing page or article to go along with your ironic holiday email marketing campaign. For example, this humorous email persuaded us to click on the link and read the perfect speech this company prepared for its subscribers.

A Thanksgiving email with a CTA button Steal Our Speech
Source: Really Good Emails

Be creative with your email design

Holiday-related emails are perfect for expressing creativity in texts, email templates, and designs. Let’s look at several Thanksgiving email examples we especially loved:

A Thanksgiving email with a banner text saying Getting to the airport early? That’s gravy and an invitation to schedule a ride in advance.
Source: Really Good Emails

That’s an example of a Thanksgiving email marketing campaign by Uber. Adding a GIF to your email is a nice idea: it makes a message more vivid. The creators neatly wrapped educational contents up in bespoke illustrations — looks fresh, festive, and conveys a proper holiday atmosphere.

A Thanksgiving email with a pumpkin pie photo with a crescent and sparkles on it
Source: Really Good Emails

An email by Casper looks minimalist yet tasty and interesting. A big pumpkin pie is the main accent in the design, standing out among the total gray background. This contrast makes it look even more mouthwatering.

An email with letters forming the word Thanks in between leaves, a pumpkin, and other fall visuals
Source: Unlayer

Vegamour chose a creative way to thank their customers. Just look how beautifully they added a heartfelt message under a cute design!

A Thanksgiving email with a GIF of an illustrated festive dinner table and a dog picking at the turkey on it.
Source: Unlayer

Another Happy Thanksgiving email example by Anthropologie. Again, a sweet and pretty GIF with a Thanksgiving dinner set on it — a cute way to design your festive message and delight your email contacts.

Best Thanksgiving email examples to get inspired by

We’ve hand-picked the best examples of Thanksgiving that combine all the recommendations mentioned in this article.

The Sill

An email with a list of 3 things the company’s founder is grateful for: founder moms, forgiving plants, and Norfolk Island Pine & Evergreen Wreath
Source: Milled

This email with the company’s founder’s personal thoughts not only strengthens the brand’s relationship with its clients but also announces an early start of the Cyber week sale.

Urban Outfitters

An email with an illustrated turkey in a checkered suit and sunglasses and the text Eat me!
Source: SmartMail

As we’ve already mentioned, it is appropriate to mention your Black Friday sales in Thanksgiving emails. Urban Outfitters makes it funnily and memorably. Such an approach helps make your messages stand out among countless same-looking Thanksgiving and Black Friday campaigns.

Ibotta

An email dedicated to the referral program with an offer of $50 for 5 friends
Source: Really Good Emails

That’s an example of sales-oriented Thanksgiving email campaigns. But it’s still short, sweet, and conveys a festive mood with warm colors and slices of a pie. By the way, the design is clean and simple, and the whole email may be used as a successful Thanksgiving email template to base your own sales emails on.

Sakara

An email with thank you messages to everyone helping the company
Source: Really Good Emails

Here the brand neatly uses an opportunity to thank the customers and express appreciation for their loyalty. What is also special about this email? It shows gratitude not only to the customers but also to the team, chefs, and farmers. Such a message may not drive sales right away, but it gives a good showing to your brand.

Brandless

An email featuring a tile of customer photographs with the text We’re Thankful for You
Source: Really Good Emails

Brandless is one of the companies that understand the importance of expressing gratitude to their customers. The unique feature of this email is the usage of UGC — User Generated Content. The company took the images from customers shared on Instagram with their branded hashtag and added them to the email body. It’s not only a nice way to convey the festive spirit, but also good social proof.

Toms

A fragment of an email showing four company employees and the text Why we’re feeling grateful
Source: Robly

Toms chose to add some personal approach to their festive campaign showing their employees and what they’re thankful for. Adding a face to your brand is almost always a good idea: it inspires your customers and shows that your product is created by folks just like them.

Anthropologie

An email with a GIF showing penguins walking from one side of the email to another carrying dinnerware on their heads
Source: Milled

This Thanksgiving email campaign is stylish and attracts subscribers’ attention thanks to the GIF. Plus, it plays well with the subject line that advertises Black Friday as an early-bird special.

AfterShokz

An email explaining 3 ways to give thanks: donating, volunteering, and showing someone you care
Source: Really Good Emails

This email conveys the holiday spirit and shows three possible ways to give thanks. Interestingly, the brand offers its subscribers to convert reward system points into donations. This is a convenient and feel-good way to celebrate and express gratitude.

Pattern Brands

An email with a copy full of holiday wishes and a sale announcement
Source: Milled

Wondering how you can wish your customers Happy Thanksgiving and at the same time announce the upcoming sale? Here is an aesthetically pleasing email that does just that. The short copy celebrates the company’s customers and at the same time gently pushes them toward conversion.

The bottom line

The majority of American families consider Thanksgiving an important holiday. That’s why your holiday email campaigns can be a powerful tool to build your brand, increase sales, or just remind you about the Black Friday sale.

To make your Thanksgiving email campaign even more effective, follow four steps:

  1. Create a compelling subject line. Be short and sweet, add some emoji — this day it is appropriate to have some fun, and play with words.
  2. Choose an appropriate time. It is better to plan your festive campaign in advance and send it a few days before the date. But it’s also appropriate to choose a week after Thanksgiving to treat the customers with special offers and thank them. Use automation to make your work easier.
  3. Make a great message. It is recommended to be brief — this day your prospects may be busy with some household tasks and don’t have enough time to read a long message. Offer a discount or simply express gratitude — it depends on the purposes of your campaign. Remember that sometimes it is OK to say thank you not only to the customers but also to your team: it will improve the reputation of the brand.
  4. Play with the design. You can try to stand out from the crowd and be creative, or make a traditional Thanksgiving postcard with classic themed elements: turkey, autumn leaves, pumpkins, etc. To find inspiration for your campaign, check out our examples and study the best Thanksgiving email practices.

Have a happy holiday season!

This article was originally published in November 2021 and was updated in October 2023 to make it more relevant and comprehensive.

13 October, 2023
Article by
Valeria Shulga
A writer by nature, study, and trade with more than 7 years of experience. Contributor at Selzy wearing many hats: I create special content projects, write articles, and own Facebook and Reddit communities. My expertise lies in email and content marketing, but I also have experience with the topics of real estate and immigration. Outside of work, I like spending my free time learning foreign languages, seeing plays at our local theaters, and doing yoga.
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