Holiday e-Cards for Your Clients: 4 Festive Design Tips

The end of the year is a time to reflect and show gratitude for clients, partners, vendors, and customers. The best way to do so? Showing you care with a holiday e-Card to your clients.

A well-designed e-Card is instantly received (mobile-friendly of course!), efficient to send, and beautiful to see. So make sure your clients feel appreciated with your holiday sends by using these top four design tips.

shisheido holiday e-Cards for clients

A 2015 holiday card email from Shiseido

First things first

Before you begin assembling holiday e-cards for clients, take into account:

  • Your recipients. Will all your clients, vendors, and customers receive the same message? Consider customizing your email for different segments. Think about sending your most valued clients an individual, personalized “thank you” email in addition to the e-card.
  • Your reason for sending it. Some holiday card emails have a call-to-action; others don’t. Some have a note from the CEO; others offer a last-minute promotion. As you begin to assemble an email, consider why you’re sending it and what your objective is. Your reason will inform the message and the design.
  • Your brand identity. As with any email you send, it’s important to stay true to your brand mission and values. In a lot of ways, a holiday e-card is one of the easiest emails you’ll send all year. It can be really simple, and you aren’t really asking recipients to do anything. But, in order for the message to be effective, readers need to feel that the message is sincere and that it’s reflective of your brand. Use the holiday email as an opportunity to build more trust and boost the relationship with your network.
  • Your timing. Last year, most holiday card emails landed in our inbox on December 24th or 25th. Because these emails don’t usually include a CTA, many brands focused on sending a timely message (assuming most recipients celebrate Christmas) vs. being strategic about when most readers would be online and shopping. According to GoDaddy, Christmas Day might have one of the lowest email open rates of the season (but this doesn’t mean your message won’t get read later—which, in this case, is perfectly fine). Once you determine the reason for sending the email, you can choose the right date to send it.

Tip #1: Keep the message short

Most of the holiday e-Card designs we’ve received have one major thing in common: they’re short and sweet! By and large, these emails use a basic single-module design. The key ingredients include easy-to-read text paired with a central image.

This email from Klean Kanteen, for example, uses large header text and one image to convey its message. No calls-to-action, navigation menu, or fine print.

klean kanteen holiday e-Cards for clients

Similarly, the Museum of Arts and Design sent the most pared-down email we could find: the entire message was this festive GIF. (Can you see their logo hidden in the illustration?)

museum of arts and design holiday e-Cards for clients


Tip #2: Use inclusive language

For most brands, the language used in holiday e-cards for clients should be as inclusive as possible. Many emails use the phrases “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” instead of calling out a particular holiday or using holiday-specific design. Get creative with colors and themes, too. You might not expect a pineapple in a holiday email, for example, but business card company MOO pulls it off with this clever wintry design.

moo holiday e-Cards for clients

Another clever card comes from brand consultancy Wolff Ollins; they took an innovative approach by creating a themed campaign about relaxation. Their email introduced a social media campaign that will offer relaxation tips throughout the holiday season. The concept (holiday-induced stress) is something everyone can relate to, and the tips can be appreciated by anyone.

wolff ollins holiday e-Cards for clients


Tip #3: Add a personal (branded) touch

We spotted quite a few holiday cards that used wordplay to show personality. Again, keeping it simple was still the way to go. Most messages only had a header statement in a single-module design, like this one from Fender.

fender holiday e-Cards for clients

Who needs season’s greetings when you can have season’s shreddings? The phrase is perfect for Fender’s audience. Likewise, ShopBazaar wished readers a cleverly-worded haute and happy holiday.

shopbazaar holiday e-Cards for clientsAnd Bumble and bumble went with happy hairdays. 

Bumble and bumble holiday e-Cards for clients

These brands prove that there’s no need to overthink it. A holiday e-card can be about sending good wishes—with a dash of fun and cheer.


Tip #4: Skip or de-emphasize promotions

One thing you don’t need in your holiday email? A nudge about your latest sale or deal. Most of the emails we’ve seen—as pictured above—avoid a call-to-action altogether. However, what you send to customers might still include a promotion that isn’t the center of attention. For example, this “Happy Holidays” email from Patagonia includes a second module with a gift card offer.

patagonia holiday e-Cards for clients

Of course, if you do include an offer, it doesn’t have to appear in the second module. This holiday card from retailer Century 21, for example, includes a shipping promotion across the top. While the promotion is a little distracting from the “Happy Holidays” message, it takes up very little space.

century 21 holiday e-Cards for clients

Terrain takes a more traditional approach—similar to Patagonia—by including a menu of shopping options after its “Happy Christmas” module.

terrain holiday e-Cards for clients


Wrap-up: Design an awesome holiday e-Card for your clients!

As you assemble your holiday e-Card, always remember:

  1. Keep it simple! Focus on making one module beautiful and interesting. No extra text needed.
  2. Be inclusive with your language. Think “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
  3. Stay on-brand. Using brand-specific language is like a wink to your readers.
  4. Don’t sell anything. If you do, minimize it.

Still need to put together a holiday send for 2016? Check out the BEE editor to help you—the tool is free and requires no registration. Happy Holidays!

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