[38] Holiday Planning: 5 Ways To Use Gift Guides In Email – Email Growth Society

[38] Holiday Planning: 5 Ways To Use Gift Guides In Email

CWEG 38 | Gift Guides


If you could think of the perfect email all season to send that would a) spark ideas and b) not require a promo code well, gift guides are the answer. First, what are they? As the name suggests, gift guides help recipients find gifts easily. They spark ideas - which is one of the biggest opportunities email can offer. No. Discount. Necessary. I provide 5 of my favorite gift guides to use - and when - in this episode. If you're not leveraging the power of gift guides this holiday season, you are missing out.

Send questions my way to conversations@emailgrowthsociety.com

And remember - gift guides can be very visual. So please refer back to episode 35 to make sure you're not breaking any of the "design no-no" rules.


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Holiday Planning: 5 Ways To Use Gift Guides In Email

It is November 2021 and we are back with more holiday planning on the show. I'm so pumped to see some of the questions coming my way. It makes me so happy that a lot of you have been going episode by episode and getting your email ready to roll. November is going to be great. This is money season but we need to chat about gift guides as you will want to deploy at least 2 to 3 of these ahead of CyberWeek and in early December.

First, what are they? My love for gift guides is likely a bit too much but I do love them so much. They are fun, effective, and can work for almost any company that is gearing up for the big holiday sales. As the name suggests, gift guides help recipients find gifts easily but most importantly, they spark ideas, which is one of the biggest opportunities emails can offer.

After all, this is what we look for when we're creating our email content calendar. What ideas can we leverage with relevant holidays and events? Gift guides do that. It is outstanding but my favorite aspect doesn't require discount codes, so we don't have to layer in the 15% and 30% offs. This is a way of getting people to think differently.

Early Order Gift Guide

I have five ways to use gift guides in email and when. These are near and dear to my heart. As I said, try to select 2 to 3 of these that you can whip together and get going. The first one is the Order Early gift guide. You would want to use this ahead of your Black Friday sale. Imagine this. We're in the middle of a shipping crisis due to a pandemic.

I'm sure you all know that to be your reality. By being able to position ordering early as a sense of urgency, we can then layer in these gift ideas to get people thinking ahead. Some folks are going to care about their gift getting to you way more than they care about the percentages off that you're going to offer on Black Friday.

There is a certain group of people that the Order Early Gift Guide is perfect for. We position the hero as, “The holiday starts now.” You can put a little bit of copy in there that talks about the shipping delays and if they want to get their gifts on time, why even bother waiting because there's going to be some disruption. If you want to get your gift, thinking early is the way to go. Underneath there, you can put a couple of different tiles. You could put, “New products launched. Gifts under $20. Gift cards. Fan favorites from 2020.” There are endless amounts of different ways that you can categorize this gift guide.

The main premise is how can you position ordering early and be able to drive folks to make a decision? This happens before Black Friday, and there is going to be an audience. Not everyone on your database is going to be interested in Black Friday discounts. I'm one of those shoppers. I care about time and convenience way more than I ever care about a discount. That has nothing to do with anything but simply who I am. I am already taking advantage of early ordering. I have gotten a couple of emails from running shoe companies and whatnot that have started this early in October 2021, which might be a little too soon but they did get me. That's your first one.

There are endless amounts of different ways that you can categorize your gift guide.

A Gift Guide For Everyone On Your List

Your second one is the Gift Guide for Everyone on Your List. This is where we start to play with the types of people that can align with your gift guide, family members, or friends. This is where we start to say gift on the right and on the left, the type of people we would want to send this gift to. Here's a good example. If you are a supplement company with your vital proteins and GNC, you might have a gift guide for everyone on your list that says, “Brands gift guide to gifting. You're going to give the gift of health this holiday season.”

Under it, you've got, “For those busy bees needing energy support,” and then we've got a link out there, “For everyone needing sleep. For those fitness fans needing recovery. For those health nuts looking for a daily dose of goodness.” You see where I'm going with this. That is one option. You can start to bucket the group of people and align it to products. The other thing you can do is for your best family member. For your best friend. For somebody in need of great shoes, and that sort of thing.

This is the Gift Guide for Everyone on Your List. Your main goal for this one is to try to brainstorm how many different types of people or groups of people can you come up with that makes sense and how do you align your products to them? This one is super effective. This one can be sent before Black Friday but you can also use this one after CyberWeek is over and in early December. This one works well.

Category Gift Guides

The next is the Category Gift Guide. Let's use that same supplement example. What if instead of honing in on the people, we simply said, “Energy products. Sleep products. Recovery products.” You see where I'm going with this. If you can categorize your products into groups, that's helpful for people to understand another way of buying gifts. One spoiler alert right here in the middle is that gift guides often are something that I am going to take advantage of also. I'm going to buy stuff for myself here too, because you have made it easy for me to see your products a little bit differently. Because of that, you're able to get me to buy as well.

Remember that this is not going to be people buying for other people. This is going to be people buying for themselves. The category gift guide is almost very similar to the gift guide for everyone on your list. It's a different way of doing that. You could send this again right before Black Friday and the day after Black Friday when you know people on Saturday and Sunday are usually at the retail stores still buying things, even though they bought stuff on Black Friday. You can offer it then and also in early December.

Popular Gifts 

Number four is the Most Popular Gifts Gift Guide. I like this one. My first version of the most popular gifts is the way we can break it down by monetary value. Imagine it's December 10th, 11th, or 12th, and there are folks that are down to the wire. The best way you can use the most popular gifts is for stocking stuffers, under $20, under $50, or for children.

This is a theme to try to get your users to those last-minute gifts. By saying most popular, you make it easy for them. Another good one to put in there are always gift cards. If you have the ability for your recipients to print the gift card off, that's even better. Gift cards are typically a last-minute thing. The Most Popular Gifts gift guide is an amazing one for mid-December. We're creeping up at Christmas time and wanting to ring some bells for people. We want to be their saviors.

CWEG 38 | Gift Guides


The last one is the Last-Minute Gift Guide. This one is tricky with shipping situations. You have to play this one correctly. I would push a digital gift card here if you have one. If you have a membership, this is a great one to push because it's easy. If you've got something that's super high in stock volume, you've got tons of it, and you know you can get it out, maybe you plan it to be within a 4 to 5-day shipping window.

The Last-Minute Guide

If you're leveraging Amazon shipping or something like that and you know you can get it out, definitely do it. The Last-Minute Gift Guide is your way of saying like, “If you have run out of a gift idea, here are some. Let me help you.” This one works but this one is supposed to be in that window of maybe five days before go time. You have to be methodical about it. This one doesn't work for everyone. If you know that your product is going to take seven days to ship, this one will not work for you.

It could get your ideas flowing if you don't have gift cards on your suite of products. It might be something worth exploring this holiday season. That could be a perfect example of a Last-Minute Gift Guide. The other way you can leverage a Last-Minute Gift Guide a little bit earlier in December is if you send it out to your database in the form of, “Forward this to your loved one or send them a link of your favorite product.” That can be another way of doing this.

When December 10th comes around, you send this out to your database with a message that's like, “Don't let your loved one forget to give you your favorite insert product name for the holidays.” You give them directions like, “Go to the website, find your favorite product, send it on to your loved one, or simply forward this email.” If you put a gift card on there, likely these loved ones aren't going to want to risk it because of sizing and all that and they're going to buy the gift card. That is another idea to think about.

You are going to be missing out if you don't incorporate gift guides into your email this holiday season. There's no doubt about that. One thing to keep in mind though is that these tend to be more visual emails for sure because we're using a lot of colors. A lot of times, this is a checkered look where you've got your CTA button and section.

You've got your product and they're alternating through. We've got big headers, maybe some gifts, and things like that. Remember to keep all of your design no-nos at the top of your mind. If you need a refresher, go back and read that episode because it is important that if we have great gift guides, we are able to deliver them to the inboxes.

With that, any questions you have, please send them my way and if you want me to send you some examples of gift guides, you can also reach out to me at Conversations@EmailGrowthSociety.com. Another great way to do it is to go to Google and search, “Best gift guide email examples,” and go to the image section. You will find a wealth of different ideas that are going to likely fit into one of the categories that I spoke about. You are going to be busy now. Do me a favor. Make sure you send out a gift guide. You will reap the benefits, but so will your recipients. Happy emailing, everyone.

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