It’s the first week of December, which means we’re all decking our halls with the hundreds of marketing emails we’ve received in the last week from retailers trying to pull in Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and now even Giving Tuesday dollars. After that annual deluge, it’s tempting to swear off email marketing for the rest of the year. But this is also a time when consumers are particularly open to and appreciative of non-selling messages, which means you have a chance to do some feel-good branding work to set the stage for 2016. Here are four merry ways to make sure your holiday greeting is the one your subscribers remember: Personalize the subject line Using your subscriber’s name in the subject line can increase open rates by as much as 41%. This may seem too easy, but personalization is still the leader when it comes to getting subscriber attention long enough to get that coveted click. When it comes to email marketing, regardless of it being the holiday season, it is important to make your opening line shine. Pay special attention to your opening line, not just because we have ever-shortening attention spans, but because most email programs display the first line of your email in the inbox view. Do it right—with clear, evocative language that hints at what’s inside—and your subscriber will be more likely to open it. Use a custom, branded graphic or illustration
 This is your chance to show your subscribers that you’re more than just a shopping cart, or bullet list of services. Put your graphics team to work on a custom e-card design for your subscribers that captures the essence of your brand. Take it further and spin your brand into a traditional holiday scene: Use your logo as the star on the Christmas tree, use your brand colors in place of the typical red and green, or place your hottest products under the tree. Keep it original, genuine, and focused on the customer Done well, even a simple, text-only message that comes from the heart of your business can plant the seeds that grow into future sales. Let your audience know they’re important to you, and that you’re reflecting on the prior year with gratitude. Above all, thank your subscribers for being subscribers, your customers for their business, and if you can, give them a sneak peek at some things you’ve got planned for the new year. Happy Branding!