Ah, the holidays. The most wonderful time of the year. It’s a time for family and friends, sipping cocoa in front of a fireplace while wondering where Michael Bublé has been for the last 10 months? It’s also the time for so, so many emails.

From a retailer perspective, it makes sense. According to Sailthru research from last year, 58% of retail marketers expected between 21 and 50% of their annual revenue to come from holiday sales. It goes without saying that the holidays are monumentally important for any retailer. The National Retail Federation forecasts that this year’s holiday sales will increase between 4.3 and 4.8% to a staggering $720 billion.

That means retailers send more emails than usual, making it that much more imperative (and challenging) to stand out.

Still, brands like Alex and Ani, Food52, and Frank And Oak managed to do it. Sailthru’s brilliant Strategy & Optimization team has created a benchmarking tool that quantifies the millions of emails we send every minute. The team looks across our entire client base and compiles the open, clickthrough, and conversion rates for each email. Though we can’t divulge specific figures, this system allows us to better identify the best of the best and to pass on key insights to our hundreds of retail clients so they can always be improving their programs.

As the holidays get closer, we’re looking back at some of the star performers from the 2017 holiday season. We’ve identified 11 strategies to inspire your email marketing this holiday season. Here’s a taste:

Use Email to Drive Store Traffic Like Solstice Sunglasses

Holiday emails: Solstice Sunglasses

This Black Friday message from Solstice Sunglasses is short, sweet and undeniably eye-catching. The subject line, “Email Exclusive: Black Friday Preview,” also contributed to the high open rate. From the customer’s perspective, receiving an exclusive preview builds on the idea that the brand considers them a VIP, which only serves to improve loyalty.

However, our favorite aspect is Solstice Sunglasses’ attempt to drive traffic to physical stores, which will account for the bulk of holiday shopping this year. Plenty of retail emails include a CTA for recipients to find their nearest location. We love the way Solstice Sunglasses led with that, rather than putting in at the bottom. (However, we’d love it just a tiny bit more if the brand utilized its location data to tell you the nearest location and invite you in, or give the reader the ability to book an appointment!)

Count Down to Cyber Monday Like Frank and Oak

Holiday emails: Frank And Oak

We’ve commended a few retailers on this list for using the finite holiday season to create a sense of urgency. None pulled it off better than Frank And Oak, whose email actually included a countdown clock. This intelligent creative isn’t as complicated as it looks; any brand can easily deploy this tactic with our partner Movable Ink.

Frank And Oak also gets points for the compelling simplicity of this email. Color psychologists credit yellow with grabbing attention and evoking energy and happiness (and hunger, for that matter; see also: McDonald’s) and we can’t argue with them there. Can you take your eye off this graphic?

Walk Down Memory Lane Like Grove

Holiday emails: Grove

This campaign from Grove wished VIP customers a happy holiday and thanked them for their loyalty. It also took personalization to the next level, providing people with their own personal retrospectives, not only as shoppers but as global citizens. Grove reminded consumers what they bought, how many yards of rainforest they helped save, and even what the most popular products were in their state.

It’s a great way to show appreciation to your loyalists. This strategy also really lends itself to making relevant recommendations, as Grove did. Recommendations were based on each buyer’s personal shopping habits, as well as their geography, which put an interesting twist on collaborative filtering. For example, Southerners largely prefer lemon verbena-scented products, while Burt’s Bees was New Mexico’s favorite brand.

Fashion retailers can take this approach for an added touch of thoughtfulness in the holiday season. Consider a trend retrospective on the year, with notes on what that individual customer purchased alongside recommendations for the holiday season and beyond. Have a not-for-profit partner that purchases throughout the year benefitted? Consider thanking your customers for participating and let them know how their holiday spending might further benefit those in need.

Download the ebook to see more brilliant holiday email marketing tactics from Alex and Ani, Rent the Runway, Food52 and more!