Now that it’s officially May, it means another holiday is right around the corner: Mother’s Day!

This is a big event for moms–and for marketers. 84% of US adults are expected to celebrate the event this year, and overall spending related to the holiday is forecasted to reach nearly $25 billion dollars!

Mother’s Day (May 12) is coming up fast, but it’s not too late to create and send engaging email campaigns that will connect with your audience in meaningful new ways (and encourage them to shop with your brand).

(P.S. Now is also a good time to think about what you’re doing for your own Mother’s Day celebrations!)

Marks & Spencer uses personalization in helpful new ways

Marks & Spencer recently achieved exactly this type of success with its Mother’s Day marketing efforts. Instead of ignoring the fact that valuable shopping days were slipping by, the U.K. retailer embraced this inevitability by creating a countdown timer to show consumers exactly how much time was left before this important event.

It was a smart strategy. Like any other holiday, Mother’s Day tends to sneak up on shoppers, or they may procrastinate, thinking that they have more time than they actually do. In this case, Marks & Spencer’s countdown timer was perceived as a helpful tool—not just another sales email—since no one wants to disappoint Mom on her one special day of the year. In other words; thank you, Marks & Spencer!

In one email, Marks & Spencer overlaid its countdown timer over an image of stunning floral arrangements. The headline encouraged recipients to “spoil Mum with beautiful blooms,” and also included a prominent special offer of a free delivery of her bouquet in time for Mother’s Day. While the free delivery offer wasn’t tied to the countdown timer, the message to act was clear. Who could resist?

In a second email, the retailer used a timer in conjunction with an offer that would quickly expire. In this case, the email included a special promotion where shoppers would receive free chocolates with the purchase of a Mother’s Day bouquet. The countdown clock showed recipients just how much time they had to act, a powerful real-time personalization that helped increase basket size and generate new sales.

The personalization didn’t stop there. By clicking into either email, consumers experienced a Marks and Spencer landing page with even more Mother’s Day promotions, including discounts on brunch ingredients, wine, chocolate, flowers, and more.

Each offer was accompanied by a call to action button that invited readers to find the closest Marks & Spencer shop. These links used Liveclicker’s LiveMap real-time email experience to incorporate geo-targeting map information specific to each consumer. Again, the entire experience provided information consumers found helpful, while still encouraging them to take the desired action.

Don’t stop there!

Using countdown timers and maps are just two examples of how you can create engaging, personalized emails this Mother’s Day. Stay tuned for our second article in this series where we will provide even more examples of real-time personalization that you can use for Mother’s Day email campaigns.

Also, this is the latest article in our ongoing series of holiday-related tips, tricks, and other email marketing best practices. Yet there’s another way to get them all, all in one place. Download our LookBook guide for real-world examples of how leading brands achieved impressive results for any holiday—and every other point in the customer lifecycle.

School buses. Football games. Shorter days and changing temperatures. All proof that summer is officially over.

For many marketers, this change of seasons means it’s time to start planning holiday campaigns and related marketing activities (if they haven’t already).

Yet it may be hard to get started. It seems like each year it becomes more challenging to create holiday campaigns that will truly stand out, engage customers and prospects in a meaningful way, and most important, produce results that truly move the needle.

If you’re feeling this way, we have the perfect resource to help you out of your creative rut: our brand new Holiday LookBook.

This valuable resource gives you a detailed look at some of our clients’ successful holiday email campaigns. In it, we break down each email sample to analyze the individual tactics that contributed to the campaign’s overall success, including real-time, interactive content based on moment-of-open data and the concept of using email as a profile-building tool.

While we would never promote stealing, especially anything holiday-related, we encourage you to “borrow” some of the ideas in these real-world examples or use them for inspiration for your own holiday campaign.

Avoid the “same old” approach with personalization innovations

The Holiday LookBook also gives many examples of how real-time personalization tools can create advanced experiences customers love. These result in powerful, engaging emails featuring live polls, embedded videos, countdown timers, scratch-and-reveal promotions, maps, and so much more. Like the old saying goes, the only limitation is your imagination.

Get creative!

The book also shows how creative marketers are thinking beyond traditional holidays such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You’ll see great ideas related to Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, and others.

In one example, Chico’s even made up their own holiday – “United Against Ironing Week.” This great concept let Chico’s bond with customers over the idea that we all work too hard and could benefit from a week off from at least one activity. It also helped the retailer promote a wrinkle-free collection during this fictitious holiday week. Yet by striking a sympathetic tone, the campaign connected with consumers in a way they didn’t expect, leading to better results than a standard email promotion.

There are more examples, but we don’t want to ruin the surprise. To see them all yourself—and get a creative spark for planning your own holiday campaigns—download the Holiday LookBook now.

One additional “gift” for you: The Holiday LookBook is an excerpt from Liveclicker’s “Real Examples. Real Impact. A Guide to Real-Time Email Personalization Every Marketer Should Follow.” You can download this complete LookBook here for even more ideas.

Happy holiday planning!