This article was contributed by Lalit Chopra, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Movable Ink. Movable Ink develops and applies new technologies to make email marketing more dynamic, more creative and more rewarding for consumers.

The holiday marketing season is here, and the pressure is on. If you’re a retailer, holiday revenue can make or break your year. eMarketer predicts holiday shopping will account for 18.5% of annual retail sales in 2015.

To add to the stress, marketers relying on email campaigns to reach shoppers are faced with an intensified set of challenges during the holidays.

Differentiating your brand in an inbox already crowded with holiday promotions takes some pretty exceptional creative and messaging, but you’re working with overburdened resources pulled in a hundred different directions.

Use the power of social images

So, what’s a marketer to do? Let your images do double duty. If you use visual channels like Pinterest and Instagram, you’re sitting on a goldmine of compelling content.

Pulling those images into your holiday emails reduces the need to develop new creative, while enabling you to connect with your audience with beautiful, on-brand images that effectively engage and convert. In fact, according to HubSpot, 65% of people prefer emails that consist primarily of images.

Using social images also keeps email content fresh and seasonal. In this example, Ivivva, the activewear retailer for girls, incorporated a live Instagram feed into emails to offer their fans new inspiration every time they opened their email.

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Create a content engine with user-generated images

Saks Fifth Avenue ran an Instagram contest to encourage people to take selfies in the brand’s new biker jacket. They pulled a live Instagram feed featuring the selfies into emails to engage email subscribers and encourage participation.

Saks was able to create a content engine by enabling their fans to amplify the brand message with images that were authentic and on-brand.

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There’s no arguing that retailers have a lot riding on the holiday shopping season. If you’re trying to reach your customers with email, leveraging existing social images is a surefire way to reduce the burden on your resources and stand out in your customers’ inboxes.

Join us!

Want to learn more about how incorporating images and other social visual content into your holiday emails can drive engagement and conversions? Join Movable Ink and Curalate for a webinar, Holiday How-To: Driving Engagement with Compelling Email and Imagery, on October 21st at 1pm ET. Register now.