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September has officially started, which—to many consumers—marks the official start of fall. For marketers, the beginning of the fall season means it’s officially time to start planning your next holiday marketing campaigns (if you haven’t already) or start tying up some loose ends.

With that in mind, many marketers are sure to be asking when the best time is to start sending out Black Friday email campaigns.

Black Friday 2019 predictions: State spending is going to increase.

The above statement isn’t surprising, especially as more and more people start their holiday shopping earlier in the year. Multiple sources are already saying that Black Friday sales will surpass the $12 billion mark this year, and that’s just for online spending. Total expenditure is expected to increase from last year’s total of $717.5 billion.

With spending expected to increase overall, especially online and via mobile devices, it’s more crucial than ever before to really nail your Black Friday email send times. In order to get the most out of the season of spending, marketers have to send their promotions to the right people at the right time, which can be very difficult during the season of email fatigue and burnout. Knowing when to send and how frequently can make or break your holiday earnings.

Planning your Black Friday 2019 email marketing campaign

While analyzing our own customers’ sending habits back in 2016 during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday rush, we noticed quite a few things. With over 400 million emails sent between Thanksgiving through Giving Tuesday, engagement was up, with over 63 million opens and nearly 9 million links clicked.

That got us wondering, as technology has progressed and with more people heading online for their holiday browsing and purchasing, when’s the best time to start sending out Black Friday marketing materials? Should marketers start as early as September? Alternatively, does it pay to wait?

Send time matters: Know what works best.

The best way to start this investigation is to look at industry email benchmarks because this will help guide you in knowing what works best for your niche. Some things will need to be switched up as the holiday shopping season approaches, but taking a look at our recent study into email marketing benchmarks will help get you started on the right foot.

Before diving too deep, it’s important to look at the average best send dates. The essential benchmarks you’ll want to watch for are your best day for email opens and your best day for the highest click-throughs. These metrics not only tell you that your audience is opening and reading your email materials, but the click-throughs tell you that your readers are interested in what you’re offering, at least enough to click through to your website to learn more.

During our recent study, we found that the best days for the highest email open rates were Thursdays, with an average open rate of 18.6%. Interestingly enough, the best days for the average highest click-through rate ended up being on Tuesdays.

Best days for various email marketing KPIs

Source: Campaign Monitor

It’s worth noting that each industry sees a small variation in these numbers and, while working with the average is a great starting point, you may be more interested in the best days for your specific industry.

Knowing when your emails are being opened is terrific, but knowing when your audience is clicking through to your website could be of more value to you. Here’s what we learned, based on the best click-through rate by industry.

 Best click-through rate by day per industry

Source: Campaign Monitor

When to start sending your Black Friday email campaigns

Knowing these industry standards is a start, but how can you use them to help guide your Black Friday email campaign?

In order to get the most out of your Black Friday campaign, you’ll want to build excitement and then follow it up with a sense of urgency. This means you’ll want to spread out your Black Friday email campaign over the span of several days, if not a few weeks.

We aren’t suggesting you start sending out Black Friday emails in September, but you may consider sending them late October or early November. For the 2019 season, Black Friday lands on Friday, November 29th, giving marketers plenty of wiggle room for sending their campaigns.

For example, based on our research for the best day for the highest number of opens, it’d be wise to plan your first Black Friday email to go out on Thursday, November 7th. This ensures that you’ve given shoppers’ inboxes enough of a break following the Halloween season before you start hitting them with offers for the next big holiday.

This is a great time to send out a Black Friday sneak peek email to help start building excitement amongst your readers. You can then send out a weekly sneak peek building up to the week of Black Friday, slowly announcing your best deals to keep your readers invested in the campaign.

Black Friday Sneak Peek by Sephora

Source: Campaign Monitor

Throughout the week of Black Friday, you can start building a sense of urgency amongst your readers. If your team is planning to take advantage of the best day for click-through rates, you’ll want to consider sending your first email on Tuesday, with a reminder on Thursday. Your readers will click through to your site to get an idea of what you have for them, come the big day. And, on Thursday, they can open the message to remind themselves of your deals.

Finally, sending a reminder email early Friday with a countdown timer of how many hours readers have left to take advantage of your deals is a great way to build suspense and urgency.

Vodafone includes a countdown GIF timer to help create a sense of urgency for their subscribers

Source: Really Good Emails

4 Black Friday email best practices

Knowing when to send your Black Friday email campaigns is just the start of your planning process. The next step is crafting your campaign. Read on to discover four tips to help you do just that.

1. Don’t neglect your subject line and preheader text.

This has probably been hammered into your mind, but it’s vital during the Black Friday shopping season. Consumers’ inboxes are going to be filling nonstop between the months of October and December, and using the standard “Name + Deal” will quickly be overlooked.

Instead, consider:

  • Personalizing deals based on past purchases
  • Adding emojis to your subject line
  • Asking your readers a question

All of these are proven to help increase email open rates, so why not consider testing out a few options before you send out your Black Friday campaigns?

2. Make your offer the highlight by putting it front and center.

When crafting your Black Friday email campaigns, you want to make sure your offer is not only clearly stated, but that your audience doesn’t have to go hunting for their savings.

In this example by Readdle, they highlight their Black Friday deal by setting it in its own content box, and they put the CTA “Get my deal” front and center so that readers simply have to click to get their deal.

Readdle makes it easy for readers to get their savings by putting the link front and center.

Source: Really Good Emails

3. Design your message for scannability.

Readers are known to scan through their daily email marketing messages, so you want to retain this feature during the busy holiday season. Give readers the information they want to know from the start and guide them to the CTA that’ll lead them to a landing page with the actual offer.

BaubleBar does an outstanding job of keeping their message short and to the point. They also make great use of the inverted pyramid setup to help guide the reader’s attention from the meat of the message to the CTA.

BaubleBar keeps their message short and sweet while using the inverted pyramid to guide the reader’s eyes directly to the CTA.

Source: Really Good Emails

4. Craft a perfectly clickable CTA.

Your Black Friday email campaign isn’t the time to mess with complicated CTAs. You want to craft a CTA that’s easy to spot and click on to get your readers where they want to go. When crafting your clickable CTA, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use a button, not hyperlinked anchor text
  • Keep the text short and sweet
  • Avoid friction words such as “buy”

Wrap up

The fall weather is only one indication that it’s time to start planning your Black Friday 2019 email marketing campaign. Start your planning, designing, and testing early, so you’re more than ready when the time comes to start scheduling your sending process.

When designing your Black Friday messages, keep these essential tips in mind:

  • Craft creative and eye-catching subject lines and preheader text
  • Get your offer noticed by placing it front and center
  • Design your email for scanners
  • Have an actionable CTA button

Need some extra help in planning your next holiday email marketing campaign? Then check out our Ultimate Guide to Holiday Email Marketing today.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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