Two of the biggest shopping days of the year are just around the corner, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Did you know that consumers are projected to spend $717.5 billion this Black Friday? That’s a little more than $1000 per shopper. Additionally, companies recorded $6.59 billion in sales on Cyber Monday last year, making it the largest online shopping day ever.
You read that right: the largest shopping day ever, in the history of the internet.
And email marketing is responsible for driving around a fifth of sales between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday so it’s imperative your campaigns grab your subscribers’ attention in crowded inboxes. A solid holiday email marketing campaign will keep your brand top of mind during a season when consumers are looking for deals and promotions in order to get the most bang for their buck.
Let’s be honest: companies know how important email is to bringing in holiday revenue, so most plan to send emails to their customers and prospects this time of year. So how do you make your email stand out among all the offers your customers are going to receive?
24 Black Friday and Cyber Monday ideas
Here are 24 ideas that will set you apart from the competition and score you a place in your subscribers’ hearts and minds while they’re shopping for their friends, family, and, of course, themselves:
1. Create a gift guide
Gift guide themed emails see a 48% higher transaction rate than purely promotional emails.
You can create a compelling gift guide by using categories based on gender, price point, or product color.
This gift guide from Trouva even offers a gift guide based on sustainability. According to the subject line, these gifts are “Gifts with a Conscience,” a subject line that’s sure to stand out since it’s a unique idea:
In fact, it’s important to make sure you use attention-grabbing subject lines for your gift guide emails since your prospects are guaranteed to receive so many offers. Not sure where to start? Check out this list of 100 Black Friday and Cyber Monday subject lines to inspire you.
2. Promote individual gift guide items on social media
Once you create and send a holiday gift guide email to your subscribers, consider highlighting individual products from your guide on your social channels.
For example, if you create a “10 Gifts for $10” guide, mention each product in a separate post on social media. Instagram and Pinterest are great for image-centric marketing efforts. Provide a picture and a link so customers can make purchases quickly and easily.
Remember, all of your email marketing efforts are more successful when they support one another and work in tandem.
3. Offer hourly online deals
On Cyber Monday, create hourly deals that your subscribers can take advantage of.
For example, every hour for four hours, provide a special deal on a certain product. A few days before Cyber Monday, send an email that highlights all of the deals, and then automate emails to send each hour that a deal is live.
Just make sure you let subscribers opt-in to these emails and explain upfront that you will be sending more email than usual on this day in order to avoid annoying anyone.
4. Offer mystery savings
Everyone loves a mystery, so why not incorporate it into your Black Friday deals? For example, send an email that offers subscribers 10%, 20% or 50% off. When a subscriber clicks on the call to action, he or she is taken to a landing page that provides one of the offers listed above.
If you don’t have the website capabilities to pull this off, encourage subscribers to visit your store and pull their mystery savings from Santa’s hat at the point of sale.
This email from 22 Days Nutrition does a great job catching subscribers’ attention from the start. The subject line “What will your mystery offer be?” is hard to resist, but they don’t stop there. After the subscriber opens the email, they’re prompted to go to the website and shop in order to see their savings:
Source: Emma Email Marketing
5. Offer a free gift with purchase
Consider offering your subscribers a free gift with a purchase.
Make it something small, but useful; this stressful time of year provides an opportunity for you to prove how much you value your customers by offering them something to improve their holidays and make them a bit easier.
For instance, you could offer something that’s holiday-themed like a free card, cookie cutter, or ornament, or you could offer one of your smaller products as a gift. To increase traffic to your store, have subscribers print or show the email and bring it in to claim the gift.
6. Sign up deals
Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, your website will see a lot of extra traffic.
Capitalize on that traffic by offering a holiday-themed deal to anyone that signs up for your email list. For example, put a sign-up form like one of these on your site:
- “Sign up for our newsletter and get an exclusive Black Friday deal.”
- “Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to know about holiday deals.”
- “Want to make your holiday shopping easier? Sign up for our newsletter.”
7. Offer deals for loyal customers
While you can certainly offer all of your subscribers Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, you should consider offering an exclusive deal for your most loyal subscribers.
Take a look at your contact list, segment out your most engaged readers, and offer them something awesome as a thank you for their loyalty.
Sephora does a great job rewarding their recurring customers. This email is just one example of the VIP perks they offer year-round:
After all, the holiday season isn’t just about making all the money you can. You also want to take a moment to thank them for being a friend and show you appreciate them for more than just their cash.
8. Bring them back with deals
You probably already have your email list segmented into specific categories. The holiday season is a good time to try and bring back folks who haven’t purchased for a while by sending a re-engagement email. Use a subject line that targets this group like, “Come Back and Enjoy Special Black Friday Prices.”
9. Give your subscribers an upgrade
The holidays don’t just offer opportunities for the retail industry, however. Service-based businesses can also take advantage of customers’ willingness to spend by offering an upgrade to subscribers as a holiday deal.
For example, auto mechanics can offer an upgrade from a basic oil change package to a premium package that includes tire rotation. A dog groomer can offer upgraded grooming that includes a special holiday bandana and holiday scented bath.
Consider how you can get creative with upgrades and hook your customers into more premium services they’ll enjoy and want to buy over and over.
10. Offer sneak peeks on social
Reveal one or two of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on social media, then follow up with an email.
Sephora offered its customers a sneak peek at its Black Friday deals on Snapchat and Instagram then shared them through email:
This is another great way to start interweaving your many marketing efforts across channels if you aren’t already.
11. Create a doorbuster campaign
To encourage subscribers to come to your store and shop early on Black Friday, lower the prices on some of your top items, but only for the first few hours that you’re open. This will emphasize the scarcity of your products and encourage your customers to act quickly and decisively.
Send an email that highlights the deals a few days prior to Black Friday, and a reminder email the day before to increase your customer’s anticipation and keep your promotion top of mind.
12. Give your subscribers free shipping
Shipping costs can keep your subscribers from making a purchase, regardless of the promotion you offer them.
To keep subscribers from abandoning their carts, offer free shipping on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Free shipping is one of the most popular offers for converting customers.
13. Extend deals
There’s a lot of competition to capture sales during these busy shopping days, so why not give your subscribers more time to cash in on the savings? Consider creating a deal that starts on Black Friday and lasts through Cyber Monday.
For example, Converse offered its customers 25% off for four days. If you want to capitalize even more, extend the offer a few extra days.
14. Give deals on gift cards
The most requested gift for the past twelve years has been gift cards and this year is no different, according to the National Retail Federation.
To get in on the action and encourage your subscribers to buy gifts their friends and family actually want to receive, consider offering subscribers an incentive to buy gift cards from your business. Offer 5 percent off gift cards, or give subscribers a $10 gift card for every $50 gift card purchase.
15. Create a Black Friday event
Turn the biggest shopping day of the year into an event to elevate your shoppers’ experience on what can be a hectic day.
You could host a customer appreciation event with free hot chocolate and holiday cookies, or team up with other local shops and host a Black Friday block party. Send an email invitation to your subscribers and promote it on Facebook by creating an event where subscribers can RSVP.
16. Promote a charity
The holidays aren’t just about shopping; they’re about giving back. Have your subscribers bring in canned goods for the local food bank, or give a portion of your Cyber Monday sales to a children’s hospital in your area. Send an email to your subscribers asking them to participate.
It’s not just good karma: 76% of consumers say they’d refuse to purchase a product if they found out a company supported an issue contrary to their beliefs, according to a social impact study. The study shows people want to buy from companies who share their beliefs, so don’t be afraid to take a stand or support a cause this holiday season.
17. Create a ‘use it when you want it’ savings pass
As Cyber Monday comes to an end, send your subscribers one last chance to save. Offer your subscribers a coupon that they can claim now and use when they want to.
Of course, you’ll want to set a deadline to use the coupon, but it gives your audience another opportunity to save and your business another shot at a holiday sale.
18. Host Cyber Monday giveaways on social media
Pick a few products to giveaway to your social media followers on Cyber Monday. Announce the giveaways via email and provide links to the social channels you plan to use for the giveaways. While you have a captive audience on Monday, post a link or two to your most popular holiday gift items.
19. Host a holiday competition on social media
Create a holiday competition that engages your audience on social media. For example, ask subscribers to shoot a video that shows how your products make the holidays brighter. Invite subscribers to participate via email.
Give the winner a deal that’s redeemable only on Black Friday, such as 75% off one regular priced item.
Use the video submissions to promote your products throughout the holiday season.
20. Give subscribers shopping tips
Help your customers enjoy Black Friday by offering shopping tips to make holiday shopping a more pleasant experience.
For example, give advice on where to park, congested roadways to avoid, or tips to keep kids happy while shopping all day. Send it to your subscribers with a catchy subject line like, “10 Tips to Make the Most Out Of Black Friday Shopping.”
21. New product promotion
Have you rolled out a new product or service this year? Promote it as part of a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale. It’s a great opportunity to tell subscribers about something new while offering a discount that encourages a sale at the same time.
22. Promote deals in your newsletter
Get subscribers excited about Black Friday and Cyber Monday by mentioning what you’re planning in your newsletter. For example, talk about past deals and how you plan to surpass those savings and mention the added staff you have to keep lines short.
23. Create a referral campaign
Create a can’t-resist Cyber Monday deal and ask your recipients to share it with a friend. Campaign Monitor users can add a “forward to a friend” link right in their email.
24. Create a testimonial email
Create a Black Friday email that promotes two of your popular products by including positive reviews about each product in your email. This kind of testimonial or social proof email is powerful. Customers trust reviews and studies show they’re a great way to instill confidence in your brand and your products, which will ultimately lead to greater spending and help you convert hesitant prospects.
While promotional emails rule the inbox during the holidays, it’s a good idea to offer something beyond a sales pitch.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all about offering great deals to your subscribers. However, a great deal isn’t just a shocking discount. Your subscribers will respond to unique ideas like giveaways, shopping tips, charitable contributions, and holiday-themed social events. Be creative and have some fun and you’ll be on your way to a successful season.
Updated: November 6, 2018