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As an email marketer, you already know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the most anticipated annual shopping events. Estimated sales over the two-day holiday period surpassed $10 billion in 2018, and the projected number only grows larger each year. 

Along with Christmas, these post-Thanksgiving occasions are often the focus of holiday email marketing. We know Black Friday is right around the corner, and references to it may already be part of your current fall email campaigns

Are you truly maximizing the revenue-earning potential of this special day? Read on to learn all about Black Friday email marketing: what to do, what to avoid, and everything in between.

Is your Black Friday email campaign ready?

In 2016, there were more than 115 million emails sent on Black Friday. And, in 2017, email marketing was responsible for one-fourth of all online sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With the upward trend of these numbers over the past few years, we can only guess that this year’s statistics will be even more impressive. 

Here’s the truth: It’s not difficult to come up with and execute a Black Friday email strategy. The real challenge is to craft memorable emails that are strong enough to compete with everyone else’s digital marketing campaigns. Your emails need to stand out enough to be inbox winners come Black Friday.

How do you craft an effective Black Friday email?

Black Friday is likely a day you experience as both a marketer and a consumer. If this rings true, then you already have the insight and experience necessary to come up with an email marketing campaign targeting the average Black Friday shopper. 

As a result, most of the following advice may sound like common sense. There’s no magic formula here—just tried-and-tested basics. The secret is in the skill and finesse with which you interpret these Black Friday email best practices. 

1. Keep it simple, short, and scannable.

Your subscribers will appreciate brief Black Friday emails, especially when they’re sent on the day itself. 

Don’t make them read a wall of text or bombard them with rows upon rows of sale items before getting to your CTA. Your subscribers should be able to scroll through your email and get the gist in seconds. Consider a CTA button—the easily recognizable visual cue can raise click-through rates by over 25%. 

Don’t be vague, either. For example, saying “25% off” is better than “up to 50%”—especially if only one or two items are actually 50% off. Disappointment isn’t a good subscriber takeaway from your Black Friday email strategy.

Designmodo email showing an example of a simple, short, and scannable Black Friday message

Source: Really Good Emails

2. Start with the most important details.

What you’re offering should be the first thing your subscribers see—whether it’s a discount, limited edition item, sale announcement, or an invitation to a VIP-only online event. Don’t make your audience search for these special offers because it’s much easier for them to close your email and go on to the next message in their inbox.

Consider including a brief description of your offer in your email headline, preheader text, and even your subject line. Emphasize your headline by using a different font or even just a bigger one.

Great Simple Studio email showing an example of a Black Friday message with the most important details in the headline

Source: Really Good Emails

3. Lead with a strong subject line.

You’ve heard this one a million times. Subject line mastery should be one of the foundations of your email marketing strategy, more than being one of several Black Friday email best practices. Subject lines are the first thing your subscribers see and should be one of the most painstakingly crafted components of your email campaigns—not an afterthought.

Compare your Black Friday email subject line with subject lines from past campaigns of other brands. The trick is to straddle the line between unique and compelling. You don’t want it to be boring or too commonplace, but you still want it to appeal to a wide range of potential customers. 

For example, the subject line of the marketing email below is: “★ 50% OFF! Black Friday Drops Now ★.” It tells you what the message is about, adds a little bit of flair, and creates a faint sense of urgency.

Adidas email showing an example of a Black Friday message with a strong subject line

 

Source: Really Good Emails

4. Show off your sale items and other offers.

Focusing on visual elements is a great strategy because it packs so much more information into your Black Friday email without weighing it down. Properly sized images won’t affect the scannability of your email but provide extra details, should your subscribers slow down and look through your entire message.

Adding images of your products can improve your click-through rates on Black Friday, especially if your subscribers see something they want to purchase. Combined with using segmented lists—which can raise revenue by 760%—this practice can have powerful results.

Tanner Goods email showing an example of a Black Friday email with an item gallery

Source: Really Good Emails

5. Promote deals along with deadlines.

One of the best ways to trigger actions from subscribers and encourage engagement is to impose a sense of urgency. We mentioned earlier that you should start with the most essential details. You can include deadlines at the beginning of your emails too.

The best Black Friday email headlines tell you what the offer is, what to do to take advantage of it, and how long the offer is available—all in one to three lines. 

 Nest email showing an example of a Black Friday email that creates a sense of urgency

Source: Really Good Emails

6. Start early or extend sales and special offers.

When is the best time to send your Black Friday email? Like most email marketing campaigns, the specific schedule depends on the unique composition of your email list. The industry your brand is a part of can also affect the ideal sending time.

The truth: you won’t know for sure until you do A/B testing and segmentation. Even then, it’s impossible to predict your subscribers’ behavior on a day that’s far from routine. 

About half of all people check email when in bed and a little less than 40% check when they’re in the bathroom. Ask yourself: What time do you think the average person will go to bed on Black Friday? If someone is standing in line outside a store for a sale, when would they have time to go to the bathroom? 

Instead of racking your brain and attempting to foresee what’s to come, go with a Black Friday email strategy you can control. Consider starting early or extending your sale period if you want to increase revenue and provide your subscribers with the Black Friday treatment with less competition to worry about.

Great Simple Studio email showing an example of a Black Friday message promoting an early sale

Source: Really Good Emails

7. Consider a mobile-responsive design.

Did you know that mobile internet traffic accounted for more than 40% of all online traffic during 2019’s first quarter? 

There’s a considerable chance that your subscribers will see your Black Friday emails through a smartphone or tablet screen. These displays are smaller and therefore may push you to use more attractive email designs. It makes sense to prepare accordingly, particularly because poorly displayed emails on smart devices usually end up deleted within seconds of opening.

Mobile optimization is also helped by using more images than long blocks of text, making this strategy compatible with several Black Friday email best practices we’ve already discussed above. A smaller screen benefits from a single column layout, as well as a few bold but straightforward points of interest.

Looking for a relatively easy and mobile-friendly way to make your emails more eye-catching? Try using a GIF

Carhartt email showing an example of a mobile-optimized Black Friday message using a GIF

Source: Really Good Emails

Wrap up

A Black Friday email strategy is essential for retail brands to take advantage of the heavy consumer spending that marks every holiday season. 

The day after Thanksgiving is generally known as the most important retail event of the year. It’s also one of the most stressful days for email marketers, due to the amount of competition their messages face just to get through to their subscribers.

Draw inspiration from the samples shown above and follow these seven Black Friday email best practices:   

  • Keep your email simple, short, and scannable.
  • Start with the most essential details.
  • Lead with a strong subject line.
  • Show off your sale items and other offers.
  • Promote deals along with deadlines.
  • Start early or extend sales and special offers.
  • Consider a mobile-responsive design.

Ready to create your own emails for a holiday marketing campaign? Check out our Black Friday email template.

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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