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Black Friday Email Design: Do’s and Don’ts to Up Your Game

Black Friday Email Design: Do’s and Don’ts to Up Your Game

During the last few months of the year, email marketing is more important than ever — and it starts right now. More than 115 million emails are sent on Black Friday. Email is responsible for 20% of online holiday site visits. And customers who purchase products through an email offer are likely to spend a whopping 138% more than consumers who don’t receive email offers.

The numbers are in: A strong Black Friday email campaign is key. Are you prepared to wow your customers and make some serious sales this November? Take a look at these do’s and don’ts to help make your email campaign as effective as it can be.

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Do send a campaign

It’s not just about the email you send on Black Friday. To galvanize readers, you need a campaign that extends before and after the holiday. Millions of Black Friday emails are sent on Thanksgiving or even earlier. We’ve seen early November Black Friday emails from brands like J. Crew, Madewell, Outerknown and more. Here’s how BarkBox scheduled its Black Friday email campaign:

  • Email #1: Thursday (Thanksgiving) at 4:10 P.M.
  • Email #2: Friday at 10:26 A.M.
  • Email #3: Friday at 7:36 P.M.

Each message built on the previous email. Let’s take a look at #1, which features tips for surviving a too-long Thanksgiving dinner:

Subject line: BLACK FRIDAY STARTS NOW

black friday email example

Next up is an email that was sent the morning of Black Friday, telling consumers they don’t have to leave the house to make their dog happy:

Subject line: How the Grinch stole (record scratch) BLACK FRIDAY?!

black friday email campaign

Finally, BarkBox wrapped things up in the early evening with one last (adorable) plug.

Subject line: grinch grinch grinch grinch grinch grinch grinch grinch

black friday email campaign

This email campaign is a great example of how you can create emails that appeal to your customer all the way from Thanksgiving Day to the weekend.

Don’t dilute your message

Black Friday is a once-a-year event that’s synonymous with particularly steep discounts and deals. Readers want to know they’re getting one of your very best offers. So don’t dilute your promotion by sending a cluttered email that looks like a website. This one from Sweet Paul has too much going on. The email looks more like a magazine page — it’s a list of several separate ads, mixing product photos and plain text with blank white sections.

Subject line: Give the gift of Sweet Paul! 🌟🌲🌟 Black Friday Savings!

black friday email

Put your readers first by giving them something that’s more valuable. Show them content that’s specific, relevant and easy to understand. This email from Logitech uses an attractive design to get across one message: Click to shop Black Friday deals. It’s much easier to scan and much more pleasing to the eye.

Subject line: ⏰ Rise and shine – Black Friday exclusives are selling quickly

marketing email for black friday

Do craft a strong subject line

The week surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday has the highest email volume of the holiday season and the send volume is only increasing. With emails flooding every reader’s inbox, you need to know how to stand out. Start with the subject line. A huge chunk of subscribers — about 35% — decide whether or not to open an email based on the subject line alone.

To boost your Black Friday email open rate, get readers curious about your email by using a subject line that either promises a deal or coupon, has a “how-to” or includes a number. You’ll also want to keep the subject line short. Most mobile devices only display the first six or seven words of a subject line, and data shows that subject lines with 10 words or less tend to have higher open rates. And above all else, test! See what performs better for your audience.

Take a look at some subject lines from last year’s Black Friday:

black friday email subject lines

Don’t forget the preheader text that immediately follows your subject line. Like the subject line, the preheader serves as a screening tool. The first plain text that appears in the email will show up as preheader texts, so make it enticing!

Don’t send a single-image email

Last year, $2.9 billion of Black Friday sales occurred on a smartphone. We can expect the mobile purchase trend to continue. And that means your Black Friday email has to be optimized for mobile screens. Follow these mobile-friendly best practices to help:

  • Use a single column layout
  • Minimize text; choose email-safe fonts and make them large and easy to read
  • Go for a minimalistic design approach (no complex headers, no clutter)
  • Bulletproof your CTA buttons
  • Check that images aren’t huge (allowing for quicker load times)
  • Make it responsive

And the big thing to avoid: Don’t design an email that’s one big, single image (or a collection of big, single images). This message from Bombas is an example of an email that has no plain text. That means it’s likelier to end up marked as spam and eat up space on mobile plans, and it won’t be viewed by readers with image viewing turned off.

Subject line: Black Friday: 20% off everything today

black friday email marketing

Instead, balance images with plain text. Use HTML background colors, bulletproof buttons and content that’s arranged in an inverted pyramid layout.

Do focus on brand trust

Brand trust on Black Friday means your audience trusts you to deliver content that’s relevant and valuable. Offer a real deal — one that’s special and different from your other promotions throughout the year. Toothbrush company Quip announced a “Brush black, give back” campaign, selling a special type of toothbrush and donating the proceeds to provide dental care for disadvantaged families.

Subject line: Introducing All-Black. Give back this Black Friday

creative black friday email campaign

Black Friday doesn’t necessarily need to be about offering 50% off your product. Stay true to your brand’s mission and values and approach the holiday by thinking of what your audience would most appreciate seeing.

Wrap-up: Don’t design alone

For many marketers, November and December are the busiest months of the year. Save time by using the BEE email editor to create your Black Friday emails. Our free Black Friday email templates are the perfect way to promote your brand this fall — and with the drag-and-drop BEE editor, you don’t need a coding background to design beautiful emails customized for your brand. Check out our templates and start designing today!

Black Friday email templates

This is the year of at-home holiday shopping. Use our email templates to stand out!

Our Black Friday email templates are FREE until November 30.

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black friday cover with a black background

Updated November 2, 2020.

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Kelly Shetron