Originally published on November 2, 2020. Last updated October 22, 2021.
The end of the year is the playoff season for email marketers due to the holiday shopping frenzy. Customers receive hundreds, if not thousands, of emails during Black Friday, meaning being sent on Black Friday, retailers, companies and brands are in deep-seated competition for consumer attention.
The exaggerated timeline gives companies an opportunity to invent their own approach to holiday email marketing, getting creative with how and when they offer promotions. In 2020, 60% of consumers planned to shop online to make their holiday purchases, and this percentage is projected to increase for 2021.
Take a look at these do’s and don’ts along with email sequence examples to help make your Black Friday campaign stand out from the pack and be as effective as possible.The exaggerated timeline gives companies an opportunity to invent their own approach to holiday email marketing, getting creative with how and when they offer promotions. Click To Tweet
Why Black Friday — Projected growth and planning your strategy
Black Friday is projected to garner $9.5 billion in sales this season, and the entire holiday season has potential to reach over $200 billion in online spending. If you haven’t focused on crafting a creative Black Friday email marketing campaign before, now is your time.
Black Friday has become somewhat of a tradition for many families. There’s excitement and urgency to snag the best deals to save money on what is the biggest spending season of the year. Because this shopping holiday has grown into this tradition, it means families are more likely to keep buying year after year.
It’s going to keep growing too, and with online shopping, subscribers are finding email content more compelling. Focusing on good email design that’s optimized for mobile, will be at the center of this growth, it’s how you will stand out as a brand.
When planning your Black Friday email marketing strategy, make sure to focus on:
- Starting early. The sooner you start your strategy game plan the better. This will give you more time to get creative so your email campaign will stand out amongst the swarm. Depending on how extensive you want your campaign to be, starting your planning in July, August and even September is a safe bet to be ready for the hype.
- Getting your website ready for the rush. There’s going to be plenty of traffic coming to your website on Black Friday and through that weekend. Develop a landing page to get subscribers excited and even include pop-ups with deals and promotions.
- Home in on your abandoned cart emails. While there’s a large amount of online shopping going down, it’s crucial to note that this will increase the amount of abandoned shopping carts amongst shoppers. They will be comparing prices and bouncing from site to site trying to find the best deals. Have your creative abandoned cart emails at the ready, and include an extra discount to push them to purchase.
- Optimize for mobile. Plenty of online purchases will be made off mobile devices. Plan ahead with a mobile-first approach. Create concise content, clutter-free design (no complex headers and focused messages), tap-friendly navigation and bulletproof buttons (with appropriate padding) and use images with great ALT text for a fully responsive experience.
Now that you’ve done a bit of prep, jump into the do’s and don’ts with crafting some stand-out Black Friday emails.
The Do’s and Don’ts for your Black Friday Emails
Do send a campaign
It’s not only about the email you send on Black Friday. To reel in subscribers, build a campaign that extends before and after the holiday. Millions of Black Friday emails are sent on or sooner than Thanksgiving. 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 builds on the previous email. Let’s take a look at #1, which features tips for surviving a long Thanksgiving dinner:
Subject line: BLACK FRIDAY STARTS NOW
Next up is an email that was sent the morning of Black Friday, telling subscribers they don’t have to leave the house to make their dog happy:
Subject line: How the Grinch stole (record scratch) BLACK FRIDAY?!
Finally, BarkBox wrapped things up in the early evening with one last plug.
Subject line: grinch grinch grinch grinch grinch grinch grinch grinch
This email campaign is a great example of how to create emails that appeal to your subscribers starting on Thanksgiving Day all the way 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. Subscribers want to know your best offers for the day. So don’t dilute your promotion by sending a cluttered email. 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. Show subscribers content that’s specific, relevant and easy to understand
Subject line: ⏰ Rise and shine – Black Friday exclusives are selling quickly
Do craft a strong subject line
While emails flooding subscriber inboxes, it’s crucial to focus on standing out. Start with the perfect Black Friday email subject lines. A huge chunk of subscribers — about 47% — decide whether or not to open an email based on the subject line alone. Use Black Friday subject lines that either promises a deal or coupon, has a “how-to” or includes a number. Keep it short, most mobile devices only display the first six or seven words of a subject line. Also make sure to test beforehand, see what style initiates response from subscribers.
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 forget about building 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
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.
Black Friday pre-launch email examples
The prelaunch before your big Black Friday blowout sales should work to intrigue your customer base. You want to showcase products that will be on sale, while being transparent about the percent-off customers will receive on those products. Include these types of emails in your Black Friday pre launch sequence:
- Teaser. Give customers a glimpse of the products you’re promoting for Black Friday.
- Early access. Let VIP customers in on the sales earlier than the rest.
- Save the date. Include a countdown and an exact hour of when certain products will go on sale.
Here are some examples from brands that we love. Check them out and implement a similar strategy for your Black Friday email marketing.
Sonos gives subscribers a glimpse of what deals are coming. They ask subscribers to make a list and explore their gift guide. The bold CTA button takes readers to a gift guide landing page to check out items to prepare them to buy on Black Friday.
Subject line: Get ready for Black Friday.
It’s best to begin sending emails about Black Friday well in advance — as early as a week prior. Start your sale early too, or simply use the time to increase awareness and anticipation. Joe’s Jeans sent this email on the Tuesday before Black Friday. Since subscriber inboxes will be flooded closer to the weekend, starting early is a good way to get out ahead of the flood.
Subject line: BLACK FRIDAY BEGINS! Up to 30% off
Save the date
Frank & Oak
Whether you’re starting your sale earlier or sticking to a more traditional timeline, give readers a heads-up about what’s coming. It’s a way to drum up excitement and maybe get a better turnout for your promotion. Frank and Oak gives readers the option to schedule their savings with calendar shortcuts. Include a countdown timer in your next email so your subscribers will save the date.
Subject line: Mark your calendar for Black Friday ????
Black Friday launch email examples
When launching your Black Friday emails, it’s crucial to display urgency and excitement. You want customers to pay attention to your Black Friday email above all other businesses, so what you have to offer must be enticing. Run through these types of email for your Black Friday launch sequence:
- Announcement. The day is here. Give subscribers a rundown of what your biggest promotions are for Black Friday.
- Daily deals. Show subscribers deals for both in-stores and online. Get specific with a day-by-day deal display that will show subscribers what deals are on which days.
- Free gift. Offer a free gift when customers spend over a certain amount.
These brands approached their Black Friday sales with these strategies in mind. Try them out for your next campaign.
Before you create your Black Friday sales emails, you need to decide two things: what you’re going to offer and the best method for announcing that method. Clothing company Pact mentioned several discounts in the subject line but focused on the best deal in the body of the email.
Subject line: Doorbusters: $25 hoodies. $5 socks. $15 leggings & more
Yankee Candle offered two separate CTAs: one for shopping online and another that led to an interactive map to help readers find a store location near them. While many Black Friday shoppers still frequent stores, others prefer racking up daily deals online from their couch. If you have an in-store option, create separate CTAs to cater to all shoppers.
Subject line: IT’S HERE: $5 Tumbler Candles
Mac promotes more spending on Black Friday by offering a full-size gift to customers if they hit a certain amount of money spent. This is a great way to make sure customers are buying more than one product to greatly increase your sales. Make sure to craft a fun CTA in your brand voice and showcase the free gift offer in a visible way.
Subject line: Last Day to Choose Your COMPLIMENTARY Full-Size Gift
Black Friday post-launch email examples
The post-launch phase of your Black Friday email marketing campaign is the most fun to create. Bring in more sales by providing additional money-off of products or exclusive offers that customers won’t be able to pass up. Run through these post-launch emails to get in on that post-launch hype:
- Limited availability. Express that certain deals for specific products are only available for a limited time.
- Last chance. Let subscribers know that time is running out and this is their only opportunity to snag those deals.
- Extended. Surprise subscribers with a sale-extension.
Don’t forget about the straggling subscribers. For those that haven’t jumped on your Black Friday deals yet, try these emails to give them that extra push.
Function of Beauty
Be mindful of the language you use in your emails. Inducing FOMO is a great way to get more subscribers to jump on your deals. Function of Beauty added creative CTA copy: NO MO’ FOMO. Their persuasive language explains that their deals are only available for a limited time and that other subscribers have already taken advantage of them. This encourages subscribers that haven’t purchased yet, to purchase.
Subject line: ?ONE MORE DAY! ? 25% off + the color everyone’s talk[ing] about
Boll & Branch
Boll & Branch share with customers that it’s their last chance to get in on the Black Friday sales. They’ve designed their emails around their main selling point (in this case, a 25%-off discount). This is free-from clutter and distraction while also pinpointing the urgency and deadline of the deal.
Subject line: Last chance for Black Friday savings!
Adding a countdown to your email is another smart way to add a sense of urgency, giving shoppers a visual to help them understand that the clock is ticking and they need to act fast to get the deal. Mattress company Leesa sent an email the day after Black Friday, letting customers know they had extended their deal — but that the offer was only available for so long, and their visible timer reinforced that message.
Subject line: Kelly, we’ve EXTENDED our Black Friday offer
Unique Black Friday email marketing strategies
Making sure your Black Friday design and email campaign accurately represents your brand is crucial to building a strong email list that sticks with you each holiday season. Many subscribers identify with and love to support brands that stand for a cause they believe in. Explore these brands that have taken a different approach to Black Friday email marketing and when considering this approach, make sure it aligns with your business values.
For the past few years, REI has closed on Black Friday to bring light to our consumption habits. They’ve started their #OptOutside campaign every year for Black Friday to protest over-consumption and break the shopping frenzy mold.
Subject line: REI is Closing. Again.
While this is a promotional email from Pact, it certainly has a different vibe from most of the others we’ve spotted. And chances are, its readers—who are likely environmentally-conscious folks—appreciate that. Both REI and Pact provide great examples of the importance of knowing your audience, then tailoring the content and design to resonate with them.
Subject line: 10 Tips for a Green Black Friday
Design your Black Friday emails with BEE Pro
An optimized Black Friday email sequence is a game-changer for your business. Focus on crafting a strategy first, then use BEE Pro to implement the design best practices that you’ve gone over in this blog. There’s no coding required here when customizing Black Friday emails to match your brand identity.
If you’re simply running out of time to create a whole sequence, choose from our Black Friday email templates collection to customize. There are plenty of colorful, animated and optimized emails to pick from. Don’t miss out on the holiday shopping hype — solidify your Black Friday email marketing strategy right now.
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