Black Friday Email Campaigns That Stand Out

an image of a black handbag and text that reads black friday sale 29th Novemeber

Crafting Black Friday emails doesn’t have to have you tearing your hair out.

They’re a key part of the holiday email campaign cycle, and it’s important to get them right. But you can have fun while you’re creating your Black Friday or Cyber Monday campaigns, too.

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for inspiration. This post is chock full of tips, campaign ideas and even email examples you can nab – everything you need to get your Black Friday email marketing up and running so you can sit back and relax on Thanksgiving Day!

⚫ Black Friday Around the World? Over the past decade, Black Friday has expanded beyond the U.S. to become a celebrated shopping craze in other corners of the world, as well.

But be careful about how you use this term elsewhere! A company in Hong Kong has trademarked the term “Black Friday.” While U.S. courts have determined that the phrase “Black Friday” cannot be trademarked, this legal ruling differs from country to country. In Germany, for example, it remains unclear whether other companies have the right to use this term. Always check the legality of using this term in your locale before implementing it.

Topics Covered

The Long Weekend of Spending: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday

Black Friday used to be a retailer event only – signifying monumental pre-dawn lines, parking lots more packed than a stadium at a Superbowl Game and the serious chance of bloodshed over a Tickle-Me Elmo.

But now other accompanying shopping holidays have cropped up, such as Small Business Saturday, to offer other industries equal opportunities to get a serious share of consumers’ wallet. And thanks to the advent of online shopping, consumers can enjoy the shopping holiday without feeling like they’re competing in a blood sport. For the world of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar and nonprofit, it’s a chance to drive some serious revenue.

The four main events for 2019 are Black Friday (29th November), Small Business Saturday (30th November), Cyber Monday (2nd December) and Giving Tuesday (3rd December).

Spending during these events has been soaring since 2015. In 2018, Cyber Monday broke records, bringing in $7.9 billion in the U.S.

Black Friday Emails Tips: 5 Ways to Impress Your Subscribers

Follow these tips to grab and hold your subscribers’ attention.

#1 Start Early

You are not the only marketer relying on Black Friday email marketing, which is why you have to nab your subscribers’ attention early. Otherwise, you’ll be drowning in the flood of their inbox come Thanksgiving.

Introduce your campaign early to generate awareness and excitement.

Remember that Black Friday/Cyber Monday are about gearing up for the holidays, and people start their holiday shopping before Halloween. This means that you can introduce teasers for your Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotions in mid-October or early November.

#2 Use Black Friday Branding

We’re all for consistent branding, but Black Friday is the perfect excuse to shake things up a bit. Why not spice up your branding with a Black Friday makeover for your emails?

This immediately tells your subscribers it’s a special occasion – and shows you’ve made an effort.

Contrasting colors and above-the-fold positioning make sure that the most important elements of your email are unmissable.

If you want to go all-out, opt for a black background. For a more minimalist approach, use black for your call-to-action buttons.

Black Friday email newsletter

#3 Offer an Unmissable Treat

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all about gift shopping – so be sure to embrace the spirit of giving! Treat your subscribers to something special, be it a personalized voucher code for an extra 10% off or free shipping on all orders.

If you really want to impress, you can always be a little more creative. Try offering a surprise free gift, or pledge to give a percentage of your Black Friday profits to charity.

Not only will this encourage your readers to visit your shop, it’s also an excellent retention strategy. They will look forward to your future newsletters in the hope of another special treat!

Above all, make sure your offers stand out. Leave the reader in no doubt as to what you’re offering – and what they should do next.

Use a clear call-to-action that directs the user straight to your online shop. And make sure that the images, colors and special branding on the landing page match the overall look of your email.

#4 Pull Out Show-Stopping Visuals

The best part about Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails? You don’t need to focus so much on content. It’s all about showcasing your deals and products, so text can be kept to a minimum. This means images can take center stage.

Be it product images from your store, a glitter-effect background or even a funny GIF – Black Friday calls for some extra eye-candy.

This is a great time to surprise your subscribers with something new, but proceed with caution. Pick only a few, choice images. Too many images may slow your email down.

⚫ Psst! Through our integration with Unsplash, Newsletter2Go offers 1,000,000 royalty-free images so you can choose high-quality photography for your email campaigns.

#5 Have Multichannel Fun

The fun doesn’t have to end in the inbox.

Your Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday emails are an excellent opportunity to drive social media traffic. For example, ask your subscribers to tweet their favorite thing about the holiday season (and mention you) for an extra Black Friday treat. Not only is this fun for your existing customers, it may also help you to win new followers – and potential newsletter subscribers.

If you’re stuck for promotional ideas, browse the likes of Twitter and Facebook to see what other companies have done. Don’t forget to link to your newsletter sign-up form on your website and on social media.

Extended Black Friday Email Campaigns: 6 Ideas

Remember to start your Black Friday mailings early. One way to do this is to maximize the whole of “Cyber November.”

Email is an excellent channel for extended campaigns, and if done properly, these are great fun for the reader. Here are just a few ideas you can use to boost customer engagement in peak shopping season. Most of these can be run as short campaigns or throughout the entire month.

#1 Shopping Guides

Black Friday is all about shopping, so why not help your readers out?

Don’t just stop at sales and discounts: Provide indispensable tips and advice. More than a catalog, a shopping guide inspires customers and offers them valuable content. Here are a few ideas for your shopping guide:

  • Identify trends and offer top-ten gift lists for specific personas or segments
  • Compare similar products, highlighting the benefits of each
  • Include quirky upcycling/regifting suggestions for last year’s products
  • Cluster gift ideas together and explain why two gifts are always better than one: a camera with a high-powered lens, a bestselling novel with its sequel
  • Highlight gifts at varied price points to satisfy all budgets

Gift shopping makes for awesome Black Friday email content. Spread these ideas across a series of multiple emails.

#2 Products in Focus

In addition to a generic Black Friday sale, consider spotlighting different products at different times.

If you want your campaign to run throughout November, you could focus on a different product each week.

For example, week one could be shoe week, where all newsletter subscribers receive an extra discount on selected footwear. Introducing limited-time offers also adds a sense of urgency, helping to persuade the user to make that purchase.

#3 Discount CountDOWN (not up)

Sales with increasing discounts have become as common as tasteless, shelf-stable white bread.

Three days left to go, get select products for 50% off!

Two days left, and now items are 75% off!

While this increasing discount (or count-up) sales technique can work to move unwanted stock out of your warehouse, it ends up rewarding last-minute shoppers and punishing those who plan early. What’s worse: These types of sales are often combined with fake-out deadlines.

You know the drill. You’ve seen it in your own inbox a million times.

TODAY’S the LAST DAY to save!

And then the next day, you get another email that screams:


In other words: “Haha. JK.”

While this type of approach can sometimes be effective at clearing out stock, over time it erodes trust with your consumers. Essentially the message you’re sending them is that you lied in your previous email.

So try something different this holiday season. Instead of focusing on moving your product, think about rewarding those people who shop early. Hook the planners and the plotters by offering your biggest rewards at the beginning of the sale. And divulge the scale of the whole campaign up front. It’s a discount countdown.

Celebrate Black Friday early! Get 50% off all purchases made by November 20! “Not ready to commit to your gift choice yet? These items will still be on sale through Black Friday, but only for 35% off. So make that decision soon!”

#4 Stellar Abandoned Cart Emails

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a great time of year to push abandoned cart emails.

Try one of these as a mini-campaign, set to run right around the holiday weekend. A helpful nudge that the item someone had in their cart has just gone on sale can be a powerful motivator.

Check out the sample sales copy below for a Cyber Monday abandoned cart email.

#5 Post–Black Friday Fun

By the time the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales roll around, your subscribers will have received plenty of deals in their inbox. What they may not expect is a post-event discount.

Want to really get in your customers’ good books? Start your Black Friday email campaign after the event! All the same principles apply. Catch those who missed the event. (Just don’t deceptively extend your current deal one more day. See above, no. 3!)

Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? We’ve got a post–Black Friday deal to perk you up!


Can’t get enough of Black Friday? It doesn’t have to end!

This is the kind of campaign that will work well for the last-minute shopper. If you choose to run this campaign alongside other Black Friday campaigns, just make sure you segment your audience well, so no one receives different offers on the same items.

#6 Treasure Hunt

If you want something a bit more interactive, you could hold a Black Friday treasure hunt.

For example, each email contains a question or riddle. The answer to the question can then be used as a discount code on your website. You can add a sense of urgency by making the discount code valid for a few days only. The key here is to avoid making the questions too easy – otherwise the reader will lose interest.

⚫ Note: If you plan on running an extended Black Friday campaign, consider the intervals at which you send your emails.

You want your campaign to be fun, not fatiguing, so consider leaving a few days between each email rather than sending something daily. Or, if you send daily, make each email unique and interesting on its own.

Black Friday Email Examples

Still need additional Black Friday inspiration? Check out these sample email campaigns below and crib the copy!

Campaign Copy for Straightforward Sales Campaign Using Urgency

Campaign Launch: Early November
Campaign Content: Discount promotion for a retail store
Number of Emails: 3–5
Advantages: Direct prospective customers to Black Friday sales and discounts; boost brand loyalty and subscriber engagement.
A HTML email that reads: Email 1: Send in early November Subject line: Want to look your best for the holidays without breaking the bank? Preview text: Get up to 75% off this Black Friday on top brands including Gucci and Moschino Hey Sasha, We know that as the holidays approach, it's easy to become stressed and overwhelmed … but here’s something that’ll cheer you up. Never in our history have we offered such a wide selection of top designers and brands for such a low price. That’s right. For Black Friday this year we’re preparing to offer the BIGGEST discounts in history! We can't reveal everything just yet. But select items will be available for up to 75% off. Get a Sneak Preview of Black Friday Sales Add our upcoming Black Friday sale to your Google or iCal calendar. The store opens at 7 a.m. You don't want you to miss this. Map your route to our door! We seriously cannot wait for you to see theses prices!!! Happy shopping, Michèle, Head Fashionista Maison Michèle
A HTML email that reads: Email 2: Send 2 days before Black Friday Subject line: 2 More Days! Get Up to 75% Off Your Favorite Brands! Preview text: Yep, we’re serious. Up to 75% off! OMG! Sasha! It's almost here! 2 days until you can shop for your favorite brands for up to 75% OFF SELECT ITEMS! From Ralph Lauren to Chanel, Burberry and Prada, save big on some of this season's hottest trends. We promise you won't want to shop anywhere else for your holiday clothing. Take a peek at what’ll be on sale. Can You Handle the Wait? Make the most of this Black Friday without breaking the bank on your favorite brands and top designers. Remember: Our doors open at 7 a.m.! See you soon, Michèle, Head Fashionista Maison Michèle
An HTML email that reads: Send the morning of Black Friday Subject line: Our Black Friday Sale Starts in 3 … 2 … 1 Preview text: Pssst. Our doors close at 10 p.m. Sasha, it's here! Black Friday has arrived! Why haven’t you? You’d better hurry. Because we’ve got a last-minute surprise for you! In addition to our discounts of up to 75% off selected top-brand items, we’ve got a special coupon for you. Get 10% off your ENTIRE purchase in addition to the already low savings we’ve got! Only for today! Get Your Coupon Now! Those are some serious, serious savings. We hope you love them as much as we do! Our doors close at 10 p.m. so don’t miss this! Happy shopping! Michèle, Head Fashionista Maison Michèle

Campaign Copy for Cyber Monday Abandoned Cart Campaign

Campaign Launch: Thanksgiving/Black Friday
Campaign Content: Abandoned cart campaign
Number of Emails: 3
Advantages: Encourage subscribers to return to your website; incentivize subscribers/past shoppers to revisit your website to complete their purchase
An HTML email that reads: Email 1. Send on Thanksgiving Subject line: Happy Thanksgiving! Ready to skip the Black Friday Lines? Preview Text: Save up to 50% off items in your shopping cart this Cyber Monday! Happy Thanksgiving, Avery! We hope you are enjoying your holiday! While Black Friday may seem tempting at times, we know what a hassle those lines can be. Take it from us, we prefer Cyber Monday ourselves. Which leads to our point. We've noticed you still have some items in your shopping cart. While we could simply ask you to return and check them out again, we wanted to offer you something even better. Those items in your shopping cart will be on sale during Cyber Monday! Not only will YOUR items be on sale, but other items will also be on sale for up to 50% off. Yep, we went there. Up to 50% on electronics in all categories. Check Out Our Cyber Monday Sales Now, you have the chance to not only save on items you already wanted but also to cash in on your favorite electronics with mega discounts! We hope to see you there! Joe from Big Box Electronics
An HTML email with an image of a clock that reads: Email 2. Send on Sunday night before Cyber Monday Subject line: Our Cyber Monday Sale Starts Tomorrow! Preview text: You Have an Item in Your Shopping Cart That Will Be On Sale! Avery, this is urgent. There are less than 24 hours to go! Are you ready for it? Not only are we offering sales on electronics for up to 50% off, but we also wanted to remind you that an item in your shopping cart will go on sale. Grab it while you can and save big time! Take advantage of major sales and steep discounts on all your favorite electronics. Our Cyber Monday sale begins tomorrow at midnight EST sharp. Add a reminder to your Google Calendar, iCal or Outlook. Our inventory is limited. Once items are out of stock, they’re no longer eligible for our Cyber Monday sale price. Here’s What’s Going on Sale See you tomorrow! Joe from Big Box Electronics
An HTML email that reads: Email 3. Subject line: Up to 50% off Starts NOW Preview text: The total $$$ of your shopping cart just plummeted! Avery, This is it! The items in your shopping cart are currently on sale! Check out within the next 5 hours for serious savings. Save on: televisions, desktop computers, laptops, digital cameras, accessories and more! We also have items on clearance for up to 50% off. These prices are unheard of! Get to the Cyber Monday sale NOW! Act fast! Our stock is limited and once it’s gone, it’ll no longer be available for its discounted Cyber Monday sale price. Happy hunting this Cyber Monday! Joe from Big Box Electronics

In Sum …

The success is in the planning.

Set up a schedule so you know which email needs to go out when, and if possible, have each individual campaign finished long before they’re scheduled to be sent.

Finally, don’t be shy about promoting your Black Friday campaign! Let your subscribers know they can expect something special, and give potential subscribers yet one more reason to sign up for your newsletter!

For more ideas, check out our Playbook for Holiday Email Campaigns.

About the Author

Mara Taylor
Online Marketing Manager at Newsletter2Go

Was this post helpful?

Thank You!
  1. Richa via SEM Updates -

    Wow! That’s an amazing collection of the email campaign examples. It is helpful.

Leave a Reply

Hallo, wir haben auch eine deutsche Seite für Österreich.

Bring mich zur Seite auf Deutsch
No thanks, I'll stay on the English website

Hallo, wir haben auch eine deutsche Seite für die Schweiz.

Bring mich zur Seite auf Deutsch
No thanks, I'll stay on the English website

Newsletter2Go uses cookies to make sure you have the best possible experience on our website. To continue on to the website, please agree to our >cookie policy. I agree.