Black Friday Email Campaigns
The Ultimate Guide to Black Friday Email Marketing
It’s almost that time of year again: holiday season. For consumers, this means hitting the shops in earnest. 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 2018 are Black Friday (23rd November), Small Business Saturday (24th November), Cyber Monday (26th November) and Giving Tuesday (27th November).
Spending in the U.S. is estimated to increase this holiday season, with consumers estimated to spend 4.1% more in the 2018 holiday season – on average $1,007.24 per consumer. The total net spend is estimated to come in between $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion. Now is the time to take advantage of peak shopping season.
When it comes to email marketing, the post-Thanksgiving shopping weekend calls for an extra-special campaign. We recommend getting started early. Plan your emails well in advance so that, on the day, you can focus on shipping orders and providing top customer support.
Ready to deliver some pre-holiday season sparkle to the inbox? Look no further. We’ve got tips, ideas and inspiration galore that applies to e-commerce, brick-and-mortars and nonprofits alike!
Note: 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.
#1 Killer Subject Line
First and foremost, you need a zesty email subject line. On Black Friday especially, you are vying for attention in the user’s inbox; if your subject line is weak, it’s already game over. But don’t panic. Crafting a powerful subject line is easy once you know how.
Say one thing and say it well. Why should the reader open your emails? Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday are all about getting awesome deals in the lead-up to Christmas – so highlight what you’re offering. If you’re a brick-and-mortar, provide an incentive to make your contacts choose your store over others to visit.
Remember: Leep it short and sweet. Space is limited, so pick your words wisely. Some email marketers have even started to include emojis. These much-loved icons are a great way to stand out, and definitely add an element of fun. However, be aware that not all email clients support emojis, so some recipients may not see them.
Last but not least, don’t annoy the reader with ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. It looks spammy.
#2 Black Friday Branding
We’re all for consistent branding, but Black Friday is the perfect excuse to shake things up a bit. Why not give your emails a Black Friday makeover? This immediately tells your subscribers that it’s a special occasion – and shows that you’ve made an effort.
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.
#3 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 stand out, 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 a 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. Contrasting colors and above-the-fold positioning make sure that the most important elements of your email are unmissable.
#4 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. Too many images may slow your email down.
#5 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.
#6 Be the Odd One Out
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? Extend your Black Friday email campaign to include an extra day. All the same principles apply – simply pick an extra date before or after the official event and surprise your readers with an additional treat.
If you want to really maximize Black Friday, you could even run a campaign across one or two weeks – or 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:
#1 Black Friday Advent
Want to celebrate the whole of November? Run your own Black Friday countdown. From the 1st of November up until Cyber Monday (26th November), send your subscribers an email containing a treat. This is similar to the advent calendar concept, only this time, your email is the door. Don’t worry, the rewards don’t have to be huge – just enough to keep your readers interested. Start small and increase the value as the countdown goes on.
#2 Treasure Hunt
If you want something a bit more interactive, you could hold a Black Friday treasure hunt. 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.
#3 Black Friday Prize Draw
This is easy and should keep your subscribers tuned in. At various points throughout your campaign, announce three potential winners from your subscriber list. The first one to tweet at you to claim their prize receives a free gift or special discount code, for example. It is best to announce the winners at the end of your email. This way, your recipients have to scroll through the rest of your content in order to find out if their name has been drawn!
#4 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. Gift shopping can be especially tiresome – but makes for awesome Black Friday email content. You could run a series of emails containing gift ideas for every budget, for example. Of course, you can sweeten this content with a discount code or free gift wrapping for every purchase.
#5 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.
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 newsletter saved as a draft. 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 to your newsletter!
Image: William Iven
- Awesome subject line: This is the first thing the user sees – and will have a huge influence on your Black Friday email campaign open rates. Keep it relevant, short and to the point.
- Mobile-ready design: 2017 nearly closed the gap between mobile revenue and desktop revenue. Make sure your newsletter is optimized for mobile! All our email templates are responsive, so this is the easy part.
- Personalized greeting: Address your readers by name. It may seem like a minor detail, but it makes your emails feel more personal.
- Discounts and offers: It wouldn’t be Black Friday without a treat for the user, so don’t forget to include a voucher code.
- Social buttons: It’s not just about driving sales. Your Black Friday email campaigns can also help to raise brand awareness. Include social follow and share buttons.