Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

Black Friday Email Marketing: Your 4-Step Holiday Sales Guide

The shoppers are lining up with their wallets out and credit cards at the ready: Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) is the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Shoppers spent US$7 billion in 2018, and are expected to top that this year.

So you’ve gone through and got your website ready, updated product descriptions and images and set your deals up.

There’s just one thing left to do: get the shoppers to where you want them: at your store. And theres’s no better way to do it than email marketing.

Here’s our super guide to getting your Black Friday Email Marketing right.

Why is Email Marketing important for Black Friday?

Over the Black Friday 2018 weekend, email was a key driver of sales at 24%, compared to 18% for organic search and 1.1% for social media. [Adobe]

According to Shopify, email campaigns were the highest-converting marketing tool in 2017.

Emails are increasingly integral to a successful marketing campaign, providing the most predictable source of traffic. The trouble is, every retailer will also be trying to compete for your customers’ attention (and dollars) with their own emails.

Here’s our four-part plan for making your Black Friday email campaigns a success.

How to build your list for Black Friday email marketing

With just weeks to go before the biggest shopping event of the year, building up your list of customer emails will greatly impact your BFCM revenue. Each email on the list is a potential customer, and some

Here is some advice to boost your email list:

If you don’t have an existing email list, read on for some ways to get started.

1. Events:

Signup sheets are a great way to collect email addresses at events and at your store.

2. Business cards:

Exchanging business cards with others and adding gamification as an incentive that allows your customers to receive gifts, offers, etc encourages more people to sign up with you to receive emails.

3. Freebies

Offering birthday rewards, giveaways and refer-a-friend deals for email subscribers help to drum up interest in your store and have more people sign up.

4. E-mail registration prompts

When returning and potential customers visit your website and business blog, having email registration forms on every page of your site will help to add them to your email list.

On social media platforms, you may drive traffic towards your website so they can sign up as an email subscriber.

5. Discounts/Deals

Offering discounts and deals which are time limited in exchange for their email addresses are very effective in helping to build your email list. Eg: Free shipping with minimum purchases.

6. Excluse Deals:

Capture the attention of your target audience by offering exclusive deals for email subscribers. This will grow your email list when people sign up for your deals.

Rewarding your loyal customers during BFCM is a great way to give them the chance to benefit from an earlier sale or exclusive offers, and act as an incentive for potential customers to leave their email before leaving your store.

Now that you have an email list, here are some great tips to get started on a powerful email marketing campaign.

What are the best Black Friday email examples?

When figuring out which Black Friday email campaigns to send, there are a few common types of emails:

  1. The Freebies Giveaway Email
  2. The Buy Now or Miss Out Email
  3. The Sneak Peek/Check Back Email
  4. The Surprise & Delight Email
  5. The Direct Sales NOW! Email
  6. The Even More Discounts Email

1. The Freebies Giveaway Email  – Ottega

Subject line: [Pre-Black Friday Sale] Free Dragon Engraved Ring Starts Now

The Awesome: Ottega had free giveaways for the first 1000 customers as its Pre-Black Friday Sale.

black friday email marketing examples - freebies giveaway referralcandy ottega

Click to view the full email from Ottega

Why it works: Ottega used the free gift as an opportunity to raise excitement for its Black Friday sales. Offering a free gift – and quite a fancy one at that – is a great incentive to attract customers to visit their website on Black Friday. The ‘First 1000 Orders’ call to action creates urgency for email subscribers to visit the shop to get the free gift and attracts them to their store to check out other items that may interest them before BFCM.

How to implement it: You can offer free gifts with a minimum purchase amount. Increasing your average order value will help to offset the cost of the gift — and make sure your customers spend more at your store. Giving back to your email subscribers with free gifts before BFCM makes them feel special and encourages return purchases. Instead of giveaways, you can also run a contest instead, with a chance to win prizes for each dollar spent or purchase made.

2. The Call-to-Action Email: Buy Now or Miss Out

Subject line: Uh-oh, you’re about to miss out…

The Secret Sauce: Crystal Vaults has a countdown timer that shows 6 hours is remaining.

black friday email marketing examples - buy now miss out email crystal vaults referralcandy

Click to view the full email from Crystal Vaults

Why it works: This email stands out with a call to action for subscribers to act with urgency if they wish to purchase any items or to check the store for any last minute deals. By sending an email with a countdown timer, email subscribers who missed out on your event have the opportunity to check out your sale before it ends and for other subscribers to make repeat purchases from your store.

How to implement it: Add a countdown timer, last minute deals, and free gifts to attract new and existing customers to check out your sale before it ends.

3. The Sneak Peek / Check Back Email

Subject line: New Black Friday Deals Every Day This Week!

Content: Book Depository offered new deals every 24 hours.

black friday email marketing examples - freebies sneak peek check back books depository referralcandy

Click to view the full email from Books Depository

Why it works: This email creates a surprise and a sense of urgency for people to check their website daily for new deals, thus allowing new email subscribers to purchase from the store and existing subscribers to make repeat purchases within the time limit to get the deals.

How to implement it: You can offer new sale items that are appealing to your customers, and change these items every few hours to keep your customers checking back your store for new deals.

4. The Funny Surprise & Delight Email

Subject line: Our first ever holiday offer. 20% off this weekend.

Content: quip used humor to attract attention in a memorable way for its audience.

black friday email marketing examples - surprise delight comedy quip referralcandy

Click to view the full email from Quip. Credit: Really Good Emails

Why it works: Humor takes our attention away from the fact that we are being sold to. Humor is not expected in ads and using it in your Black Friday Cyber Monday emails help you to stand out.

How to implement it: Use a simple and interesting subject line that is customized to your target audience with a good design.

5. The Funny Surprise & Delight Email

Subject line: Black Friday is NOW LIVE

What Works Here: Sephora is extremely direct: the Black Friday Sale is now on.

black friday email marketing examples - direct sales now sephora referralcandy

Click to view the full email from Sephora

Why it works: Sephora clearly indicates that the 15% sale is now on and created a call to action for their email subscribers.

How to implement it: Use a clear subject line announcing the event or discount and include a call to action to lead your customers to your store to make their purchase before your sale ends.

6. The Extra-Extra discounts Email

Subject line: Black Friday-Cyber Monday Sale! Extra 30% off coupon on selected hotels + double points on the app

What Works: Expedia giving additional discounts to stand out from its competitors.

black friday cyber monday

Actually, that’s the full email – Expedia were very concise

Why it works: The additional discount coupons present an irresistible offer as a call to action for customers.

How to implement it: You may send a customized email for previous and potential customers. For previous customers, you may send them a special VIP discount code that gives them further discounts for their purchases. They are likely to buy again if they have already purchased from you before. If you have customers who have purchased from you within the past 30 days, it is good to include them in your marketing strategies.

For potential customers, email them the deals you will have on the day itself to have them return to keep checking back.

How to prepare the Content of your Black Friday marketing emails

Now we come to the crux of the matter — what do you put into those Black Friday emails? It all starts with subject lines & copywriting tips to get customers opening emails.

Copywriting Tips for Black Friday Email Subject Lines

Black Friday is the time of the year when e-mail boxes get flooded with tons of emails and standing out from your competitors is crucial for your business.

Your email subject line is the first thing your customers read when you send out your email marketing blast.  Here are some tips to help you with creating that irresistible email campaign.

  • Be direct in your message: The Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend is highly competitive – and shoppers are willing to buy. Be clear about your offer.
  • Stress and highlight time-limit deals and limited edition deals: Create a sense of urgency with an expiration date, or scarcity (“Limited items in stock!”)  This is related to our next item…
  • Make use of words that sell: Play on emotions to cue action and spontaneity in your customers. Words like exclusive and insider make the customer feel like they have a special deal, while phrases like ‘amazing deals’, ‘incredible discounts’ and ‘outrageous discounts’ tell them how potent it is.
  • Have a ‘call-to-action’ for your customers with a simple, direct message: Most eCommerce stores have a ‘Buy Now’ button because it works. It’s a perfect call-to-action; a simple instruction combined with an immediate time frame. ‘Check out’, ‘Buy before it’s too late’ and ‘Shop now’ are variations.
  • Personalise Emails to Customers: Past customers who have made recent purchases may be looking for deals on what they bought before, or for the VIP treatment with gifts and special deals for loyal customers. New sign-ups who haven’t bought anything might be waiting to for the Black Friday deals – so hit them with the catalogue.
  • Use humour: Lianna Patch of Punchline points out that humans like humour – and humorous copy can build a genuine connection with your customer, helping you convert. We have some puns & funny thoughts below for you to steal.

What are the Best Template Builders for Black Friday Emails?

Below are some of the best free email template builders to help you get started:

  • Postcard – This is an email template builder that allows you to create and edit your email templates online without any coding skills. Free trials are available.
  • Pabbly Email Marketing – This builder allows you to easily keep track of your contacts, email lists and customer communication. Its free plan allows you to connect up to 3 SMTP servers.
  • SendinBlue – This is an email editor that allows you to create attractive email newsletters without any coding skills. Their free Drag and Drop email builder tool allows you to personalize your emails.
  • BEE Free – BEE Free is an email marketing service provider that simplifies the process of creating emails and newsletters.

This is not an exhaustive list, but will get you started.

Content Ideas to Put in Your Black Friday Emails

Stand out from your competitors — don’t just send a page of discounts & product offerings. Here are some more content ideas for your Black Friday campaigns:

  • Promotional Content Calendar: Include ‘Save the Date’ and ‘Add this event to your calendar’ links so that customers will remember your Black Friday promotions.
  • Add a Countdown timer/’Only ___ Left in Stock’: This tool builds scarcity and helps your customers take more immediate actions by making a faster purchase decision instead of taking their time to compare your products with your competitors.
  • Exclusive products (only available only during BFCM): These type of offers also creates urgency and builds scarcity for your customers to make faster purchases. Plus, your customers have to be on your website to get it.
  • Daily/Hourly deals and discounts: This creates incentives for your customers to keep checking your store for the latest deals and discounts.
  • Gift Guides: Christmas is just around the corner, after all. Inspire your customers to shop for the others in their life.
  • Talk about your Returns Policy: A fair and clearly communicated returns policy can help inspire trust in your customers and puts them at ease for purchases – and can help you avoid returns due to buyer’s remorse later on.
  • Offer Some Discounts: A classic idea, but one that works. Whether it’s Buy One Get One offers, Refer a Friend, limited time and supplies: These discounts combine elements of urgency and scarcity.

When is the best time to send Black Friday emails?

Many holiday shoppers begin their online searches for their purchases as early as October. According to research by CampaignMonitor, the best time to send Black Friday emails is on Thursday, 7th November 2019 or a week after Halloween as this gives your customers a break after the Halloween season.

Announcing your BFCM deals and sale by sending out details of your event early to existing customers drums up anticipation for your event.

The Best Date for Black Friday Emails: A week early, then Tuesday & Sunday

Begin your email campaign at least a week early with three emails; one sent a week before BFCM to build interest and hype up your deals, the second email early on Black Friday to present your deals to your customers, and the third email containing last-minute deals when traffic begins to slow down.

  • The first email teases your subscribers with a sneak-peek of your upcoming events and discounts before BFCM. This keeps them on the lookout for your promotional announcement.
  • The second email will create a sense of urgency for your customers to click through your website.
  • This last email will help to attract some last minute shoppers interested in your deals. Include a countdown timer, flash sales and highlight limited edition items with your email to create a sense of urgency for your customers to purchase their items before the sale ends.

cyber monday marketing

Source: Campaign Monitor

The Best Time to Send Emails: First thing in the Morning

Schedule your Black Friday Cyber Monday emails based on time zones for domestic and international customers, and during the peak of your online email users.

According to Shopify, “order traffic on Black Friday steadily increased until hitting a 12 p.m. peak.”

For UK & Europe consumers peak sales times:

black friday marketing

Source: SalesCycle Twitter

4. After Black Friday: How to Follow Up

Don’t lose out on the opportunity to grow your sales for the rest of the year. With teh right follow-up, you can turn the surge sales on Black Friday into recurring revenue.

  • Send Relevant Content: A relevant eBook, resource, or New Year New You gift guide would be a thoughtful way to build a relationship with your customers beyond transactions
  • Retarget & Lookalike Audience: Using Facebook Pixels, you can create lookalike audiences to target customers for another purchase
  • Enrol them in your referral customers: A referral program turns one-off customers into repeat buyers and brand advocates for you

Darren Foong

Darren works on Growth at ReferralCandy. He spends too much time reading fiction, performing improv, and doing things that don't scale. One day he hopes to be quite interesting.

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