- Design A Good Offer
- Start Your Black Friday Sale Early
- Create a VIP Early Access
- Tease The Sale
- Segment Your List
- Send Enough Black Friday Emails At The Right Time
- Black Friday Subject Lines
- Optimized Black Friday Email Designs
- The Key To Cyber Monday
- Create Urgency With Last Chance & Last Chance Extended Emails
- Optimize Your Flows For Black Friday
- Don't Forget SMS & Direct Mail
- Send Plain-Text Emails
- Monitor Your Benchmarks
30 Second Summary
So it's time to gear up for Black Friday again. Whether this is your first Black Friday running an e-commerce store, or you've got big goals to hit this year, this comprehensive guide will help you build a Black Friday email strategy for success.
Planning & executing for Black Friday can be overwhelming. There's lots of moving parts & only one chance to get it right. There's inventory checks, prepping your team, coordinating all of your marketing efforts & making sure your website is optimized. We can't help with all of that... but we CAN make it easy for you to finish building your Black Friday email strategy!
In this direct, no-fluff guide, we'll walk you through the 14 major areas you need to focus on to create the Black Friday email strategy for your e-commerce brand that drives record sales & brings you new customers...that you can execute easily. From crafting compelling offers and sending timely emails to teasing the sale, segmenting your list, and optimizing your email designs – you'll get the practical tips to plan, design & execute your Black Friday email strategy.
But don't worry, if you need an extra hand -- our team over at Longplay can help!
1 - Design A Good Offer
The first step before we do anything else, is to nail down a strong Black Friday offer. If your Black Friday deals are weak or confusing to customers, even the best email strategy and campaigns won't work.
When it comes to building a great Black Friday offer, keep it simple and strong. This should be your biggest sale of the year. Customers are expecting big Black Friday deals and you're competing for their dollars against every other brand who are also running sales.
So don't consider anything less than 20% off.
Our tip is to keep it simple with a 25-40% off sitewide sale. It's easy for customers to understand & easy to execute. You can also create extra excitement by offering certain products at a higher discount, which allows you to create ads and subject lines such as "Up to 75% off"!
Other types of offers include providing a free gift with purchase, tiered discounts, or a "build your own bundle" style promotion.
2 - Start Your Black Friday Sale Early
A typical e-commerce brand launches their a 4-day Black Friday promotion, starting on Black Friday, running through Black Friday weekend, and ending on Cyber Monday.
But let's face it, Black Friday sales are launching earlier and earlier each year, and often, the bigger brands are leading the charge.
If you want to gain an edge & get customers' attention early, start the sale up to 10 days before Black Friday. Remember, shoppers are looking for savings & you're competing for their dollars with other brands. This early start gives you an advantage, as it allows you to capture the attention of eager shoppers to purchase from you first before they discover all the other Black Friday deals!
Now, you might be wondering, if I'm doing an early launch, what is the best day to start sending those Black Friday emails? Tuesday or Wednesdays are often great to launch an early Black Friday sale. By sending out your initial emails on these days, you prime your audience and build anticipation, making them more likely to engage with your offers once the sale goes live.
3 - Create A VIP Early Access
Consider using your Black Friday email marketing strategy to make your best customers feel special and drive more sales from them with a VIP Black Friday sale. To execute this email marketing strategy, you can give your most valued customers early access to your Black Friday sale, and/or give them exclusive Black Friday deals such as a free gift with purchase or a higher discount.
Your VIP customers should include customers with a higher lifetime value (LTV) than your average customers, loyal subscription customers, or those who have made over 3 purchases from your e-commerce store.
This approach not only rewards your top customers & can drive these customers to spend more with you during the Black Friday weekend, but also encourages others to strive for VIP status in future promotions.
4 - Tease The Sale
Build anticipation & excitement for your upcoming Black Friday weekend by sending a few Black Friday email campaigns prior to the launch that teases the sale. Save The Date email campaigns are a great email marketing strategy to get interested shoppers to add your Black Friday launch to their calendars to make sure they don't miss it!
Start teasing the sale one to three days in advance, targeting both non-purchasers and lapsed customers who might need an extra nudge to return to your store. Use this opportunity to encourage them to save the date for the big event and consider joining your SMS list or following you on social media for exclusive early access.
5 - Segment Your List
Remember to segment your email list to personalize your Black Friday email campaigns and increase conversion rates. Each segment requires a tailored approach, with unique offers and messaging that resonate with their specific preferences and behaviors. Here are some common customer segments:
- Unengaged Email Subscribers: Warm them up with a few email campaigns before the sale to get them active before the Black Friday weekend!
- Non-Purchasers: Tease the sale earlier & educate them on the different products they might be interested in.
- Purchasers: Recommend products they may like or products they love to stock up on!
- Lapsed Purchasers: Use the Black Friday sale as a chance to win these customers back & recommend products they may like.
- Subscription Customers: You may want to exclude customers who are on an active subscription with you from your main Black Friday offers or create a unique offer just for them.
- VIP Customers: Give VIP customers early access or even an exclusive offer just for them!
Also, don't forget to exclude customers who have already made a purchase during the Black Friday sale. It's not a great customer experience to receive ongoing Black Friday emails if they've already bought!
6 - Send Enough Black Friday Emails At The Right Time
During the Black Friday period, customers' inboxes are being flooded with Black Friday email campaigns... so don't be shy! Aim to send at least an email every day.
If you only send one email during the launch day, the chances of it being missed, by even your biggest fans, is high.
In November, typically aim to send 10-15 emails to build anticipation for your upcoming sale. During the Black Friday sale itself, sending at least one email a day at 10 AM and 2 PM EST can help maintain engagement and drive conversions. On the first and last days of the sale, consider sending two emails each day to create a sense of urgency and maximize the impact of your offers. As for the best time to send Black Friday emails, research has shown that sending them early in the morning tends to yield better results, so consider scheduling your emails accordingly.
7 - Black Friday Subject Lines
Like we said, shoppers' inboxes are being flooded during the Black Friday period so writing eye-catching subject lines to stand out in the inbox is key.
Start by analyzing your best-performing subject lines from previous years and this year's sales to gain insights into what resonates with your audience. Keep your subject lines direct, to the point, and focused on your offer, as customers will be bombarded with numerous offers during this time. Remind customers of what you sell and the unique value you provide.
Here are five great Black Friday subject line examples:
- BLACK FRIDAY: Up to 60% Off Sitewide
- One. More. Day: Black Friday Deals Tomorrow
- VIP EARLY ACCESS: 30% Off Everything
- 40% Off: Vegan Leather Jackets, Boots & Bags
- Get Your Gifts With 30% Off DIY Kits
8 - Create Optimized Black Friday Email Designs
Creating optimized Black Friday email designs is essential to capture your customers' attention and drive them to take action. Ensure your email design features a bold header that prominently displays your irresistible offer. Consider using a countdown timer to add a sense of urgency and encourage immediate action. Remind customers of your unique value proposition and highlight what you sell to reinforce why they should choose your store over others.
Here are some unique Black Friday email examples to inspire you:
9 - Create A Unique, Escalated Cyber Monday Offer
Cyber Monday is a chance to take your promotion up a notch to drive urgency and capture any stragglers that might have held off on making a purchase during your Black Friday sale. You can make the offer even more enticing for shoppers with a bigger discount, such as increasing it from 30% off to 40% off sitewide, or by offering an additional incentive such as a free gift with purchase.
Just make sure to exclude customers that already purchased during your Black Friday sale to avoid unhappy customers and a flood of customer service requests!
10 - Create Urgency With Last Chance & Last Chance Extended Emails
Want to drive even more urgency? Use the "Last Chance Extended" strategy. Here's how it works:
- On the Sunday of Black Friday weekend, send out last chance reminders that the sale is ending that night, urging customers to shop immediately.
- Then, announce your Cyber Monday sale on Monday to keep the momentum going.
- As Cyber Monday draws to a close, send a last chance reminder in the evening that the sale is ending soon
- Then announce a "Cyber Monday Extended" sale on Tuesday for a final sales push
This Black Friday email strategy will help capture shoppers who are holding off on making a purchase & drive more conversions. Just make sure to exclude customers who have already purchased from each of the emails!
11 - Optimize Your Flows For Black Friday
One of the biggest mistakes e-commerce brands make during Black Friday and the holiday season is forgetting to update & optimize their email flows. Campaigns tend to take the spotlight when it comes to Black Friday planning, but flows can generate 15-20% of your revenue during the Black Friday weekend!
To optimize your Black Friday email flows, start by creating a specialized version of your Welcome Flow tailored for new email subscribers joining your list during the Black Friday period. It should announce the ongoing Black Friday deals to them & quickly introduce them to your products. Additionally, you should also integrate Black Friday offer reminders into your Browse Abandonment, Add To Cart, and Abandoned Cart flows, to nudging interested shoppers towards making a purchase during the sale.
12 - Don't Forget SMS & Direct Mail
While email marketing will drive the majority of sales from your retention marketing channels, don't overlook the potential of SMS and direct mail to drive more revenue and convert more customers. These channels can significantly expand your reach and drive more sales. Implement SMS campaigns alongside your Black Friday email campaigns, with a early access, announcement, and last chance SMS campaigns.
Launch direct mail campaigns to prospective customers, non-purchasers, and lapsed customers as another way to reach potential customers that email marketing may not be able to convert
13 - Send Plain-Text Emails
Sometimes, simpler is better. Incorporate plain-text emails as a useful strategy during your Black Friday promotion to break through the noise, land in inboxes & conveniently, are also much easier to create! Plain-text emails feel more personal and authentic, capturing the attention of recipients who are inundated with flashy, graphics-heavy messages during the Black Friday frenzy. A/B test with plain-text emails or use them as reminders to drive urgency.
14 - Monitor Your Benchmarks
Lastly, monitor your email performance using benchmarks to gauge the success of your Black Friday campaigns and see if you need to adjust throughout the promotion period. Start by checking your highest-performing promotional emails from this year and last year's Black Friday sales to set a benchmark.
If you don't have previous performance metrics, aim for a 25-35% open rate, a 2-4% click rate, and a 1-3% purchase rate on your Black Friday email campaigns, but remember that these numbers can vary depending on your industry and the quality of your email list.
Black Friday is the biggest promotional period of the year in e-commerce and it can drive 20-50% of additional sales for your brand when it's run right! Planning & executing a strong email strategy is critical to having a successful Black Friday:
- Craft a simple, but compelling offer to attract customers to your Black Friday sale. Don't have a discount for less than 20% off sitewide.
- Consider starting your sale 3-7 days early and send "Save The Date" emails to build anticipation among your audience.
- Reward VIP customers with early access and personalized offers to foster loyalty and increase engagement.
- Explore SMS and direct mail as additional channels to expand your reach and drive more sales.
- Utilize plain-text emails for authenticity and simplicity, effectively breaking through the noise during the busy Black Friday period.
- Monitor your email performance, benchmark against past campaigns, and aim for specific open, click, and purchase rates to gauge success.
Need a bit more help? Reach out for an audit from our team at Longplay to unlock the full potential of your Black Friday & holiday season!