Black Friday Email Marketing Guide to Your Highest Sales Day Ever

Black Friday is one of the most anticipated and profitable days for most brands, including online retailers and traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Nearly 30 percent of a retailer’s annual sales come from the holiday season and Black Friday alone. In addition to massive sales, it’s also the day when all the planning and strategy building over the summer determines whether you make your annual revenue goal or miss it entirely.

Email marketing is your workhorse throughout the holiday shopping season, helping to drive sales, web traffic, and marketing automation emails to help increase and drive more revenue.

This guide is not simply a collection of screenshots of effective marketing strategies from popular brands.

Instead, this post is meant to specifically help you set your company up for success this coming Black Friday, so you are sure to profit.

The 4 key components to successful Black Friday email marketing campaigns


Getting potential customers excited about your upcoming Black Friday sale is essential to maintaining their interest just before your sale kicks off.

Informing your customers of the type of deals you plan to offer is a great way to engage your readers and followers.

By starting your Black Friday email marketing before Thanksgiving, you plant the seed in your customer’s mind when it comes to choosing you over your competitors for their shopping needs.

With your pre-Thanksgiving email, be sure to provide a “sneak peek” into the type of sales and deals you will have available come Black Friday, giving readers a hint but not your entire list of discounts.


Having a sense of urgency with sales helps to encourage customers to act, especially those who are unsure of whether or not they want to make a purchase.

By announcing a preset time for your upcoming sale, your visitors and subscribers become aware of when they must make their purchase in order to cash in on deals and extra savings.

Set a deadline in place for your Black Friday deals, ensuring you generate as much revenue as possible within a set time. This could be a 24-hour special, or split up into “early bird” and “night owl” specials.

Using phrases such as, “This deal expires at midnight,” or, “Deals end on ‘Cyber Monday'” are ideal motivators for customers and encourage them to make a purchase while they are able to get your products or services at a discounted price.

If you notice that competitors in your industry are extending their sales or push similar products as you for their Black Friday sale, it could be beneficial to extend your own deadline. If that’s what you choose to do, then you’ll need to send a second email push out to your readers, informing them of the last-minute change in plans that will allow them to continue saving.


Each email you send to your readers with an automation campaign should focus on different products based on how you have your email lists segmented.

Email list segmentation is crucial when sending personalized emails during this busy time of year. With only 39% of online retailers sending personalized product recommendations via email, segmenting your lists will allow you to create targeted emails that suit your audience’s specific needs.

One way to quickly add personalization to your email messages is by adding a personalized email subject line to capture your readers' attention quickly. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened than generic subject lines, so it’s worth a shot if it means standing out in a crowded inbox.

Subject line: , why wait for Black Friday? Enjoy up to 75% off now!

Additionally, focusing on various products within each individual email you send is a way to easily inform shoppers of what products you have available and the sales you are promoting for your Black Friday event.


There’s a reason retailers need to send the most email campaigns in the fourth quarter of each year. With the holiday rush quickly approaching, your brand needs to be ready to fire off timely messages in order to remain relevant in your audience’s inboxes. However, that doesn’t mean sending messages willy-nilly. Instead, take adequate time to plan out and design a series of emails.

Warm-up your list and increase sending as Black Friday approaches to keep your brand in the minds of your readers and customers.

Sending reminders for ending dates of promotions or “arrive by Christmas” shipping deadlines is always another way to keep your subscribers and customers informed without spamming them.

By sending useful information, it is also much easier to generate sales before individuals miss out on great deals and shipping deadlines during the busy holiday season.

Setting your goals for Black Friday

When getting prepared for an upcoming Black Friday sale, avoid going into your campaign planning without a clear goal in mind.

In order to maximize revenue, your marketing team needs to focus on setting and properly defining goals. It is imperative for your brand’s success that your goals and email campaigns align with your end-of-year objectives.

Goals can range quite a bit and can include:

  • An average order value
  • Beating last year’s net sales
  • Getting more in-store traffic

The best way to clearly define your goals is to use the SMART goal setting method. This method helps your marketing team break down each goal into five very specific categories:

  • Specific goals—detailing who is involved, what you wish to accomplish, what requirements need to be met and why you want to accomplish this particular goal.
  • Measurable goals—forcing your team to ask the hard questions, including, “How will I know when my goal has been reached?”
  • Attainable goals—forces marketers to sit back and think about how realistic their goals truly are. If they are, then address how you will accomplish them.
  • Relevant goals—Are your goals worthwhile? Do they mesh with the rest of your objectives for the season/year?
  • Timely goals—All of your goals should have a set time limit. They could be for Black Friday or they could be by the end of November so there is time to fit in Cyber Monday sales. Create a sense of urgency for your team to help increase time management.

If you are focusing on women’s tops or men’s footwear, be sure to highlight exactly what it is you are promoting within each message you send out during and before your big sale.

Also, be sure your key email marketing metrics are baselines, so you are able to easily and effectively measure the overall success of your Black Friday campaign (ideal for future campaigns you have in mind).

Catchy Black Friday subject lines to try

Engaging your subscribers is one of the most important aspects of running a successful automated email campaign, especially for booming shopping celebrations such as Black Friday.

Because the subject line of an email is the first thing a shopper sees when checking their messages, it is essential to stand out with an enticing opener that will draw them in to learn more about your products and current sales or offers.

Some of the most commonly used words within Black Friday subject lines include:

  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday
  • Holiday
  • Sale
  • Off
  • %

Consider words or emojis that are related to your brand to help your email campaign stand out within a crowded inbox that has additional Black Friday campaigns flooding in.

Use additional product names and phrases that are relevant to your brand when setting subject lines.

Consider the demographic you want to reach as well as the overall profile of segmented email lists you have created (ranging from new subscribers to long-time customers).

Customizing the subject lines of each individual email you plan to send for your Black Friday campaign also provides additional insight when reviewing the metrics of your campaign to determine the best methods of reaching each type of customer or subscriber you currently have.

Going mobile for Black Friday purchases

With nearly 33.5% of all Black Friday sales coming from smartphones and another 10% coming from tablets, using responsive email templates for your campaign is a must to increase your chances of generating revenue.

More than half of all emails opened today are opened using a mobile device, which is why it is so important to create responsive templates for any email campaign you want to send to your customers and current subscribers.

Ensuring your website is mobile-friendly will help to keep your site page bounces to a minimum while allowing all visitors to shop and view your Black Friday sales properly.

Always test each email template you create along with your website’s overall layout prior to launching a new campaign, especially when you are nearing the beginning date of your Black Friday sale.

Testing email templates and your website using different devices is a way to guarantee your users do not run into navigational issues or problems during checkout—especially during a limited time sale such as Black Friday.

Segment your list for Black Friday old

With email automation, list segmentation is a common practice for anyone involved with ecommerce marketing.

However, it is especially valuable for Black Friday promotions and campaigns, regardless of the industry you are in.

Create list segments for:

  • frequent buyers
  • infrequent buyers
  • unique holiday shoppers
  • non-purchasing subscribers

You can then create additional lists for segmented groups as your total subscribers continue to grow in the future.

Additional segmented email lists can also include users who have abandoned their shopping carts and have not completed a purchase online, prompting them to move forward.

The more specific your segmented email lists are, the easier it is to send personalized emails to individuals with relevant titles and promotions that are most likely to encourage them to make a purchase on your website.

When you know more about the segmented groups within your email list, it becomes much easier to reach shoppers at any time of the year, while also being extremely helpful during holiday season sales such as Black Friday.

Black Friday email marketing campaign ideas

The kick-off sale announcement

Sending a kick-off sale announcement email is simple, yet extremely important to inform shoppers that your Black Friday sale has begun.

Some brands start sales early. Real early. Like July.

Keep your subject line and your call-to-action as clear as possible for the most effective outcome.

Include buzzwords, sale percentages, and even specific items you have drastically reduced the price of to keep readers intrigued and to increase your email opening rate.

If possible, include personalization techniques within the subject lines of your Black Friday emails (such as first names of recipients) to attract shoppers to open your emails while also avoiding being flagged as “spam,” especially during busy shopping times of the year.

The incentive

If you are unable to drop your traditional product prices for Black Friday, consider drawing in shoppers with an incentive of some sort. This can come in several different forms, including giveaways, raffles or a free gift promotion.

Create a free gift promotion that is available for shoppers who have spent a minimum amount you have set in place during Black Friday.

Avoid complicating the offer to keep users from feeling confused and potentially turning them away from shopping with your brand and website altogether.

Create attractive banners and headlines on your website’s official front page to promote the giveaway along with high-quality photos of the free gift you are giving away to draw more users in, especially once they have made the leap from reading your email to visiting your website.

Invoking scarcity

Creating urgency with your Black Friday sale is a great motivator for shoppers who may be on the fence about purchasing to click “buy” on your website.

Sometimes, sending a status report on where your inventory stands (especially as it continues to drop) can encourage shoppers to go through with their order in order to avoid missing out on potential deals and discounts from products that are selling fast.

Another way to invoke that sense of urgency is by utilizing a countdown timer within your Black Friday email updates. These GIF timers make it clear to the reader that they have limited time to act, so if they don’t do it now, later may be too late.

Invoking scarcity is a suitable method of getting individuals to act before it’s “too late,” and they are no longer able to make the purchase they want at a truly desirable price.

Using some humor

Using some humor within your Black Friday campaign can be a useful tool if your brand already promotes humor on your website, with your products, or within past email marketing campaigns you have sent.

Even if you do not always implement humor into your campaigns and overall brand, it is a great way to stand out amongst competitors while making a name for yourself and grabbing the attention of shoppers and loyal subscribers.

Bold imagery and animation

Another great way to stand out in the inbox of your subscribers is to make your email appear different than all the others they are likely to receive during Black Friday and the holiday season.

Using custom animated GIFs and colorful graphics that blend well with your brand is a perfect way to do so, especially when your animations and imagery match your logo colors and the overall aesthetic of your brand and website’s layout.

Whether you are using professional graphic design tools or if you are utilizing a generator online to create animations and banners quickly, attractive imagery is a way to surely stand out against competitors while helping potential customers remember your brand and email much easier.

Wrap up

Preparing for an upcoming Black Friday sale with the right email marketing campaign strategy is a way for you to truly stand out in a sea of competitors while attracting more visitors to your website and long-term customers for your brand.

Putting in time and effort when creating enticing and appealing marketing emails using segmented lists is a surefire way to make a name for yourself while building a positive reputation for your company even after the holiday season has passed.

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