The Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend sale is almost upon us and if there’s one time of the year that you’ll want to go all out on your email marketing campaigns, this is it.
Especially with over $90 billion in sales expected over the 4-day weekend, and with email expected to be driving a fifth of these sales.
Even if you feel confident with your existing email marketing strategy, Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails represent a different beast entirely. At no other time during the year will as many merchants be sending as many emails vying for a share of your subscribers’ limited attention.
Optimizing your Black Friday sale emails will therefore require you take a slightly different approach to your email marketing than you usually would. Especially when it comes to when and how often you send your Black Friday email campaigns.
In this post, we’ll cover what you should do differently with your Black Friday sale emails and how to space them out in the lead up to and during the weekend.
Send Multiple Emails
This might seem obvious, but when it comes to Black Friday, you shouldn’t stop at just one email.
Ideally you’ll be sending multiple emails spaced out over a few weeks in the lead up to and during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.
If you only send one email, especially on the day of Black Friday, most of your subscribers will miss it and never know about your sale.
By spreading out multiple emails, you’re also able to tailor your messaging in each email based on when you send it. For example your first sale announcement email can be an early-bird offer whereas on Black Friday you can play with creating a sense of urgency.
You can also tailor your emails to different segments of your email list.
This lets you, for instance, reward your loyal customers with a free gift or target shoppers from last Black Friday with special offers.
So exactly what emails should you be sending and when? Well it depends on what kind of offer you have, but the emails below are a good starting point.
Black Friday Sale Teaser Email
Whatever your Black Friday offer, you should get your first email out at the very least a week in advance, preferably at least two.
If you still haven’t finalized your Black Friday offer, no worries. A teaser without all the details makes for a great first Black Friday email. Just like this example from Apple.
Apple’s marketing is world renown, yet all they’ve done is simply teased that their Black Friday sale is coming. This builds anticipation and excitement as people wait to find out what their offers are.
This is an incredibly easy and quick email to get out, so there’s no excuse not to send it a couple of weeks before Black Friday.
Black Friday Sale Announcement Email
Just because you got ahead of your competition and sent your teaser email out early doesn’t mean you can wait until Black Friday to announce more details of your sale.
The second email you send should include your actual offers and be sent ideally at least a week before Black Friday. This builds on your sale teaser email by generating further anticipation
Which is exactly what Apple did.
As announcing offers early is a tactic many retailers are now employing, shoppers now plan their purchases well in advance. So by advertising your Black Friday sale in advance you have a better chance at capturing a greater share of customers’ wallets.
Getting your first couple of emails out early also has another advantage: you have plenty of time to resend it to people who didn’t open it.
By using a tool like SmartrMail’s Send Boost, you can easily resend the email campaign only to those who haven’t opened it. When doing this, it’s best to change the subject line (in case that’s why it wasn’t opened the first time round) and the email content slightly to help with engagement.
Black Friday Sneak Peek Email
When it comes to announcing your sale a couple of weeks in advance, one twist you can put on it is to offer “an exclusive sneak peek” to your customers. Such as like the email from Peel below.
This is a great way to make your loyal customers feel valued and grab the reader’s attention.
Of course, you don’t have to only send this email to your loyal customers. There’s no reason you can’t also offer a “sneak peek” to one time purchasers or even people on your email list who have never purchased.
That said, you’ll want to tweak the email copy slightly for the different audiences.
Saying that you’re offering a subscriber “an exclusive sneak peek at our Black Friday offers as our way of saying thanks for being a regular customer” will seem weird if they’ve never made a purchase.
For actual loyal customers you’ll want to use this kind of wording. Otherwise your email will just seem like an ordinary Black Friday sneak peek offer without the feeling of exclusivity.
To further create a sense of exclusivity you can experiment with creating a password protected landing page and give your loyal customers the password in the email. Seemingly random coupon codes with strings of letters and digits like “12FI993” also works.
Of course, what defines a loyal customer will vary depending on factors like your average order value (AOV) and average purchase frequency for your online store.
If your AOV is $100 you may want to consider anyone with an AOV of above $150 as a loyal customer. Likewise, if customers average a purchase every 4 months, anyone purchasing more than twice in the last 3 months could be considered loyal.
Black Friday Sale Reminder Emails
Don’t go overboard and send emails rehashing the same message about your Black Friday sale every day of November, but a couple of reminders are okay.
There’s no ultimate best time or day to send your Black Friday email, but if your sale starts on Friday, then you’ll probably want to send a reminder on the Thursday. Just like in the example below.
Whether you want to send any additional reminder emails earlier depends on how early you got your sale announcement email out.
If you only announced your sale through email on the Wednesday before Black Friday (certainly not recommended), then there’s not really time to send an additional reminder.
If however you’re better prepared and sent your Black Friday sale announcement email a week in advance, then reminders on the following Tuesday and Thursday should be fine.
Black Friday Email
Once the big day arrives, you’ll definitely want to send another email reiterating your Black Friday offer in the morning.
The goal of this email is to get people to take action and purchase from your store without delay. Just like the email below.
Creating a sense of urgency here can be hugely effective. Especially later in the day as your sale is nearing its end.
Whether it’s by activating people’s FOMO (fear of missing out) or by including a countdown timer to when your sale ends like in the email below from Christopher and Banks.
If your sale is ending on Friday night, then by all means send a few reminder emails on Black Friday. This is probably the only day of the year that you’ll be able to get away with sending multiple emails on the same day.
If your sale lasts until the end of Cyber Monday, you’ll want to space your emails out over the weekend instead of cramming them all into Friday. Leaving the urgent final reminder emails until the Monday.
Cyber Monday Email
It’s up to you whether you decide to have your sale exclusively on Black Friday or have it last the whole 4 day weekend.
Another option however is to have two separate sales: a Black Friday sale and a Cyber Monday sale. Doing so gives people who didn’t make a purchase on Black Friday one final chance to grab a bargain.
If you didn’t create a sense of urgency with your Black Friday sale emails, you definitely should with your Cyber Monday emails.
Simply including a countdown timer in your email design along with some copy such as “Today Only” or “Last Chance” can easily achieve this. Like how Dr. Martens did with their Cyber Monday email.
Another thing you can do to increase the sense of urgency is to make your Cyber Monday sale less generous than your Black Friday sale. That way people realize that the offer is vanishing and unless they want to pay full price, they need to act straight away.
Cyber Tuesday Email
If you’re desperate to clear remaining stock or squeeze as many dollars out of people as you can, you could even try sending a ‘Cyber Tuesday’ email.
While not many retailers will do this, it might be something you want to experiment with. Just don’t create a ‘Cyber Wednesday’ email or you’ll really start to annoy your customers!
Your Black Friday email campaign should be unique not only in what you’re offering, but also how you space out your emails in the lead up to the shopping holiday.
The suggested frequency and times above are a good template to follow, but remember that there’s no single best time to send your Black Friday sales email.
This is not something you can easily hack at the last minute and do well.
Start sending your emails early, build anticipation and as you start increasing the frequency as Black Friday draws closer, turn that anticipation into urgency.