Black Friday Emails: Initial Preparation, Tips, and Examples for 2023 [Updated]
Designing Black Friday emails so they convert is one of the biggest challenges you will face this month.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) is one of the biggest events of the year. Everybody is looking forward to it.
While offline retailers and online entrepreneurs see it as an excellent opportunity to maximize revenue and get rid of old stock; customers consider it as a chance to treat themselves with good discounts and long-awaited gifts.
Although this event brings joy, it does not mean that you, a business owner, can sit back and relax. It comes with some of the toughest competition ever. Subscribers’ inboxes will be barraged with promotional email newsletters, and your task is to get noticed.
To meet this challenge and emerge victoriously, we have prepared a guide that covers the best black Friday emails, how to send them, when to send them, and every other detail.
Initial Preparations for Sending Black Friday Emails
An efficient BFCM email newsletter takes some advanced work. Prepare to ensure that your email campaign will not fail during the busiest sales days of the year. Let’s start with the basics.
#1. Clean Subscription List
Even though BFCM is a special weekend when everybody will be waiting for discounts, it does not mean that you should bombard subscribers who are not interested. Of course, you can send “we miss you” emails with BFCM reminders, but the best thing to do is to send to engaged subscribers. Therefore, clean your subscription list and segment the audience to ensure that your BFCM announcement won’t bounce from every inbox resulting in bad rates.
Remember, although BFCM weekend is an apotheosis, yet it is certainly not the end. It is a part of marketing strategy, and an opportunity to secure subscribers and add new ones.
#2. Collect Data in Advance
A good BFCM campaign depends on your ability to shoot straight. Use the year, especially November, to collect data about customers. What do they like? These stats can become a perfect starting point in choosing what deal to stress in your email to lure potential buyers in without much pressure. Make the BFCM newsletter meet the expectations of your subscribers.
#3. Warm the Audience Up Beforehand
Warming the audience up beforehand enhances the Black Friday and Cyber Monday email campaign. As a rule, people start to buy presents before the holiday. Send them a newsletter with a special coupon that will be valid during the weekend. You can also tease customers with upcoming sales sneak peeks to create buzz and interest. Use Postcards for that.
For those of you who already have an idea on how to create a conversion-driven design that will beat any competition, we recommend setting your eyes on free HTML email template builder, Postcards. With more than one hundred pre-designed, fully responsive, cross-compatible modules and intuitive drag-and-drop visual editor, it will help to bring your idea to life in a matter of seconds. No design or development skills are required: enjoy the process.
Quickly build a beautiful email newsletter without coding like one featured below to awaken curiosity and direct the attention toward the future event.
#4. Use a Website to Your Advantage
BFCM campaigns are a collective work. Your website is your assistant when it comes to sales so it should be dressed up as well. Use it to create proper anticipation for the event. You can
- Add banners
- Scatter BFCM-related graphics throughout the design
- Emphasize an event in the content using infoboxes
- Change the design of the hero area for the holiday
- Add to the popup subscription box a small reminder about the big event
- Create a landing page
Inform users that special offers for the subscribers are coming soon; so it is better to check the inbox for early bird discounts. Stay consistent across all the mediums.
#5. Use Other Channels
Along with using social media profiles to notify followers about the upcoming event, you can also go for a traditional advertisement on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Telegram. Even SMS can do the trick here.
When to Start Black Friday Email Campaign?
The Black Friday this year is on the 24th of November. It’s a good practice to start your Black Friday email campaign around a week before 24th November, i.e., 16th or 17th November.
You campaign must have at least 3 email series:
- Teaser email: One that introduced your deal with the customers
- Discount email: Another one to reveal the discounts you offer
- Follow-up email: A third that closes with a last-chance reminder
You can send these with two-day gaps. An email series like the one above is far better than sending just one email. Why? Multiple emails help you stay on top of your customers’ minds.
Let’s get straight into some Black Friday email examples now.
Black Friday Emails Examples [Cyber Monday Included]
#1. Forever 21 – Inspiring and Enviable
Forever 21 Email
We are going to start our collection with Forever 21 and their mind-blowing email marketing campaign. It is one of the most inspiring and enviable examples so far. The team behind it has gone above and beyond just offering a discount.
As we have mentioned several times in our guides, BFCM weekend is not only about one email newsletter. This is one of those times when you can send out not just one or two but many email newsletters without ruining your rates. The best practice is to knock on the door several times. However, all these knocks should be different. It is here where Forever 21 shows us how to do it properly and create emails that convert.
The team has prepared a series of email newsletters that are tied with one theme, yet do different stuff. Everything begins with the announcement of BFCM weekend. The newsletter is straight to the point: it includes just a headline, discount, and CTA. Even though they have used all the trappings of a traditional Black Friday email, nevertheless they have won the audience with a brilliant idea. They have included a digital version of the scratch card by adding goldfields with different discounts underneath. In this way, they not only have stood out from the crowd, but they have also attracted and stirred up interest. What’s more, they have also used animated GIFs to spice things up.
The next letter informs us about the nearing end of the event. The email newsletter uses the same design features, yet this time the first goldfield is crossed out. Here the team has played a card of scarcity and urgency.
And the last one has an element of surprise. It declares the extended sale and special discount. Again, the scratch card is here.
All the email newsletters focus on a singular goal, yet they try to achieve it in different ways. The smooth transition between the email newsletters creates not just a sense of consistency but most importantly, excitement and anticipation of something big coming. Forever 21 triggers various sensations in subscribers as well as plays time-proven psychological tricks to get the desired result.
The campaign by Forever 21 is truly one of a kind. However, if you do not have time on planning and bringing to life such a sort of strategy, you can always bet everything on one or two email newsletters with a unique design.
Let us explore several outstanding examples.
#2. West Elm – A Well-Balanced Email
Email Newsletter by West Elm
West Elm stays away from minimal solutions and prefers to be quite loud. Their email strategy jumps out at you. However, they keep a fair mix of images and text, bringing about a well-balanced design. They have stepped up their game with clever usage of typography and dynamic content. Do you see the lamp on the top? It turns on light and illuminates the deal. Props on using gifs in such a smart way: the team shows the product and at the same time brings focus to the offer. Big, loud, and smart.
#3. Bloomingdale’s – Take a Storytelling Approach
While some prefer to fix on minimal solutions and put offers straight on the table, others indulge themselves in a true storytelling approach opting in favor of long email newsletters. While this is not the best practice for a busy BFCM weekend, it still has its own merits and a chance to stand out from the crowd. Consider Black Friday from Bloomingdales.
Bloomingdales’ announcement of BFCM weekend is a real festival of colors, fonts, and graphics. It is made in neon style. You can see many street signs that catch an eye with the bright charisma. Although the design is jam-packed with information, yet it looks organic and undoubtedly enticing.
#4. mbyM – The Ingenious Email Design
Black Friday from mbyM
Although big numbers, as well as the magic word “SALE”, can go a long way, it does not mean that you should rely solely on them. Sometimes creative content, and of course ingenious design can save the day even taking up just a small area. Black Friday email newsletter sent by mbyM is a point in case.
Here you will find only two things: headline and an image in the footer. However, it is enough to not just convey the message but also meet the atmosphere of the event as well as add a touch of brand identity. How can it be done? Simple. mbyM is a company that specializes in women’s clothing. Therefore, the team has taken a photo of iconic black lace underwear and used it as a primary tool for decorating the design. All the elements, except for the discount offer, are made from it. Just brilliant.
#5. Lou and Grey – A Simplistic Approach
Black Friday Email Newsletter by Lou and Grey
The team behind Lou and Grey has gone in the opposite direction as NYXCosmetics with their email newsletter. They have skillfully abstracted from the brand identity and products choosing a neutral illustrated approach. However, it still drives traffic since the team managed to skillfully interweave scarcity into design. “Time is ticking away” here. In addition, they get a few points for the simplicity of the approach that certainly garners extra conversions.
#6. NYXCosmetics – Text + Visual
Cyber Monday Sale
The Cyber Monday email newsletter from NYXCosmetics sticks to the company’s core value. This whole email — from its copy to the imagery — meets the brand identity of the store. However, this time, the team has decided to add more information and visual content. They have shown products and offers together resulting in a bit of overcrowded design.
However, thanks to a one-column layout and well-thought-out play with typography, the readability was saved. The team has creatively highlighted top products by using them as a frame on the back, and at the same time, they have skillfully touted the discount by placing it right in the middle of the fuss.
#7. Apple – Text Heavy Email
Back Friday Announcement by Apple
Much like the previous example, the email newsletter from Apple also sticks to its roots. The company is famous for its love to build their strategies around brand identity. And this approach certainly pays off since we recognize it everywhere.
Their BFCM announcement is a place where minimalism meets perfection. The team has foregone images and opted in favor of traditional black-and-white coloring spruced up with a generous amount of whitespace. It is incredibly oversimplified, yet it does what it should – instantly deliver the message to the crowd.
#8. BaubleBar – An Outstanding Black Friday Email
Black Friday Email Newsletter by BaubleBar
Standing in stark contrast to the previous example, BFCM email newsletter by BaubleBar embraces the power of brand identity and the magic word “Exclusive”. In a core, it is just a sleek picture overlaid with the discount; however, here this old-school trick was taken to the next level. The design, content, and brand go hand in hand. Note several things:
- The signature pink makes the whole email very on-brand so that customers recognize it instantly.
- “35%” discount occupies the lion share of the screen yet it does not overwhelm. Thanks to a well-thought-out design, it just perfectly blends in.
- “12 HOURS ONLY” stresses out the urgency pushing the buyers to make their decision faster.
- “VIP access” creates a feeling of exclusivity that appeals to the crowd.
Without sacrificing brand identity, the team has created an outstanding email newsletter that is enhanced with marketing tricks.
#9. The Hill-Side – A Loud Email
Black Friday Sale by The Hill-Side
Here the team has done a great job at driving subscribers. They have made the email newsletter as loud as ever. Skillfully embracing the holiday spirit and using the power of typography they have informed about the BFCM event in a simple yet creative way.
Note two things. First, simple illustrations of falling leaves scattered throughout the black canvas save the design from feeling banal as well as set the proper mood. Secondly, “Sale” and “30%” are the first two things that get noticed. The email newsletter has everything subscribers ever need from mood to good deal dished up ably.
#10. Some More Black Friday and Cyber Monday Emails
National Geographic Email
How to Write Black Friday Emails?
Email Subject Line
The email subject line makes the first impression. Remember your email newsletter will not be alone in the inbox, so you need to motivate subscribers to open it. You can use magic words “FREE” or “Sale.” Also, you can spice things up with glyphs and emojis.
The success of the subject line depends on how well you know and understand your audience. Either you analyze Black Friday subject lines throughout the year and figure out what words are more appealing to your audience, or you do A/B testing to find the preferable variants right before the event.
At the heart and soul of every efficient Black Friday and Cyber Monday email newsletter is content.
Get straight to the point and give people what they have grown to expect from you on BFCM weekend: good discounts, special offers, and massive sales. Everybody will be waiting for their sweet deals, so do not disappoint them.
What to Include
Much like with the subject line, it is here where you need to figure out what subscribers want the most. Of course, this is not a guessing game – it should be in-depth research conducted throughout the year. Ideally, depending on subscriber preferences, you can segment the audience and send targeted email newsletters. Other best practices include showing
- A best-selling product
- The most interesting item
- The most expensive product with a steep discount
- A free coupon
- Or even a gift
Do not overwhelm people with too many choices since this can backfire.
Inject Excitement into Copy
While reducing the price of best-sellers is a good idea, it can also be beneficial to inject some excitement into the copy. Try these tricks:
- Present loyal customers with specific gifts
- Offer exclusive deals that are available only for subscribers
- Give away products
- Offer free shipping
- Extend the sale
These incentives create extra buzz around the event and help to develop stronger relationships with customers to foster their loyalty. A BFCM campaign will pass, but subscribers and customers will stay with you. So why not make this day special for them by showing appreciation from your side?
There are various techniques that appeal to a subscriber’s subconscious. We are going to highlight the most viable ones.
Reciprocity is a powerful thing. Giving something free may and most certainly will cause a feeling of wanting to return the favor by buying a product from your store. Be ready to present subscribers with unique gifts.
Exclude Too Many Options
Having too many options can paralyze decision-making. Limit the number of products to several or even one but make them big. The same applies to CTAs. Subscribers do not need a dozen buttons; they need one that leads to the best deal ever.
Influence buyer behavior with social proof. A picture of a local celebrity who has recently bought your product will do the trick. However, since this is not an option for every budget, you can use ratings displayed near the product. Or you can impress them with numbers displaying how many items were sold during the year. Show subscribers that many people endorsed your goods.
Urgency and Scarcity
Urgency and scarcity are other popular psychological tricks. Even though they are increasingly overused, they do the job. Use such phrases as:
- Moving fast
- Almost sold-out
- Don’t wait
- And even, sorry you missed out
A timer, number of items that are left, or a “bestseller” badge are popular techniques to boost excitement and encourage customers to make a decision fast.
The Tone of the Copy
It is not necessary to change the general tone of a BFCM email newsletter. However, if you feel like adding some spice to your copy, and most importantly you know how to do it (maybe because you have run some A/B tests), then nothing can stop you. Remember, be organic with your BFCM campaigns.
Black Friday Email Design
An efficient BFCM email newsletter depends on the design. Subscriber mailboxes will be teeming with special offers; use design to stand out.
BFCM is associated with black designs. However, it does not mean that your email newsletter should be like a piece from film noir. You should use this tone with caution. Consider Black Friday HTML Email Templates as an excellent example.
The template exudes chic vibes. That is exactly what is needed for the email newsletter that promotes an upcoming sale.
It matches the businesslike tone and fits the BFCM weekend atmosphere. The design has a dark aesthetic; however, a smart image background obtains it. Therefore, it is not overwhelming. What’s more, it creates a perfect foundation for the content on the fore. As a result, the offer and CTA instantly catch your eye thanks to contrasting color.
Continue on the minimal theme, if you like the approach but are not ready to ditch all the graphics, you can still achieve the same effect. The solution is simple and genuinely smart. Black Friday HTML email newsletter template uses a seamless image background made in dark tones that not only matches the mood of the event but also unobtrusively demonstrates the top product, aka watch. As for the content, you will find only crucial information: headline, short description, and call-to-action. The design is minimal, yet it has everything to engage subscribers. This sort of ingenuity and simplicity is what marketing is all about these days.
What’s more, this template is also available free of charge so that you can download it and use it in your campaigns right away.
When it comes to events such as BFCM, less is always more. Make the structure as simple as possible. Stick to a one-column layout. Keep offers above the fold and do not overdo graphics. If design skills are not your strong suit, seek help with an online HTML email template builder like Postcards. The latter includes everything you may need to create Black Friday and Cyber Monday email newsletter using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. So you do not have to design and code everything from scratch. There are a dozen handcrafted components that can be quickly edited for your campaign.
It comes as no surprise that nearly 30% of online orders on Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year were made via cell phone. Like it or not, your design should look fantastic across all devices. A mobile-friendly layout is an absolute must.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday take up an entire weekend; however, you don’t need to stick to this general rule. Sometimes sales begin earlier and most often end later so you can extend this period. In this case, you can prepare a series of emails to maintain buyers’ excitement during the entire period.
The listed above examples hit many email marketing best practices. Some of them discount a star of the show; others stress out scarcity. However, even though the email newsletters are built around the same tricks, nevertheless they still look different and as a result, easily stand out from the crowd driving traffic and increasing CTR.
The key takeaways to bring home are:
- Stick to your brand.
- Be creative with the design.
- Be gutsier than the rest.
- Use gifs to enhance the message.
- Throw in the right number of CTAs.
- Please or surprise but not overwhelm or overpower.
- “SALE” and “%” work, no matter what.
Email marketing campaigns are one of the most lucrative digital channels to increase revenue for the store. Like it or not, but it is an absolute winner when it comes to driving website traffic. It has many milestones, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the most significant events among them. While for all the buyers, it is the beginning of the beloved Christmas shopping season, for retailers it is an opportunity to improve the business’s annual performance and move the company into the black. Therefore, it is considered the most important period for shopkeepers. And since all other sellers are in the same boat, it becomes one of the toughest and busiest ones as well. However, that is no reason to get into panic, since we have got you covered.
Big events always bring big problems, and BFCM weekend is one of those troublemakers. The secret to sending an efficient Black Friday and Cyber Monday email newsletter lies in a well thought out campaign where all the stages are perfectly done, and the gears run like clockwork.