Marketing & Advertising

Email Marketing: How to Stand Out on Black Friday, Cyber Monday

The upcoming Black Friday to Cyber Monday weekend will likely generate record amounts of revenue for ecommerce retailers. It will also produce a record number of marketing emails.

Adobe Analytics reported that last year a record 7.6 billion emails were deployed on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Email campaigns generated 24 percent of all online U.S. retail sales during that period.

Email is vital for driving holiday traffic, in other words. In this post, I’ll offer tips to help your holiday emails stand out from the crowd.

Email Tips for Black Friday, Cyber Monday

Teaser emails. With consumers receiving so much email during the holiday season, an excellent strategic tactic is to send teaser messages. It accomplishes two goals. First, it lets shoppers know what they can expect and increases the chances for them to respond to the email offers. Second, it typically lowers unsubscribes in my experience.

Teaser messages inform shoppers of what they can expect during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Teasers also lower unsubscribes.

Teaser messages inform shoppers of what they can expect during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Teasers also lower unsubscribes.

Shipping deadlines. Email usually produces the highest conversions across all promotional channels. Conversions only happen, however, if recipients open the email. A good practice to increase opens is to include shipping deadlines in subject lines and preheaders. This will prompt shoppers to open and click.

I’ve seen many examples of this. Here are a few.

  • “FINAL HOURS! The clock is ticking to arrive before Christmas”
  • “Last Chance for Guaranteed Christmas Delivery”
  • “Get it there in time – LAST CHANCE to order today”
  • “Did you forget someone on your list? Final hours to order”

Take advantage of preheader text to extend the subject line. Add emojis where applicable. To save valuable characters, avoid overusing “Cyber Monday” and “Black Friday.” Consumers are aware of the purpose and will see “Cyber Monday” and “Black Friday” repeatedly in their inboxes.

Extend the offers. After Cyber Monday offers have expired but before Christmas, extend a surprise deal for shoppers. The goal here is to pick up consumers who missed the original promotions.

Competitive differentiators. Consumers have many options for gift buying. Make sure they know why your products are different from competitors (i.e., better). Communicate the reasons upfront in your emails.

Optimize deployment time. According to Shopify, during the 2018 holiday season orders peaked on Black Friday around noon and around 8:30 p.m. on Cyber Monday. The timing of your emails should reflect this — send just before the peak.

Unusual offer or promotion. Consider an unusual or unexpected offer that is different from competitors. This could be a gift, contest entry, cash-back, or a rewards credit for future purchases. I’ve seen similar offers not only drive sales but also increase shares and email forwards.

While not a holiday promotion, this offer from Jordan's Furniture is unusual and likely appeals to Boston-area baseball fans.

While not a holiday promotion, this offer from Jordan’s Furniture is unusual and likely appeals to Boston-area baseball fans.

Shareable content. Include email tactics to promote the sharing of offers to friends and family — before or after a purchase. This example below from Stich Fix is geared towards reaching new customers, as well as maximizing revenue from existing ones.

This email offer from Stich Fix is intended to reach new customers — and existing ones.

This email offer from Stich Fix is intended to reach new customers — and existing ones.

Humor. Try a bit of humor to differentiate your email messaging. Consumers on Cyber Monday often shop from work. Madewell, the apparel retailer, jokingly reminded email recipients of this, with the subject line “Your Boss is Shopping Today Too.”

Carolyn Nye

Carolyn Nye

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