Black Friday Emails: Must We?

Do we need to send black Friday emails? The short answer, as you probably suspect is...


As with most strategic questions regarding email marketing, it's difficult to make sweeping statements about what absolutely will and will not work. So to help you out; Three questions that you should ask right away before considering if you should go forward.

1) Do I have anything prepared assets, like images or discounts that you've been thinking about?

2) Do I have the motivation to pull this off?

3) Do I believe that it will be worth it?

Now, if you've answered those three questions and you're still not sure let's dig a little bit deeper. Ultimately, you're going to want to offer something actually special. You'll want to offer it to only those who are interested in hearing about it.

And you'll want to plan time to stand out. I don't want to jump too far ahead, but I'm talking about the subject line. Let's start with the first one, offer something truly special.

Offer Something Special

If I see another Black Friday special, that is no different than the run of the mill, everyday specials that I see all year, I may puke up all my Halloween candy.

You can set some guardrails on your promotions. You can limit the available product, and you can limit the number of offers you make available by limiting the amount of coupon codes that can be used. You can even offer some consolation prizes for those who don't get to the Black Friday specials.

Right away, but you shouldn't hope that a good 10% deal is really going to win the hearts and minds of your customers. They'll probably just be insulted that you bothered to cloud their inbox.

Only the Interested

Offer your black Friday cyber Monday special only to those who are interested. There's a foolproof way to you've accomplished this.

You want to grab a pen and paper and write this down. Here's how, you know, if somebody wants to receive your Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials...

You ask them. I don't mean you like pick up the phone and call them. I mean, you organize an email, like a really simple email, no images, maybe a header with your logo on it and a text message. Make it personal.
Start with Dear Damon or something, more creative and keep the body really short:

We're going to be sending out some emails as black Friday, cyber Monday approaches. We want to know if you're interested in receiving them, here's your chance to opt out.

And then you drop a link in that chance to opt out. I guess you could use a button, but I would keep it a link inside the text. You can even acknowledge that 2020 has been a difficult year. You might not want to see emails like this.

However you want to word the copy, but that you give them a chance to opt out. And then depending on your ESP, that link should either drop a tag in their user information, or it should drop them into a segmented list that you'll then exclude from your emails.

It's going to vary from ESP to ESP, but some version of data capture will ultimately allow you to keep them from your sends.

Plan to spend time on your subject line.

Now, I know somebody is going to be pulling out their hair saying the subject lines are not the most important thing in an inbox. And I agree the most important thing is going to be your existing reputation. Who an email is from carries so much weight.

Putting that aside, because that's either in place or it's not in place, the number of subject lines that allude to having some sort of Black Friday special or Black Friday Cyber Monday special that look, sound and feel exactly the same is nauseating. It's ignorable.

If you really want to grab somebody's attention, you'll find a different way to talk about it in the subject line.

Maybe the thing to do is push the wording of black Friday into the preview text and talk about what your offer is? I'm not saying you can't absolutely can't or shouldn't use the words black, Friday, cyber or Monday in your subject line. I'm just saying you should take a look at what's already out there.

Here's a simple way to do it. Open up your email. Take a look at last November. What were the subject lines of all the emails that you received around black Friday? Cyber Monday? You can anticipate that about 70% of them are going to be some version of the exact same subject line.

Now this isn't to say that your subject line or preview text should be dishonest in any way. It should absolutely indicate what your email is going to be about. And in fact, a lot of times I feel like it should even talk about the offer specifically, especially if it's a really good offer. That can do a lot to get somebody to open the email and engage with it.

The bottom line is, be clear in your subject line and preview text, and try to be just a little bit different if you can. If you send a bunch of emails around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and they're ignored, one could argue that you're wasting the time and energy of your recipients — you’re certainly wasting your own time and energy — but you could in worst case scenario, be hurting your sender reputation.

A good way to distill this down is to think about it in these terms.

If this is your first Black Friday, Cyber Monday, keep it simple. This'll be your benchmark that next year that you'll try to beat. 

If you want to talk about this, if you have questions that you'd like to dig a little deeper, send me a message. I'll do my best to answer them, but I'd love to connect.



 Damon Re Mitchell © 2021