Email best practices

Black Friday email: Tips, examples & free templates [2021]

Tips and design ideas for Black Friday and Cyber Monday email marketing. Check out our Black Friday email examples and try our free email templates.

Hermes and a Goddess shopping in front of a sofa

Some things keep coming back faster than you expect them to. As soon as the summer heat starts to fade, stores magically become filled with Halloween and holiday decorations…and suddenly, you’re thinking to yourself, “oh, right, it’s that time of the year again…”. Yep, now’s the time to take your brushes and tools out to craft your Black Friday and Cyber Monday email marketing campaigns.

In our recent survey, more than three-quarters (77%) of email marketers agreed that investing in Black Friday email promotions provides a significant return. So raise up, email marketers: it’s time to design the perfect Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails. Just follow our steps and check out all the amazing Black Friday email examples we’ve picked out for you, and you’ll create a masterpiece.

Plan ahead by listening to your customers

This year, Black Friday weekend will be even more important for retailers and ecommerce stores, as we all prepare our holiday shopping for what will likely be an atypical holiday season.

60% of marketers will send multiple emails between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That means customers receive a huge volume of offers during these hectic days, so it’s important that you set clear goals and build a winning strategy that targets your core audience. Have a look at the data and analyze what worked and didn’t work during last year’s holiday season.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What did you do last year that really worked or even didn’t work so well?

  • What did your competitors do?

  • Do you want to drive your customers to your store or focus on online sales?

  • Which items were most popular in the past few weeks?

  • How can you segment your audience to send them more of the right kind of content?

One tip that’s guaranteed to work for all retailers: provide information to your customers in advance. Shoppers are tech-savvy and know how to prepare their sales season way ahead of time to get the best deals in their Black Friday shopping – 81% of consumers now do online research before purchasing. Send them pre-sale emails with a little teaser of what’s to come and give them everything  they need to make their online shopping decision at least a week before.

Use email content to your advantage

Don’t get us wrong – we just told you to make sure your emails look pretty, but moving forward, you also need to make sure design and content go hand in hand. In the past few years, we’ve seen a minimalist trend out there with a lot of beautiful Black Friday emails that don’t tell you much about the sale because…they’re just pretty.

Be careful with being too mysterious

Unless you’re sure everyone knows who you are and what you offer perfectly well, be careful with sending emails that only focus on the discount.

Don’t only highlight your discounts on your Black Friday emails – show your products too!

 

Sure, a sleek design and a good CTA can go a long way, and some Black Friday emails are real works of art. But think again – this could work well when you launch a brand new mysterious collection or tease your loyal customers. But here, we’re talking about the most competitive time of the year in the inbox. Plus, there’s little surprise or suspense to what the Black Friday promotion is made of.

Create a sense of urgency in your Black Friday email campaigns

Now, this can seem like Marketing 101, but it’s a time-tested marketing psychology tactic. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all about time-sensitive deals, and fear of missing out (FOMO) kicks in when your customers believe they might miss out. The best Black Friday emails use email copy and images that drive a sense of last-minute urgency to improve open and click-through rates.

Focus your wording on deadlines and scarcity, like:

  • “Time is running out” or “Get it before it’s gone”

  • “Sale ends tomorrow” or “Sale almost over”

  • “Last chance” or “While supplies last”

  • “Only 5 days left” or “Only 3 spots left”

 

And don’t forget to use all the magic marketing words that we’ve found to be successful:

  • “Great deal”, “Special offers”, “Prime offers”, “Limited-time”

  • “Off everything”, “Reduction”, “Only”, “Savings”

 

However, be careful not to use Black Friday email subject lines that don’t deliver what you promised. They might get higher open rates, but if your subscribers think you’re being purposely misleading, they might decide to unsubscribe or send your email directly to their spam folder.

Showcase your products to attract attention

If your contacts don’t immediately get what’s on sale, it’s double or nothing: either they’ll be intrigued and click to see more, or they’ll be annoyed to search for themselves what you’re offering and move on. Yes, your contacts can be lazy, never underestimate that.

However, with 80% of consumers seeking personalization from retailers, you can capitalize on that laziness with tailored product recommendations. Why make your audience trawl through your website when you can give them exactly what they want, delivered straight to their inbox?

Send more than one email

Don’t get missed or ignored during the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season. 84% of the most successful email marketers – those that see high ROI during the holiday season –  are sending at least two emails per week leading up to Black Friday. 

But before you pepper your subscribers inbox with shiny deals and reminders, stop and take an informed, strategic approach. Introducing untested tactics at this crucial time of year for sales could backfire. Take the time to first A/B test the waters using a small portion of your subscriber base. 

Respect your brand identity in your Black Friday email designs

We’ve said it before: having a dedicated email voice helps you stand out in the inbox. It’s even more crucial during a noisy period like Black Friday and Cyber Monday when all the brands use similar wording and content with percentages of discounts and similar designs.

Focus on your own brand identity to make your customers feel at home. Remind your customers of how they feel when they connect with your brand. Whether your specific touch is humor or emotion, use your DNA to write and illustrate your emails.

  • Brainstorm with your marketing team on a specific product or idea to promote it in an original way – as Chubbies did with their “Turkey pants” promo email.

  • Ask your copywriting magicians to create marketing messages that reflect your brand and use marketing psychology tricks.

  • Use graphics, illustrations, and colors that reflect your brand identity.

  • Don’t feel like you have to go black: you can also make color the new black and use a dark touch only here and there.

 

There’s no one recipe to create the perfect Black Friday email. The main idea is to make sure that your customers recognize you and read it in the crowd of other Black Friday emails. So we recommend that your emails clearly display your brand identity (logo, style, voice, type of subject lines, images…) to capture your reader’s attention.

SEPHORA’s Black Friday email design perfectly shows what SEPHORA is all about.

 

Make your Black Friday email stand out in the inbox

We’ve already said this: your contacts’ inboxes will be completely full on Black Friday, and most of your subscribers will only dedicate a few seconds to each email they’ve received. But you don’t want this to happen to your campaign, and you’re prepared to do whatever it takes to prevent it. Great.

To stand out in the inbox and ensure that your contacts pay attention to (and appreciate) your offers, sometimes you have to go all in and give your campaign an innovative touch. Want some design ideas that can capture your reader’s attention? You can play with these elements to create an unforgettable email:

You’re probably going to spread your efforts across several marketing channels: ads, website, online store, social media, you name it. But since email is a consent-based channel and your subscribers have actually chosen to be part of your email list, why not use your Black Friday email marketing campaign to reward your email list for being such a faithful audience?

 

Create matching Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns

Are you preparing a Black Friday sale and a Cyber Monday sale? Make sure that your contacts recognize you by pairing up your Black Friday and your Cyber Monday emails with similar designs and slightly different messages, like Jonathan Adler.

Aren’t these email twins just perfect for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

 

4 all-time-best Black Friday email examples

Designing a great Black Friday email is not easy. Check out some of our favorite examples.

Less is more

A picture says a thousand words, so J Crew has let their image do most of the talking. Animals are always hard to say no to, and this, combined with clever wordplay makes for a click-worthy message.

The red theme is festive as well as energizing, ideal for triggering a post-holiday spending spree.

Laugh your customer into the checkout

Using humor is a great way to stand out in the Black Friday inbox, whatever your industry. Make like Chubbies and sell your brand’s personality as well as products. Maybe you’ve got a couple of funny subject line ideas and want to find out which to go with. Split test to find out which line splits your subscribers’ sides.

Show them what you’ve got

Be sure to include a few product examples that entice people to use your amazing discounts right away. Pair up products and discount codes, like Urban Outfitters’ Black Friday emails do, to drive more click-throughs.

A little less choice, a little more action

Sometimes, however, too much choice can overwhelm shoppers and actually be bad for business.

Nasty Gal offers a promotion only on black items – narrowing the selection and embracing the Black Friday theme. The succinct, urgent headline gets the subscriber pumped up and primed for impulse-buying. Not the first time a blackout and marketing campaign has worked perfectly together.

Don’t be the 41% of marketers who aren’t implementing any advanced email tactics for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Check out our new ebook “Email is the new Black (Friday)” for tips on interactive and dynamic email advice.

Choose the right Black Friday email template

Yes, we’re being Captain Obvious here. But no matter how attractive your prices are, you can’t afford to send out an average looking sale campaign with multiple call-to-actions (CTAs), a festival of different fonts, and kaleidoscopical colors. Last Black Friday, we still saw a lot of these.

A few rules to follow to avoid a design disaster:

  1. Stick to a simple structure with columns (easier to get your email responsive).

  2. Keep a 60/40 ratio fair mix of images and text (about 60/40).

  3. Align fonts and size of your messages.

  4. Decide which CTA buttons to use and make sure they are clearly displayed in a contrasting color.

  5. Follow email accessibility best practices to ensure your email is accessible to all.

  6. Have a look at our Ultimate Guide to Holiday Emailing to dig further.

Try our beautiful Black Friday & Cyber Monday email templates

Does all of this sound like Mission Impossible to you? Don’t panic: you don’t need to hire the latest fancy designer in town for that.

Our popular Black Friday & Cyber Monday email templates are now available directly within the Mailjet app.

Simply open the Mailjet app, head over to “Templates”, and click “Using a template from gallery”. From here, you can select our new Black Friday or Cyber Monday template and begin designing your campaign.

It’s your turn: Create a stunning Black Friday email

And voilà: now that you’ve got all our master tricks, you’re all set to be the next Picasso of email marketing this season.

Remember these Black Friday tips:

  1. Spend some time analyzing your customers’ behavior before Black Friday.

  2. Choose a responsive email template and throw in the right number of CTAs (less is more).

  3. Wisely select your email content to suggest urgency and scarcity: Black Friday is just one day indeed!

  4. Add a few carefully-selected images from your brand library that highlight your top products.

  5. Respect your brand image so your clients know it’s you.

  6. Add interactive content and GIFs to stand out in the inbox.

  7. Create an exclusive email deal for your customers.

With Mailjet’s drag-and-drop email editor you can easily build a stunning email from an existing gallery of templates, so you don’t need to stress about getting it right. We’ve got a great template gallery for you to choose from.

And if you’re not sure where to start or don’t have time to adapt one of our traditional templates, try our free Black Friday and Cyber Monday email templates. Designing a great Black Friday email this year couldn’t be easier.

Mailjet

Send your Black Friday emails with Mailjet

Create and send stunning Black Friday email campaigns with Mailjet. Use one of our predefined templates or design your own with our drag-and-drop editor and send them straight to the inbox.

Want to learn more about holiday email strategy? Check out Mailjet’s Ultimate Guide to Holiday Email Marketing.

***

This blog post is an updated version of the post “Crafting the Perfect Black Friday Email Campaign“, published on the Mailjet blog on November 3rd, 2016 by Mylène Blin.

Popular posts

Mailjet-iconIt's never been easier to build connected experiences. Start sending with Mailjet today.Get started on your path
Mailjet-Icon