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10 Black Friday Email Promo Ideas You Can Steal

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Thievery. It tends to be frowned upon in most parts of the world. 

But today, we’re gonna break the mold of traditional ethics and talk about some great Black Friday email promo ideas that are ripe for the taking.

I know, I know.

It’s barely October and here we are chatting it up about Black Friday.

But due to the nature of the season, brands everywhere are chomping at the bit to send their email campaigns and reap the holiday shopping rewards.

According to Adobe, Black Friday sales in 2018 jumped 23.6% to a staggering $6.2 billion spent for the holidays.

If you want a bite out of that apple then your emails have better be on point.

To make the most of your upcoming holiday emails, not only do you need to get a jumpstart on your planning, but you need to start thinking more creatively to standout and snag sales.

The email promo examples on this list did a great job of doing both.

So take a looksee, make some notes, and “borrow” some of these ideas for your upcoming Black Friday sales.What do you say? Got a little pirate in ya?

Whether it’s reworking an entire email automation workflow or tweaking just a thing or two in your email, there are a lot of things you can do to help your email campaigns and promotions do well this holiday season.

Even if you’re just starting out with your email marketing, thinking ahead and designing campaigns that marry email marketing basics with these ideas can lend a helping hand to your Black Friday promos.

We’ve included emails for each campaign and their subject lines to show you what type of words and tone they used for each one.

Take note of those as you work your way down the list to help you come up with subject lines that help get your emails opened.

1. Apple: Let Contacts Know About Your Sale Ahead of Time

The closer we inch towards November, the more mindful people are of what they’re going to buy and who they’ll buy from. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 60% of consumers said they start their holiday shopping on November 10th.

With people buying earlier and earlier each year, you need to get on their radar sooner.

Subject line: The Apple Shopping Event is almost here

How To Do This: 

The easiest way is to send an email a couple of weeks ahead of Black Friday letting them know about your upcoming sale. The email above from Apple shows them doing just that.

A few other tips you can takeaway from this email promo: 

  • Let your subject line make it clear what your email is about 
  • Include the dates the sale will take place
  • If you can include a “Save the date” button, then try it out
  • Keep all CTAs above the fold 

2. Uber: Use GiFs To Catch The Eye

Even in the age of a video marketing boom, sending video via email is a bit tough. The next best thing you can do is use a GiF.

Uber designed their holiday campaign using GiFs. If you pay close attention to the image above, you’ll notice it’s one of six in an email drip designed to build up to a Black Friday email.

The GiF background may not be as vital as the copy of the subject line, body content and campaign itself. However, they certainly do catch the eye and help persuade a subscriber to read the email in its entirety.

Subject line: 2 tips for bringing the holiday party to you 🍴🎉

How To Do This: 

If you have a designer on the team, ask them to create branded GiFs for your Black Friday campaigns.

No designer? No problem! You can also use Gifs from someplace like Giphy to add some festive fun to your emails.

A few other tips you can takeaway from this email promo: 

  • When using GiFs, make sure they add to the topic of the email 
  • A/B test emojis in the subject line
  • Build out a drip sequence rather than just one email to warm up customers to your Black Friday sales

3. Sevenly: Offer a Free Gift or Free Shipping (or Both!)

Want to bump up your revenue this Black Friday? Crunch the numbers and consider offering free shipping. Research from Lab42 found that 96% of online shoppers were more likely to shop on a site if it offered free shipping.

And if you want to lower the rate of product returns, offer a free gift.

A study published in the Wiley Online Library states that “consumers who purchase the gift‐framed deal would feel a sense of loss in the face of a ‘forfeit of a freebie’ situation and thereby become more reluctant to return the purchased goods.”

You can offer one of these in your Black Friday email campaigns, or you can do like Sevenly did and offer both. In doing so, you help increase the chances for a conversion thanks to the free shipping and lower the risk of a return thanks to the gift.

It’s a win-win.

Subject line: ⚠️ We’ve extended our Best Black Friday Deal Ever!

How To Do This: 

First, take a look at your bottom line. Can you afford to offer free shipping or gifting a product? If you can offer free shipping, will it be worldwide or only for certain countries?

If you don’t want to offer free shipping for the entire sale, can you offer it for certain items or during one day? Think through these sort of things to find a way to make free shipping feasible without being in the red.

If you want to offer a free gift like a dollar amount off or a free product, you can make that gift contingent on a purchase of something over a certain amount. That way, you’re still making a sale.

A few other tips you can takeaway from this email promo: 

  • Include the promo code in your email to make it easy for subscribers to get their deal
  • Include the cut off date/time for your email so consumers are aware the deal has a shelf life
  • Consider if and when you’ll offer free shipping/gift. Sevenly offered both only during an “extended” Black Friday promotion to help bump up sales after the initial rush. You can test something similar. 

4. Withings: Make Loyal Subscribers Feel Special

Rewarding loyal buyers and subscribers is a fantastic way to snag sales from your biggest fans.

You can call it “VIP”, “MVP”, but no matter what you call it, your customers are sure to love you for it.

Withings put together a great “VIP” sale the day before Black Friday launched and used the body content to make clear that this was a special early access type of sale for loyal customers.

Subject line: Black Friday VIP offers are live!

How To Do This: 

If you haven’t already, start segmenting your email list pronto. Hopefully, your current email marketing tool also utilizes high-end marketing automation.

If it does, it should be able to easily identify customers with the highest average order value, those who purchase from you most often and those who open your emails the most. (If it doesn’t, I’d suggest considering a switch).

Consumers who fit into those brackets are usually your brand’s best customers and you can use Black Friday to show them just how much you appreciate their business.

Designing an email campaign that gets them excited about an upcoming special sale, and then launching that campaign with a few emails designed to get the most out of your efforts is a great place to start.

A few other tips you can takeaway from this email promo: 

  • Use the body copy to make it clear this promo is special because they’re special to you 
  • Include images of products you’re selling and compelling CTAs to help drive faster email-to-site transactions
  • Make sure to have an automated abandoned cart email sequence ready to go so that your don’t lose out on any revenue 

5. Article: Start Your Sales Before Black Friday

It was mentioned earlier, but it’s worth reiterating that consumers start shopping long before Black Friday rolls around.

So if you wait until that date to start promos, your customers may have eaten through a lot of their shopping budget before they had a chance to get to you. You can avoid that issue by starting your sales campaigns earlier.

Furniture brand, Article, called their sitewide campaign a Black Friday “pre-sale”. So call yours whatever you like, but the sooner these start, the better the results can be.

Subject line: Let the Black Friday savings begin ⏰

How to do this: 

Thankfully, doing this is pretty easy. All it takes is some planning ahead to map out your campaigns.To really make the most of this campaign, it’s also good to keep in mind when you send your campaign out. You could go with the standard send times, which are as follows:

  • 8 a.m.-9 a.m EST
  • 4 p.m- 5 p.m EST

We’ve found that to make this even more effective, it’s good to let your subscribers tell you the best time for when to send. Our email marketing automation platform is able to read the open rate data of all your subscribers to find the best time to send emails.

No guesswork. Just set it up, send your emails, and you can learn the best time to send your emails as you go along.

A few other tips you can takeaway from this email promo: 

  • Don’t shy away from your brand colors. It may be Black Friday, but that doesn’t mean you need to stick to using black as you main color 
  • If you’re doing an early sale, use your subject line to make that clear 

6. National Geographic: Extend Your Sale

Extended Black Friday sales have become a fairly popular thing to do. Target does them, Old Navy loves them, and apparently National Geographic has joined the thousands of other brands who want to keep the sale train happily chugging along during the holidays.

Your brand can join in and take advantage of the buyers that may have missed your original sale.

Subject Line: Black Friday Extended – Geno 2.0 for only $49.95 | Save up to 70% on Nat Geo gifts!

How to do this: 

Again, execution is simple — you just need to plan ahead. Your emails should be ready well ahead of time. And your site announcements or email opt-ins should be updated to reflect the extended sale.

A few other tips you can takeaway from this email promo: 

  • Use bold and bright imagery when you can
  • Test large heading fonts to help your email standout (Just don’t go too crazy with that one)

7. Modernica: Create Urgency

Fear of missing out (FOMO)is a big sales driver for the eCommerce world. And FOMO on buying that perfect gift for someone isn’t something consumers want to experience.

As your Black Friday sale winds to a close, make sure you’re using email to let people know when you’re closing your doors.The result?Hopefully, more sales for you. Yay!

Subject line: ENDS TONIGHT! Shop Black Friday Deals 

How to do this: 

As you’re designing the email drips for your holiday sales, make sure to include one or two that send out before your Black Friday sale ends. Even if you plan to extend the sale, triggering that urgency can help give your sales a boost.

If your email marketing platform tracks subscribers’ browsing behavior, you can use that to your advantage and “auto-suggest” products individually to make each email more personalized.

A few other tips you can takeaway from this email promo: 

  • Use images of your products in your emails. Link the images and CTAs for each one to the product page. 
  • Don’t leave them guessing. Make it clear exactly when the sale will end. 

8. Postable: Run a Contest or Giveaway

A giveaway not only helps grow your email list, but if you’re doing it during the holidays then you can go from sending emails about the giveaway to sending emails about your upcoming Black Friday sale.

The transition is easy.

Subject line: Win Free Holiday Cards Contest 💌

How to do this: 

Start planning now if you’ll run a contest or giveaway and decide how you’ll do it. You can run these via social media like how Postable did, or you can use a tool that lets you run it on a web page.

You can start this about a week and a half or two weeks before Black Friday to create some buzz and bulk up your email list just in time for the busiest shopping day of the year.

Then, transition all those who entered the content into an your Black Friday email drip.

A few other tips you can takeaway from this email promo: 

  • Use your brand colors to really make this email pop 
  • Keep the CTAs to a minimum. Use 2 at the most and direct them all to the contest page. 

9. TokyoBike: Compile Holiday Gift Guides

If you haven’t made an email gift guide before, this would be a great time to try it.

Nearly 54% of consumers start researching gift ideas starting in October so that they don’t have to scramble to find the perfect gift for their friends and family.

You can compile a list within your email just like TokyoBike did. And it doesn’t just have to be your own products. You can suggest ones from brands that compliment your own.

Subject Line: Our 2017 tokyobike Holiday Gift Guide is here

How to do this: 

Take a look at your products and the holidays that are coming up soon. Which ones work for Thanksgiving? What are your best-selling products? Who are your subscribers shopping for?

This will help you narrow down on a list of products you can put together to make your gift guide.

A few other tips you can takeaway from this email promo: 

  • Link each photo to its corresponding product 
  • Don’t over think the design. Clean, and easy to navigate goes a long way. 
  • If your email contains a gift guide, your subject line should make that clear

10. Use SMS Marketing To Get Your Promos Seen

Lastly, we have SMS marketing. While it’s not strictly an email, many email marketing software have SMS marketing features built into their platform.

We’ve done this at Sendlane because we’ve seen that SMS and email usually do better when they work hand-in-hand. You can collect phone numbers through your email pop-ups or by texting a certain number to initiate a sign-up.

Then, using your email marketing platform, you can build your SMS messages AND your email sequences so that they’re working together to drive more traffic and sales to your store.

Black Friday. Are You Ready For It?

These are just a few of the many email promos that you can use this Black Friday and holiday season.There are plenty more.

In fact, we put together a whole ebook with more than 25 things you can do with your eCommerce email marketing this holiday season.

If you’re interested, go here to download it.

The clock is ticking.

Black Friday is just around the corner, and marketers can’t just sit back and hope for great ROI from email marketing.

It takes a lot of planning and effort, but it’s worth everything you put into it.

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