How to get your email marketing Black Friday ready

5 October, 2018 by Jenna Tiffany Best practiceEmail MarketingTips & TricksEmail Campaigns

It’s without a doubt that both Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two crucial retail events. Amazon stated that 2017’s Cyber Monday was the “single biggest shopping day ever, surpassing Prime Day for the most products order worldwide” and 2018 show’s no sign of slowing down. Consumers shopping behaviour also changed, with an increase in purchases made using a smartphone, with $11.2billion worldwide mobile sales in November last year alone.

So given all of that here’s our tips to ensure you get email marketing ready:

1. Plan in advance

November may seem a while away yet, but planning is critical to ensure you are capitalising on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year.

It's easy to leave the creation of your subject line and super subject line content to the end. Plan these in advance because these are the judgement areas of your email campaigns. They have to work hard to engage with the customer to drive that all important open. There are some excellent subject line tools out there to help you and even AI tools that will generate the subject line for you! Plan to make the most of this preciously engaging content area.

Plan the timing of sending your email campaign - schedule your emails based on time zones or peak of online email users and your customers. You can analyse past open trends with existing customers too, which will provide further insights into the best time to send to your customer base because we’re afraid there isn’t a one size fits all.

2. Segment your subscriber base

The smartest way of utilising email marketing during Black Friday is to segment your subscriber base. By using this approach, you can provide relevant offers to your customers. You will have loyal customers, who always purchase full price items, they trust and like your business. Send those customers a different email or maybe even a unique VIP code, like this example from Forever21:

To those customers that are lapsed and haven't opened an email from you or made a purchased from you for a while. Determining whether a subscriber has lapsed should be calculated from your buying cycle if a purchase is made on average every year, then a customer not purchasing within one year isn't a lapsed customer. However, if a customer hasn’t purchased for more than one year, then they would have lapsed. Combine both purchase and email behaviour to ensure you are analysing the full picture.

Remember: email inboxes will be extremely busy – send targeted campaigns, take into account if the customer has recently purchased before the sale or even during the sale and don’t continue to send email communications.

3. Encourage sign ups

Encourage people to sign up for price alerts. Build a ‘discount' landing page that links to all products that will feature in your Black Friday promotion, then enable ‘Receive price alert' for each product, so that as a product is reduced, all interested customers receive an email notification. Depending on the systems you use, you can also do this via SMS and look at push notifications (most useful if you have an app). Having the same landing page in place for Black Friday will also have a benefit from the backlinks that have been sent to the site every year. This will help to build your domain authority.

4. Send targeted email campaigns

Throughout the year targeted email marketing campaigns are crucial to success. It could be that you have a customer who always purchased a specific brand or product from you, so providing them with a discount to that product is going to reward them for their custom. It can also work the other way by promoting items that would compliment products a customer has already bought from you. Moreover, if you’re keen to encourage multiple purchases, create bundles where a customer get a discount if they buy X and Y together. Most importantly test different ways to segment your database and look at ways to increase AOV to make up for the margin you sacrifice from providing discounts.

5. Be creative!

Running low on stock, don’t worry, advertise it in your email creative like

Or promote a competition instead of a discount like Huckberry:

It’s said that a picture is worth a thousands word and it does just that in Mackage’s email:

Make your emails stand out in the crowded image with something different like J.Crew:

Include a sneak peak of the top 10 products on offer like the example below:

On the big day

Email early. It's controversial, but some retailers will choose to email more than once during the day. If you're doing this, you may either want to exclude those who've opened earlier in the day or flag to users that you'll be doing so to avoid them getting the second email and thinking "I didn't want this!" – A simple way of doing that is literally to tell them "We have so many deals for Black Friday, we'll be sending you THREE emails full of them throughout the day. Don't worry, normal service will resume afterwards".

If you're a retailer who does not want to cannibalise likely sales from existing customers and choose to opt out of most Black Friday activity, you could still use it to send a biggish voucher to your churning, lapsed, or prospect emails. Convert them into active customers without risking losing margin by moving your core customers from full price to discount.


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