7 Things Your Emails Need To Do This Black Friday

Save the date, the American trend that just won’t die Black Friday is back.

It’s an abomination that readers hate because their inboxes jam up, but hey – a chance to send out some emails, right?

Last year, MailChimp alone send over 4 billion emails over the Black Friday weekend.

Not since the GDPR avalanche begging for consent to mail newsletters you’d forgotten signing up for have inboxes been dreading the impending doom.

It’s a trend that won’t go away and is growing exponentially:

  • From 2015 to 2016 it grew 11%
  • From 2016 to 2017 it grew 15%
  • From 2017 to 2018 it grew 28%

This year is expected to grow again by more than a third, topping Β£20bn.

The main trend for the deep discount sales is a big swing away from bricks and mortar store to online.

Less people are lining up at 6am to be the first in the store, they’re shopping at home and most significantly most orders are now on a mobile device – meaning your emails should be checked to make sure they’re looking fab on phones.

Here are a few tips to try to actually connect with your readers, to avoid them feeling you’re incessantly hounding for a quick sale.

1. Be read by people

Every subscriber, reader or potential customer – whatever you want to call them – is a human being with hopes, dreams and their problems they hope you might be able to solve (or at least alleviate).

But if they’re not on your list, they’ll never get your email. So focus now on getting more subscribers!

Directly asking customers, leads, website visitors to subscribe to your list/newsletter/updates is a sure-fire way to increase the number of people who will receive them! This is something you can be doing NOW.

2. Tell them what to expect in advance

Readers are people. And people love a bargain. But when so many brands are putting on a bargain at the same time, how can you compete for their attention (and wallet?)

Letting them know of some of the kinds of offers you’re going to put out beforehand can make them weight up the thought of making a purchase, before the opportunity to buy it even comes around.

A good example of this is Amazon’s Prime Day. It spends a good two weeks beforehand shoving a whole number of offers down your throat, but says “not yet – soon”.

3. Give them a way out of it

Some people (like myself, the Black Friday Grinch), absolutely detest Black Friday, but it’s more the volume than the offers I despise.

You could send them a link that adds them to a temporary suppression list for the week or two of your promotions.

Giving readers a choice will ALWAYS go down well.

4. Make it an exclusive club

Instead of letting people out, why not make it a club that only the cool cats hang out?

Making it seem exclusive will boost engagement rates and as people will be actively opting into and therefore expecting a flurry of emails – those open rates will rocket upwards.

For extra brownie points, segment those coming into the ‘Black Friday Discount Club’/’Friday Club’ or just ‘VIP’, into what product they’re looking to buy over the Black Friday weekend.

That way, you can be sure to give them what they want (or at least asked for!)

5. Don’t be f*cking dull

If you send out an email with the subject line: “Our Black Friday Offers”, I will personally send you a link this article with a scathing sarcastic note.

Lol jks, I’ll unsubscribe, report your email as abuse and campaign for you to be on all 423 email blacklists.

Just because it’s Black Friday and you have an offer, doesn’t mean readers are suddenly going to ignore the need to be wined and dined before a sale (although sometimes a good “80% off this really expensive thing” is itself quite intriguing).

Make it exciting! What would your readers find interesting, make them curious? What subject line will capture their attention and make them stop?

I doubt it will be the same opening salvo as the other 150 emails your reader will be subjected to over that weekend.

6. Queue it up properly

Especially if you’ve got customers across the globe, nothing will make you look like an amateur like sending an evening email that the reader goes: “It’s not Friday here, it’s Saturday morning!”

Setting the ‘Send in the timezone of my reader’ in advance is one for the pre-flight Black Friday checklist.

Make sure if you’ve got an automation, that it’s fully tested. Nothing will be worse to discover that a crucial junction in the flow is wrong and now your entire audience won’t get a certain email in time.

Once people are in an automation, it might be difficult to edit or change it.

7. Once they buy, say goodbye (for a few days)

I always use Black Friday in my workshops as a great example for some truly amazing cock-ups in constantly sending out offer updates.

If you offer someone 10% off on Black Friday itself and they make a purchase – how ripped off are they going to feel to get a 25% off coupon on Cyber Monday?

Very, is the answer.

If they’ve made a purchase, stop emailing them!

Qualify out people at the right moment – kick them out of/exclude them from your automation at the right time, or you’ll end up with much higher complaints, returns and refunds from customers that just wanted the best deal.


To be on sale, or not to be on sale?

I’m not doing Black Friday, that’s not really my thing and it doesn’t jam with my vibe. My rates to help people with their email marketing – will remain the same because it delivers great value all year round. Deep discounts can hurt small businesses more than they benefit – just look at the Groupon Effect.

But it does for loads of e-commerce and package businesses (both B2C and now more recently B2B) and I fully admit I’ve bought stuff on a Black Friday sale that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

To recap:

  1. Start building your list NOW ahead of Black Friday
  2. Clearly communicate how you’ll do it and set those expectations
  3. Don’t be dull or annoy your readers

And that’s it. Are you doing Black Friday? Have you got your marketing and emails ready yet?

Let me know in the comments below!

Get the Emails Explained newsletter

Every other Monday, you'll get a roundup of the quick wins you can use in your email marketing, an Email of the Week and reminders for upcoming calendar events.

You May Also Like