Big shopping days like Black Friday are extremely popular and email marketing busiest time of the year! I asked 65+ email marketing experts and designers to give their best tips and strategy for email marketing during BIG shopping days.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Valentines, and the whole holiday shopping season are great excuses to delight your email subscribers and clients. Giving discount and exclusive offers while keeping your Brand intact. And with new events like Prime Day, Giving Tuesday, and Singles Day, there seems to be no end in sight. Due to changing customer behavior, this year’s Shopping events will sure be bigger and a bit different…

Turn browsers into buyers and clicks to cash

Kat Garcia

My #1 Tip: Don’t stop at Black Friday. Plan for Retention, too.

Brands tend to focus all their energy on BFCM, then everything falls flat after the holiday season. A solid retention plan can help brands get the most out of the new leads and customers they’ve just acquired.

How a retention plan looks, depends on your products, really. Retention would look wildly different from a CPG brand (e.g., supplements) vs. Durables (e.g., Leather bags).

For CPGs, I’d look into subscriptions.

For Durables, I’d look into collecting as many UGCs and reviews as possible.

I mean, reviews are useful for everyone, but brands where their products are one-off purchases, getting as many eyeballs as possible coming from everywhere is a priority.

For most eCom brands, building a community is another BIG retention *and* acquisition differentiator. It’s a lot of work, but if you do it, that’s one heck of a leg up over your competitors.

Kat Garcia. Founder of Email Science
Anna Levitin

Post-BFCM tip: Set up different communication with users who converted during the promotional sale. 

They obviously purchased more than just your product. Perhaps they need additional training after the initial excitement of their purchase. Consider postponing their onboarding flow or providing extra how-to communication.

Anna Levitin. Email & Marketing Operations Lead at Powtoon
Samantha Hoffmann

If you’re a software or some other B2B product, let people know about your special ahead of time! Regardless of price, often they need to clear said purchase with a Manager or above due to budgets so make sure you’re giving them the appropriate notice so they can clear the purchase in time.
JR: Good point. Always keep the buying process in mind. 

Another thing I noticed is to give the deal if they sign up now, But then can use it later. You’ll see that for instance with companies buying trainings, coaching, consulting, etc.

Samantha Hoffmann. Senior Social Media Specialist at Beefree
Lauren Meyer

You know what stands out for me? People who lead with creativity and have a genuine message…or a genuinely good deal I can’t get the rest of the year. I know creativity and “value” are subjective, so basically what I mean is don’t just email me (or text!) every single day with a different message saying “The same lukewarm sale we run every other week of the year is happening again!” as if it’s a special and fleeting Black Friday sale. It’s not. You know it, I know it. Don’t waste peoples’ time.

Lauren Meyer. Chief Marketing Officer at SocketLabs

What has worked for me in the past was to have email subscribers on alert by informing them a day or so in advance about what is going to be on offer the next day, so they can already take their picks and put them in their shopping carts so as soon as the price drops the next day they will only have to check out instead of starting to look for what they want then, risking the items being sold out before they finish adding them to the shopping cart.

It will make happy customers and give them a sense of exclusivity. Which it actually is, they will have an exclusive sneak peek and a chance to collect their desired items in advance.
I did this myself at Wehkamp. Wishlist and price Watch have the same idea but would still require you to physically click them through to your shopping baskets. To keep the time you need as low as possible so very exclusive offers have the least chance to get sold out before you get one, it’s the best if they are already in your basket.

You could almost accommodate a one-click-checkout immediately when your offer goes live 😊 If a lot of people do this and you don’t you will probably miss out. And will do this the next time for sure. It will also divide traffic load over the actual day and the day before, as lots of people won’t have to search your site for offers anymore on the day itself. Makes your website and app faster with less traffic. And so: more happy customers using it.

Also: don’t fool your subscribers by raising prices in the weeks prior to BFCM, only to make it look like a big offer which it actually isn’t. This is not a rocket science tip, I know. But it still happens.

As companies tend to send much more emails than usual, sometimes even multiple on the same day: check if your recipients have already clicked through (as ‘have opened’ is no longer very trustworthy with Apple MPP) from prior emails. If they haven’t, maybe skip this send. Five offer-loaded emails unread from the same company when checking your email can be quite overwhelming.

Mark Kruisman. Sr. Email Marketing & CRM Specialist at Mark Kruisman Digital Business Solutions

Black Friday resource dance break!
1.
We are updating our Black Friday SaaS Deals. This will easily save you hundreds of dollars, go have a look and bookmark it.
2. 2000+ free email templates & direct link to free BlackFriday templates)
3. Free BlackFriday stock images
Now on with more Conversion Tips

My Top 5 Tips:

1. Keep your offer really simple. 30% off. Free shipping. Don’t get crazy here coming up with a creative offer – make it easy for people.

2. Simple emails! The most effective BFCM emails are stupidly simple. Graphic, text, button.

3. Build up the hype. Stop doing promos right now so BFCM can be a big deal.

4. Black Friday might not be your best-selling day. Early November can be awesome as well as early December. Think outside the box!

5. Have fun with your emails!! I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like to laugh. 

Emily Ryan. Co-Founder & Digital Strategist at Westfield Creative

As I start to see the thousands of ads on social platforms, I urge business to have a strategy to take likes and followers to actual email subscribers. Remember, you don’t own anything on social networks. You have much more control over email.

Giveaways are an excellent way to promote your products to new potential buyers while attracting hundreds of signps to your email list for under $0.50 a subscriber.

Facebook even offers integrated lead forms that connect directly into your email marketing service provider (ESP). Most ESPs offer an integration to add a signup form tab to your Facebook page.

For Instagram, use your profile URL wiseley. Point the URL in your Instagram account to a dedicated landing page. People who land on this page should ONLY come from your Instagram profile. Make sure to place a signup form on this page.

When you achieve the number of followers needed to do the “swipe up” actions, use this to promote your emails by asking subscribers to signup.

Daniel Miller, Co-Founder of goGet Into It Marketing Agency

The biggest area of opportunity I see during this period is to make the most of the increased traffic that’s coming to your site. Focus on the conversions, for sure, but don’t forget that consumers are looking around for the best deals, so they’re visiting lots of sites before making a purchase. The chances of making a conversion immediately from an unknown are not high, so use ALL touchpoints on the site to get permission to market to them.

cotsworld exitintent overlay

Exit popovers work a treat here and also (it may be a bit late to do this for BFCM this year, but will be good for the Holidays in December) – Abandon Basket popovers to unknowns (like the one here) also work a treat – they enable you to gain permission whilst also working towards achieving a conversion.

Kath Pay, CEO & Founder of Holistic Email Marketing

Design your emails for impact

Tanel Rand

Stand Out in the Mailbox During Black Friday! 📧

With the influx of emails during Black Friday, it’s crucial for your campaign to stand out. Avoid generic subject lines like “Black Friday Offer”. Instead, be specific about your discounts. If you’re offering 20% off all products, mention it directly. Ditch the common “Black Friday” in the subject line and opt for colorful emojis that represent your products. The key is to be distinctive and clear, ensuring your email doesn’t get lost in the sea of Black Friday promotions.

standing out in the inbox during BF by Tanel Rand
Tanel Rand, Sales|Marketing|Growth|Partner at Smaily
Marcel Nanning

Promote real deals with serious discounts; no half-measures! Never fool your customer! 
Try the latest techniques to make the e-mail attractive, personal and interactive. A unique customer experience should help you to get results.

Email automation: start early and prepare your audience with sequences.

Marcel Nanning, Owner of Nanning Marketing
Des Brown

Underutilised tip, especially during BFCM – Mix up your emails with a few personal, plain-text email offers. 📜 

This doesn’t only work well in the B2B space, but sending an email that looks like it’s coming from a team member at your organisation with a link to a special offer, mentioning the person by name and having a face in the “signature” takes the personal outreach effect to a new level.

It’s a strategy that could work well for customers who are already active buyers, or potential clients who are yet to transact, but make sure to keep that unsubscribe link in there and ensure the sender name relates to a person, even if that person is fictitious.

JR: PPS: A PS at the end of your plain text like html also works wonders. It just something that gets a lot of attention.

Des Brown, Founder of Email Expert Africa
Vinny OBrien

For large catalogue providers, behind every email needs to be a strong merchandising strategy. Do not leave the same results on landing pages for people you are going to be emailing more than once. It defeats the purpose. Email effectiveness is only as good as the continuation on the execution side.


JR: So you are saying they should change / rotate the products on landingpage with each email? Like personalised to preferences or how do you see that?


Vinny: Relevancy or use shopper insights. Take this example I am sharing, different types of pet food shopper at different hours of the day – are your bargain hunters out early, browers late etc?

BF advice- rotating products on landing page by Vinny OBrien
Vinny O’Brien, eCommerce Consultant at Vinny & Co
Radhika Mohan Singh Roy

As always, create a BF/CM deals/offers roundup well in advance, SEO-optimize it so well that it ranks right on top of the SERPs, aggregate a sizeable number of helpful and relevant offers from different vendors on your roundup while highlighting your own deal right at the top spot, and ensure your own offer is listed on all the other top ranking roundups.. It works for us every year! :)

Radhika Mohan Singh Roy. Head of Marketing at EngageBay
Rukham Khan

I’d suggest gamifying your campaigns. You need some excitement to stand out in a crowded inbox. Add elements like scratch-off discounts or spinning wheels. Not only does this make your emails more fun, but it also taps into the human desire for excitement and reward.

Rukham Khan. Content Manager at emailMonday
Hank Hoffmeier

You HAVE to stand out from the crowd around this time. Go crazy! Go big or go home. And while your campaigns should be big, it’s often the smallest things that make the difference between success and failure – small things like subject lines and using emoji.

Hank Hoffmeier. Sr. Manager of Marketing Operations at Kickbox
taco-de-koning

My tip here: tell an original story in your email. Stand out from the dozens ‘Dont miss this deal’ mails. Hire a copywriter. Make a concept that spans the whole black friday week. Like having a different theme each day that highlights part of your products and services. Start telling your story even earlier. 

Or let one of your employees tell your story. Different name, different picture each day. No stock photo please. Just dave from customer service. Nancy from the warehouse. Jill who designed the packaging. Mandy from the webshop. 

Or let customers share your story. Each day a different customer who tells why they are so happy and why your product / service works for them. Share some on socials and website. Enage. Whats your story? What would you like to share?

Or do a give away each day during the BF week. Do something unexpected. 

Send your existing customers a thank you mail during black friday. They never get the special discounts. What will you do instead? 

So in summary: be creative, be original, be prepared. Tell your story in a different way. It will pay off.

JR: Taco de Koning Different day, different deal keeps it fresh – especially when you are doing some storytelling. This is an example from urban outfitters, full week but every day from a different angle. 

I also like the idea of a giveaway.

urban outfitters BF example from Jordie Van Rijn
Image source: Ecommerce email marketing guide
Taco de Koning, Freelance CRM and e-mail marketing specialist

Black Friday should be definitely Mobile First. It might be useful to keep in mind that BF and CM, in many countries are normal working days. People are busy and they are trying to get their deals while they are doing stuff, working, doing housework, etc.

That’s why an accurate mobile version of your campaign could be key, especially during Black Week.

Mattia Arnaù, Creative Designer at Grifondoro

Nando: A partner of ours created an email template based on an advent calendar. Every day leading up to an event (such as BF) you unlock a door with a specific deal. One of the most awesome/playful things I have seen so far. And perfect to spread the email load around BF.
Laurens-Jan adds: Thanks Nando Gevers – that was a spectaculair campaign indeed! A perfect way to warm up for Black Friday!

JR: BF calendar is a great idea – especially if you can fill up all the dates with something valuable. There was an example from DSW that did 30 days of BlackFriday that has a cool design and callbacks / look forward. Yes!!! Found it 😎 :D What do you think about that? And add a video as well.

Laurens-Jan Derijks. Owner of ZJAM, interactive media & Nando Gevers, from Copernica Marketing Software

I’d combine neon and GIFs. And a whole lot of them. Make sure the GIFs vibrate at a really high frequency. This is a sure way to give your subscribers a seizure. Your conversions might suffer, but hey, it’s #BlackFriday ! 

Joking aside, make sure you don’t go overboard with neon and GIFs. Think about your subscribers, don’t let your design distract them, and point attention to the right place.

Mór Mester. Head Of Content Marketing at EmailVendorSelection

First tip (and this applies to email marketing in general but is especially important during a time when you’re competing for attention in the inbox more than ever): Make sure your emails are responsive and display well across a variety of devices. Special events and holidays are times to get creative and flashy with email design and because of this, sometimes responsiveness is forgotten. 

Second: Find something to make your promotions stand out. This is especially great if you can find a way to give back and not make Black Friday all about sales (that truly would be unique!). For example, supporting a special cause with each sale. I’ve also seen some cool examples where companies turn the whole thing into a game or challenge, which adds fun to the campaign.

Amy El, Content Writer at The Remote Company

What a great topic! Why not try something a little different this shopping season?

Roughly 40% of email clients support audio in email, with autoplay supported in Apple Mail. Worth a test. If you’re really interested in setting yourself apart, I’d recommend investing in some AMP powered email shopping experiences. With AMP we can do live inventory, countdowns, and product customization right in the email.

Matthew Harris, Founder of Dyspatch.io

Couple of tips which I use for my Black Friday campaigns:

1. Include the key message/discount in front of your subjectline/snippet. And test whether the message is clear on both mobile and desktop.

2. Use some striking signs in your subjectline. Example, last year Westwing used these black square signs besides their key message: ███. That really stood out among the other BF mails in the inbox which raised extra attention.

3. Choose your sending times wisely. When you mail in the morning. There is a high change that at the end of black friday your mail shifted down in the inboxes of your subscribers. So I normally use reminder(s) for non-openers.

4. Within the email, use countdown timers to create sense of urgency and tell your subsciber how much time their is left to use the BF discount. -> PRO tip: using this with a personalized offer based on purchase history will rase your CTO and CR These are, of course, just a few tips.

Kevin Ruhe, E-mailmarketeer a.i. – Bakker.com, ai at e-village and more.
…and DDMA email marketer of the year (I am not saying which year!)

From a design point of view one of the most important aspects are the product images.

These should match with the existing brand guidelines and further enhance the visual identity and brand personality.

Yuliana Pandelieva, Graphic Designer at Beefree

Less flashing and cheesy, more clean and elegant animated GIFs can add fun to almost all emails at any time.

I like the emails with a clear hierarchy and a clear main message, less-is-more is always a style or a standard that I would like to go with.

Content-wise, I anticipate most sales happen online, so there are no waiting lines and time limits for opening hours. Those are all good selling points other than low prices. BlackFriday doesn’t have to be black this season! A good message.

Muxiang Pajerski, Creative Supervisor at Measured Marketing

Design your email in dark mode 😂

JR: Special #emailgeek prize if you got that one in combo with Black Friday :P

Susanne Sinke, Art Director & Head of Marketing and Communications at Coface

Black Friday resource dance break!
1. We are updating our Black Friday SaaS Deals. This will easily save you hundreds of dollars, go have a look and bookmark it.
2. Here is overview with 2000+ free email templates & direct link to free BlackFriday templates)
3. Free BlackFriday stock images
Now on with more Design tips...

Insert animations! :) Gifs allow you to make BFMC emails with more interactive and visually engaging content that attracts and keeps the readers’ attention. 👀

JR: Do you have an example of one that you made or like (and why)?
Sure

Andrea Dall’Ara, Digital Graphic Designer at Beefree

Email automation: start early and prepare your audience with sequences

#Nonprofit  organizations want a crazy Giving Tuesday idea?

Send communications but don’t ask for money or anything else.

Instead, give your supporters something on Giving Tuesday.

Send them an ebook or video, or a simple thank you note. You will have plenty of time to ask for money during the last weeks of the year. Of course, this works only if you fundraise throughout the year, not only from Giving Tuesday to Dec 31. Want an example: charity: water does this.

John Walsh, Digital fundraising specialist

Best tip is warming up your database by starting with value content prior to deep discounts, offering teasers on specific products before big value on the days. And to pour some rocket fuel on virality, offer deeper discounts for sharing with 5 friends – BF audience loves value exchange 🚀

Oh, and have you got an exit intent popup in place to collect leads on these heavy traffic days? 

Jordan Erasmus, Co-Founder at Surge.Media

Start early. A lot of companies start the promotion 24-48 hours before Black Friday. At that time people’s inboxes are going crazy and it’s hard to stand out. Start early and prepare (hype?) your audience for your discounts.

We are going to start a week or even a month earlier with a simple time-based sequence, share some sneak peeks into the new features we plan to launch on Black Friday and of course, get them pumped for some exciting discounts.

Kalo Yankulov – Founder of Encharge.io

Don’t overlook Halloween it generates high levels of engagement providing marketers with a great opportunity to reactivate customers, as well as create and test customized journeys ahead of the bigger holidays to come.

Use the month of October to reactivate customers before the core holiday push. Go through your unengaged list 2 to 3 times to get customers to start opening messages again. Any revenue you generate is a bonus! The goal is to re-engage your unengaged subscribers in advance of Black Friday.

Dela Quist, Founder and CMO at Alchemy Worx & Touchstone Intelligent Marketing

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that Black Friday and CyberMonday start way BEFORE its actual date.

Inboxes get really crowded during this special sales event, so you need to warm up and prepare your users beforehand so when the day comes, they’re ready to CONVERT. The sooner, the better. Wishing everyone luck and lots of sales in November 🚀

Matheus Alonso, Country Manager – Brazil and Portugal at Benchmark Email

Don’t overthink it! 🤯 Especially if you are an early stage startup. Create your campaign and launch it!

JR: Where do you think that people mostly overthink it?

When the campaign is prepared and ready to be launched – I have often witnessed that people change their marketing copy many times and try to push it to make it the best campaign in the world. The truth is that’s probably not going to happen. And there are also other important things that you should focus on.

Petr Gadlina, Manager of TOPOL.io

Catchy subject lines and gifs can excite them in the email. But then don’t forget customers will be shopping around for the best deals on lots of different sites.

So have your abandon cart emails ready to go. Reduce the time between the cart being abandoned and the email send to have maximum impact.
After that, make sure you follow up with a post-purchase review email, as there’ll be lots to learn from possibly the two biggest selling days of the year. Use those learnings to boost your strategy going forward.

Gavin Laugenie, Global Head of Content at dotdigital

Make sure to switch to a more automated email marketing software that allows automation if you’ve got a large list. It’ll make your life easier. Also look for lead scoring, it’ll be very very helpful.

Palash Nag, Hubspot Certified Freelance SaaS Content Writer

Black Friday SaaS deals dance break!
We bundled over 45 Black Friday SaaS Deals. This will easily save you hundreds of dollars.

If that doesn’t make you dance, I don’t know what will.

Now on with more Automation tips...

Frequency and engagement

kasey-steinbrink

Some good news for email marketers…

Our  international consumer survey also found that email is by far the most preferred channel for learning about Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions.

Sinch consumer survey on how they like to hear about BFCM offers

A recommendation is to start sending early. It seems a good percentage of consumers do want a heads up on BFCM deals.

2023 research from Sinch found 35.5% of consumers (from U.S., UK, France, Germany, and Spain) are open to hearing about holiday promotions ASAP. Another 21.2% want Black Friday info a month ahead of the big day.

Of course, that’s not everyone. So, a smart move is to strategically segment your list by engagement. Send to the most engaged customers early. They’re probably the most eager to learn more. 

This could also help you avoid fatigue among less engaged subscribers while protecting sender reputation and supporting deliverability when Black Friday rolls around.

Sinch 2023 consumer survey
Kasey Steinbrinck, Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Pathwire
Michal Leszczynski

I suggest double-down on making your offers more personalized, e.g., through product recommendations.

People expect to strike a good deal during BFCM and often have a list of items they’re hunting for. However, their time and focus are limited. 

To maximize your chances of converting them, opt for a tailored email (items that’d go well with your last purchase, items you’ve been looking at, etc. if unsure which model to use, you can A/B test that) instead of a generic ‘storewide BF deal announcement.’

And while you’re at it, be sure to make your offer interesting. People now more often know how to compare prices and look up how they changed in the past months, so a 5 to 10% deal may not be enough to make them engaged.

Michal Leszczynski. Head of Content Marketing & Partnerships at GetResponse
Najmah Salam

Make every action you want your customers to take as frictionless as possible! They’re going to be distracted and absolutely inundated with marketing already – don’t make them work harder than they have to! Whether it’s simplifying your discounts and keeping things short, clear, and simple, be mindful of how you can facilitate a quick and easy customer experience!

JR: I agree, some shops just seem to make it a hassle and have lots of exclusions that wouldn’t count. 

For instance having discount code auto apply, shouldn’t be a huge problem (although it sometimes is).

Zalando is giving discounts, but then there are only size S. That is too small for me.

Najmah Salam. Freelance Marketing Consultant
Greg Zakowicz

Send email and SMS on weekends (Sat & Sun). Every day from Nov 12 to Dec 16 had 3B in online sales (2022). Yet, email and SMS send volume was down almost every Saturday and Sunday, even though conversion rates remained consistent. 

People are still shopping and you have a chance to stand out — don’t waste it.

statistics on send days during BFCM by Greg Zakowicz
Greg Zakowicz. Sr. Ecommerce Expert at Omnisend
Mike Parry

Not just Black Friday but don’t be that person sending email at o clock or 30 minutes past, everyone else is doing it then. try sending at 15 and 45 and be in the inbox at a slightly different time to everybody else.No real advise on time of day, we’re so tied to our emails nowadays that the only advice I’d give is to avoid the rush

Ekin Sahin: Definitely, we can extend it to more than just one day. Black Friday may be just 24 hours, but online revenue flows 24/7. It’s crucial to remind your customers before Black Friday and even follow up after it ends, letting them know that Black Friday is over but they can still complete their unfinished orders.

Lauren Meyer: GREAT ONE, Mike! This is something I’ve heard straight from the mouths of mailbox providers. Just like the city streets at rush hour making your commute longer, higher volumes of incoming mail to process can affect speed of delivery.

Mike Parry. CEO at The Email Factory
Daniel Kohn

An oldie but a goodie is to do a re-send over the Black Friday weekend in between the promo launch and final call email. The basic idea is to create a segment of anyone who didn’t open the Black Friday sale email and re-send the exact same email to that segment of people. BUT you must change the subject line. Ideally try to create some more urgency with the subject line as well. You’ll be surprised at how much extra revenue you can generate from this one simple tactic.


JR: Just be keep in mind, that opens are never exactly reliably measured.

Daniel Kohn. Founder of SmartMail.io
Beata Linz (Kis)

There are so many awesome recommendations already 💪

Some additional tips:

👉 it is not Black Friday, it is Black “Month”, so having your November emails themed around and refer back to your offers is a great way to keep planting the seed

👉 if your merchandising plan allows, create buzz around limited edition products that might not become part of your discounted collection, but serve an audience that has been waiting for this and can be converted more full price

👉 with the higher amount of emails in holiday season, and possibly (hopefully) higher email engagement, this is the best time to enrich your audience data. Include gamification, quick surveys, feedback options in as many email you send as possible.

🎃 My favourite old-timer is encouraging people to save their Black Friday wishes on their wishlist or a dedicated notify me email list. This way you can personalize the offer when their products are discounted/available/etc You can understand demand for those products, set a different replenishment strategy, and learn about your audience’s interests too.


JR: Wishlist is a good one, also in combination that as ecommerce for instance, you learn a bit more about the preferences of your clients. Here is an example of a brand that prompts to add to your wishlist:

Beata Linz (Kis). Email Marketing Consultant at Beata Linz 
Ian Brodie

Sending more BFCM emails is going to get you more sales – no question. But if your normal emails are primarily content/value emails sent (eg) weekly then blasting half a dozen promotional emails over BFCM is going to lose you a lot of subscribers/goodwill from the people who aren’t ready to buy or aren’t interested in this particular offer.

The normal response is to compromise and only send one or two BFCM emails. But that’s the worst of both worlds. Still too many for the people who aren’t interested and not enough for those who are.

Instead, segment off the people who are interested with an email that teases your offer and asks them to click if they want to hear more when the offer starts. Maybe do similar in a PS in some of your normal value emails in advance of BFCM too.

Then you can send a more frequent/promotional BFCM sequence to those who are interested without p*ssing off those who aren’t.

JR:That is very interesting – you are saying mixing is the Worst of both worlds. Somehow that made me smile out load. 😅 

I like the idea of just talling it very up front. Like sending an email “Blatant sales pitch inside”. If people are onlythere for the content, they can still appreciate that.

And mixing the offer into the content / ps also great strategy. 

The challenge with first asking is if you have a list that isn’t very responsive (or big), the extra offers won’t reach a lot of people….
Ian: I think “compromising” is the word I should have used rather than “mixing” but couldn’t remember the word!

You make a good point about not necessarily reaching a lot of people. What we do in practice is a couple of emails to everyone promoting the offer – an opening and closing one – but more to the people who ask for more.

For example we’re about to offer some “box sets” of videos this BFCM. Everyone will get told about the box sets with a sales email giving an overview of all of them and an offer closing email. The people who get on the notification list will get an email per box set with more details of each one etc.

Ian Brodie. Independent marketing consultant
David Schwab

Send 👏🏻 More 👏🏻 Emails 👏🏻 

Your competitors aren’t pulling ANY punches this year. Why should you? 

“BuT iNbOxEs ArE gOiNg tO Be So CrOwDeD” 😱

When everyone is yelling, sometimes you have to just yell a 👌🏻 little louder to stand out. 

Your offer, content, personalization, NOTHING matters if you can’t first get seen by your audience!

David Schwab. Chief Digital Strategist at Digital Industry Group

My tip is to make the offerings personal and relevant. If you know that a customer always buys sneakers but looks at high heels, don’t offer a discount on sneakers, cause she will buy them anyway, offer a discount on the high heels she looks at to convince her to buy a pair for once.

JR: This is very interesting – normally one would go for the product category they bought over one they only looked at. So I am paraphrasing a bit – see if I understand. The opportunity is to inspire your current customers to become cross-category buyers. Show them different type of products, especially if they were “stuck” in one single category but have recently shown interest in others. Try something new, it’s on sale!

Mark van den Berg. Managing Director at Spotler

Don’t forget or wait until the last minute to consider email / sms capture via your popups!
If you’re an ecom brand – you’re about to get a ton of traffic, make sure you capitalise on getting the sale and 2nd best is to create the relationship directly with email and sms!

Makes sense to ramp up list building every single day 💪   – a majorly under utilised growth level, to own the relationship with your client. “Just checking the box” to turn on a free popup is a wasted opportunity that so many overlook.

For list building pre bf/cm, I like using copy like “get the BF/CM discount now by entering your email” is great to avoid saying wait until X date to come back. And definitely “Black Friday week” and “Cyber Week” to keep it going.

Matt Cimino. Founder of Amped

Hey Jordie! I would focus on protecting and increasing revenue, not blindly sending every email to everyone. It needs a bit of planning, but it’s not difficult!

Here’s what I would do:

1) Use the weeks before BF to perform validation, re-engagement, analysis and decision-making. Prepare segments, volumes and timings
2) Instead of last open date use “signed-up”; “visited website/app”, “purchased”, email link click”. And segment into:
a. 0-3 months, 3-12 months last engaged, 12+ months last engaged, AND have previous purchased, d. Everyone else your management team tell you has to be in the list!
3) Send pre-BF mailings. Use to re-engage, test and to advertise what’s coming
4) When mailing (before BF and during the BF weekend) send to the segments that will generate most revenue first, in order of (a,b,c – and “d” if you must).
5) For segment “d” – batch and send in age-descending order. Revenue and risk changes as the data gets older, showing when to stop (or whether you should have even started!)

How many emails to send over the Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend?

I feel it is more about coming up with a strategy of increasing your reach and exposure, rather than setting a strict figure that is the same for everyone:
A (most-recently active and valuable) : lots
D (inactive and no previous purchase): zero – to – not many
B+C (some activity / purchase): somewhere in between!!

It’s an impossible question to answer without knowing the recipients expectations, the number of unique and genuinely good pieces of content that can be sent. But what I will say is the frequency expectations is one of the things to set in the build up. Let people on your list know that you’ll be sending then 3 or 4 emails over a couple of days. Setting this epectation may help both increase engagement, but also help prevent people clicking unsubscribe!

Another maybe slightly controvertial thing: for segment “A”: don’t be afraid of sending the same message/offer more than once to the people who did not interact.

Steve Henderson. Head of Delivery at Emarsys

IMHO too often old products that have been gathering dust on shelves are sold as ’the best deal ever’. Where is the fun? Where is the candy?

Start early. Have people vote for the product or service they want a discount on. Give them a shortlist with several options, with interactive descriptions in the email. Let the voting be public, and have people activate their friends and family to upvote their product of choice. Make it a two-way street, make it interactive. More fun. Feels more personal. And you create more space for a smart and personalised follow-up.

How about  experimenting with a ‘day after BF campaign’? A creative way of addressing the commercial hangover your clients may have after emptying their savings account, the frustration they feel for deals they missed out on, etc. In my mind this should not be a commercial campaign, but one that focuses on engagement, understanding and fun to extend your relationship.

Mark Kruisman adds: In line with this suggestion I think of – and I am not sure if I recall this correctly – but I thought Marktplaats (for non-Dutch readers, that’s the Dutch version of eBay) did something short after Christmas (Don’t like some of your gifts? Put them on Marktplaats) but I can’t find it though. Maybe you can do that for gifts you got in BFCM. Even ‘Snollebollekes’ sings ‘Al die zooi gaat weer op Marktplaats’ in his Christmas song 😅

Also if you’re a charity that helps people get stuff they can’t afford (toys for children or laptops for students who live in a situation where no money is available), you can ask people to donate gifts they did not like or need.

Ruben Zantingh-Božić. Email Marketing Strategist at Bindinc

Oh dear, that time of year already?! I must admit, I’m not a fan. I find that my inbox gets flooded with emails and offers. I also hate clothes sales. It’s so hard to find and I hate the crowds. That said, some people LOVE them and if companies can find out from their buyers if they love them and want to be notified that would help.

Also if you have a new offer or launch avoid these days as it will get lost in the sea of noise.

JR: Always need to remember – we are not our client. As a marketer, it may be a good idea to actually sit next to a few clients as they go through the campaigns. I did buy some clothes last year and it was an immense eye opener as to the customer experience side.  

Lilach Bullock. Founder of Lilach Bullock Limited

Increase or decrease the number of mails sent based on engagement. Schedule daily mailings or even two mailings per day during black friday week, but…. only for highly engaged recipients.

Measure engagement based on opens and clicks of previous Black Friday content.

For less engaged audiences, slow it down and send one highly focussed mailcontaining the proposition with the highest chance of success per recipient.

JR: Cool to know is that Peter and team have been working on some AI to optimize sending times and schedule for publishers.

Peter van der Schaar, Chief of Marketing & Founder at BaseDriver (dutch ESP for publishers)

Personalised content always hits the spot!

As a preferred online shopper, I only engage with emails that are personalised to me, emails that are showing me products that I’ve looked at/clicked on and telling me what I’m missing out on (new price, or back in stock etc).

Customers want to be shown content specific to them and for me personally, I want to be able to increase the speed from seeing my product is cheaper or back in stock to clicking through and buying.

Reece Miller, Business Development Representative at Emarsys

Send one more email than you are comfortable sending (to engaged audiences). Especially at the fringe times – earlier on Thanksgiving and later at night on Cyber Monday have yielded big results.

JR: You are saying fringe times, what does that mean – and why do you think that has worked so well?

Many brands start with notions like “no way should we send 3 emails on Cyber Monday” or “we don’t want to send before 3 pm on Thanksgiving day”. By getting in the inbox earlier in the day – or staying competitive later in the day, you get a jump on competitors.

Why? People are going to shop and being at the top of the inbox gives you a greater chance. *** Engaged Audiences!

Scott DeRuyter, VP Marketing at Artful Home

Find a standout subject line that is different to the standard ‘Black Friday deals’ type lines, try personalizing the subject line and offer.

And by the time it gets to late on Cyber Monday I’ll assume you’ve tried reaching everyone you can several times, pushing as far as possible, without damage to reputation and deliverability.

If that’s the case then 7 hours before you close out on cyber Monday, email everyone who clicked during the promotion but didn’t yet convert.

JR: Cool that is like 3 tips in one Tim. I like the follow up especially. “Did click, not convert” is a smart (and easy) way to find those that are interested.

Tim Watson, Founder at Traction Six and Zettaphere

Black Friday SaaS deals dance break!
We bundled over 45 Black Friday SaaS Deals. This will easily save you hundreds of dollars.

If that doesn’t make you dance, I don’t know what will.

Now on with more Conversion tips...

Don’t forget to think ‘post click’. Yes as email marketers we’re great at getting opens and clicks (in the email) but don’t forget to consider the whole purchase/booking process.

Is there something you can tweak in your campaign to make life easier and quicker for recipients who want to get hold of your offers?

Three examples:
1. Help pre-fill forms,
2. Ensure any telephone numbers in the email are clickable.
3. Send existing subscribers down a slicker / quicker route than Joe Bloggs who may be making your website creek due to sheer volumes.

Natalie Rockall, Director & Email Marketing Consultant at eleven11 Digital and Total Email Marketing

Your process, QA, and analytics

doug-dennison

1. FOMO = create an amazing, time-limited, usage-limited, exclusive offer

2. Send more emails throughout the sale period

3. Start now to build a buzz

First, create your offer (and make it a REALLY good one) with an end date (probably the end of Cyber Monday week), and maybe a usage limit (‘first 100 people only’). Looking at Really Good Emails, 30 or 50% seems to be fairly common. You could be specific to a product, or go site-wide and offer 50% off everything, but don’t have multiple offers at once, focus on one. The key is to set a time limit for this to create a sense of urgency.

Second, plan your emails for the week leading up to Black Friday, and the week after it. Use the week before to build a buzz, and the week after to build fear of missing out (‘only 10 left/only 24 hours left’). Simplicity works best, don’t overcrowd your emails. I’ve attached this awesome example of an email we build at MailNinja HQ for our client reMarkable.

Finally, start NOW… start building a buzz around your offer, get people onto your list to be the first in the queue to get it.

Black Friday is a campaign, not just an email.

Remarkable BF email sample
Doug Dennison, CEO at MailNinja
Christopher Behrens

Always have an email in your back pocket which extends your Black Friday sale if needed!

For one retailer I consulted with, Black Friday was SO popular, the website crashed! 

The retailer was without a functioning website for SIX hours (almost a quarter of the best sales day of the year!)

On the biggest sales day of the year:

>25% of their website visitors couldn’t buy 

>25% of potential sales volume was lost. 

Or so you would think. 

Luckily, the marketing team had the foresight AHEAD of the big day to create collateral to allow them to extend the Black Friday sale to Saturday across all marketing channels 

So in the six hours of the website being down, while the entire IT team was figuring out how to get the website live again, the marketing team was modifying campaigns to ensure they were able to extend the Black Friday Sale to Saturday. 

They had a backup plan ready and it paid off big time. 

TLDR; Always be ready to extend your sale if needed – you never know when you’re going to need to do it, but you’ll be glad you prepared ahead of time.

Christopher Behrens. Account Director at NextActiv
jeff-ginsberg

This is the time of the season, which I refer to as ‘The Inbox Sh!t Show.’ It’s when every marketer, their brother, sister, uncle, or whoever decides to email the heck out of their mailing list, and every ISP and mailbox provider are left fending off unwanted and overstuffed inboxes full of spam and irrelevant garbage.

My suggestion is to be methodical about what you want to send between now and the end of the year and to create a content calendar that supports your email marketing efforts, with measurable outcomes.

Mailbox providers like Microsoft, Gmail, Yahoo, and others heavily rely on engagement metrics such as opens, clicks, replies, and the lack of unsubscribes or flagged as spam as the barometer to determine whether your email makes it to the inbox, the junk folder, or goes missing altogether.

There are many opportunities between now and the end of the year to email your subscribers. I would strongly suggest picking your days carefully so that you send emails during non-peak inbox rushes.

My last suggestion is this: DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

JR: Plan it out the whole oct / nov / dec for content. Jeff Ginsberg any anecdotes about end of the year email?

Jeff:  I “know” a company 🏢 that insisted on sending a Terms of Service email in December and January, not only to the unengaged but also to the unsubscribed 😣.

Needless to say, the performance metrics for that campaign sucked 📉 , and the fallout from the deliverability backlash killed their inboxing reputation. This was especially painful 🔪 as they had been working hard to improve it over the previous six months.

November to December can be a risky period for trigger-happy 🔫 mailers, as well as for marketing to segments that are either unengaged or not expecting 😯 your email.

If your customers or subscribers haven’t responded to your emails in the last 90-120 days, chances are your Black Friday or Cyber Monday offer won’t resonate 📈 with these audiences. That’s why I suggest A/B testing ⚖ disengaged segments to explore potential opportunities within these groups.

If you disregard this advice ⚠ and continue sending crap 💩 be prepared to call your customers on the phone ☎️ and ask them to retrieve 🐠 your email from the Junk Folder 🗑️ if you want them to read it 😀.

Wishing EVERYONE, Happy Holidays and Safe Mailing!!!

Jeff Ginsberg, Chief eMail Officer at the eMail company
karyn-strybos

With cybercriminals constantly getting better at their craft, it’s important that you, as a brand, showcase the credibility of your email comms. One way to do this is by implementing BIMI. Not only will it show that your email is legitimate, but it also improves the chances of your email landing in the inbox. A really important requirement for Black Friday success.

JR: I wonder if it is the smartest move for people to change DNS settings around this time of year (but they are probably already too late for this season). So a good one to prepare. How long does the BIMI implementation take on average you’d say?

Karyn: Valid point, it may indeed be too late for this year. The time for VMC validation varies based on the brand’s DMARC compliance and trademark registration. If DMARC compliant with a registered trademark, it takes around 1 month. Otherwise, it may take 6 to 36 months, as they must first become DMARC compliant and then register a trademark for their logo before purchasing a Verified Mark Certificate.

Karyn Strybos. Marketing Manager at Everlytic
Dmitry Kudrenko

When to start:
Way before BFCM. Weeks before.
First, for collaboration purposes. You share your special deals with each other’s contact base. And do other marketing activities together.
Second, to grow your contact base. You need to learn your new contacts’ preferences to further segment them properly, so you send only relevant offers.
Third, you need to announce your BF sale in advance to make your audience anticipate this sale.
It is best if you build an email sequence. One single email is never enough.

Email content:
We must remember that the BFCM weekend is about discounts and sales, free delivery, cashback service, courses, etc. So, you need to emphasize this visually. GIFs and timers are meant to draw users’ attention to your content.

Please note: sometimes companies run out of product items on sale, which annoys users. Use real-time content (best implemented with AMP or Nifty Images’ Dynamic Content) so that users can always see the actual quantity of product items left in stock).

How to get your emails opened:

How do you get your emails open, given that customers receive hundreds of them a day?

• Work on your subject lines. Describe your super deals in them, in a nutshell, so that users know what they’re gonna get inside.
• Annotation of your emails in Promo tabs (this is when recipients can see the start and end day of your sale and the amount of the sale). And the banner of your email.
• Know your contacts. Segment your contact base. And personalize subject lines.

Dont’s:

• never ever buy a contact base
• never ever send one single email to the entire contact list — segment
• never use extremely low prices as a magic bullet

Dmitry Kudrenko. Founder of Stripo

✔️Segment – You usually run a blanket offer but your messaging varies based on WHO the recipient is.

✔️Create Bundles – Create baskets of products / offers so you gain traction with sales volume.

✔️Start early – countdown series / fun nudges / dropping clues etc.

✅ Take advantage of AMP Emails – Removing friction by letting users edit and finish abandoned cart journeys within their emails. Creating a “be the first to know” or “early access” segment using a simple “thumbs up 👍🏼 or thumbs down 👎🏻” widget to see how many subscribers are truly keen on early access and opening up the sale a few hours earlier for them. Etc.

Kunal B. Customer Success Manager at Mailmodo

Perhaps more than 1 tip :D Don’t only discount articles that’s taking up your shelf storage, there needs to be some candy there as well. 

Also have a plan A, B & C ready. What do you do if you sell out quicker than expected. Or if it is not selling as planned, can you change something? Make sure every department is prepared on what to do to execute the different plans. 

For instance: 
Having a plan what to replace the products with if performing over plan. Of course if you don’t want to discount more. But also it can be valuable to use the momentum you have and add products. 
Also with the plan I’m thinking that it takes preparations from marketing having material, perhaps IT to make changes front-end/backend, Ecommerce to change/add things on site, CRM/MA content to send out etc. It often requires more than you think if changing offers, so important that teams are aligned with what happens if X or Y happens as you need to move fast.

About email specifics, a counter can be a great idea. There are also tools, if you have resources to be really sophisticated, that can replace content afterwards

JR: Plan A-B-C to scale up, scale down and if everything goes sideways.

⏬ Scale down (if you are selling too quick)
Offer different products instead, reducing number of emails, Smaller segments, reserve the products / longer delivery times, agree to have vendor stand by to deliver more products, batched deployment (group by group).

⏫ So for email scale up plan (if not selling) I could imagine:
Pre-registration, sending reminders, extending the offers, increasing the offer discount or product plus. Adding paid channels.

Emil Björnskär. Senior Consultant at Miltton Insights

Great post, my tips would be:
1. Go from #BlackFriday  to #BlackWeek (#BW )
2. Use pre-access to BW-offers as an extra permission incentive
3. Start marketing the BW-list well before BW! (Onsite and in lead ads)
4. Emphasize offers where suppliers co-fund the discounts
5. Set up and schedule all BW communication well in advance
6. Use gamification to make BW communication more engaging and to collect data on customers and their households
7. Include a ‘snooze BW button’ in all BW communication

Cutting through the BFCM cluttered inbox is a must.

Rather than 1 hit on the day, promote and ’tease’ the sale before the day (week etc)
Use the power of multiple channels to promote. Social for email sign up to get the best offer first. Sign up to SMS for a early entry VIP access promoted via email etc. Warm and nurture your base towards the sale.

Convert those thinking of buying by offering them ‘first chance’ to purchase. When working for a Hotel chain we used a SMS ‘VIP’ send as part of the overall BF campaign.
It worked so well the volume of traffic generated pushed the website load management to the limit. Extra tip – throttle your SMS sends ;)

JR: “It worked so well the volume of traffic generated pushed the website load management to the limit.”

Yeah. I’d say to throttle any send (also email) if you expect systems to be pushed to limits, But also have static pages and extra capacity / fallback. If your site goes down, is terrible.

Pro-tip: An ESP where you can change the links after sending CAN save your life. :D

Rasmus Houlind. CXO at Agillic

DON’T saturate your subscribers. Make sure you have suppressions for your regular campaign flows. Or adjust them to fit around BFCM promos.
And this year, in particular, with another world financial crisis, DO NOT guilt potential customers into buying. Get that copy “right” 😉

JR: Very smart, yes you’ll have to go through the automated emails as well. For instance if you have a welcome flow with a discount, but it is lower than the offer in BlackFriday… Abandonned cart, etc, etc.

I am not a fan of making people feel guilty for not buying, although a little bit of urgency and FOMO can work very well.

Simon Harper. eCommerce & WordPress Website Designer at SRH Designs

My number 1 tip is to work with a plan or blueprint (so well organised) with a clear goal in mind.
Act on achieving that goal by following the steps of your plan/blueprint.
And for the content of the plan: dare to be different.

Mark van den Berg, Managing Director at Spotler

Most important is not mentioned yet: look at what happend last year(s). What worked well? What worked less?

Learn from what you did and keep learning. Not sure what to conclude from previous year(s) then put your hypotheses in A/B/C test. But only if your audience is big enough! So sad to see that marketeers sometimes make conclusions based on not – significant test results.

Carijn Meijer, CRM Consultant at TeamITG

You’ll need relevant data in order to analyze if your approach was a success.

Make sure to think of a proper measurement plan and UTM strategy that will help you analyze your success! ⚡. We’ve got some tips on how to do that as well.

Iris Guelen, Content Manager at Yoast

Segmentation and VIPs

Steffen Schebesta

My absolute favourite Black Friday tip is to capture “early adaptors” and “laggards”.

1️⃣ Give your customers sneak peeks of the Black Friday deals to come. You will get your customers excited, they know what to expect and there’s a good chance they will share your deals among their peers.

2️⃣ Grant early access to your best deals to your A customers. You will make your best customers feel valued and be part of an exclusive circle, especially when deals are limited.

3️⃣ Run last-chance or extended Black Friday deals. Giving your customers a last chance even after BF has “officially” ended can create a sense of additional urgency and bring even the laggards to convert.

Steffen Schebesta. VP Corporate Development at Brevo
Jonas Fischer

Don’t forget about retention / building loyalty post-purchase! Too many focus on sales, sales, sales… they forget to put together a plan in advance to keep those people engaged after BFCM. Make sure you have email automation sequences ready to go that are specifically tailored to turn BFCM customers into long-term fans.

JR: Good point. And normal welcome sequences may not work that well. So you’ll always have new versus current customers. And what to do to get to that either emotional loyalty and/or second purchase. Do you have any thoughts / examples you could share?

Jonas Fischer. Team Lead: Marketing Communications at MailerLite
Jasper Van Laethem

Some of the best tips I’ve discovered over the years:

1. Exclusivity for VIPs: Offer exclusive deals or access to your VIP customers. This not only triggers the principle of Reciprocity but also taps into people’s need for uniqueness.

2. BFCM List: We’ve seen impressive results by creating an early BFCM list, targeting both new and existing subscribers. Remind them of their commitment (playing on the Consistency principle) and give them a few ‘reasons why’ to prime them for your campaign. Higher frequency but also a much higher engagement rate than the regular ones.

3. The Von Restorff Email: Stand out of the crowd with a no code / text based email. This email will stand out if the crowd of overly designed emails. They also enjoy better deliverability. The key is to be both personalized and to feel intimate — there’s a nuanced difference between the two.

4. Keep Product Offerings Broad: Avoid going specific with your product offering in your emails. It feels a bit counterintuitive but BFCM is a period of exploration, impulse purchases, … It’s all about the reward of the hunt during this period.

Remember, alot depends upon the types of products you offer and the goal you are going for ofc. 

JR: Premium offers for VIPs. 💰 

I saw this year, what I thought was a very good idea:

The segment of People who made a trial account in the past (trial members) got an email with BF deal 6 days ahead of others. Maybe the deal was also better or not, don’t know – but seems a good idea to get them first.

Most of the time, offers are only for new customers. But that is kind of in the face of other loyal customers…. 

Jasper: It’s a great idea to do something special for some large and possibly very valuable segments such as trial accounts or even one-time buyers. 👌

Jasper Van Laethem. Co-founder & Sr. Email Marketing Strategist at The Future Funnel

One not-so-common approach is to build an exclusive private list of people willing to subscribe to exclusive offers not available on BF or CM for everyone.

You send an exclusive invite to your already regular and best clients, asking them to subscribe to this VIP list, which is not active only for BF and CM but throughout the year.

For BF and CM, you provide discounts and special offers only available to this list. I’ve seen a few brands doing this with amazing results. Especially the more high-end brands like Hugo Boss. They were already doing some closed-door promos when they wanted to get rid of last season’s collection, so this is a plus.

Way too many brands use email as the same messaging distribution channel. Why should people subscribe to their newsletter, then?
Making it a privilege and sending exclusive content to their list makes people want to subscribe. Being valued and wanting to know the scoop before anyone else. 

Rui Nunes. Founder of Sendxmail & Zopply

If you haven’t done already: start enriching and segmenting your database so you can send out emails campaigns with relevant offers/content for the best conversion. If you are a bit behind schedule: run two campaigns at the same time where 1 is focused on generating permissions, and second on segmenting.

We see an increase of companies using ‘low effort, high conversion’ game formats to generate email permissions, and segmenting them in preparation of Black Friday campaigns.

Because not only does email win the challenge of still returning the highest conversion rate, but also prepping email campaigns avoids paying too much for your paid ad campaigns in a period where most are fighting for the attention of their audience. There is of course a lot of focus on SoMe marketing for good reason, but email marketing has a different purpose and is relevant more than ever. It’s not or/or, rather and/and when it comes to allocating budget and time, imho of course.

Osman Polat. Account Executive at Scratcher.io

99% of your success or failure will be on your data segments – How might you prepare?

Get a countdown email funnel going. Mostly preparing your volume for your BIG send and also in case your delivery dumps on that day you have already delivered messages lined up preparing your loyalty (segment) customers for the “Big Payoff” on your sale days and links that can redirect them to the FINAL HOURS, PAYOUT, SALE, BIG BONUS, EXTRA SPIN .. or whatever you chose to do. good luck!

Keith Kouzmanoff, Postmaster of Email at Inter7 Internet Technologies

May sound basic, but split test. Split test subject lines with a small segment early, split test content, CTAs, you name it.

Start with a smaller segment and send the winner to the remainder of your list. The incremental wins can make a big difference at a time like BF/CM (and Giving Tuesday).

Jesse Kennedy, Creative Director at Aweber

Segmentation, segmentation, segmentation!

If you’re heavily discounting, avoid sending recipients emails of discounted products who had recently purchased items at full price. It leaves a bad taste with consumers and starts to diminish any loyalty.

Instead, segment out recent purchasers of the products that are being featured. Instead, if you can, send those recent purchasers complementary products that are maybe now discounted that would be relevant to their recent purchase.

Jenna Tiffany, Founder and Strategy Director of Let’sTalk Strategy, Chartered Marketer

Segmentation, personalization, heavy discounts (include % in subject lines), GIFs.

Don’t make them choose between too many offers at the same time, and retarget those who did not convert during the holiday season.

Also, by segmenting your database you will reduce deliverability issues with some email clients who are trying to handle a higher volume of emails at the same time.

It has not been an easy time for the (travel) industry, but we keep working hard to make people’s dreams travel. Stay tuned and follow our progress!

Juan-Pablo Botero, Marketing Automation Specialist at International Air Transport Association

Segmentation is the key. This is the time to show how well a business understands its customers and how well customers are segmented on the basis of their history. Now is the time to utilise the segments and run hyper targeted promotions.

So send discount deals to customers who are more keen on discount vs FOMO to those customers who never want to miss on new launches.

Sandeep Saxena, Founder and CEO at PostBox Consultancy Services

Black Friday SaaS deals dance break!
We bundled over 45 Black Friday SaaS Deals. This will easily save you hundreds of dollars.

If that doesn’t make you dance, I don’t know what will.

Now on with more Segmentation tips...

Know your customer!

Clear-cut segmentation & personalization are the way to go.

Markus Beck, CEO & Co-Founder at tye GmbH

JR: Hi Christopher, Which of your tips is the absolute best / most unqiue one you’d like people to see here in the thread?

We just completed an ecommerce study with 2,500 shoppers. 38% said reviews directly on the retailer website influenced their choice. So that’s something to look at! 

It’s a great time to ask questions of your customers. Getting product reviews will help shape your inventory or order plans & add to your customer’s preferences. Carefully construct a survey that will update customer preference & product feedback. Then use the results in your next email campaign.  

A flash sale can burn out your audience so hold something back with an exclusivity offer. For example, show some items in your Black Friday offer as unavailable until Cyber Monday.

We also noticed it’s tricky to get Google reviews on your site so we made a simple tool for this. 

Christopher J Byrne, CEO & Founder at Sensorpro

Cause related marketing and changing the narrative

Steve Hoechster

When a big opportunity stares us in our faces, there’s an understandable tendency to try and make the most of it. That doesn’t mean to allow your brand to become something it’s not – just because of this apparent opportunity to engage more, convert more, and sell more.

Opportunities like BFCM can become detrimental to a brand’s health if mishandled with wrong approaches to consumers/customers, be it the wrong offers, wrong messages, or the wrong approach. Remember, they see things like BFCM as an opportunity for them.

Recognize that as a willingness on their part to engage more with you, to say “yes” more quickly or more often, and buy more. To suddenly, inexplicably become something you’re not, to communicate in a way that’s unfamiliar – you put that relationship you’ve worked so hard to establish and strengthen at risk.

Consider rewarding their loyalty with special offers or special services. If you’ve never been about price – don’t have that become your core value for a couple of days. Make it about what your brand has always been about…with the added appeal of something…and yes, that can be special pricing. Remember, there’s maybe a week’s worth of such special sales days like BFCM across a year. Play the long game to win.

Steve Hoechster. Director of Content & Communications at Stensul
Ephraim Gopin

Let me share something related to BFCM. It’s what comes right after: Giving Tuesday. If you think inboxes become a nuclear disaster zone during BFCM, Giving Tuesday is a never-ending stream of email fundraising asks.

2 pieces of advice:

1) Don’t overdo it. f you’re gonna run a GT campaign, it’s ok to send a few emails on Monday and Tuesday. 16 emails in 21 hours? Too much. (And yes, one nonprofit did that last year. I kid you all not.)

2) DON’T fundraise on Giving Tuesday. Turn it into Gratitude Tuesday! 

Get staff, volunteers and Board members together and do a phone-a-thon. Call as many donors as possible and simply say thank you. Tell them they’re awesome for supporting the people in their community who need it most. No financial ask!

The results will be hugely positive:

– donors will get that warm feeling of gratitude

– that warm feeling will be what they remember the next time you ask… which just happens to be a few days later because it’s end-of-year campaign time (which for many organizations is their biggest campaign of the year).
Go ahead. Try something different this year. Try Gratitude Tuesday.

Ephraim Gopin. Principal at 1832 Communications
Andrew Kordek

Incorporate a unique programmatic feature, such as a philanthropic initiative where a percentage of every dollar spent contributes to a charitable cause. Ensure that this distinctive aspect is prominently conveyed in both the subject line and the body of the email. This strategy is certain to set your brand apart amidst the overwhelming noise.

And I would have a very neutral charity, given the current state of the world. (sad but true)

Andrew Kordek. Vice President of Customer Engagement at iPost
Chris Byrne

It’s a tricky time to stand out. Why wouldn’t you not display your brand logo in Gmail then? Literally takes 10mins no matter what email vendor you use. Step by step guide: sensorpro.net/senderlogo

Chris Byrne. CEO of SensorPRO

An underrated move is to team up with other brands.
Regardless of what you do with your discounts, having a “team-up” communication strategy helps to boost and increase the reach of your offer.
And keep your content ENTERTAINING

How would a brand do that? 

Most brands do have a network of either “partners” or brands that work closely with them. If they help with cross-promotion it’s only a win for both.
The entertaining factor will have to go with their tone of voice, and how far and crazy can they go. But remember this is fall/Halloween season, you either stick to the season or go crazy with a pre-Xmas promotion 😜

Marcos Bravo. Founder & Brand Evangelist at The Waterlemon

Ethical marketing prompts – anything linking Black Friday promotions to fair trade, green initiatives, and social activism gets my business.

While it’s been a tough year, consumers still want that feel-good factor when they buy something, knowing that their hard-earned cash is going towards the greater good.

Chris Cano – Content Strategist & Senior Writer at dotdigital

For our B2B investment brands, I’d say either be bold and get creative with your comms on BFCM (it’s an opportunity to humanise your brand) or avoid sending event reminders or product updates on these days completely.

Gavin John, CEO & Co-Founder at Stoneshot

Send more than one email, so building a campaign where you create a sense of urgency and remind customers that this is their last chance.

And since this is a difficult time, I personally find it nice the association with a good cause. Part of the income can be used to support those who need it for example.

JR: Building in empathy, I like it Dalila. What would you set on the foreground still the discount or the cause?
That depends on the campaign goals, I don’t have a personal preference😊

Dalila Bonomi, Design Researcher & Service Designer at Beefree

I love companies that try to change the narrative & speak to specific needs/emotions/values, like REI with their famous #optoutside campaigns. In this challenging 2020, companies that will do so and will resonate with where people are in their lives, will be able to break through the noise.

Massimo Arrigoni CEO at Beefree

I’m gonna keep it real simple – don’t include the words “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” in your subject lines. Every other brand and their mother is going to do the same. Your subject line will get lost in the deluge.

Try putting your own spin on it OR lead with your offer.

JR: We should make a list of spins / original subject lines ~ as inspiration. Being original is HARD! 👀

Emily McGuire, Principal at Flourish & Grit

Next up, Deliverability tips. But first it’s time for a Black Friday SaaS deals dance break!

We bundled over 45 Black Friday SaaS Deals. This will easily save you hundreds of dollars.

If that doesn’t make you dance, I don’t know what will.

Now on to Deliverability...

Deliverability!

I know I keep repeating myself every year, but…

Ensure that your messages actually will be delivered.

To do so:

– clean your list (if you don’t do it holistically and regularly),

– check your set-up,

– run some deliverability tests,

– do some warm-up with pre-hot-season send-outs (if you don’t engage with your audience regularly)

And then… 

Maximize the value to your recipients – offer proper deals to those that care, but also remember about yourself and your sustainability – don’t undersell your products/services just because others do.

JR: there is always like a step-by-step preporation. What do you think about mailing B2B “role” email addresses in this period?

Radek: I consider role email addresses (like [email protected])  as a good email address, especially when there was past engagement of humans behind it with my emails.

But it’s interesting to see that some consider them as “risky” – especially in North America…

It may be due to the fact that Americans may be more prone to report as spam messages that they received on the functional mailbox, when it was their colleague who subscribed.

In general, Americans, I think, use usually their personal mailboxes rather than functional.

In Europe, I see that companies prefer to use functional mailboxes.

Radek Kaczyński. CEO of Bouncer

While it’s hard to write about BFCM without saying the same things over and over again and fall for the obvious, let me try to provide my p.o.v from the deliverability trenches:

Pave your way to Black Friday ramping up volumes starting 3-4 weeks earlier. 

You may want to promote some pre-BFCM deals adding, each time, a small (but different) part of subscribers that may not be your regular audience (e.g. less-engaged recipients, non-buyers).

Monitor your metrics (Engagement, bounces, clicks, purchases) , do the homework and enjoy your next BFCM without the need of a +100% volume spike from a day to another.Bonus “Tip”: Actually, I always think that, regardless of the copy and the content, the most challenging thing during BFCM is to stay out of troubles. Even your “run of the mill” email program can work and, if you don’t have any special strategy in place, do not feel obliged to do anything “disruptive”, trust me it’s not the right time.

Alberto Miscia. Head of Deliverability & Compliance at MailUp S.p.A
kevin-ruhe

My tip is an experience that we had from last year BFCM campaigns. Last year we saw with a lot of our clients that the pressure on inbox providers like Gmail, Microsoft, Apple Mail on the specific friday of Black Friday was enourmous. It ensured that emails scheduled at the beginning of the day only ended up in the inbox hours later. That can of course be fatal for your results. So if I had to choose one tip, I would say: don’t let the success of your BFCM campaign depend on Black Friday itself. But start your communication earlier (or later) to ensure that the emails end up in the inbox at the time you want.

Kevin Ruhe. Co-founder of Funnelboost
Matthew Vernhout

I’ve put together several thoughts about fourth quarter best practices for deliverability success.As the fourth quarter isn’t just a season of celebration and giving; it’s also a time of intense competition and potential pitfalls.

  • Avoid Mailing Long Inactive Users and Volume Spikes
  • Gradually Grow Your Target Audience
  • Send to Targeted Segments
  • Respect Subscribers’ Diverse Holiday Preferences
  • Consider Inviting People to More Frequent Holiday Deal-Specific Newsletters
  • Importance of Data Hygiene During the Fourth Quarter
  • Be Aware of Fake Shipping Notifications and Phishing of Your Brand
  • Implement Strong Authentication (SPF, DKIM, DMARC) to Protect Consumers
Matthew Vernhout. VP, Deliverability ENSA

Here’s my 1 insight about the martech side of the BFCM email campaigns: make sure that your ESP/MAP performs well and the user has access to the content on time.

2 examples from my experience:
1. In some ESPs, the email delivery speed may go down during the BFCM season, leading to poor performance of your campaigns. You want to get to your audience’s inboxes faster than your competitors, right? Always check your delivery time and contact your ESP support if needed, to ensure good delivery speed.

2. Sometimes, the tracking links in your emails may break –  that can lead to errors and slow image / page downloads. A user may open the email, click the link and then just close the tab because the tracking link doesn’t perform as it should. Test the links in your email before sending the campaign.

It’s clear that the tech aspect is important, but if we forget about it, errors like that can kill all the BFCM conversions.

Ivan Ilin. CEO of EmailSoldiers & Blocks
Sella Yoffe

So many tips 👏 Here is one from me:
Many brands still do not authenticate their domains (SPF, DKIM) and use their ESP with “out of the box” domains.
At this point, so close to Black Friday (and SM, etc.), in case a brand is not authenticating, it’s (in most cases) not the time to do so.
I’ll do that slowly and surely warm up the brand domain (or a sub-domain) at least two months before the holiday season.

Sella Yoffe, Founder and CEO at Data Media

I would suggest marketers keep a few things in mind:
> Black friday/cyber monday is not the time to dust off your list and email everyone who has ever purchased something of you in the past 15 years

> Run the best possible offer and send only to those who would be interested

> Ensure you are not still delivering email after the offer expires and do not run flash offers over this period if your esp is not able to deliver in a timely manner… A 24 hour flash offer sitting in a queue for 3 days before delivery will lead to disappointed subscribers.

Ask your ESP how long they retry messages for. Many are set to 3 days or longer by default. How much of your campaign is delivered within 3 hours? How much is still waiting to be delivered 18 hours after you click send? Do you know the answers to these questions? As a marketer I think you should.

Andrew (Suroor) B. Founder of emailexpert

If you have not cleaned your list in the last 6 months, give it a good clean before your #BFCM campaigns! 🧼🧹🧽

JR: What do you say to people that recommend the exact opposite? (BlackFriday is also the time that has biggest chance for reactivation I have heard).

True! I guess the biggest threats are inactive email addresses/ possible spam traps. If you are not cleaning your list, your email might not arrive in the inbox for those recipients to even have the chance to reactivate their subscription. The best thing to do would be to send a re-engagement campaign with some sort of #BFCM offer before any drip campaigns to ensure they still want to hear from you.

Teresa Anne Smith, Social Media Manager at SMTP2GO

Remember those subscribers using AppleMail who have opted-in to the new privacy option will skew opens (depending on their portion size of your list) and also countdown timers based on opens will be effected by the loading of content on proxy servers. Also automations based on open rules will also be effected.

Give your VIP customers early access to BF/CM sales as a thank you and mention to order early as shipping and supply chains may impact product availability.

If you offer Gift Certificates make sure you have a plan to roll them out and promote around the time of your last shipping date for Christmas to give customers an option.

If you might have supply issues, be aggressive with early sales as people will be buying early to avoid sellout of products or shipping issues.

Chris Donald, Managing Partner at InboxArmy

My top 3 takeaways are:

If you send to your engaged and new subscribers all year don’t then decide to send to everyone, goodbye deliverability.

Be different

Understand your data but don’t forget these are likely to be gifts so think about your content.

Ben Harrington, Email Marketing Consultant at Truffleshuffle Media

Intra-day Warmup. I have good expectations it will make a big difference in inbox placement. Start with the high engagers, then spread it out from there in increasing numbers.

JR: With intra-day, you mean on the same day or accross multiple days / sends?
Within the same day, yes. Proving your reputation again and again every day as an extra effort to stand out from less-scrupulous senders.

Johan Terpstra, Managing Director at Yawiss

Time for discounts for the eagerly awaiting audience. Coupled with eye-grabbing content a a subtle element like GIFs does have a good retention as well as conversion. Using the data segmentation to personalise the above does create a good engagement for the same.

Also this is the time to for the periodic clean up of email list for retargeting.

Kshtij Hadke, Cofounder at Philia Solutions

Hi Jordie – Encourage shoppers to get excited and prepared by adding a “wishlist” – this increases the chances of bagging that sale when the big event comes – check out the real life example from Freddy.

Black-friday-wishlist

Everything about this email is striking and engaging. The imagery, the colour, the copy, the CTA, and the overall message.

Komal Helyer, Fractional CMO and Chair Email Council at DMA UK