Your guide to Black Friday / Cyber Monday email marketing


Kristina Lauren

The greatest time of the year is almost here–and while we always try to imagine the holidays with visions of relaxation time with family and warm smiles around a dinner table, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (which we will refer to as BFCM) tend to be the busiest days of the year–for both businesses and customers. Not only are your customers being flooded with limitless options from companies all over, but they also have a limited amount of time to research and buy gifts in order to get the best deals. The BFCM competition is fierce, but with companies bringing in $9 billion in sales on Black Friday alone, it’s clear that customers are happy to spend. You just need to know how to reach your audience amidst all the noise, and the BFCM email marketing guide below will help you do just that.

Start your email marketing early

This may go without saying, but it’s not the best idea to start emailing your customers about all your great deals on Black Friday. Not only does it give you less time to make sales, but with the amount of emails your customers will be getting around this time, it can be easy to get drowned out if you’re not careful. 

That’s why it’s important to start communicating what you have to offer earlier than later. Of course, this doesn’t mean start giving 50% off when Black Friday is still weeks away—you still want to create a sense of urgency and prevent your offers from growing stale in your subscribers’ inboxes. 

However, you could be cutting it close if you start your campaign only a couple days before. This is why starting at least 1 week before is ideal, even if that first email you send is there to simply build anticipation and make your subscribers aware that deals are coming.

Plan out a BFCM email campaign

As nice as it would be to only send out one email and gain the majority of your sales just like that, it’s usually not that simple. Maximizing profits during the holiday season requires a bit more communication. In fact, plotting out an entire campaign for the holiday season will likely yield the best results.

Start with a hype-building email. The goal of this email is to both inform your subscribers of the coming discounts and to build a segmented group of special customers. We’ll call these special customers VIPs. These are subscribers who are going to be more interested in buying than most and as a reward for their commitment, you’ll want to give them early access to offers. These early deals can come in the form of subsequent emails that boast about the exclusiveness of your VIPs and the special offers they will be receiving. People like feeling differentiated and if they’re also getting some kind of unique discount, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase. 

As you inch closer to BFCM and the weekend finally arrives (even starting as early as Thanksgiving morning!), you’ll want to slightly up the frequency of your emails as well as make sure you’re following up with customers who didn’t finish their purchase. This is the point at which a lot of brands start slashing their prices further to provide even juicier deals or recommending products that customers have already expressed interest in. 

Here’s a sample campaign calendar to give you an idea:

Sunday: Preview email–giving your subscribers a taste of what to expect

Thursday: Announce sale–letting them know what the special offer is

Friday: Reminder email

Saturday: Reminder email–with even more urgency (seriously, this is the best sale of the year!)

Sunday: Last Chance email–here’s the opportunity to give additional discounts

Monday: New sale–rebranding your offers for Cyber Monday

Tuesday: Sale extended, one day only–the good news email for those who might’ve missed out earlier

It’s imperative to have some kind of email automation process in place to accomplish these things so that you can track your customers’ activity and segment your offers accordingly. If you’re interested in learning more about the ins and outs of email automation, start here.

Good copywriting makes the difference

Copywriting is where the sale truly begins, which is why you should use every tactic in your arsenal to make your offers unbeatable. For starters, with a 6 or 7-word sweet spot for subject lines, you don’t have any room to waste, so be clear and direct with your offer. This means using impressive numbers that show off just how much people can save in order to catch their attention and reel them in. 

It also means creating a sense of urgency. Your offers will only exist for a limited time, after all, so you can use that to your advantage to encourage your subscribers not to miss out. Use words that have been proven to pique interest. This includes words and phrases such as “deals”, “save”, “limited time”, “sale”, “you”, “new”, or “offer”, for example. 

You’ll also want to keep your message short and sweet—simply flashing the deals your offering is enough for most of your customers. If you’ve already enticed your subscribers with the promise of 30% off your products, the last thing they want to see is an essay. On that note, making your call-to-action appealing and easy-to-find can also win you some precious clicks.

Use your email marketing data wisely

If this isn’t your first holiday email marketing rodeo, you’re at an advantage. Take a look back at your email analytics from the year before to see what worked and what didn’t. Was there a particular offer that seemed to appeal to more people? Or a certain email template that produced higher than usual engagement? Maybe a specific call-to-action with more clicks or a subject line that was especially irresistible? Assess what you did well and re-adjust as needed. 

However, even if BFCM marketing is new to you, you must still have some idea of who your customers are, and if you’ve sent emails to them prior to the holidays, then you have some data that can still be useful. For example, have you taken note of which days and times tend to result in higher engagement for your emails? Or is there a product that is popular with customers year-round that you can boost in your BFCM emails? You can use this information to yield some amazing results for your BFCM campaign and build more data that can be used for subsequent years.

Don’t forget to remind your customers

Part of vying for the attention of your subscribers is reminding them of the deals they almost took advantage of—in case they forget, which they likely will.

69% of online shopping carts will be abandoned by shoppers, but 45% of cart abandonment emails are opened. Better yet, of the 21% of people who click through to revisit their cart, 50% end up making a purchase. So, what does that mean for you? It’s a strong indicator that retargeting your subscribers with cart abandonment emails is a must. 

Most eCommerce brands send 2-4 of these emails on average, with the first being anywhere from 10-60 minutes after the customer abandons their cart, the second being 24 hours after, and the last two emails following after a few days to a week.

As a side note, you should also be aware why people abandon their carts, as the reasons aren’t always due to getting distracted or the product being too expensive. In the spirit of the holidays, you are offering a discount, after all, but potential customers can get turned off by things as simple as shipping costs, long shipping times, long page loading times, website glitches, or being forced to fill out too much information in order to make the purchase. 

Of course, some of these annoyances can be completely out of a brand’s hands, but it’s important to make things as easy and enticing for your customers as possible. Ensuring that your visitors have a good experience as they do the actual shopping and use your website is an instrumental part in closing sales.


Despite all the competition, the BFCM shopping season is one of the most lucrative times of the year for most businesses. With proper planning, great deals, and an irresistible email campaign, you can make sure you get a piece of the pie every single year. 

If you think you might need assistance with spicing up your emails, let Scalero help you. Not only can we design custom emails that are perfect for the holiday season, but we can create editable email templates that are perfect for your brand. Get started with us today!

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