Black Friday Email Campaign Tips for 2020 + Best Examples
by Ada Durzyńska last updated on 0

Black Friday Email Campaign Tips for 2020 + Best Examples

Everything looks different this year and every shopper’s favourite holiday, Black Friday, will be no exception.

One thing is for certain – your competitors will try their best when it comes to their email campaigns. So, it’s crucial that your emails capture the customer’s attention.

That’s why I’m going to give you tips on how to design your Black Friday emails, and provide you with some great Black Friday email examples.

Table Of Contents

Black Friday in 2020

Many of you are probably wondering how different is Black Friday (November 27, 2020) going to be this year. And, to be honest, we’re not certain either.

Due to lockdowns and all the safety precautions we need to take, we predict that most of the crazy (and sometimes dangerous) physical racing and running to be the first to get the best deal in brick-and-mortar stores will be gone. In fact, even before all the restrictions, in-store shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend has been declining over the years, giving space for online sprees. But, that means that the customers who still want to take part in the holiday will rush to your online store as soon as the sale starts.

On one hand, people might be less eager to overspend on the Black Friday weekend (including Cyber Monday) this year due to financial hardships. (The last dip in sales during the holiday season happened in 2008, because of the financial crisis that year.)

On the other hand, the deals and discounts the Black Friday weekend offers will be of great importance to those of us who couldn’t splurge on full-price goods this year. Also, during the lockdown, many people got used to the convenience of ordering stuff online or have just discovered the wonders of online shopping.

But, all things considered, there are still millions of people ready to shop online and bring a little joy into their lives, so make sure it’s your offer they will notice in their inbox. You don’t need a lot of resources to be unique – a simple good idea is all you need to start.

Best Black Friday email examples

As much as a great discount is helpful in getting your customers’ attention, the Black Friday weekend (and Thanksgiving week) is a perfect time to make a lasting impression on your audience. A captivating email might make people look forward to other newsletters you send out in the future, increasing the chance of conversions in the long run.

So, to get your creative juices flowing, we’ve gathered some of our favorite examples of best Black Friday emails that can inspire your campaign.

If you need even more email campaign examples, make sure to check out 30+ Best Email Marketing Campaigns and why we loved them.

1. Tinker Watches

A screenshot of a Black Friday email example from Tinker Watches.
Example of a “teaser” email for Black Friday by Tinker Watches. Source: Really Good Emails

Subject line: Something New is Coming on Black Friday ⌚

This email’s subject line is a great teaser – it gets you excited for the new release.
Also, the use of a watch emoji here is perfect for a few reasons: the product they’re announcing is, quite literally, a watch; the emoji happens to be a black watch (as in, Black Friday); it fits the email’s design; seeing a watch after teasing a product launch creates a sense of anticipation.

Why we like it

The design of this email is incredibly sleek and elegant. There’s no flashy content fighting for your attention. That makes it so soothing to look at, I’ve been staring at this email for hours!

The fonts used here are simple and clean, there’s one eye-grabbing image, and concise copy.

While the black&white color palette is pretty much a standard when it comes to Black Friday newsletters and campaigns, the email maximizes its potential by hiding the design of their yet-to-be unveiled product as a ‘shadow’ on a background image.

The copy, starting with the “Let the countdown begin” heading, makes you look forward to the big launch and head to their website as soon as the clock strikes midnight after Thanksgiving.

What could be better?

Although it’s not the point of this email, it could use a clear call to action – there’s even just enough space below the copy to fit a nice CTA button. It could lead to a landing page with a countdown, a page teasing a tiny bit more about the new product, or even a website where you could pre-order the watch.

2. & Other Stories

Example of a simple Black Friday email by & Other Stories.

Subject line (1st email): Black Friday starts early


Example of a simple Black Friday email from & Other Stories.
Black Friday email newsletter from & Other Stories.

Subject line (2nd email): 20% off all goods


Example of a simple Cyber Monday email from & Other Stories.
Cyber Monday email from & Other Stories.

Subject line (3rd email): Cyber Monday | extra 30% off promotional items

Both of the Black Friday subject lines are very straightforward and short. That doesn’t mean they lack personality – a similar, minimalistic approach is echoed in the understated vibe of all the brand’s email marketing. The Cyber Monday subject line, though, could be better, as it differs from the other two’s format.

Why we like it

This example includes three different emails that were sent out throughout the Thanksgiving weekend (from Thursday to Cyber Monday). Even though they apply to two different shopping holidays, they stick to the same, consistent theme – a journey of “the Noir express” (noir is the French word for black).

Their consistent use of words and imagery connected to train rides makes for a good metaphor of their sale’s course. And, when you combine all three parts of this newsletter, it all becomes a short intriguing story, with a start, climax, and final chapter. The message here is clear to grasp, all the important information is fleshed out in short copy, and the CTAs are right in the middle and hard to miss.

Both of the emails created for Black Friday were designed using only black and white, but as soon as the Cyber Monday sale kicks off, the colors are back in place.

What could be better

It’s cool that in the Black Friday pair of emails the products are shown off only in the first one, while the second acts as a reminder that the sale is coming to an end. But, it would also be cool if the final Cyber Monday part of the series also had product boxes showcasing the ‘cyber specials’.

3. Bose

Black Friday email with reviews from Bose.
Black Friday email with reviews from Bose. Source: Really Good Emails

Subject line: Black Friday is almost over 🔊🎧 You can still save with Bose

Bose’s subject line describes the contents and purpose of the email well. However, it’s pretty lengthy and the emojis are not exactly necessary here.

Why we like it

Assuming that this email was sent towards the end of their Black Friday sale, you can see that Bose is giving you all you need to make a decision and buy their product on sale as fast as possible. Each product they’ve listed comes with:

  • the product’s full name
  • a photo
  • the discount & current price
  • the previous price (so you could see how much you’re saving)
  • its own CTA button
  • a real review from a happy customer that had bought it before

It’s a really clever way to allow customers make a quick but informed decision, as it skips the need to look for all the info on the website.

4. Aesop

Black Friday email campaign by Aesop.
Black Friday campaign by Aesop. Source: Really Good Emails

Subject line: A measure of composure in the chaos

Aesop’s subject line is like a perfect relief from the chaos that ensues in our inboxes during the holiday shopping season. It’s also quite intriguing and makes you want to read the email, just to get the sense of composure it promises.

Why we like it

This email is unlike any other Black Friday mail. Its design and colors are airy and calming, complimenting the products perfectly. No flashy gifs, crossed-out previous prices, sense of scarcity, and certainly no ‘hurry up!’. There’s nothing more to be said – it’s simple, beautiful, and what you should expect from a wellness brand. Definitely delivers on the promise from their subject line.

What could be better

It would be great to see some more copy before getting into the products and the font could be a bit larger.

On another note, the choice of the products recommendations slightly threw me for a loop. (Looking at you, ‘Post-Poo Drops’) But, the closing quote was a great refresher after that :).

5. Em Cosmetics

A Black Friday GIF email by Em Cosmetics.
A Black Friday GIF email by Em Cosmetics.

Why we like it

This email stands out for its use of a good-quality GIF and maintaining an uncluttered email design. The GIF instantly grabs attention, showcases the company’s most recognizable product, serves as an additional logo, and fits into the email’s color scheme. There is only one simple CTA, and it makes sense – if the deal is sitewide, there’s no need to add product boxes and additional CTAs. (I should add that the screen capture is missing a navigation bar on top of the email. The navigation provides easy access to each category of products.) It’s a pretty basic Black Friday email template, but once again, simplicity won customers’ hearts!

6. XXXI

A surprising black friday email from XXXI.
A surprising Black Friday email from XXXI. Source: Really Good Emails

Subject line: Very Good Graphic Design — On sale this weekend!

The subject line refers to the products offered in the email, all graphic-design-related goods.

Why we like it

I love the sarcastic tone of the email’s heading and subheading. It acknowledges the holiday shopping season being the most consumer-driven time of the year (what I can only assume to be a play on the lyrics ‘most wonderful time of the year’) and makes an auto-ironic statement about hopping on a bandwagon. It offers a discount code for the whole weekend, but it’s ‘CAPITALISM’. Then, it goes straight to business, but in their own unique style, that they’ve maintained in all of their previous emails.

This email is a great example of hate-celebrating Black Friday with your brand’s integrity intact.

7. Honorable mention: Weird Fish

A pun-based Black Friday email from Weird Fish.
A pun-based Black Friday email from Weird Fish.

Why I like it

I appreciate a GREAT pun when I see it. And there’s two.
A play on words using the brand’s fish-related theme? That must have been such a satisfying opportunity for the copywriter!

Black Friday email campaign best practices and tips

Polishing your list

You already know how important building your email list is. So, just imagine how the importance of each email address grows before the sales’ biggest day of the year.

If you’re unsatisfied with the number of subscribers you have (and, let’s face it – it feels like there are almost never too many), you should start expanding your list ASAP.

And, speaking of “ASAP”, before Black Friday, your signup forms should ooze with urgency. Or, suspense. You can tease the fact that something big is coming, and every subscriber will know about it first. Change the copy so that it highlights the benefits your future customers can get if they sign up today.

You can put up banners, create designated landing pages – the goal is to get people excited for what’s coming, and ready for your special offer emails in their inboxes.

getresponse black friday signup form template
GetResponse’s Black Friday signup form template

But, remember that a smaller list full of engaged subscribers is a million times more valuable than a list of people that ignore your emails. So, just be careful when building your list and make a good, not a never-ending, one.

Subject lines

When it comes to Black Friday subject lines, you can either use keywords like “free” or “discount”, use some numbers (e.g., “80%”), or just play on your subscribers’ feeling of anticipation.

You can include a reminder when the sale starts – “Black Friday sale starts tomorrow” or “The sale starts now.” If it’s customers who you know have bought from you before and know about your great deals – “Don’t forget about this year’s sale.”

Write a catchy line connected to your brand. Take Casper, a mattress brand, for example. Their Black Friday emails’ subject lines were: ‘’This Black Friday, choose snooze.” and “Every Friday is Black Friday when your eyes are closed. Because you’re napping.”

The best Black Friday email subject lines are funny, lighthearted, and referring to the products – you can’t go wrong with that.

Consider using emojis to make your email’s subject line pop. But, read the Best Practices for Emojis in Subject Lines first if you’re unsure.

Copy

A simple rule is not to overdo it. A few excitement-inducing lines will definitely be enough. Also, if you think of using multiple CTAs – make sure all of them are really necessary, visible, and not too flashy when next to each other.

In the emails you plan to send long before Black Friday, inform your customers about what kind of deals they can expect. Be careful, though. Plant a seed, give a hint, but don’t spoil the fun and don’t write about all the details yet.

When the time for the more salesy and “shop now” emails comes, create a sense of urgency by setting a deadline. Stating that the deal ends on Cyber Monday, or that the promo code can be used through 11/24, will give your customers a little push to shop.

Black Friday email design

A common theme in Black Friday email campaigns (and most Black Friday templates in general) is “all black everything” – and that’s pretty self-explanatory. But, when thinking of the overall email design and color scheme, remember to stay true to your brand identity.

Take a look at Casper’s emails from last year:

casper's black friday email campaign
Casper’s Black Friday email
Casper's Black Friday email
Casper’s Black Friday email campaign

The color palette in their Black Friday emails is not only soothing, which is appropriate for a brand that sells mattresses, but also uniform across all their platforms and channels.

Also, these emails are very simple – a catchy header, clear information on what deal you can get and when, and a single CTA. There’s no clutter, no flashy content, and no unnecessary copy. When an email gets straight to the point, the customer is more likely to follow your instructions without getting overwhelmed.

A great idea is to incorporate GIFs into your Black Friday emails.

casper black friday email gif
bonobos black friday sale email

GIFs catch the eye, and when they show the process of unboxing or unwrapping, they build up anticipation and excitation.

Some brands decide to showcase only the black products they put on sale. It plays on the “Black” Friday idea in a fun way and makes the offer seem very exclusive, Black-Friday-only. Take for example Nike and Modernica:

modernica black friday email
Modernica’s Black Friday email (Source: reallygoodemails.com)
nike black friday exclusive
Nike’s Black Friday email (Source: reallygoodemails.com)

Also, as Nike only dropped a few products in their special-edition collection, it’s justified that they added a different CTA underneath each of them. The customer can be taken directly to the product they like, and buy it faster, as the inventory is limited.

And again, the copy in these emails is as brief and condensed as it can be – there’s no time for reading when there are thousands of people already rushing to the checkout ;).

When in doubt, you can build your email using our Black Friday email templates!

All of them are available to edit via our new and improved email creator.

You can choose a Black Friday template, customize any other pre-designed one, or easily create your own. It’s super easy! (You can sign up for a 30-day free trial to see for yourself)

A bit of strategy

You could be starting your campaign any time now. Some people recommend starting a week before, or last minute – on Black Friday. Whichever option you chose, it’s best to do a little strategizing and creating automated workflows beforehand.

First, try segmenting your audience into as many segments as you need. Then, you can personalize the emails and offers accordingly.

Re-engage the disinterested subscribers, and rekindle your relationship just in time for the Big Day.

Then, consider giving your subscribers scoring points so you can deliver different offers based on their engagement.

Also, if you want to send a sequence of emails with different products and deals, remember to tag people that already converted, so you can stop nagging them, and send a thank-you email instead.

Prepare cart abandonment emails that will remind your customers to come back and check out. Offer them help and see if they convert. If they don’t, you can set another reminder with a special deal, like free shipping.

You can also turn your early bird sale into a game! How? You’ll find the answer in our guide: 8 Marketing Automation Workflows for Your Holiday Campaigns.

If everything goes right and the customer converts, make sure to thank them for their purchase and give them a chance to rate their experience or send them a satisfaction survey.

Are you ready?

Remember to back up your servers – your website failing to perform when hundreds of people click “buy now” at the same time will cost you customers not only on Black Friday but in the long run too.

Check your inventory, so your stock is full and magazines ready to be emptied. It’s better to overestimate than underestimate, leaving your customers empty-handed.

Make the experience as seamless as possible, and enjoyable for both you and your customer.

Happy selling and happy shopping! See you in my inbox on November 27!

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