CATEGORY: Email marketing

Black Friday: 6 lessons learned from 2017

Black Friday: 6 lessons learned from 2017

It's almost that time of year again, when mayhem not only descends upon the streets, but also online. Thanks to our American friends, Black Friday has become a rooted event in every marketer’s calendar – whether you specialise in B2C or B2B marketing, the year on year growth of revenue generated from Black Friday is proof that it is an opportunity not to be missed.

Last year us ‘Brits’ managed to spend a whopping £1.39bn via online shopping alone! 39% of these sales were completed on a smartphone – reiterating the significance of optimising your website and email campaigns to render for mobile.

Black Friday is only around the corner, if you’re still working on your own communications for the 23rd, have no fears… here are our top tips we have learnt over the years.

To help you capture some of the Black Friday magic, we will cover;

  • Tips and tricks to amplify the success of your Black Friday marketing emails  
  • Types and examples of email campaigns which will drive audience engagement and conversions 

Let’s dive in…  

6 best practise tips to help you master your Black Friday campaign and drive revenue

1. Analyse last year’s campaigns 

There is no better place to start than assessing your previous campaigns. As the saying goes ‘If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.’

Start by evaluating:

  • What were your most popular CTA’s – consider the location within the email design, was it above or below the fold? What kind of language did you use? Did you use a button or hyperlink?
  • What sending times yielded the highest engagement rates?
  • What device and email provider did your audience use to open your emails? – This will play a decisive role in determining what type of email design you lead with, if most of your subscribers are using Outlook then it would be wise to avoid a design which uses a GIF to explain the context. There are work arounds, see what Email On Acid has to say

2. Start building your list with an enticing incentive 

You more than likely already have a sign up form on your website, but to capitalise on the extra traffic around this sales period, we recommend modifying your sign up forms with a Black Friday offer visitors can’t resist.

You can also drive traffic to a specific landing page dedicated to your offer and share this across your social platforms, letting your followers know of the specific discounts they could be entitled to by joining your email list. Make sure your landing page gives them the information they need to make a quick decision, but offers them more if they’re unsure.

3. Don’t wait until it’s too late

Don’t leave it until the big day to hit your subscribers with your first promotion, use the prior weeks to engage with your audience and build up anticipation.

By kicking off your promotions at the beginning of November, your messages have a greater chance of getting seen.

Ideas for teaser campaigns: -         

  • Sneak peaks:  If you are only going to use one teaser campaign, a sneak peek is the obvious choice. Use a GIF or moving image carousel to show viewers a snippet of your range of sensational offers. 
  • Gift guides:  Gift guides exploded in 2017, they’re a nifty way of showcasing a selection of your products. To keep it relevant for your audience, consider using categories for your gift guides such as gender, interests or price.

4. Segment for success 

To tempt your subscribers, your offers must be relevant. Is it genuinely going to cause recipients to react with enthusiasm?

Consumer’s awareness of personalised recommendations has led to a degree of expectation… your marketing must be connected to their preferences; a way to keep the content tailored to the recipient is by segmenting your contact lists.

Use intelligence from past purchases, form fills and website behaviour to deliver the offer that is most likely to resonate with each contact.

Ideas for segmenting email lists: 

  • Past purchase behaviour
  • Preferences
  • Previous engagement with your campaigns
  • Customer loyalty
  • Customers who haven’t purchased in a while 

5. Take personalisation to the next level 

Take your personalisation efforts passed a *FirstName* basis with Dynamic content.

Your email has around 3 seconds to capture the interest of the recipient at the best of time. People don’t read… they scan.

Dynamic content enables you to tailor your campaign so different groups of your audience receive different content, different offers, images, copy or calls to action, without having to rework the creative.

In the context of a busier than usual inbox, your message needs to make an impact in just a few words, use dynamic content to create a truly unique and engaging email. 

Here are a few impressive ways to use Dynamic Content in your campaign:

  • Create a sense of urgency by using count down timers.
  • Showcase a selection of different products with image carousels
  • Personalise the ‘From Name’ to appeal to different subscribers

6. Test to become the best

Your Black Friday campaign is one of the most important campaigns to make sure you have optimised for click throughs.

Start your split testing sooner rather than later, by testing campaigns on 10% of your audience in advance, you will have insights into your customer’s behaviour, which you can therefore adapt your campaigns for. Here are a few variables to start testing: 

  • The from name
  • Subject line
  • Preview text
  • Email design
  • Copy to image ratio
  • Sending times

We cover in more detail split testing best practises in this article, check it out for further reading.

Another area you will want to ensure isn’t holding your masterpiece back is the deliverability of your email. We have an awesome feature at e-shot called email forensics, which checks out all the areas which may be negatively impacting your deliverability and tells you how to improve it… it’s a life saver!

Finally, carry out tests to make sure your email renders well on a mobile.

Types of email campaigns to optimise over the festive period: 

As the festive madness is about to begin, it’s imperative you that you enhance emails which are crucial stepping stones in the buyers journey.

By providing a seamless, customer centric experience, your subscribers are much more likely to engage with your campaigns.  

Welcome email 

Why it works: Welcome emails reach your subscribers when they are most engaged with your brand and are, most likely, expecting to hear from you, perhaps even looking out for your mail. This first interaction sets the tone and is a great way to cement the relationship.


Why this is important for Black Friday: If you have used an incentive promotion on your sign up form, remember to include the discount code or voucher. Your welcome email is your first impression. 

Abandon shopping cart email 

Why it works: Not only are they reminding the recipient of the item which was in their basket, they are also recommending other products that they think they would like, with a clear navigation bar at the top to easily continue their shopping experience.


Why this is important for Black Friday: Abandon shopping basket emails have significantly higher conversion rate compared to a normal email. Follow Calvin Klien’s lead and upsell other products or services based on past purchase behaviour or related products. 

Dynamic Content email

Why this works: Urgency is created in both the language used and the countdown timer. The use of negative space draws attention to the one clear call to action.


Why this is important for Black Friday: Countdown timers are a powerful psychological method of influencing your audience to take action and convert, combine this with the ‘fear of missing out’ in your copy and it will make viewers take action. 

Our final words of wisdom … 

Your offer needs to be compelling to the point of generating interest, but consider the opportunity for cross-sell and up-sell that you can derive from your Black Friday deal.

Incorporate alternative products and services into your email or landing page and make sure you track clicks on the email and visitors to the page. Chances are more people will view your offer and leave than complete a purchase, so consider the remarketing potential for those who come and go on Black Friday.


If you are feeling short on time this Black Friday, we have some awesome email templates at e-shot, which in the spirit of things, have a great discount!


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