5 simple tips for a winning Black Friday campaign

Are you sitting down? Black Friday is only 5 days away – are you ready?

Black Friday kicks off the beginning of the busiest season in omnichannel marketing. Email marketing is responsible for driving around a fifth of sales between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, so it’s imperative your campaigns grab your recipients’ attention in crowded inboxes.

45% of UK shoppers care less about Black Friday

2020 isn’t a ‘normal’ year, as we all know, and if fighting for your recipients’ attention wasn’t hard enough in a normal year, 45% of UK shoppers care less about Black Friday this year. (Havas Media)

So, you need to make sure you stand out in that inbox and make shoppers care about Black Friday.

Consumers will be hunting down discounts and deals for their big buys. So, you’ve got to keep on your toes! Customers spend a fortune in the run-up to Black Friday and into Cyber Monday. With fierce competition, retailers need to serve up something compelling.

Here are my five simple tips for a winning Black Friday campaign.

1. Segment and personalize

First, we start with making sure we’re hitting the right people during this period. Segmentation leads to increased relevancy, increased revenue, and less wastage. Most of your customers and prospects will want messages and offers throughout the holiday season. But some won’t want them all… We’ll touch on that a little later.

Data Capture

  1. Popover
    • With data capture in the run up to Black Friday you might want to re-think your approach and change your value prop. Work harder to show them what else you offer beyond great holiday gifts and discounts. Having said that, it will be common for shoppers around this time to just sign up for a discount, purchase, and possibly never return.
  2. Abandoned browse popover
    • Another thing to consider is an abandon browse popover. Keep shoppers engaged by using popovers, triggered only when someone goes to leave your site, to offer them even more holiday goodies.


Why not use the start of the holiday period as a reason to win people back?

For those who genuinely have stopped engaging with your emails, using the excitement around the holiday period can be a great way to bring them back into the fold. In the retail world you’ll have offers and holiday-themed merchandise to sell them. For B2B and NFP, you may have award ceremonies and parties like our dotties.

Be mindful of the fact that some contacts may only be seasonal, in which case they’re not not engaging; it’s just not their time of year. Find a way to pinpoint them and target them differently by mentioning what it was they bought last year and offering up intelligent recommendations.

Amend your content and cadence

One thing I see with a lot of brands is that even though I’ve filled out preference center, thoroughly browsed their website, and even purchased; many of the brands failed to recognize any of that behavior. Their emails just kept coming and coming without any acknowledgment of my purchasing or browsing activities. Some have even sent me an offer for a product I’ve already purchased! 

One of the easiest things you can do to ‘recognize’ a recipient is to know whether they have purchased recently, how much they’ve spent, and what they’ve purchased and then change your mailing cadence and content accordingly.

Recommendations based on what has already been purchased really do help at this point.

2. Offer hourly deals

On Black Friday, or even before midnight strikes, create hourly deals that your recipients (or even just loyal customers) can take advantage of.

Every hour for four hours, send out a special deal on a certain product.

A few days prior to Black Friday, send them an email that highlights all the deals, and then automate emails to send each hour that a deal is live.

Just make sure you’re transparent to your recipients who opt in to these emails and explain upfront that you will be sending more emails than usual on this day in order to avoid annoying anyone.

3. Back-in-stock emails

Products may go out of stock for several reasons. The effect can be highly frustrating for customers who expect to be able to purchase what they want, when they want it.

The damage of stockouts extends beyond the direct consequence of a lost sale. There’s the possibility that the shopper will turn to a competitor to find the items in question Then, there’s the long-term impact on customer satisfaction caused by the frustrating experience.

Give your recipients the most up-to-date information about which products you have in stock or the latest features and updates to your product.

This is especially important for the season’s hottest products. It allows you to build brand buzz and encourage more visits.

4. Seasonalize

I’m certain I’ve made this word up, but it illustrates exactly what I’m trying to say.

We can sometimes lose sight of the occasion when we’re working on the marketing side of the fence. Working on Black Friday emails in June can really take the shine off the holiday. But for your customers they’ll be looking forward to it. Especially after the year most of them have had.

We need to conjure up some fun and bring some life to their otherwise dull inboxes.

Think about:

  1. How your returns policies might be changing, or delivery times, and get that into your campaigns – especially welcome emails
  2. Including a countdown timer ahead of your Black Friday deals
  3. Standing out

Maybe go with a different tactic this year and adopt a charity-focused Black Friday campaign. It’s great for brand-building, and consumers love a brand backing a cause that they can also get behind. The jury’s still out on whether the campaign is good for sales though…

Black Friday campaign

4. Introducing AMP to your campaigns

What is AMP? AMP (or Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a development from Google that lets you create a lightweight system with speedier loads. Its framework consists of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The non-email geek answer is: it’s a framework to add interactivity inside your emails so you can do cool stuff.

Black Friday campaign

5. Create a sense of urgency

Creating a sense of urgency in your emails can increase sales by over 300%! (cxl.com)

But how do you go about creating a sense of urgency, I hear you ask…

  1. Use compelling language
    Utilizing limited-time language in your email subject line and calls to action (CTAs) is a smart way to create urgency and increase sales. Mirror this language with an action-based tone to create a seamless experience. Make sure your CTAs leave no doubt about what you’re offering and what the recipient should do next to get the offer.
  2. FOMO (Fear of missing out)
    I don’t know about you, but I get dreadful FOMO! It’s a powerful marketing tactic that you can draw on through your use of language. Use phrases like ‘biggest sale of the year’ or ‘best prices of the season’ in your Black Friday marketing to encourage recipients to shop before it’s too late.
  3. Abandoned cart emails
    There will always be some shoppers who don’t complete their purchase. Black Friday shouts for ensuring you’ve set up abandoned cart emails. It becomes an even more important tactic for ecommerce businesses to win back these potential customers. Offering discounts and other promotions is the most effective way to bring shoppers back, but don’t forget that Black Friday entails a much tighter window of opportunity than usual, so make sure to amend the timing of your abandoned cart emails accordingly.

Let’s Wrap it Up…

Black Friday is ultimately all about offering great deals to your recipients. However, a great deal isn’t just offering a staggering discount. Your recipients will respond to unique ideas like giveaways, shopping tips, charitable contributions, and holiday-themed social events.

Be creative and have some fun and I assure you, you will be on your way to Black Friday success.

Want more last-minute, must-do Black Friday tips? We’ve got 37 up our sleeve – just download your free cheatsheet here.

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