How to Create a Winning Email Marketing Strategy for Black Friday and Beyond



Jenny Stamper

September 17, 2021

By Jenny Stamper,  Director of Lifecycle Marketing

We love email marketing for one simple reason: it works. When consumers click on an email offer, they spend 138% more than the average consumer. Interestingly, more than 20% of all online shopping visits during the 2020 holiday season started the buyer journey from a simple email. 

There are a few important changes coming for the 2021 holiday season you need to be ready for. If you’re looking to create a superb email marketing strategy for Black Friday 2021 and the entire holiday season, read on. 

Review 2020 to Prepare 2021’s Email Strategy‌

Know your customer.

It’s the first rule of marketing, and you have an abundance of tools at your disposal to plan your strategy for 2021 and beyond. In addition to analyzing last year’s email campaigns, you can also perform effective market research directly through your social media channels, looking to see what topics and offers create engagement with your brand and which ones are a snooze fest. 

‌The best source of data for your 2021 campaign will be the metrics you collected in 2020. A few patterns should stick out to you as you look through that data. Look for things like: 

  • Specific days and times that produced higher engagement rates — these are good places to focus your 2021 efforts. 
  • Were there any dates or times that saw higher inbound traffic than your website? Send your strongest emails and offers accordingly. 
  • Look at which discount offers were most successful last year. If your buy-more-get-more offer didn’t produce as many hits as the 20% off discount, you know what to do in 2021. 

Identify also your year-round shoppers and your seasonal shoppers. Both segments are valuable, but they don’t spend equally. You may want to target your seasonal shoppers even more for Black Friday. Again, check what worked for 2020 and see whether there are offers you can refine this year. 

Timing, frequency, offer, positioning, and strategy are the key metrics to watch for. You want to know what didn’t work so you can either skip it or improve it, just like you want to know what did work so you can do it even better this time around. Don’t go flying blind into 2021 when you have such valuable data at your fingertips!

Preparing Your Audience 

Use website popups wisely

The primary purpose of those popups is to gather a visitor’s email, not to get to know them. The more work your potential customer has to do to get the information they want, the more likely they are to take their business elsewhere. Every additional form field decreases conversions, so try to only ask for the one thing you really want — an email address. 

‌Offer an incentive in exchange. The incentive depends on your company and products, but think about why they’re on your website in the first place and why they might be interested. Create a sense of urgency, offer them information they want to have, and decorate it all inside of a flashy call to action to draw their attention. 

Segment and conquer

You have three basic categories of customer to think about: 

  1. Your ultra-loyal top 10%: They spend six times more than anyone else, according to RJ Metrics.
  2. Your seasonal shoppers: They’re not your year-round mainstays, but they’re highly valuable. Their specific purchasing patterns mean they’re likely to come back year after year if you provide the service they’re looking for. 
  3. Your couponers: These are the ones who mostly only buy something when they have a discount. That’s okay! Send more coupons to those who only buy with coupons and fewer to those who are happy to pay full price. 

About those Apple mail open rates

They’re going away. If that’s bad news, take it as one more reason to diversify your acquisition channels. Have you thought about SMS acquisition? The vast majority (90%) of text messages are read within the first 3 minutes of opening, and they have a 36% CTR to boot.  If you’re not already moving into SMS marketing, now is the time to start. 

Checklist for automation cleanup‌

Don’t send out emails themed for the wrong holiday or missing the mark. Deep dive into your automation settings and make sure your audience is geared up for the 2021 holiday season. Double and triple check your: 

  • Abandon cart
  • Welcome emails 
  • Browse abandon 
  • Post-purchase 
  • Re-engagement campaign

It doesn’t take long — and it’ll save you from an embarrassing mistake.

Tips for Black Friday/Cyber Monday “BFCM” Sending

‌Take time to stand out! Revisit your fonts, emojis and the design incorporated into what you’re sending. Think about it- how will you stand out above the rest? ‌

Your 2021 Visibility Strategy ‌

It’s as simple as this: 

  • FOMO: “This offer is only good for a limited time, act now…” 
  • Don’t bury the lead in your offer: Tell them early and quickly what you’re offering, right away in the header. 
  • Be bold: Bold font, emojis, and whatever else you need to do to stand out, do it. 

‌Start building anticipation a week before BFCM. Tell them how great the deals are going to be with specifics and numbers, but don’t give away too much. If some of your emails go unopened, don’t be afraid to send them again. 

‌Emails at this time should be short and to the point. Recognize that most people only open an email for a second or two, so attract their eye early with attractive design and easy-to-skim text. A list with bolded headings is a nice way to go here. 

The Black Friday-Cyber Monday inbox is the biggest, most competitive selling landscape you’ll face all year.  How do you stand out when everyone wants to stand out? 

Beyond BFCM Sending

‌Yes, BFCM is the “big one,” but there are many more great opportunities coming up. 

Don’t miss these:

  • Small-business Saturday: When it’s all about supporting local businesses over the big chains. 
  • Giving Tuesday: Team up with a nonprofit, and speak about why you love making a difference. 
  • Green Monday: Also known as “Cyber Monday 2.0,” it’s one of the biggest shopping days of the year. 
  • Super Saturday: The last Saturday before Christmas. 
  • “Your Last Chance to Get It in Time for December 25” Day: We think this one is self-explanatory…

‌Will it be the “most wonderful time of year” for your marketing? Follow this Black Friday checklist, start your holiday planning early, and make it happen! And if you need help with your BFCM email marketing strategy, reach out to Disruptive to learn about what we can do for you.

Leave a comment