Big shopping days like Black Friday are extremely popular and email marketing busiest times of the year! I asked 25+ email marketing experts and designers to give their best tips and strategy for email marketing during BIG shopping days like Black Friday. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Valentines, and the whole Holiday shopping season are great excuses to delight your email subscribers and clients. Giving discount and exclusive offers while keeping your Brand intact. And with new events like Prime Day, Giving Tuesday, and Singles Day, there seems to be no end in sight. Due to changing customer behavior, this year’s Shopping events will sure be bigger and a bit different…

Design your emails for impact

Couple of tips which I use for my Black Friday campaigns: 1. Include the key message/discount in front of your subjectline/snippet. And test whether the message is clear on both mobile and desktop. 2. Use some striking signs in your subjectline. Example, last year Westwing used these black square signs besides their key message: ███. That really stood out among the other BF mails in the inbox which raised extra attention. 3. Choose your sending times wisely. When you mail in the morning. There is a high change that at the end of black friday your mail shifted down in the inboxes of your subscribers. So I normally use reminder(s) for non-openers. 4. Within the email, use countdown timers to create sense of urgency and tell your subsciber how much time their is left to use the BF discount. -> PRO tip: using this with a personalized offer based on purchase history will rase your CTO and CR These are, of course, just a few tips.

Kevin Ruhe, E-mailmarketeer a.i. –, ai at e-village and more. …and DDMA email marketer of the year (I am not saying which year!)

From a design point of view one of the most important aspects are the product images. These should match with the existing brand guidelines and further enhance the visual identity and brand personality.– Yuliana Pandelieva  – professional Graphic and email Designer

Less flashing and cheesy, more clean and elegant animated GIFs can add fun to almost all emails at any time. I like the emails with a clear hierarchy and a clear main message, less-is-more is always a style or a standard that I would like to go with.Content-wise, I anticipate most sales happen online, so there are no waiting lines and time limits for opening hours. Those are all good selling points other than low prices. BlackFriday doesn’t have to be black this season! A good message.

Muxiang Pajerski, Creative Supervisor at Measured Marketing

Design your email in dark mode 😂 JR: Special #emailgeek prize if you got that one 😛

Susanne Sinke, art director at MailCampaigns

Extra free design resources super dance break time! BEE got your back with free Black Friday and Cyber Monday email templates. The folks at Shopify share free #BFCM images More info on dark mode from Email on AcidNow on with more Design tips..

Insert animations! 🙂 Gifs allow you to make BFMC emails with more interactive and visually engaging content that attracts and keeps the readers’ attention. 👀 JR: Do you have an example of one that you made or like (and why)? Sure

Andrea Dall’Ara, digital Graphic Designer and email artist for BEE

I find two different, elementary, approaches work like magic:1. Make it black especially if the email is a different colour than normal, makes it stand out more. It goes with the whole BlackFriday theme. 2. Then of course heavy discounts or give something for free. But be aware doing it smartly otherwise hurting your gross profit and sales margin. You don’t want to dig into the profits.

Ben Harrington, email marketing consultant at TruffleShuffleMedia – also does ATE weekly newsletter with Jenna!

Black Friday should be definitely Mobile First. It might be useful to keep in mind that BF and CM, in many countries are normal working days. People are busy and they are trying to get their deals while they are doing stuff, working, doing housework, etc. That’s why an accurate mobile version of your campaign could be key, especially during Black Week.

Mattia Arnaù, Marketing manager BEE

Turn your Abandoned cart into a Formula 1 racing kart.

Catchy subject lines and gifs can excite them in the email. But then don’t forget customers will be shopping around for the best deals on lots of different sites. So have your abandon cart emails ready to go. Reduce the time between the cart being abandoned and the email send to have maximum impact. After that, make sure you follow up with a post-purchase review email, as there’ll be lots to learn from possibly the two biggest selling days of the year. Use those learnings to boost your strategy going forward.

Gavin Laugenie, Head Of Strategy & Insight at dotdigital (and close friend of much-celebrated comedian Romesh Ranganatha)

eCommerce retailers can lose a huge % of sales on abandoned carts, and Black Friday is no different. My tip is to automate your abandoned cart emails, bringing shoppers back by reminding them of the item’s in their cart. According to research, three- part email abandoned cart workflows are significantly more effective at boosting sales. So if you only have one running, increase it. You could also look at pulling in some other Black Friday deals into your (abandoned cart or normal) mailers to cross promote.

Karyn Strybos, Marketing Manager at Everlytic(Who invited Jordie to South Africa for his 2020 email marketing world tour, but then COVID 🙁

Frequency and engagement

Increase or decrease the number of mails sent based on engagement. Schedule daily mailings or even two mailings per day during black friday week, but…. only for highly engaged recipients. Measure engagement based on opens and clicks of previous Black Friday content. For less engaged audiences, slow it down and send one highly focussed mailcontaining the proposition with the highest chance of success per recipient. JR: Cool to know is that Peter and team have been working on some AI to optimize sending times and schedule for publishers.

Peter van der Schaar, Chief of Marketing at BaseDriver (dutch ESP for publishers)

Find a standout subject line that is different to the standard ‘Black Friday deals’ type lines, try personalizing the subject line and offer. And by the time it gets to late on Cyber Monday I’ll assume you’ve tried reaching everyone you can several times, pushing as far as possible, without damage to reputation and deliverability. If that’s the case then 7 hours before you close out on cyber Monday, email everyone who clicked during the promotion but didn’t yet convert. JR: Cool that is like 3 tips in one Tim. I like the follow up especially. “Did click, not convert” is a smart (and easy) way to find those that are interested.

Tim Watson, You might now know, but he is also official EOS Implementer™ at Achieve Six.

Turn browsers into buyers and clicks to cash

As I start to see the thousands of ads on social platforms, I urge business to have a strategy to take likes and followers to actual email subscribers. Remember, you don’t own anything on social networks. You have much more control over email.

Daniel Miller, founder of Go get it Marketing Agency, recently launched his Marketing automation course

The biggest area of opportunity I see during this period is to make the most of the increased traffic that’s coming to your site. Focus on the conversions, for sure, but don’t forget that consumers are looking around for the best deals, so they’re visiting lots of sites before making a purchase. The chances of making a conversion immediately from an unknown are not high, so use ALL touchpoints on the site to get permission to market to them. cotsworld exitintent overlayExit popovers work a treat here and also (it may be a bit late to do this for BFCM this year, but will be good for the Holidays in December) – Abandon Basket popovers to unknowns (like the one here) also work a treat – they enable you to gain permission whilst also working towards achieving a conversion.

kath Pay, founder of Holistic email Marketing (and recently published her new book Holistic Email Marketing.)

Don’t forget to think ‘post click’. Yes as email marketers we’re great at getting opens and clicks (in the email) but don’t forget to consider the whole purchase/booking process. Is there something you can tweak in your campaign to make life easier and quicker for recipients who want to get hold of your offers? Three examples:1. Help pre-fill forms,2. Ensure any telephone numbers in the email are clickable. 3. Send existing subscribers down a slicker / quicker route than Joe Bloggs who may be making your website creek due to sheer volumes.

Natalie Rockall, Email Marketing Consultant at eleven11 Digital and also named one of the TOP 30 influencers. (You might think, is there something like an underground email illuminati? )

Your process, QA, and analytics

All great tips, but I would bring it back around to ensuring operational efficiency. 1. If you think you have QA’d the email well, think again. Double and triple check to make sure links are working and going to all the right places and tracking for attribution. Nothing is worse than having great subject lines, with emoji’s or beautiful creative and snazzy CTA’s than having it not work when you go and measure it. 2. Monitor. Monitor. Monitor. I know it sucks to log in over the weekend and work, but a few years ago, I worked with a brand whose marketing staff and ESP shut down for the days and never logged in till Sunday to see how well they did. During those days of checking, things were blowing up, and no alarms were in place to notify people that things went sideways. Don’t just set it up; check on it. 3. QA your emails a fourth and fifth time. Now is not the time to be messing with OOPs emails. 4. Most of all, have fun. Email is a great channel and affords us the ability to educate our subscribers on our value propositions and create value for our companies. Don’t lose sight that email is immediate and has a long tail. Enjoy it!

Andrew Kordek, VP of Customer Engagement at iPost

You’ll need relevant data in order to analyze if your approach was a success. Make sure to think of a proper measurement plan and UTM strategy that will help you analyze your success! ⚡. We’ve got some tips on how to do that as well.

Iris Guelen Content Manager at Yoast.comPS: There is a chance of working with Iris (and Jordie!) If you can read Dutch and go for Sr. email marketing posistion at Yoast.

Segmentation and VIPs

Hey Jordie, Segment your best customers first – use RFM or customer rating as per your platform. Give them early access to an offer or better again, exclusive offer. And say thank you. This is a massive generator of revenue. Repeat this process 4-5 times per year. Make customers valued and ensure you actually do value them. JR: I love that Vinny, coming together as VIP, loyalty and customer appreciation. do you know of any brands doing this (well) or even during BFCM? Check out Tropicfeel – a truly stunning marketing rhythm -I literally buy on every open. Staggering. ThirdLove do a fantastic job – (though I am not in their category). Younger brands in the EU are less active in my opinion on mail and it is an afterthought. I think with big privacy changes coming, email strategy will only become more important next year and beyond… For good community emails, look to crowdfunding companies – community is everything! And look at post “backing surveys” the ultimate up sell tool.

…introducing, the brilliant..Vinny O’Brien, eCommerce Consultant Vinny & Co

Segmentation, personalization, heavy discounts (include % in subject lines), GIFs. Don’t make them choose between too many offers at the same time, and retarget those who did not convert during the holiday season. Also, by segmenting your database you will reduce deliverability issues with some email clients who are trying to handle a higher volume of emails at the same time. It has not been an easy time for the (travel) industry, but we keep working hard to make people’s dreams travel. Stay tuned and follow our progress!

Juan-Pablo Botero, email marketing specialist at Air Canada

JR: Hi Christopher, Which of your tips is the absolute best / most unqiue one you’d like people to see here in the thread? We just completed an ecommerce study with 2,500 shoppers. 38% said reviews directly on the retailer website influenced their choice. So that’s something to look at!  It’s a great time to ask questions of your customers. Getting product reviews will help shape your inventory or order plans & add to your customer’s preferences. Carefully construct a survey that will update customer preference & product feedback. Then use the results in your next email campaign.  A flash sale can burn out your audience so hold something back with an exclusivity offer. For example, show some items in your Black Friday offer as unavailable until Cyber Monday. We also noticed it’s tricky to get Google reviews on your site so we made a simple tool for this. 

Christopher J Byrne, founder at Sensorpro

Cause related marketing and changing the narrative

Ethical marketing prompts – anything linking Black Friday promotions to fair trade, green initiatives, and social activism gets my business. While it’s been a tough year, consumers still want that feel-good factor when they buy something, knowing that their hard-earned cash is going towards the greater good.

Chris Cano – Content Marketer / Content Master of the Universe at dotdigital

Send more than one email, so building a campaign where you create a sense of urgency and remind customers that this is their last chance. And since this is a difficult time, I personally find it nice the association with a good cause. Part of the income can be used to support those who need it for example. JR: Building in empathy, I like it Dalila. What would you set on the foreground still the discount or the cause? That depends on the campaign goals, I don’t have a personal preference😊

Dalila Bonomi, digital marketing specialist, service (and email) designer.

I love companies that try to change the narrative & speak to specific needs/emotions/values, like REI with their famous #optoutside campaigns. In this challenging 2020, companies that will do so and will resonate with where people are in their lives, will be able to break through the noise.

Massimo Arrigoni CEO at BEE by mailup

I agree with the campaign approach (multiple emails) and if possible combine the general BF of CM theme with a personal touch or theme so that you make your brand, product, company stand out more.

Mark van den Berg, MD at Spotler

I’m gonna keep it real simple – don’t include the words “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” in your subject lines. Every other brand and their mother is going to do the same. Your subject line will get lost in the deluge. Try putting your own spin on it OR lead with your offer. JR: We should make a list of spins / original subject lines ~ as inspiration. Being original is HARD! 👀

Emily McGuire, Chief Email Marketer at Flourish & Grit

next up… deliverability, but first: Additional Resources break-dance Break! How to measure and analyze Black Friday Success (at Yoast)10 Black Friday Emails from 2020 we are lovin’ (by Pure360) Karyn: Oh, one more tip, if I may. Discount a popular item in your store as this may drive additional sales of other items. (You may, and more tips from her and Evelytic here)


Intra-day Warmup. I have good expectations it will make a big difference in inbox placement. Start with the high engagers, then spread it out from there in increasing numbers. JR: With intra-day, you mean on the same day or accross multiple days / sends?Within the same day, yes. Proving your reputation again and again every day as an extra effort to stand out from less-scrupulous senders.

Johan Terpstra, E-Commerce Consultant / MarTech Engineer at Yawiss

The very first thing that comes to my mind is that your emails should get delivered, otherwise it could undermine your strategy. Consider that, during BFMC days, mailbox providers are particularly picky. Be careful when selecting targets, avoid mailing ppl you have not contacted for a long time or – worse – you have never mailed before. Start with most engaged recipients and keep an eye, or maybe two, on spam and bounce metrics. I wish you all a safe and “delivering” BFMC 😁 💗

Alberto Miscia, Head of Deliverability & Compliance at MailUp S.p.A

Right of the bat, I’d say… secure your deliverability (so you still have it for the holiday season)… Meaning: – Respect your customer’s time energy and focus, – Respect your and receivers infrastructure First thing I would verify deliverability of the emails addresses in your db, especially if you haven’t engaged with them regularly (know few tools to recommend, depending on your needs). Then I would segment customers, so that personalised message can be sent – but by personalised I mean one that will be indeed showing the value to the customer, based on their interest and previous interactions with you. Message itself should be respectful of their attention span too – they are getting plenty messages – let’s not fool them or mislead. Being original and an intelligent sense of humour helps too – a good way to stand out. To sum-up… RESPECT + being original, should work, I think 😉

Radek Kaczyński – founder at Bouncer

Hi Jordie – Encourage shoppers to get excited and prepared by adding a “wishlist” – this increases the chances of bagging that sale when the big event comes – check out the real life example from Freddy.Black-friday-wishlistEverything about this email is striking and engaging. The imagery, the colour, the copy, the CTA, and the overall message.

Komal Helyer – VP of Marketing at Pure360 and Chair DMA Email Marketing Council

25+ experts’ email marketing strategy for BIG shopping events (like Black Fri-month)

Read more: