A mail envelope with a shopping cart and sale coupons bursting out of it beside the title,

Learning Center

Email Marketing: Your Complete Guide to Black Friday

By: Holly Kindzierski, Copywriter | Nov 3, 2023 | 6 Minute Read

Black Friday: the pivotal moment in the retail calendar when businesses aim to strike gold with irresistible deals. In the coming frenzy of consumerism, email marketing will act as the conduit, connecting brands to eager shoppers. At Arctic Leaf, we recognize the power of email campaigns in driving Black Friday success. 

Our mission? To empower e-commerce entrepreneurs like yourself with the most effective email marketing strategies. In this comprehensive guide, we will unveil the secrets to navigating the Black Friday battlefield and maximizing your brand's impact. Let’s get started together!

Understanding Black Friday

Black Friday, dating back to the early 20th century, has transformed from a single shopping day into an extended sales season. While many believe its name stems from businesses moving "in the red" to "in the black," the historical origins reveal a different narrative. The term found its roots in economic adversity. 

The first Black Friday occurred in 1869, following a failed attempt to corner the gold market, leading to financial turmoil. In the 1950s, it was linked to factory workers calling in sick after Thanksgiving, extending the holiday. 

Today, businesses consider Black Friday a pivotal moment, contributing significantly to yearly revenue. Recent trends emphasize the surge in online shopping, especially mobile commerce, accounting for 63% of sales in 2022. Data-driven strategies and personalization now play a central role, demanding adaptability for success in this ever-evolving landscape.

Setting the Foundation for Successful Email Marketing 

A laptop with a mail envelope beside a stack of books labeled "List Segmentation," "Unique Offers," and "Strategic Timing"

Now, let's get into the basics of a successful Black Friday email marketing campaign. We'll start with some practical steps and useful insights to help your business make the most of email marketing during this crucial shopping season.


Building and segmenting your email list 

A clean and engaged subscriber list is the bedrock of effective Black Friday email marketing. What does that mean though? It means that throughout the year you should focus on populating your list with customers who are active and genuinely want to hear from you. This is an ongoing process which should be active long before Black Friday rolls around!

  • Be sure to routinely remove inactive and bounced email addresses, and utilize email verification tools to identify and eliminate invalid contacts. 

  • Think ahead and send out a re-engagement campaign 2 or 3 months prior to Black Friday, offering incentives to rekindle interest. For customers who do not bite, send off a sunset flow.

  • Always ensure you have double opt-in in place so you don’t get marked as a spam sender. 

With your lovely clean list, you can create successful segments to get the most out of your Black Friday marketing campaign. Segmentation refers to splitting your email list into segments based on a variety of demographics. Heading into Black Friday, some good segments to consider would be:

  • Purchase History: Sort your email subscribers based on what they've bought before. Send special deals to customers who have purchased from you during previous Black Fridays.

  • Location-Based Segmentation: Target subscribers based on their location. Promote in-store Black Friday events to local customers and online deals to others.

  • Product Interests: Analyze subscribers' browsing and purchase history to determine their interests. Recommend products related to their preferences.

  • Exclusive Early Access: Create a VIP segment for loyal customers, providing them with early access to Black Friday deals as a token of appreciation.

By keeping your list clean and using smart segmentation, you'll ensure that your Black Friday emails are highly relevant and engaging, leading to better conversion rates.


Crafting unique offers and promotions 

Black Friday is a massive sale, so it goes without saying that it’s important to craft compelling offers which will drive engagement and sales. Knowing that there are many different sales paths one can pursue - which should you go down during this crucial marketing period? 

We’re going to break down some winning ideas based on the best Black Friday campaigns of all time. Not only are these already a proven success, but they’re outside the box enough that your competition will be left asking “Why didn’t I think of that?!”

  1. Online Events: Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or not, online events can be a hit during Black Friday. Follow the example of MeUndies, and host a live event online with entertainment and contests. Of 13,000 attendees, 25% of those converted to sales which is an impressive percentage!

  2. Interactive Shopping: Similar to Google’s #BlackOwnedFriday campaign, you can make shopping a bit more interesting by changing up how you display your products. Display products in action with a fun video or maybe even give VR a shot!

  3. Wheel of Fortune: Get random! 22 Days Nutrition gifted customers with their own personalized email which included a discount between 20-50%. The email of course did not say which they were getting, encouraging them to visit the site to find out. Engagement and conversion - what more could you ask for?

Of course, there are always tried-and-true options if the above three don’t quite fit your brand. Start with a low discount and work your way up to the big day (5% Monday but 50% Friday!). Choose one specific product to massively discount on Black Friday. Or, choose multiple products to discount the week leading up. The options are really endless. But no matter what you settle on, just be sure to keep personalization in mind.

Blanket sales can be ok but they’re not going to perform nearly as well as personalized, segmented email campaigns. Make your customers feel special this Black Friday!


Creating a Black Friday email marketing calendar 

Why create a calendar if this is a one-day sale? Well… Black Friday isn’t really just Black Friday anymore. The “Black Friday Creep,” as it has been dubbed, has been getting creepier with every year that goes by. Doorbusters and low-level sales start now as early as October!

If you’re looking to participate in Black Friday, Cyber Monday and everything leading up, you’re going to want to do some scheduling to execute a seamless sale.

To schedule your emails, we recommend Klaviyo - and, if you’re uncertain of how to use it, our marketing team is here to help! With this amazing tool, you’ll be able to set up flows and have all of your email campaigns in place well in advance so you can just sit back, relax, and watch the conversions roll in when November hits.


Timing and Sending Strategies

Timing is everything when it comes to Black Friday marketing emails. 

  • To maximize your marketing campaign's effectiveness, consider sending teaser emails well in advance to create anticipation among your subscribers. 

  • As the big day approaches, send out your main Black Friday offer a day or two before the actual event to early birds and loyal customers, giving them an exclusive head start. 

  • Then, on Black Friday itself, schedule emails for the most active shopping times, typically early morning, lunch breaks, and early evening. 

  • Follow up with reminder emails for any flash sales or limited-time offers ending soon. 

Getting Klaviyo set up in advance will help with gathering important data where timing is concerned. Timing your emails strategically, based on past interaction, ensures that your messages land in subscribers' inboxes when they're most likely to engage and make purchases, helping you achieve the best results.

Crafting High-Performing Black Friday Emails

A mail envelope with a growth chart with spotlights with "shop now" buttons focused on it

As Black Friday approaches, your inbox competition is really going to heat up! Because of this, your emails will need to stand out amidst a flurry of promotions, enticing customers to click and convert.


Subject lines that grab attention 

To capture your audience's attention and entice them to open your emails, keep your subject line short, create a sense of urgency, and use personalization when possible. Asking questions, highlighting benefits or savings, and using numbers can also make your subject lines more engaging. To find the perfect formula for your audience, consider conducting A/B testing to determine which subject line resonates best.

Examples of some strong Black Friday subject lines:

  • "Black Friday Starts Now: 50% Off Storewide!"

  • "Last Chance for Black Friday Savings – Ends Tonight!"

  • "Exclusive Black Friday Deals Just for You, [Recipient's Name]!"

  • "What Will You Discover on Black Friday?"

  • "Unbeatable Black Friday Discounts Await – Save Big Today!"

  • "Unlock the Secret to Top 10 Black Friday Deals!"


Designing visually appealing emails 

When designing your Black Friday emails, be sure to use templates and layouts that seamlessly integrate Black Friday branding elements. This includes: 

  • Using a color palette that aligns with the Black Friday theme, such as deep blacks, bold reds, and festive gold accents.

  • Incorporating Black Friday graphics, such as shopping bags, gift boxes, or sale tags, to convey the holiday spirit.

  • Implementing a responsive design that adapts to various devices, ensuring your emails look great on both desktop and mobile screens.

In 2023, some notable email marketing design trends include using interactive elements like GIFs and carousels to engage recipients, focusing on minimalist designs that emphasize clarity and simplicity, and embracing dark mode-friendly designs for enhanced user experiences. Staying updated with these trends can help you create visually captivating Black Friday emails that resonate with your audience.


Compelling email content 

When crafting Black Friday email content, persuasive (and concise) product descriptions are going to be extremely important. A persuasive product description will do the following:

  • Highlight customer benefits

  • Use descriptive language

  • Emphasize unique selling points

  • Tell a product story

  • Create urgency to drive interest

For example: Step into elegance with the Bordeaux Gown. Crafted from luxurious satin, it's designed to make you shine at holiday parties. The rich burgundy hue complements all skin tones, while the flattering silhouette enhances your curves. Limited stock – grab this timeless beauty now!

Strong Calls to Action

Your persuasive description should always be paired with a powerful Call to Action (CTA). Use action-oriented language, highlight value, make CTAs visually stand out, keep them short, and create a sense of urgency. Position CTAs strategically within the email to encourage immediate action. Examples of strong CTAs include:

  • Shop Now

  • Click to Shop

  • Shop the Sale

  • Unlock Savings

  • Upgrade My Wardrobe

  • Find My Style

Remember - pay attention to every element of your emails. From subject line to visuals, right down to your CTA button, everything has the potential to impact your customer’s decisions!


At Arctic Leaf, our dedicated team is here to empower entrepreneurs like you with effective strategies to make this Black Friday your best one yet. From understanding the historical roots of Black Friday to crafting compelling offers, setting up a well-structured email calendar, and creating high-performing emails, you now have the tools to shine in any inbox. So, gear up, get creative, and watch your Black Friday campaign soar to new heights. The shopping season awaits!


While preparing your Black Friday Cyber Monday strategy, why not check out our BFCM E-Commerce Checklist? If you’d like to learn more, feel free to reach out to us directly at info@arcticleaf.io!

Arctic Leaf is a digital agency with over 10 years of e-commerce experience serving clients of all industries. Our entire team is Baymard UX certified and our amazing developers can build everything from simple Shopify themes to fully custom headless experiences.