Email Marketing, Growth

Black Friday, Cyber Monday Email Marketing - Start Now!

By Lisa Oberst | Oct 01, 2019

Black Friday, Black Friday, Black Friday… that's all we hear about in the ecommerce world starting around this time of year, "Shops, get everything ready for the big day!"

As a consumer, my personal wishlist is pretty extensive. That's the curse of working with so many awesome brands - I want to try all of their products!

The holidays are the perfect time for me to stock up on all these products. But who else will make it onto my list (other than our agency clients)? 🤔

It’s the brands that I can remember, of course.

How do I remember them?

Chances are, they popped up in my inbox recently and grabbed my attention.

Not on Black Friday itself; that's far too late. My wish list is saturated by the time that weekend comes around! No, these brands remind me about their products way before the Black Friday wave hits.

As a store owner, you have an important responsibility: to remind me of your awesomeness! 😎

There's a lot you should be launching even before the big day, in order to get on as many wish lists as possible.

When Black Friday rolls around, you want shoppers to pick you instead of the other thousand of options that are flooding their inbox. 

So here are 5 steps you can take now to prep your list for a successful BFCM!

1. Ramp-up your high-value emails

Brands make it to my list when I am reminded of their existence - which is logical. But I need to remember them in a positive light. If our interactions are limited to boring sales emails that scream “buy now!” I'll notice you but probably unsubscribe, or even report you as spam 😒 (I wouldn't do that to you, but others will!).

On the other hand, if I receive relevant tips, engaging educational content, along with relatable and entertaining stories, I'll love it! 😁

Now is a good time to re-engage with your audience and remind them that you care about their well-being, and that you are worth their loyalty and trust. 

By ramping up high-value content, you're also training subscribers to expect quality. You’ll increase chances of them opening your emails during the November email tsunami.

To get your wheels turning on high-value content, check out these examples from Beardbrand and Peter Manning

Finally, you're also training inboxes to expect your emails. If you haven't sent much lately, and you suddenly send a torrent of holiday emails, inboxes might flag you as a threat.

2. Create some hype about your coming offers

I explained above that I don't want to receive an endless stream of sales emails. However, hopefully you’re preparing something juicy for the holidays, and there's nothing wrong with getting me excited about it! 🤠

When early November comes around, start emails letting subscribers know what's coming their way (in between your high-value sends).

In these emails, explain exactly how your BFCM sale works. Maybe you're preparing something a little complicated (e.g. varying discounts for different products). Or, maybe you won't be using codes because discounts will be automatically applied at checkout.

Here, Inked Gaming creates hype around their Black Friday sale:

Inked Gaming BFCM Email Marketing

 Similarly, Ejis boasts about their upcoming holiday offer with this email:

Ejis email marketing

 Whatever it is, make sure there's no thinking required when it comes time to shop.

You shouldn't cram a ton of information into your Black Friday sale emails.

So make sure your subscribers are prepared well ahead of time.

3. Highlight gift ideas and guides

This one expands on our first point again (it’s an important one!) with some high-value content ideas.

This is the gifting time of year, so give your customers a gift: your gifting guides!🎁

We're all very busy (especially at this time of the year), and it's hard to think of good present ideas for mom, dad, partner, spouse, siblings, various kids… me.

On the off-chance that your subscribers didn't realize that their Auntie Anna could totally benefit from your shop’s anti-aging cream - make it clear as day. ☀️

Here are a few ways to do that in your emails:

  • Highlight your gift cards
  • Make guides for different customer categories (eg. For Him or For Her).
  • Separate your products by budget-type
  • Suggest fun or unique present options
  • Remind readers they deserve their own present too 😉

All of this is highly useful to shoppers, and also relevant to anybody who is likely to buy from you!

Here's an example from National Geographic, providing some holiday gift ideas for photographers:

National Geographic

4. Clean out and segment your list

If you plan on following our advice, you've got quite a lot of emails to send. You'll need to send these emails to the right people.

First, clean out your list to remove any bounced addresses and stop sending to unengaged subscribers. The way you define unengaged subscribers will depend on your brand; maybe it's profiles who haven't opened any emails or bought in the last 90 days.

In any case, it's important not to send emails to people who never open them. This is about protecting your deliverability (a.k.a. sending reputation). 

Secondly, this is a good time to take advantage of the data you have available from previous campaigns. For instance, you could create a segment of customers who bought during the holidays last year, and ask them if they want to buy again.

  • You could create a VIP segment and ask them to refer their friends, or offer them special incentives, similar to how Baublebar does it:

    Baublebar holiday email marketing

  • You could create segments for customers who are the most likely to be interested in different high-value content (Male vs Female, different age groups, etc.). 

  • You can segment customers who didn't open your last email and resend it to make sure they hear you (still making sure to exclude unengaged profiles). 
  • You can segment customers according to what they bought and/or browsed to make sure you hit them with relevant content and offers.

The sky's the limit, especially if you're on Klaviyo. 😉

5. Grab as many visitor email addresses as possible

Up until now we explored what to do with your existing email addresses before the holidays. But growing your list is also part of the story. 📚

This goes for all times of the year, but it's especially important during the holiday season when traffic surges.

Packed Party holiday email

If you don't have an exit-intent offer, I recommend you get on that. On average, 98% of your traffic doesn't buy. But that doesn't mean they’ll never make a purchase. 

Since you'll soon have all this wonderful high-value content to share, you can help new visitors gradually move down the funnel…. if you're able to grab their email.

Although you might be tempted to throw together a simple pop up, chances are it won’t be enough -  it's the offer itself that carries the weight. Make sure it's juicy, tangible (so that your customers can imagine using it), and be sure it is well presented (more details about this here!).

Holiday Pop-up

Perhaps you can even make your offer relevant to the season by giving away a gift guide, or a holiday-themed free add-on?

Once you grab someone's email, you'll also need to make sure they are welcomed in style. Send friendly and educational emails right after someone joins your list.😎 

During this time of year, make sure your communication is in-line with your holiday offers. Maybe you typically give away 15% off at the end of your welcome flow.

Be sure to turn this email off during Black Friday if you're giving away any other discount storewide.

If you set your lead-capture up early enough, you'll have a nice chunk of email addresses to market to during the holidays! As an added bonus, you can market to these shoppers after the holidays are done! 🙌


The Black Friday wave is coming up fast. Follow these tips to get your email list prepared, and you should be on your way to your most successful holiday season yet! 👊

P.S. If you're feeling a tiny bit overwhelmed about it all, we created a handy Holiday Planning Checklist to help you take a step back and visualize necessary prep tasks for all areas of your business.

Yes! I'd love my own copy of the Fuel Made 2019 Holiday Planning Checklist! 

Lisa Oberst

Lisa Oberst

Lisa Oberst is an email automation marketing expert, specializing in ecommerce and Klaviyo. She’s a lover of languages and currently studies Portuguese and Jiu-Jitsu in her spare time.