Black Friday Email Strategy

MailCharts saves you the trouble of secretly subscribing to your competition’s emails and then spending hours trying to find something actionable.

Below you’ll find the canonical reference for Black Friday email planning. From email examples to specific promotional strategies, we’ve included everything you need to ace your campaign.

Black Friday
Email Examples

Black Friday Email Campaign Planning

Use the calendar below as a starting point to plan your email campaigns.

This DVF email calendar is based on DVF, who sent 1 emails for Black Friday in 2018.
Want to see a specific company’s email calendar?

Black Friday Email Marketing Statistics

Day-by-day volume distribution

Will you simply send one email on Black Friday or will you send a few emails leading up to it, including a “last chance” email once the event is over?
Emails sent before Black Friday
Emails sent on Black Friday
Emails sent after Black Friday
Based on 25064 emails mentioning "black friday" in the subject line.

Black Friday promotional strategy

Black Friday
Discount Analysis

Discover the most popular types of promotions used for Black Friday.

Note: One email might contain more than one type of promotion — this is why these totals may not add up to 100%.

Distribution of Promotions

Understand how steep a discount companies offer for Black Friday. You can toggle between Dollars Off and Percent Off.
Be prepared for every holiday with the
perfect cadence and discount strategy.

Black Friday Content Strategy

Ace your Black Friday email content with these ready-to-implement strategies. Enjoy!

Black Friday is one of the busiest one-day shopping days of the year. Not coincidentally, it spurs one of the year’s heaviest email streams. Its nearest online rival is Cyber Monday, three days later.

With open rates hovering around 10% on general promotional emails, you can’t assume that your customers and subscribers will even see your emails, let alone open them over the hundreds or thousands of messages descending on their mailboxes.

And that flood starts earlier every year, even before all the Halloween candy gets handed out. The email volume distribution chart above shows the Black Friday flow begins to register before Halloween, ramping up fast 10 days to two weeks before the crush on Black Friday Week.

Standing out in this crowd is your chief mandate. Pull in every bit of customer intelligence from your data and testing to lay the groundwork. Use technology advances and tactics such as interactive emails and tactical message resends to boost engagement.

Once you entice your recipients to open your messages, the real work begins. What do you offer that they can’t get from your competition? Low prices aren’t the only thing that attracts shoppers. How can you help them shop more successfully?

These strategies can make sure your Black Friday emails stand out.


Strategy #1: Avoid copycat subject lines

How many “Black Friday starts NOW!” subject lines do you see in your own inbox? Your customers know it’s Black Friday. Tell them something they don’t know. Highlight your offers or impart urgency (see next item) to use your precious subject-line space more effectively.

There’s one exception to this rule: Put the fork down. Black Friday starts right now, sent by My Publisher. That’s clever.

Strategy #2: Blow up your offers

The “exploding offer” is tailor-made for Black Friday. Real-time innovations like countdown timers (ticking watches, counters and other timekeepers) drive home limited-time offers. Specify the time limit in the subject line: “Two hours left,” not “ends shortly.”


Strategy #3: An offer a day …

Email frequency by itself isn’t the problem on heavy ecommerce days like Black Friday. Rather, repetitive or irrelevant messaging turns people off and makes your messages invisible in the inbox. If your Black Friday strategy includes weekend-long campaigns, send unique offers each day.


Strategy #4: Resend certain messages

The Black Friday email you send at 3 a.m. could get buried under an avalanche of competing messages in the inbox. Consider resending it later in the day when traffic is lighter, especially if you didn’t get the traction you expected.

Two approaches can drive more action:

  • Resend the original message, but only to those who did not open or act on it the first time.
  • Revise the message and subject line slightly, and send to people who opened and/or clicked but did not convert. Let them know your offer is still good but about to expire.

Strategy #5: Use preheaders to deliver important secondary information

These can be store hours, secondary offers or CTAs and any other information that could entice customers to open. This gives you more space in the subject line to focus on key offers or themes.