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 19371 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!

Besides being one of the busiest shopping days of the year, Black Friday also generates one of the heaviest email frequencies.

It’s the digital equivalent of the Thanksgiving Day newspaper stuffed to 10 times its usual size with Black Friday ads. Sorting through the slicks is a traditional Turkey Day activity in many households. Will email users take the same time to sort through their inboxes?

With open rates hovering around 10% on general promotional emails, marketers can’t assume that their customers will see their emails, let alone choose them over the hundreds or thousands of messages poised to descend on their inboxes.

Standing out in the crowd becomes the marketer’s chief creative duty. Pulling in every bit of intelligence from customer data and testing can lay the groundwork. Technology advances and tactics such as interactive emails and message resends can boost engagement, but they won’t move the needle if the message looks like every other email in the inbox. Look for ways to zig when everyone else is zagging.

Here are some strategies you can use to make sure your Black Friday emails stand out.


Strategy #1: Avoid copycat subject lines

How many “Black Friday starts NOW!” subject lines have you seen in your professional career? Your customers know it’s Black Friday. So, tell them something they don’t know. Highlighting your offers or imparting urgency (see next item) uses 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: Impart urgency

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: “Ends at noon,” not “ends shortly.”


Strategy #3: Change up your offers

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


Strategy #4: Resend messages

The Black Friday email you send at 3 a.m. could get buried under an avalanche of competing message 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 CTAs and any other information that could drive customers to open. This gives you more space in the subject line to focus on key offers or to get creative.