Cyber Monday 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 Cyber Monday email planning. From email examples to specific promotional strategies, we’ve included everything you need to ace your campaign.

Cyber Monday
Email Examples

Cyber Monday Email Campaign Planning

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

This Indochino email calendar is based on INDOCHINO, who sent 6 emails for Cyber Monday in 2018.
Want to see a specific company’s email calendar?

Cyber Monday Email Marketing Statistics

Day-by-day volume distribution

Will you simply send one email on Cyber Monday or will you send a few emails leading up to it, including a “last chance” email once the event is over?
Emails sent before Cyber Monday
Emails sent on Cyber Monday
Emails sent after Cyber Monday
Based on 6875 emails mentioning "cyber monday" in the subject line.

Cyber Monday promotional strategy

Cyber Monday
Discount Analysis

Discover the most popular types of promotions used for Cyber Monday.

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 Cyber Monday. You can toggle between Dollars Off and Percent Off.
Be prepared for every holiday with the
perfect cadence and discount strategy.

Cyber Monday Content Strategy

Ace your Cyber Monday email content with these ready-to-implement strategies. Enjoy!

Cyber Monday is one of a string of designated shopping days that includes Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday (an American Express invention) and Giving Tuesday (created by the 92nd Street Y’s Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact in New York City).

Here’s what your Cyber Monday plan must overcome:

  • Standing out in an ever-more-crowded inbox
  • Subscriber burnout
  • Managing frequency and cadence
  • Avoiding deliverability issues
  • Being clear about your value to shoppers beyond incentives

Beware of subscriber burnout: Recognize that shoppers have been subjected to a relentless stream of commercial emails since long before Thanksgiving. Many brands also ramp up frequency, switching from weekly or twice-weekly sends to daily, twice-daily and even more frequent sends. A steady flood of undifferentiated email offers are likely to make your own emails invisible in the inbox.

As with Black Friday, creativity and value proposition are your two best friends with Cyber Monday messaging.

Let’s dive into some specific strategies you can leverage.


Strategy #1: Build frequency gradually

Deliverability experts warn against changing tactics unexpectedly — especially during the high-volume launch of the holiday shopping season.

ISPs are quick to jump on sudden shifts in email habits, such as a sudden increase in frequency, sending from untested IP addresses or moving from modest targeted sends to heavy broadcast deliveries. Bombarding your entire list with hourly offer updates might satisfy your Cyber Monday plan but it could torch your deliverability and get you blacklisted for the rest of the holiday season.

Plus, it can burn out your subscribers, especially if you aren’t in their inner circle of brands whose emails they seek out and open no matter what the subject line says.

Look for ways to ramp up frequency logically and strategically in the weeks before the Thanksgiving weekend crush.

Pro-tip: Give subscribers the option to opt-down rather than opt-out.


Strategy #2: Celebrate your VIPs

As we reviewed Cyber Monday emails from past years, we were struck by the lack of targeted and personalized emails. Brands frequently sent the same email both to a general audience and to their best customers – the ones with a purchase history!

Show your customers you know who they are and what your relationship is. Personalization is one tactic, but it’s just the start. Segment your VIPs – past buyers, regular open-and-clickers, anybody on whom you have activity data – and send them special offers.


Strategy #3: Maximize inbox visibility

This is the challenge to overcome throughout the long post-Thanksgiving shopping weekend. Your emails have to stand out against all of the other messages flooding inboxes.

Two tactics can help you rise above the noise and increase your visibility:

1. Coordinate the sender name, subject line and preheader. Your subscribers use all three elements to decide whether to open your emails.

  • Sender name: We like Gap’s tactic, creating a new sender name just for the day (“Gap Cyber Monday”). No matter what, though, be sure the sender name mentions your brand, not the name of the person who sent the email.
  • Subject line: Shoppers are looking for deals, bargains, great discounts and other “what’s in it for me?” motivators. So, put your best offer where they’ll see it. If you focus on your unique value, you’re less likely to blend into the crowd with subject lines like “Cyber Monday starts now!” or “Hurry – deals end soon!”
  • Avoid the obvious. Everybody knows it’s Cyber Monday, so don’t waste those 12 characters by saying “Cyber Monday starts now!” (especially if your email goes out at 10 a.m.). That’s why putting it in the sender name, as Gap did, is genius.
  • Preheader: As we reviewed Cyber Monday emails we saw nearly all brands using custom preheaders supporting the email subject or content. If your preheader still says “View in a browser” or “Add us to your address book,” you’re falling behind your inbox competitors. Use that valuable space to promote a secondary offer or flesh out your subject line.

2. Resend your email campaign. No matter how well you build your inbox presence, your email could get overlooked in the crush. Reach out again by sending later in the day to people who didn’t open it the first time. But be strategic. This tactic can backfire if you don’t think it through and test the impact it may have on your list.