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 5 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 9112 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 started out as an online alternative to Black Friday but has evolved into Day 5 of a six-day string of branded shopping days that begins on Thanksgiving, covers Black Friday and Small Business Saturday and ends on Giving Tuesday.

It’s also one island in a flood of emails that begins to build on the Saturday and drops off quickly (see the volume distribution chart above). But keep in mind that while the Cyber Monday stream is building, the post-Black Friday and post-Thanksgiving emails are still flowing into your customers’ inboxes.

You have some big challenges to overcome with Cyber Monday:

  • Subscriber burnout
  • Inbox invisibility
  • Ramped-up frequency from competitors
  • Deliverability issues
  • Driving value beyond discounts

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

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

Strategy #1: Build frequency gradually

Deliverability experts warn against changing tactics unexpectedly — especially during the high-volume opening weeks 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 sends to heavy broadcast deliveries. So, ramp up frequency logically and strategically in the weeks before the Thanksgiving weekend crush.

Bombarding your entire list with hourly offer updates might satisfy your Cyber Monday plan. But it could torch your sender reputation and spam-folder your emails for the rest of the holiday season, especially if you touch off a subscriber rebellion that results in unsubscribes and spam complaints.

You also could burn out your subscribers if you aren’t in their inner circle of favored brands.
Pro tip: Give subscribers the option to opt down – to choose a lower frequency – rather than opt-out. Or, create a secondary list with a higher frequency that would appeal to your avid customers and use it for daily or twice-daily sends.


Strategy #2: Celebrate your VIPs

We’re struck by the lack of targeted and personalized Cyber Monday emails. This is not the time to treat your customers equally!

Show your customers you know who they are and how special they are to you. Personalization is just the start. Segment your VIPs – past buyers, regular open-and-clickers, anybody on whom you have activity data – and send them special offers with content that recognizes your special relationship.


Strategy #3: Maximize inbox visibility

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. A value-driven subject line won’t blend into the crowd with subject lines like “Hurry – deals end soon!”
  • Preheader: Brands have caught on to the tactic of using custom preheaders to support 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. Use that valuable space to promote a secondary offer or flesh out your subject line.
  • Bonus: Avoid the obvious! Everybody knows it’s Cyber Monday, so don’t waste 24 characters on “Cyber Monday starts now!” (That’s why putting it in the sender name, as Gap did, is genius.)

2. Resend your email campaign. No matter how well you build your inbox presence, your email could get lost in the email crush. Resend 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.