Cyber Monday Email Examples & Strategy

Don't stay behind on the biggest shopping holiday of the year. Here's how you optimize your Cyber Monday email campaigns

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Cyber Monday started out as an online alternative to Black Friday and has grown to be part 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.

In recent years, ecommerce businesses have started to extend their Cyber Monday sales throughout the rest of the week starting with Cyber Monday, which led to that week now being known as Cyber Week.

And that’s not all. According to Adobe Analytics Cyber Monday was the biggest shopping holiday day in the US in 2021 when it comes to online purchases.

There is clearly a will to shop among consumers that you can take advantage of. But how?

While promotional emails for Cyber Monday start hitting consumers heavily the Saturday before, they need to fight for attention with the post-Black Friday and post-Thanksgiving emails that are still flowing into your customers’ inboxes too.

Here are just some of the challenges you need to overcome with your Cyber Monday emails:

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

Below, we’ve listed a few Cyber Monday campaign ideas to help you do just that and create Cyber Monday emails that drive e-commerce sales amidst the shopping craze.

Cyber Monday Email Examples

Create an online exclusive

Cyber Monday is all about the online sales experience. So, make a name for yourself with an online exclusive offer. This email by Warby Parker is a great example. It presents four limited-edition, only-online models. The simple Cyber Monday email design with a confetti-like animation puts the sunglasses in the spotlight and the simple message in combination with the call-to-action “Going, going …” makes the recipient curious enough to click through to the online store. On top of that, the call-to-action emphasizes the short-lived nature of the offer. This is not a typical 20% Cyber Monday sale!

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Add a countdown timer

Glossier keeps its simple with its final Cyber Monday email. The “Last call” Cyber Monday subject line matches smoothly with the big countdown timer the recipient sees when opening the email, and the combination of both creates a sense of urgency: there are only a few hours left to benefit from the biggest sale of the year, so subscribers better act fast.

Furthermore, the simple design pulls the main focus on the countdown timer, while the fine print at the bottom of the email copy repeats in more detail the offer that can also be found in the pre-header text.

This tactic might not work as a one-off Cyber Monday email, but at this point in Cyber Week, it hits like a knockout punch in the last round.

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Present your Cyber Monday products

With this Cyber Monday email, Callie’s takes an editorial approach rather than hardcore promoting a sale. It lists different products the recipient can find in Callie’s online store but doesn’t mention a discount or other type of special offer.

This approach can be risky when your email subscribers are merely in a scrolling mood unless you play it right. Here, a combination of action-focused copy, appealing photos, and enticing design leads the eye straight down to the call to action. “Let’s start shopping, y’all!”

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Merge Cyber Monday with Giving Tuesday

MeUndies created a promotion that merges its commercial Cyber Monday sale (up to 50% off!) with Giving Tuesday, which comes at the end of the online shopping Cyber Week that began with Thanksgiving. This promo combines active commerce – buying underwear – with passive altruism, which can make customers feel good about shopping with the brand without actually having to pay for the donations.

To get the recipient going, the brand also lists its best Cyber Monday Deals right below the main message of the email.

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Pique the curiosity of customers

This Sears Cyber Monday email is a good example of how you don’t need to sell directly. Instead, its great subject line presents the brand’s Cyber Monday deals as an achievement unlocked by the recipient and the body of the email continues this game theme with the “access granted” message” and the invitation to “unlock mystery deals”.

This approach can help you stand out during the biggest shopping holiday of the year with people who are tired of seeing nothing but hard-sell Cyber Monday subject lines, and that might be all you need to drive sales.

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Offer free shipping

If you doubt a discount will win your subscribers over, consider offering to ship their orders for free as well and make sure they know about it. Tea mentions its Cyber Monday free shipping offer in the subject line, the pre-header text, and the body of its email. Everywhere, the discount and free shipping are presented as one offer, which differs from how many other brands mention free shipping as a nice little extra customers can take advantage of.

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Cyber Monday Email Marketing Strategy

When putting together your own Cyber Monday Email campaign, you can use the Cyber Monday emails above as inspiration for tactics to test.

Before you start A/B testing your Cyber Monday email design, though, make sure you create a Cyber Monday email template.

Marketing to a diverse audience? You can always create a different Cyber Monday email template for every segment you’ll be targeting. Your Cyber Monday email templates will act as the defaults you can always go back to.

Finally, we’ve put together some Cyber Monday best practices to be successful during the biggest shopping holiday of the year in ecommerce. Take advantage of the insights we’ve gathered by studying thousands of ecommerce brands in our MailCharts database to get your Cyber Monday campaign on point.

Get started early and build up send frequency

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 multi-email Cyber Monday series. So, ramp up send frequency logically and strategically in the weeks before Cyber Monday.

Bombarding your email list with Cyber Monday emails sent just hours apart from each other might look like a good idea on paper, 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, causing them to ignore your emails and hurting your open rates.

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. Segmenting like this can be especially useful if you plan on extending your Cyber Monday sale into a whole Cyber Week.

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. Personalizing your Cyber Monday emails is just the start. Take advantage of the data you’ve gathered throughout the year and segment your VIPs – past buyers, regular open-and-clickers, … so you can tailor your Cyber Monday email series and send specific offers presented by email content that recognizes your subscribers’ loyalty. You could give them early access to your Cyber Monday sale, offer them exclusive free shipping, or create a special VIP discount code just for them.

Maximize inbox visibility

Two tactics can help your Cyber Monday emails rise above the noise and increase your visibility during the biggest shopping holiday of the year:

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 this shopping day (“Gap Cyber Monday”). No matter what, though, be sure the sender name mentions your brand.
  • Subject line: Shoppers are looking for great deals, bargains, discount codes, 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 – last chance for deals!”
  • Preheader: Brands have caught on to the tactic of using custom preheaders to support Cyber Monday email subject lines and 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 Cyber Monday 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 campaigns. Even if you follow email best practices, your Cyber Monday emails could still get lost in the email crush. Set up an email marketing automation to resend your emails later in the day to people who didn’t open them the first time. Be careful though, this tactic can backfire if you overdo it.

Send Cyber Monday emails before and after the shopping day

Unsurprisingly, retailers relied heavily on emails to drive Cyber Monday sales. But as our data show, less than 17% of Cyber Monday emails go out the week leading up to the ecommerce holiday of the year, while a staggering 56% of emails are sent on Cyber Monday.

To build anticipation and make your company the one subscribers associate with the holiday, we suggest bucking the trend and crafting a pre-Cyber Monday email campaign.

Extending your Cyber Monday sale for 24 hours helps you catch more customers. There are always some indecisive shoppers who end up waiting too long. By extending your sale, you’re giving them a second chance.

Sending post-Cyber Monday emails after your first campaign also gives you the chance to stand out now that email volume is lower and competitors have ended their deals.

Good to know in regards to this: 14% of Cyber Monday emails are sent after Cyber Monday—as a “last chance” reminder.

Consider the above strategies and email timing for your Cyber Monday email marketing campaigns, so that your emails stand out in a crowded inbox.

Complement with SMS marketing

Customers are increasingly expecting brands to communicate with them directly via text message. Aside from reaching your subscribers where they spend a ton of their time – on their phones – there are a lot of other benefits to SMS marketing that make it worth your consideration.

You can use SMS marketing to complement your email marketing campaigns or to repeat your message in a different way.

Optimize for mobile

People are shopping from their mobile devices more than ever, and that goes for holiday shopping as well. Keep that into account when designing your Cyber Monday email campaigns.

Optimizing for mobile is an always-relevant email marketing best practice but with so much on the line during and around Cyber Monday, it’s worth mentioning again. Especially because mobile responsiveness is easy to forget when you’re creating that eye-catching gift guide or figuring out the best way to make your products stand out. Your Cyber Monday email design should always be in function of getting the message across in a user and email client-friendly way.