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Black Friday Emails to Copy From Top Brands

The following post was written by Carl Sednaoui, Director of Marketing for MailCharts. If you'd like to learn more about MailCharts—and how it takes the hassle out of email marketing planning and research—visit the website or drop a note. And now, over to Carl...

Black Friday is no longer a one-and-done shopping holiday. It's the centerpiece of an email extravaganza that begins days or weeks before, continues several days after, and generates some of the highest email volumes of the year.

Having an on-point holiday email strategy is crucial for marketers. But, even if you aren't planning campaigns for Black Friday or its cousins (Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, or Giving Tuesday), you need a plan to make sure your emails stay recognizable, valuable, and—most importantly—essential to open in those email-deluged days.

Let’s take a look at examples from top brands and key takeaways you can adopt into your own Black Friday marketing strategy this year:

1. Gap

Subject line: This is major! Code BLKFRIDAY only happens once a year 
Preheader: 50% off everything + EXTRA 10% off. Featuring $16 sweaters.
Link: https://www.mailcharts.com/emails/514ef827-eb52-4d07-4612-c3a9dc5fb29d


We picked this email because it's just about the most perfect promotional Black Friday email ever. Here's why:

  • Promotions are obvious: The offers are easy to see and remember in the inbox (see how the subject line and preheader work together?), the minimalist copy, and all the way down to the reminder at the bottom about the discount code.
  • Unified design: Gap created an entire coordinated series of holiday emails using variations on this design. It creates unity and identity in an inbox crammed with hundreds or thousands of competing messages.
  • Email-only bonus: It rewards email shoppers who open and read the entire message.

2. Open Table

Subject line: Avoid Black Friday burnout, deliciously
Preheader: Don't forget to treat yourself, too! New York [with geolocation data]
Link: https://www.mailcharts.com/emails/0500194f-1645-e7c4-79a7-b775d3f7924d


You don't have to be a retailer to run a Black Friday promotion. We love how Open Table uses customer data (geolocation) to create a hyper-personalized email for customers who are out and about and maybe hundreds of miles from their homes without a clue about where to go for a break or dinner.

On a day when every other email in the inbox is shouting "Buy this!" to customers, Open Table's email comes across as a soothing, service-oriented reminder that shoppers should take a little time for themselves—and, incidentally, use the service to book a table or find the nearest happy hour. It's a refreshing switch.

3. Target

Subject line: 10 Days of Deals: Today, get 30% off clothing, shoes & accessories.
Preheader: Happy 10 days of deals!
Link: https://www.mailcharts.com/emails/5dcc4d6d-cada-60cf-da78-9453bfd4dd50


Target's email uses a time-honored but seldom-seen tactic: using anticipation to build interest and persuade the subscriber to look for the next email in the series. The subject line and preheader stress the "10 Days" promotion, and the daily deal is clearly seen at the top of the email. The last thing you want to do is make your subscribers work to see the value in your messages.

Three more great things about this email: 

  • The content features themes and characters from the Target TV and web promotions that flooded the airwaves and internet during the holiday season. Continuity is good!
  • You'll see the desktop version above, but click to view the image to view the mobile version in responsive design.
  • The email also clues the shopper in to the next three days of deals. More anticipation!

This is the second part of a Black Friday Success series from our friends at MailCharts. Be sure to read the first post, “4 Crucial Email Tactics For Your Black Friday Master Plan,” to set yourself up for your most successful holiday season yet.