11 Best Black Friday Emails: Examples & Strategies
Following right after Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday enjoys the reputation as the biggest and busiest shopping day of the year and one of the most important dates for retailers and marketers.
In 2022, Black Friday online sales reached $9.12 billion, a record-setting number. Online shopping has become much more widespread in recent decades, and statistics reflect this tendency: roughly 87.2 million consumers shopped online during Black Friday.
In this article, we’re going to delve deep into crafting the best Black Friday campaigns and show 11 examples of emails that left an impression. Follow our strategies, and someday you might also be featured in the “Best Black Friday Emails” list.
Best Time to Send Black Friday Emails
Timing is a delicate matter when it comes to crafting the best Black Friday campaigns. Sending the email too early increases the chances of it being lost in an inbox, while sending it too late might make you lose momentum.
The best time to send Black Friday emails actually depends on your marketing strategy. For example, if you wish to warm up your audience beforehand, a good idea would be to send an email several weeks before the Black Friday, followed by the reminder a week before the sale actually begins. Recent studies recommend giving your subscribers some time to catch a breath after Halloween and start your Black Friday campaign a week after it.
As for the number of emails in your Black Friday campaign, a simplified breakdown might look like this:
- In the first email, you can provide a sneak peek at what to expect from your brand during the sales weekend and add some details your subscribers might consider useful. This helps to build excitement and create anticipation.
- Next comes the main email sent on Black Friday (or a day before that) and containing your primary message.
- Finally, you may send a reminder like “Black Friday Deals Ending Soon!” and/or following announcements (i.e., Cyber Monday or Cyber Week).
In general, the best time to send Black Friday emails is not set in stone. Some brands choose other strategies that fit their vision and design. For example, they may violate the rules and move their Black Friday campaign to a later date.
Other brands (including those with some of the best Black Friday campaigns) don’t “warm up” their subscribers at all and send a single email announcing a “limited-time offer”.
For the best Black Friday campaigns, it all comes down to brand design and sales strategy first and foremost. One thing remains obvious, though: you’re entering a busy and competitive season. To stand out in the crowd, you need to craft the best Black Friday emails that steal the audience’s attention.
11 Best Black Friday Emails & Strategies
We have collected a list of the best Black Friday emails (in our subjective opinion) based on 2 main factors:
- a non-standard strategy;
- attention-grabbing elements.
Take a look and get some inspiration for your next best Black Friday email campaign!
Get Creative With the Sales Date Announcement (Article)
Subject line: This weekend only: please don’t shop ❌
As mentioned earlier, not every brand holds sales exactly on the Black Friday weekend. Even some of the best Black Friday campaigns might be launched with a later sales date. Use this strategy if you want to come up with something truly memorable.
In one of the best Black Friday emails, Article announce that their sale starts on Monday and jokingly ask their subscribers not to shop for furniture during the weekend. The message is highlighted by a dimmed silhouette of an armchair on the black-and-gray background. This combination works remarkably well, creating a sense of intrigue and anticipation.
Although Article don’t provide much insight on the upcoming sale (and not so much information in general, actually), their email conveys the primary message about the sale date pretty effectively. Not to mention, the imagery is way too good, even if it’s just an armchair.
In short, even if you hold a sale later than most other companies, you can still create your best Black Friday campaign by incorporating clever jokes and stylized visuals.
Aim for Subtleness and Elegancy (reMarkable)
Subject line: Get $50 off your reMarkable paper tablet
This strategy works best if there’s no need for complexity in your Black Friday campaign or if your brand design aligns with themes of simplicity and elegance. Put them on the forefront, just like reMarkable did here, creating one of the best Black Friday emails.
After opening the email, subscribers are greeted with the most essential information (Black Friday sale period with a countdown timer, information on the discount, a CTA, and an image in gray tones).
This email works on several different levels:
- First, a sense of urgency is generated by the countdown timer and the “Black Friday is ending” headline.
- Next, all the information is laid out for the subscriber in just 2 sentences.
- Finally, the email is crafted to stay consistent with reMarkable brand design and products.
And even if your brand is not about simplicity, some elements like the countdown timer might still be a great addition to craft your best Black Friday emails.
Embrace Boldness, if It Works for You (Bottle Rocket Hot Sauce Co)
Subject line: all sauces are $6.90 each today
On the other side of the spectrum, there are brands known for their bold approach to marketing in general. Bottle Rocket Hot Sauce Co is one of them, and of course, it’s no surprise that their Black Friday email falls perfectly in line with their brand identity.
The email goes beyond minimalism by providing simple, bare-bones text demanding the subscribers to check the subject line (where the information on sales is located). The message is complemented by the “capitalism day” congratulation and a huge CTA button.
Obviously, for many other brands such a campaign would be way too controversial. But for Bottle Rocket Hot Sauce Co, this might be one of the best Black Friday campaigns to go out with. The brand builds its marketing strategy around such an approach and maintains consistency, including for special occasions like Black Friday.
And since this kind of boldness might actually be expected from the brand, this reduces the shock value, while also making it one of the best Black Friday emails that truly stands out in the crowded inbox. Bottom line: it’s not everyone’s fit, but might work wonders if applicable to your brand.
Show Gratitude to Your Subscribers in Style (Moleskine)
Subject line: Private Black Friday: subscriber exclusive
For their Black Friday campaign, Moleskine decided to offer something exclusive and private. Notably, their offer is not limited to the VIP clients only: “exclusive access” is granted to all their subscribers.
What makes this one of the best Black Friday emails?
- The approach to simplicity. The email is kept purposefully short, containing just a bit of information on exclusive access to online Private Black Friday deals and a small CTA. No catalog, no long list of items, or anything else for that matter.
- A pinch of gratitude. You don’t have to be a VIP to feel special and get access to something exclusive.
- Effective design. The use of a simple black-and-white color palette looks slick, while the animated image of a notebook catches attention the moment you open an email.
This combination generates enough interest to actually click the “Shop Exclusive Deals” button and see what the brand has to offer.
Make Use of Black Friday GIFs (Carhartt WIP)
Subject line: Black Friday Weekend
Instead of static images, illustrate your email with an attention-grabbing animation. Black Friday GIFs might be used in your emails to reveal offers, highlight products, or simply convey a message in a more creative way.
Among the best Black Friday emails is this one by Carhartt WIP, containing the GIF image of blinds rolling up to announce the start of the Black Friday sale. Despite its simplicity, this little animation manages to liven up a message, while the use of gray, white and black tones as primary colors makes it look stylish.
There are 2 important details you need to keep in mind here:
- One of the most significant things when it comes to Black Friday GIFs is testing your emails for different devices. The animation must work and look good no matter which device it is viewed on.
- Additionally, pay close attention to the size of your Black Friday GIFs. It’s crucial to keep it relatively small since bigger size means longer load times, which might eventually frustrate your subscribers.
Put the Deals Before the Occasion (The Pro’s Closet)
Subject line: Save money, ride on
The best Black Friday campaigns don’t have to shout “Black Friday” right from the start to be relatable. The Pro’s Closet, for example, made a decision to avoid mentioning Black Friday in the email top or the subject line. Instead, they immediately showcase a product and provide a discount code. Only after this segment comes the part about Black Friday and a small section with catalog categories.
This approach is pretty neat for what it is: the email goes straight to the point, and does it rather well. Customers tend to expect special offers for Black Friday, and here, it’s the first thing they see after opening the email.
A seemingly small detail, this may help the email stand out among dozens of other Black Friday messages. The “here’s a discount, no strings attached” approach might prove to be exactly what you need for your best Black Friday campaigns.
Provide a Bit of Interactivity (Bose)
Subject line: Black Friday offers are coming | Reveal your savings inside
Bose kick off one of their best Black Friday campaigns with this gorgeous email in the form of a scratchcard. After announcing Black Friday deals, the email immediately showcases an interactive “Scratch Here to Unveil Your Deal” element, followed by a couple of products already on sale.
What makes this email memorable?
- Almost everything a subscriber needs to know is expressed through visuals with a minimum amount of text.
- The content and combination of elements convey a feeling of personalization and exclusivity, like the deal is actually tailor-made for the individual subscriber, even without indicating the name.
Small note here: don’t rely on the images that much (they might load incorrectly and make your email unreadable). Make sure you add alt-text describing your images or some text sections duplicating the offer next to them.
Providing an interactive element (in this case, a CTA in the form of a scratch-and-win) is a neat concept that makes the offer way more engaging. Apart from interactive scratchcards, you can also liven up your best Black Friday emails with quizzes, videos, image carousels and more.
Play with Expectations (Cards Against Humanity)
Subject line: Cards Against Humanity Pays You $5
Now here’s an email that plays directly with the subscribers’ expectations. Cards Against Humanity take a step further and make a very unique offer to their subscribers: not a special code, not a discount, but to receive $5.
This email was promoting a campaign (actually, one of the best Black Friday campaigns we’ve ever seen), where anyone could participate in creative (and, at times, unexpected) contests to win real money. Cards Against Humanity are no strangers to such promotions and have already held some over-the-top Black Friday campaigns in recent years.
The email is, once again, minimalistic (containing just some colorful visuals, a Black Friday announcement with a question “Who wants $5?”, and a CTA) and heavily relies on a “surprise” approach. Indeed, not many people might expect an email that reads “We want to give you money”, especially during such occasions as Black Friday. And that’s exactly what makes this campaign so great: it’s unexpected, it’s definitely not trivial, and it’s engaging.
Of course, playing with audience expectations might be risky and requires tons of research and creativity. Plan the campaign in advance, take your time, let the imagination flow, and you might come up with some of the best Black Friday emails ever.
Provide Reminders & Recommendations (Columbia Sportswear)
Subject line: Price drop on your favorites!
Boost your Black Friday email personalization through the use of information on previously bought and viewed items, as well as abandoned carts. Analyzing this data will help you in creating accurate recommendations and reminders.
Take, for example, this Black Friday email by Columbia Sportswear. It provides 2 noteworthy strategies:
- Right from the start, it showcases an item the subscriber might have viewed multiple times before (or maybe even added to their shopping cart). And since Black Friday is in full swing, this marks a great opportunity to remind a potential customer about it, mentioning the discount and providing recommendations along the way.
- And another one is that the Columbia Sportswear email doesn’t reveal the price for that one item right away. Instead, it includes a CTA that guides the subscriber to visit the website, see the price directly there, and eventually proceed to shopping.
Organize a Donation Campaign (Everlane)
Subject line: This Wednesday: Black Friday Fund Is Back
The themes of “giving” and “sharing” are ever-present and not reserved strictly for Thanksgiving. Create one of your best Black Friday campaigns by showing the subscribers that you’re not just offering deals, but actually doing a huge and good deed. Design your email to provide detailed information about your donation campaign, especially if you join forces with a foundation or an institute.
One of the best examples would be this Black Friday email by Everlane. The company has united with Rodale Institute and created a campaign to raise donations for helping the institute itself and U.S. farmers in general.
In their email, Everlane share goals and provide details on how their donation system works. Those subscribers who wish to learn the full story can simply click on one of the CTAs and get a wider perspective. The email also showcases credibility by demonstrating that Everlane’s Black Friday Fund is not just a one-time occasion, but a long-lasting tradition that has already raised over $1 million for donations.
To sum things up, tying Black Friday and donation campaigns is a great way to show that you care not just about revenues, but a greater good as well. Aside from building reputation, you might actually provide valuable help to those who really need it.
Create a Tie-in with Upcoming Holidays (Keen)
Subject line: Black Friday’s Almost Over
Finally, we have a Black Friday email that actually concludes the big shopping weekend and paves the way for the upcoming special dates. This email by Keen primarily serves as a reminder that Black Friday sales are about to wrap up.
It’s not just about the big day itself: winter and Christmas imagery (snowy fields, Christmas Tree toys, present boxes, etc.) aim to remind the subscribers that the whole autumn season is coming to an end, and now is a great time to make preparations for the upcoming holidays. Additionally, it takes a little step into the Cyber Monday territory, showcasing the Cyber Styles deals.
There are 3 primary reasons why this is one of the best Black Friday emails:
- The overall design is generally pleasing to the eye and looks beautiful without being over-the-top.
- The email is pretty short, but at the same time manages to contain enough interesting offers and useful information without feeling cluttered.
- And of course, it cleverly combines several occasions into one message, which is not an easy thing to do.
Black Friday is a great occasion with lots of opportunities to increase both revenue and brand recognition. Following these strategies may help create your best Black Friday campaigns and come out on top during the busiest shopping weekend:
- analyze your strategy and choose the best time to send Black Friday emails;
- use either subtleness or boldness to your advantage;
- provide exclusive deals to your subscribers;
- use Black Friday GIFs and interactive elements for a more lively illustration;
- play with expectations and recommendations for your subscribers;
- showcase a more humane side by organizing a donation campaign;
- tie your Black Friday campaign with the upcoming holidays & sales.
And if you wish to spend more time on ideas for your best Black Friday campaigns and less time on email design hassle, try using Blocks. Our no-code drag-and-drop tool will assist you at every step of the way. Sign up for free and get ready to create your best Black Friday emails that will captivate the subscribers.