Black Friday Emails: 9 Super Creative Examples To Inspire Your Own (+Free Swipe File)
Over the BFCM weekend, your customer's inbox will be as full as a belly after thanksgiving dinner.
And as an ecommerce merchant, that's a problem. Because with so many folks competing for your customers' attention, it's easy for your deal to slip under the radar.
So the question is: How can you make your Black Friday emails stand out? Because between design, copy, and tactics, there sure is a hell of a lot to consider.
Well, in this post, I'll share 9 of the most unique Black Friday email examples I've seen. You'll get ideas and best practices to help guide you through the process.
By the end, your brain will be humming with inspiration, and you'll be ready to build your best Black Friday email campaign ever. Plus, I've included a Black Friday Email swipe file with over 30+ emails to fuel your creativity.
Let's get to it!
1. The Tension Builder - Tinker
Sometimes what makes your Black Friday email stand out isn't the email itself, but the tension you've built in the days leading up to the sale.
Here you can see how watch brand Tinker creates a buzz around their offer by teasing their audience with a mysterious outline of a new product.
The copy and design are laced with intrigue, teeing up their Black Friday email to stand above the rest by piquing their audience's curiosity.
This approach so powerful because it creates a mental itch that needs to be scratched. And the only way to scratch it is? Yup, you guessed it: to open your BFCM email.
- Humans are a naturally inquisitive bunch. Use curiosity to drive engagement in your BFCM email campaign.
- Keep your message crystal clear by using simple designs and eliminating wordy blocks of text.
2. The Preliminary Reveal - Google
In contrast to the tension-generating email above, this pre-Black Friday email from Google comes right out and shows shoppers the goods before the sale goes live.
This 'preview' approach is great if you're selling higher-ticket items because customers may need more time to consider their purchase.
For example, slamming a 15% discount on a $1000+ purchase into their inbox on Friday morning mightn't be enough to convince them your offer is worth it.
But garnering interest earlier in the week gives you customers the space to think about your products and increases the likelihood they'll buy when deals go live.
- Sending multiple emails in the build-up to BFCM helps keep your brand top of mind
- For higher-ticket items, customers may need more time to consider their purchase
- Use dynamic retargeting to follow-up with customers when BFCM arrives
3. The Early Access - Eve Sleep
As we mentioned in the introduction, with hundreds of emails assaulting your audience's inboxes on Black Friday itself, standing isn't easy.
But by sending early access in the week leading up to Black Friday, you can capitalize on the increased appetite for spending while avoiding the torrent of competing offers.
That's precisely what mattress retailer Eve Sleep did last year. Instead of making their customers wait until Friday to claim their offer, they grant early access mid-week.
Opening up your Black Friday offer early allows you to pick up buckets of opens, clicks, and sales before the big rush begins.
To add exclusivity to this kind of email, you might consider opening your BFCM deals to VIP customers only. Adding a reason for granting early access will encourage shoppers to take action.
- It's easier to grab attention on Mon-Thurs of Cyber Week.
- Opening up your offer to a segment of loyal shoppers ensures none of them miss your offer in the heat of the moment.
- Low-key GIFs can make your email pop.
4. The Multi-Channel Approach - Nuheara
With over 400 million emails being sent out on Black Friday, you'll stand the best chance of engaging with your list by taking a multi-channel approach.
One way to boost your uptake is by getting out of your subscribers' email and into their SMS. Why? Well, SMS boasts a whopping open rate of 98%. Plus, over 90% of the SMS message you send will be read in under 3 minutes.
Audio brand Nuheara used this Black Friday email last year to push subscribers onto their SMS list in advance of the big day.
By stepping away from the hyper-competitive email inbox and moving to SMS, Nuheara ensures interested subscribers don't miss out on a great deal.
You can also encourage subscribers to follow you on social media in the days leading up to the big day. That way, while other brands are only hammering email, you'll be able to reach your audience across multiple touchpoints and boost the chances of making a sale.
- Attention is the gateway to your customer's wallet. Relying on email alone means customers may miss your message among the flurry of offers.
- Coordinate your email, SMS, and social channels to ensure maximum engagement
5. The Soothing Balm - Aesop
Black Friday is renowned for being a frenzied affair. With the sudden barrage of offers merchants fling at consumers, it's easy for one huge discount to melt into the next. It can be hard to hear anybody when everyone is shouting the same thing.
That's where cosmetics brand Aesop takes a different approach to their BFCM marketing campaign. Their Black Friday email is memorable precisely because of its understatement. There are no 'rock-bottom' prices or 'one-off deals' to be found here.
Instead, Aesop uses a calming color scheme and copy that appeals for calmness amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. The beautiful design allows their products to come to the fore and do most of the talking.
It's a message in stark contrast to what we've come to expect of Black Friday. By tapping into the feeling of pressure, many of us feel at this time of year, Aesop has crafted an email that reads like a relaxing mental message. And that just so happens to be the same feeling they want you to have when using their products.
- Dial-in your copy and design to appeal to your ideal customer
- Huge discounts aren't a requirement - Free shipping can be enough to entice customers to buy
- Put your products center-stage in your email
6. The Good Cause - Everlane
Increasingly, there's a growing trend of conscious consumerism growing around the world. More folks are opting to shop with companies that hold similar values to their own.
Everlane runs a unique Black Friday campaign each year known as the Black Friday Fund, in which they donate a portion of profits to a non-profit or charitable organization. Last year, the brand is planning to donate $300,000 to help fight the use of single-use plastics and marine pollution.
While this is an honorable thing to do in its own right, the research shows it's also good for business.
For example, according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, consumers perceive products from socially conscious brands as being superior to those with average levels of social consciousness.
Consumers perceive products from socially conscious brands as being superior to those with average levels of social consciousness.
What's more, supporting a cause your customers care about can boost brand loyalty, enhance your reputation, and indirectly drive more sales. So, if you haven't already, think about how you can incorporate a charitable element into your Black Friday campaigns.
- Supporting a cause your audience cares about is good for the cause and good for business too.
7. The Anti-Deal - Cards Against Humanity
While we can't promise you many sales, one way to get noticed is by taking inspiration from Cards Against Humanity's Black Friday Email.
For the last few holidays, they've run crazy campaigns that showcase their disdain for excessive consumption. One year they sold actual bull shit in boxes, and last year they ran a hilarious 99% OFF parody deal site.
In this email form a few years back, instead of offering customers a discount, they gave their subscribers the opportunity to give them $5 in return for, well, nothing.
While you're unlikely to break your sales records using such unconventional tactics, Cards Against Humanity gets buckets of free media coverage for their stunts. And while that's probably not their intention, it is nonetheless useful for growth.
The key here is that Cards Against Humanity has created a campaign that's bursting with brand appeal. Just like their product, their black Friday promotions are risqué and somewhat offensive.
- Build a Black Friday email campaign that matches your brand's personality. Your brand integrity is always more important than short-term profits on the day.
8. The 'Don't Miss Out' - reMarkable
Black Friday is all about scarcity and urgency. Carnage-filled scenes in department stores across the country are a testament to that.
Tapping into these collective feelings of undersupply is a powerful tactic that reminds customers they need to act now. Once you've launched your initial email, it's a good move to send an email similar to this one by digital notepad brand reMarkable:
How effective are these types of emails? Well, Experian found that emails conveying a sense of urgency had at least 14% higher open rates and 2X the transaction rates compared to standard promotional emails.
Experian found that emails conveying a sense of urgency had at least 14% higher open rates and 2x the transaction rates compared to regular promotional emails.
reMarkable conveys urgency by using a countdown timer. Other approaches would be to show the customer how many items are left in stock or set-up an offer where there's only a limited number of discounts to claim.
Of course, it goes without saying that scarcity works best when it's genuine. If customers catch wind that you're misleading them, you'll do much more damage to your business than a few quick sales can cover. So always keep things above board.
- Scarcity and urgency are two powerful cognitive biases that you can use to drive more sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
9. The Extended Sale - Forever 21
In recent years, online retailers have been extending their BFCM campaigns beyond the traditional Friday to Monday limits. And with analysts predicting that consumers will have more disposable income to spend this year, it's a tactic that could help you mop up a nice chunk of additional revenue.
But you can't just go and say to customers, "I know we ended the sale yesterday, but here's another!". You'll just end up like the boy who called wolf. Instead, you need to frame your offer in a way that provides a reason for why it's happening.
Case in point: Forever21. The fashion retailer extended their 2019 sale by positioning it as an extra chance for VIP customers to pick up a special deal. This intelligent positioning totally changes the feel of the campaign from "They're trying to get as much money as possible from me" to "Wow, a special offer just for me?"
This type of email could be even more potent if it was personalized and showed the customer's name along with some product recommendations.
If you don't want to extend your campaign, you could simply try sending out abandoned cart emails that allow shoppers to pick up their order at the same BFCM price.
What Black Friday Emails Will You Send?
Black Friday is a brilliant opportunity to finish your year on a high. And at the heart of every Black Friday marketing strategy is a reliable email campaign.
Between designing your emails, crafting the copy, and everything else, building a great Black Friday email can be a little daunting. Hopefully, these Black Friday email examples have provided you with the inspiration you need to reach your most ambitious Q4 goals.
If you're eager for more inspiration - check out some of the 30+ Black Friday Emails in our free swipe file now 👇
Now over to you! Which Black Friday email was your favorite? Will you use any of the ideas in your own campaign this year? Let us know in the comments below!