Thanks to the rise of e-commerce, epic, crack-of-dawn Black Friday lines are becoming a distant memory future generations may joke about. Today, email is king on the biggest shopping day of the year and as a retailer, it’s your most efficient way to target masses of deal-hungry customers.

At StackCommerce, we execute Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns for over 100 publisher shops, and have learned invaluable lessons from reaching out to a wide variety of audience types. Last year, Black Friday marked our biggest shopping day of the year but upon reflection and after diving into the data, it is clear that we can deliver even better results for our publisher and brand partners this time around. How? Check out 5 rules we live by while preparing our Black Friday email marketing strategy.

Be prepared and plan early

Everyone knows the saying, “the early bird gets the worm,” and it rings especially true in email marketing. There is nothing worse than preparing to leave the office on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving only to realize that you didn’t plan a promotion for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Let the scrambling begin.  

That’s why it’s essential to start planning your calendar, promotions, and merchandising in advance. This allows for plenty of time to coordinate with all necessary teams, analyze previous promotions, set up campaigns, and ensure seamless execution.

Stand out from the crowd

E-commerce companies and retailers are all fighting to gain customer attention on Black Friday and throughout the holiday season. Remember, there’s a lot of noise in each and every customer inbox, and it’s your job to stand out from the crowd.

Here are a few tips:

  • Make your promotion pop, but keep your strategy simple and easy for customers to understand
  • Be aware of the competition, but don’t discount beyond what makes sense for your company
  • Create unique subject lines that won’t be overlooked by your lapsed or less-engaged customers
  • Target your customers when they’re most likely to open an email in order to hit the top of their inbox with personalized send time optimization

Grow your email list in advance

As you ramp up for the holiday season, you should also be thinking of unique ways to grow your email list. For example, try promoting a special giveaway to new audiences or partner with another company on a giveaway to expand your reach. Engaging in paid advertising across social channels like Facebook is another great way to beef up your list. Once Black Friday promotion begins, you’ll have a new, engaged audience to target.

Re-engage lapsed customers

Now is the time to win back segments of customers that have lost enthusiasm for your brand! In the months prior to Black Friday, start slowly integrating these customers back into email communications with a “win-back” series and weekly sends. This will help to protect your IP and unsubscribe rates during the holiday season.  

If you continue to see a lack of engagement from these groups leading up to Black Friday, restrict the number of sends to just major Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. The key is to not forget about this group, but keep in mind that less is more!

Recommend products your customers will love

Black Friday is the perfect time to guide customers with targeted product recommendations and shopping guides. Integrate with a product recommendation tool like Jetlore or segment your customers based on purchase history to market relevant products. In addition, we suggest you  set up an automated cart abandonment email with included product recommendations to double down on this strategy.

There’s so much detail that goes into each and every one of these tips, but the key is to keep them all in mind when launching your Black Friday strategy. Above all, be authentic to your brand and customers will continue to choose your emails and your site for their holiday shopping needs.