Email Marketing

5 Winning Black Friday Email Examples from Top Brands

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Black Friday: For most email marketers, it’s like the Superbowl.

To deliver optimal campaign results in this revenue-critical period, senders need to pull out all the stops to send their flashiest, most compelling email campaigns.

There’s just one problem. Every year, Black Friday promotions seem to start earlier and last longer than the year before. This means subscribers are getting slammed with non-stop promotional emails, which not only makes it harder to reach the inbox, but also to stand out!

How can senders hope to catch subscribers’ attention when most inboxes are more crowded than ever? Simple: by leaning on some last-minute inspiration from top brands.

Check out these five eye-catching campaigns from top brands to help you get inspired in time for Black Friday.

1. Hulu

Given the excitement surrounding Black Friday, many marketers see it as a prime opportunity to re-engage inactive subscribers—but this can be risky.

If you reach too far back into your database to re-engage inactive addresses, you risk hitting recycled spam traps, compromising your sender reputation, and lowering your deliverability (aka, the likeliness that the emails you send actually land in your subscribers’ inboxes).

However, when done correctly, reaching back into your database can produce great results. Hulu, for example, does this with their Black Friday campaign.

To entice former subscribers to come back, the campaign outlines an exclusive, limited-time offer (i.e., rejoin Hulu for just 99¢/month for a year) in simple language and highlights the platform’s top shows. Plus, by using their segments to target only lapsed customers, Hulu doesn’t risk overwhelming or annoying their active customers.

This is a great example of using your Black Friday strategy to target just one segment of your audience, instead of trying a one-size-fits all approach.  

2. Victoria’s Secret

Who doesn’t love a good countdown clock?

In this campaign, Victoria’s Secret drives a sense of urgency by counting down to the end of their big Black Friday sale. The brand also includes a gold confetti GIF to reveal the header, “BLACK FRIDAY: deals for days.” This simple yet eye-catching addition immediately draws subscribers in, piques their interest, and makes them more likely to click.

The black and gold color palette also stands out from the brand’s usual, brighter email templates. For subscribers who are used to seeing Victoria Secret’s typical email content, this design lets them know at first glance that this is an event to pay attention to!

Don’t be afraid to follow their lead. Swap your typical email template with something special for Black Friday! After all, this is supposed to be a fun time of year—so show off your brand’s playful personality with a fun new design.

3. Ritual

When it comes to email marketing for Black Friday, big and bold is often the way to go. However, that’s not to say simplicity can’t pack a punch.

Ritual, for example, takes a unique approach by only mentioning Black Friday in their preheader text:

Subject line: The early bird gets the protein shake

Preheader: with early access to Black Friday.

The brand takes advantage of the general Black Friday buzz to promote their new protein powder. However, unlike many other brands this time of year, they aren’t being obvious about it—which works to their advantage.

With so many promotional campaigns flooding subscribers’ inboxes, most of which have “Black Friday” in the subject line, this simple campaign from Ritual is a nice break from the madness. The quirky subject line grabs attention all on its own without mentioning Black Friday, while the preheader text hints that they’re about to get an interesting deal.

Your campaign design could be earth-shatteringly beautiful. But if your subject line isn’t enticing (or fails to stand out), no one will choose to open it. Consider trying an A/B test where one email contains “Black Friday” in the subject line and the other in the preheader text to see which (if either) receives more engagement.

4. Etsy

Empathetic marketing is on the rise. You don’t need to wait for Giving Tuesday to show that your company has a heart!

Etsy, for example, uses its Black Friday campaign to support small businesses. The brand includes a clear CTA that stands out: rather than the usual “Shop Now,” it says “Save big. Feel good.” Not only does this message pop out design-wise, but it also tugs at subscribers’ heartstrings.

Incorporating empathy into their marketing strategy helps Etsy customers feel good about spending money with the brand. Plus, it sets them apart from big box stores as a business that cares about its community.

5. Sweaty Betty

Want to be more playful during the holidays? Try literally giving your audience a game to play.

Sweaty Betty does this in its Black Friday campaign with a simple “Spin to Win” game that prompts subscribers to click through to their website. The graphics are simple, the CTA is clear (i.e., Spin to Win), and the grid below entices subscribers with possible prizes. What’s not to love?

If your goal is to get people to click through to your website, this is a very simple and effective way of accomplishing that while still keeping things fun for your audience.

There’s no time to waste!

As global email volume trends continue to rise, it’s becoming more important than ever to find new inspiration and methods for reaching your audience. Following these tips is a great place to start to prepare yourself for peak sales season.

Want even more last-minute Black Friday email inspiration? Create a free MailCharts account and start searching through thousands of real campaign examples today!