Helpful Tips for a Successful Black Friday & Cyber Monday

With the holidays quickly approaching, Marketers are now in full swing, finalizing their holiday promotions and for retailers, two of the biggest online shopping days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just weeks away. Last year an estimated 108.5 million consumers shopped online during these two holidays, surpassing the 99.1 million shoppers who shopped in stores during this same time period (National Retail Federation). And according to research from eMarketer, this year’s ecommerce sales are expected to increase by 16 percent, up from 14 percent from the prior year.


With so much at stake during these key revenue driving days, it’s important for retailers to target subscribers with emails containing enticing, relevant offers that are sure to make them stand out from their competitors. So whether you’ve already planned out your Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions, or still need some more ideas, let’s look at a few campaigns from last year to gather some additional inspiration:

Jcrew — Cyber Monday Email
Subject Line: Best Monday ever = 40% off your purchase (!), now with free shipping

Jcrew, who often brings a level of humor to their emails, used their Cyber Monday email to poke fun at the day, referring to Cyber Monday as “happy shop from your desk day,” which let’s be honest, is basically what Cyber Monday is all about. The creative design made the promotional offer of 40% off the main focal point, using the colors hot pink and black to make the text stand out even more. The subject line, while on the longer side, focuses on the 40% off promotion, a very compelling reason for subscribers to engage with the message.

Key Takeaways: Make it playful! Humor is a great tactic to encourage engagement and also show your subscribers the fun side of your brand, which can help set you apart from other retailers and create loyal, long term customers.

Casper — Black Friday email
Subject Line: Snooze through the sales…

Casper uses a clever subject line and animated gif to grab the subscriber’s attention. When opening the email, the different tabs on the alarm clock slide back and forth, like they do on an iPhone. Animated gifs are a great way to add a level of excitement to the message, and are now widely supported by most email clients. While everything in the message, from the gif itself to the text and playful promotional code, is very much on brand, showcasing the voice of Casper.

Key Takeaways: Let your brand voice shine through, as this will set you apart from your competitors and help gain loyal customers. And don’t be afraid to try new tactics, like animated gifs, an easy way to increase engagement and enhance message content.

Virgin America – Black Friday Email
Subject Line: Today Only: Fares from $29 One Way

Looking at data from our consumer panel, this message had a much higher read rate for Virgin America than the average read rate, which is no surprise given the extremely low airfare rate advertised in the subject line. While the message design and content is very simple it does a great job of outlining the offer, using a sense of urgency and a large clear call to action to give subscribers an easy path to engagement.

Key Takeaways: Sometimes it works to keep it simple. Similar to the Jcrew email, when promoting a compelling offer, which is sure to drive engagement, make that the focal point of the message, with limited other design elements. This allows you to lead with the discount as this is one of the main things customers are looking for on this day, as they are likely to shop with brands offering the highest discounts and best sales.

Although the email message and creative design has a lot to do with whether or not a customer converts from the email, the first step in getting them to engage is with a strong, alluring subject line as this is the key way to make your message stand out in the crowded inbox. Using Return Path’s consumer data to look at emails sent last Black Friday and Cyber Monday across the Apparel and Accessories vertical, we can see that subject lines containing the phrase “Black Friday” worked well to generate engagement while subject lines containing the phrase “Cyber Monday” had much lower read rates.

However, every brand’s audience is unique, so it’s important to do testing to make sure you know which tactics will work the best with your specific customers. Since testing can be time consuming, and is not always possible during the busy holiday season, multivariate testing, such as that provided by 8Seconds, is a quick and easy way to test subject lines on the day of deployment.

So as the countdown to the biggest shopping days of the year begins, make sure to apply these helpful tactics and tips to allow you to put your best foot forward and ensure a successful and profitable holiday season.

minute read

Popular stories



BriteVerify email verification ensures that an email address actually exists in real-time


The #1 global data quality tool used by thousands of Salesforce admins


Insights and deliverability guidance from the only all-in-one email marketing solution

GridBuddy Cloud

Transform how you interact with your data through the versatility of grids.

Return Path

World-class deliverability applications to optimize email marketing programs

Trust Assessments

A revolutionary new solution for assessing Salesforce data quality


Validity for Email

Increase inbox placement and maximize subscriber reach with clean and actionable data

Validity for Data Management

Simplify data management with solutions that improve data quality and increase CRM adoption

Validity for Sales Productivity

Give your sales team back hours per day with tools designed to increase productivity and mitigate pipeline risks in real-time