black-friday-reviewBlack Friday is expected to prompt consumers to spend £4bn this weekend, making it the UK’s largest and most important sales day for retailers. As a result, inboxes across the land have been rather busy welcoming an influx of special offers and last minute deals.

Chances are, your inbox is no different – it’s likely creaking under the weight of Black Friday email marketing messages, demonstrating neatly how big a challenge retailers have at this time of the year when it comes to making themselves heard.

To stand out among a sea of Black Friday emails, yours needs to do something special. Yet, the same rules apply; an eye-catching subject line oozing urgency, attractive design, a clear call-to-action and, most importantly, a no-nonsense explanation of what’s in it for the recipient is what’s required.

With that in mind, we though it would be fun to take a look at some of the best email marketing messages we’ve seen so far this year.

Taking the no-nonsense approach

Sometimes in email marketing, you need to simply get to the point. No waffle. No hesitation. No concerns that you’re going to upset people. Just good, old-fashioned marketing tactics (they work).

Check out this Black Friday effort from US retailer, Finish Line:


What you can’t see above is the subject line, which simply reads ‘Last Day — Black Friday Early Access: 30% Off. CODE: WCEARLYAC’, and is accompanied by an exclamation mark emoji. This approach leaves subscribers in no doubt as to what’s on offer, why it’s special and what they need to do in order to benefit from it.

The email content is equally as barren in terms of waffle. They’ve used black (clever – that’s the shade that will grab people’s attention during this sales period) and simply repeat the offer with a nice, big call-to-action (CTA).

When it comes to advertising offers during high spending periods, simple absolutely works.

Taking the fun approach

We all love an animated GIF, don’t we? Memes – as they’re more commonly known – are great ways to inject a bit of fun into marketing campaigns. They work brilliantly on social media, but are equally as effective in email marketing.

The snippet below is taken from a retail Black Friday email campaign and it works, because both images neatly sum up what the day is all about. And they’re fun. People like fun stuff:


Taking the cliffhanger approach

Hollywood is always a good source of inspiration for email marketing, and this pre-Black Friday message from Miss Selfridge whips up a lovely air of excitement:


It takes an admirably simple approach, favouring imagery over text, but the latter is used very effectively; it simply suggests there are some big savings on the way and leaves subscribers hanging. That means they’ll be waiting with baited breath for the next message and, as a result, will likely engage with it.

Taking the urgent approach

Urgency in email marketing is vital if you’re to convince people to click through and make a purchase. You need to make them feel like they could miss out on something, and this email from Adobe is a masterclass in how to do just that:


Clever word play (“Limited-time deal. Unlimited creativity.”) reminds us that Black Friday is a short-lived thing, and that, if we want to benefit from it, we need to act – fast.

A smart headline won’t work alone, though, which is why the paragraph that follows plays an incredibly important role in urging the reader to act. In the above example, they explain exactly what the offer is (20% off), what it applies to (the ‘all app’ Creative Cloud plan) and why those taking up the offer will benefit from it (‘make amazing things all year long’).

Email marketing is all about telling a story that will captivate people, and Adobe’s is compelling enough to click the button marked ‘Join now’.

Taking the non-offer approach

Black Friday doesn’t have to be about special deals. Instead, why not use the opportunity to stage a competition that results in the winner taking home a fantastic product?

Check out this email from The Image Group:


They haven’t dropped the price on anything. There’s no special offer, discounted rate or 2-for-1 deal – just a tempting prize giveaway.

Obviously, to win the Apple Watch, you’ve got to buy something and enter a code. And that’s the magic sauce in this particular email campaign; it features a prize that people will want, uses Black Friday as an excuse to get in touch and should result in a healthy take up, as a result.

Wrapping up

You can do what we’ve done, too. In fact, if you take email marketing seriously, you really should start to build a library of other people’s efforts.

Create two folders in your email client – one for the best Black Friday emails you receive and another for the worst. Add to it each year so you build a library of the dos and don’ts of Black Friday email marketing – your campaigns will benefit significantly as a result.