black-friday-checklistBlack Friday made its way to UK shores back in 2013 (something else we’ve borrowed from our friends across the Atlantic) and has grown to become the busiest shopping day in the UK. With the date looming (it falls on 25th November this year), it’s time to think about email promotion.

In a bid to differentiate itself, Amazon has decided to start its own Black Friday campaign some twelve days early, but there’s no need to panic if you’re a retailer. Just as Christmas appears to start earlier each year, the rapidly expanding Black Friday bandwagon has simply forced the giants of the trade to think outside of the box.

Happily, you don’t need to. Black Friday is, after all, a day on which to offer your best sales deals and capitalise on the public’s increased desire to part with their hard-earned money – nothing more.

As you’d expect, email is a key method of communication for retailers on Black Friday and remains one of the best ways to grab the attention of those looking for the hottest deals around.

In this post, we’ve put together the ultimate Black Friday email marketing checklist. Don’t leave home without it.

1. Set a goal

Yep, this is marketing lesson 101, but an advertising campaign without a goal is unlikely to produce any meaningful results.

Your goal may be to shift certain lines that have stalled all year (possibly due to high pricing), or it may be a specific sales target you’d like to achieve in one day. Whatever it is, set it and base your entire campaign around meeting (and beating) that goal.

2. Spend AGES on the subject line

Yep, we’re sounding like a broken record now, but this step is absolutely essential for an email marketing campaign that is going to head out during a period when your subscribers’ inboxes will be absolutely heaving.

It has to stand out and avoid every common subject line pitfall. That means you need to be creative and, as with Amazon and their early Black Friday, think entirely outside of the box.

Thankfully, we’ve written quite a bit about the process of writing killer subject lines to help you get underway. In essence, you need to create a mini cliffhanger, take advantage of personalisation and inject some urgency. Whatever you do, don’t send out an email that simply reads “30% off today!”; that won’t work.

4. Optimise for mobile

Again, this might seem like an obvious one, but in the busy lead up to Black Friday, it’s easy to overlook one of the most important aspects of your email campaigns – their responsiveness.

The vast majority of people receiving your message will attempt to view it on a mobile device, therefore you need to think ‘mobile first’ when designing your Black Friday email.

Email marketing software like mailingmanager makes the technical elements of this step a cinch, but be sure to keep the sizes of imagery in check and write copy that is brief and to the point – people have limited time when viewing your email on their smartphone.

5. Choose the send date and time wisely

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the time at which you should send your Black Friday emails, but common sense should prevail.

According to TechCrunch, 50% of people usually check their email while lying in bed. This suggests that early and late send times for retail-themed emails are a sensible choice, but it pays to look at previous campaign reports, too.

When do you achieve the highest open and click-through rate? Act on past performance and give some thought to your own habits; when was the last time you actively engaged with an offer-based email?

6. Clean up that list

Days like Black Friday represent the perfect excuse to conduct a spring clean of your subscriber list.

If, for example, a significant proportion of the addresses in your list are continually bouncing, you could hurt your sender reputation. Equally, the method by which you acquired certain addresses may mean that sending a Black Friday offer will be unethical and result in numerous spam reports. For example, the people who signed up to receive offers of a kind that won’t feature in your Black Friday promotions are probably best left alone.

Time spent on your subscriber list before sending anything Black Friday related may feel rather laborious, but it’s as important as the time you spend on your subject line.

Wrapping up

Black Friday represents a fantastic opportunity for retailers, but it’s also one of the busiest days for email inboxes. Just as overly-eager shoppers will inevitably crash through the doors of brick-and-mortar stores come 25th November, offer-based emails will do exactly the same.

Use our checklist above to ensure yours stands out from the crowd.