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Brand Strategy Email Marketing E-commerce

6 tips to maximize your email marketing strategy this Black Friday

By Zoe Pedersen, Strategy Director



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September 6, 2022 | 8 min read

Black Friday is a bonanza of marketing activity where huge value is to be won – but brands also run the risk of being lost in the noise. Zoe Pedersen of Reflect Digital tells us how to be on the winning side.

A sign that reads "save up to 50% Black Friday" in a shop window

How can brands start planning now for their Black Friday email marketing strategies? / Ashkan Forouzani

With email users reaching over 4 billion in 2020 and expected to reach 4.6 billion in 2025, it’s still one of the best ways to maintain a connection with customers and subscribers.

So, how do you maximize the potential of email this Black Friday?

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1. Plan ahead

While you could send out a generic ‘20% off’ offer to your database, a focus on planning can help you create custom messaging and offer plans that will resonate more and increase conversions.

Take the time to review your database. Refresh yourself on your personas and ensure you’re creating deals that suit their needs. Go through the database a few times, using the weeks leading up to Black Friday to re-engage users.

And don’t overlook Halloween; it’s a great opportunity to test customized customer journeys and subject lines.

2. Decide who your offers are for

The best email marketing rule to follow is to segment your best customers first. Give them early or exclusive offers, and tailor something to that loyal base. Retention should still be a priority KPI for your Black Friday campaign.

Target your previous customers (it’s easier to sell to existing customers, after all); target also based on past purchases by reminding people it might be time to re-stock. Other targeting options include focusing on complementary purchases (look at your cross-pollination products) and activity: build loyalty with VIP offers that will make your repeat customers feel valued. If you have the right customer insights, you can also segment parents and spouses, and use last year’s insights to improve recommendations. Consider also creating a Black Friday shopping guide in anticipation of birthday and Christmas purchases.

And remember, many of your customers are likely to be shopping for gifts instead of just for themselves.

3. Sweat the subject lines

An unopened email is a lost opportunity. Especially around Black Friday, emails need to stand out as things tend to get crowded. Play with ideas and plan in advance. Consider humor and pain points as drivers for your subject lines.

Great examples include JetBlue’s ‘You’re missing out on points’; Groupon’s ‘Deals that make us proud (unlike our nephew, Steve)’; Ikea’s ‘Get more kitchen space with these easy fixes’; HP’s ‘Stop wasting money on ink’; and Duolingo’s ‘Learn a language with only five minutes per day.’

4. Build anticipation

Black Friday is a noisy playground for brands. Ramping up in advance can help build anticipation and make customers aware of your sale plans. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a great tactic here; giving customers a sneak preview can help build anticipation ahead of launch.

Be transparent about your deal and offer deadlines. If you’re open to extending your sale, make that clear so that as you near the day, you can encourage the longer buying timeframe to maximize revenue potential.

And don’t forget that deadlines don’t all have to be time-based. You can make them based on quantity (‘only 10 left’). Asos does this well with ‘selling fast’ and ‘almost gone’ banners.

5. Maximize the abandoned cart email

With so many purchases being made around Black Friday, it’s easy to forget that deal-hunting often leads to abandoned carts. Try to limit those in advance by reviewing your customer journeys in the run-up to your offer launches. Consider:

  • Social proof (using testimonials, reviews and multiple payment options to build trust)

  • Your payment gateway (how easy is it for users to check out; can they use Apple Pay or Klarna?)

  • Navigation and search (how easy is it for users to find and compare products?)

  • Returns and FAQs (how easy is it to find more information?)

Once your customer experience (CX) is taken care of, consider your CRM abandoned cart email settings. By standard these might be up to 48 hours; shorten these triggers to less than an hour. During Black Friday, notifications are time critical.

Don’t forget to follow up with a post-purchase review email to help build credibility for next year.

6. Design with difference

Emails need to be responsive; don’t substitute responsiveness for crazy creative. Emails should showcase the things subscribers care about – the deals. They should be created mobile-first with a clear, visual hierarchy and messaging. Don’t try to cram too much in, but make it easy for users to click-to-shop.

Consider the ‘Z pattern’ strategy, playing on patterns of eye movement – reading left-to-right, we have a tendency to jump ahead when engaging with content. Or the ‘pyramid pattern,’ which catches readers’ attention at the top of the email before narrowing their focus to a call to action, product feature or other primary goal.

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And don’t forget to include value-adds, such as free shopping; a returns policy; satisfaction guaranteed; 24/7 customer support/live chat – or whatever else matters to your customers.

If you’re looking to ramp up your email marketing strategy ahead of Black Friday, get in touch with our team at Reflect Digital to find out how they can help you prepare and stand out in time for the year’s biggest sales.

Zoe Pedersen is strategy director at Reflect Digital, part of the Lab Group.

Brand Strategy Email Marketing E-commerce

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