Every year, Black Friday generates billions in sales for eCommerce companies, with email responsible for 20 percent of online holiday eCommerce website visits.
In addition, email holds great power every Black Friday, as customers who purchase products through email spend 138 percent more than people who don’t receive email offers.
A good email can land new customers eager to get their holiday shopping done. A bad email can land you in the spam folder. And when you land in the spam folder, it’s difficult to re-earn the negative hit that places on your reputation.
But with 116.5 million emails being sent out on Black Friday, more than any other day of the year, there’s a lot to compete with to make your company stand out.
Follow these tips for a more successful Black Friday email marketing campaign.
Address your deliverability rate before sending any emails.
To stand out in your recipients’ inboxes, your emails must reach them first. Therefore, you must stay on top of your deliverability score. If you have a low deliverability score, you likely have a high bounce score, which is the percentage of emails that aren’t reaching your intended recipients.
Bounced emails happen for a variety of reasons.
Perhaps your subscriber signed up with their work email, but since they don’t work there anymore, that email is now invalid. Or they may be out of the office, and their inbox is already full. If it’s the latter, you can keep sending emails to this address, but if it’s the former, you need to take that email address off your list.
The higher your bounce rate, the more email service providers will see your content as spam. As a result, your emails may end up in spam folders more frequently or not be delivered at all.
Before Black Friday arrives, save yourself from worrying about your bounce rate by using an email checker to see which addresses on your subscriber list are no longer valid. By preventing yourself from sending to no-longer-active addresses, you’re working to lower your bounce rate, which will help you reach the inboxes of your real potential customers.
Avoid spam pitfalls.
We know a high bounce rate can land you in the spam folder, but you should also pay attention to your emails to ensure service providers won’t view them as spam. The first place to start is by addressing if you’re following the CAN-SPAM Act, which identifies spam emails.
Not following can send you to the junk folder and result in a hefty fine.
According to the CAN-SPAM Act, you should not use misleading header information, write a deceptive subject line, hide your email as an advertisement, hide your location, or not give recipients a way to opt-out of future emails.
You may still get tagged as spam even if you follow CAN-SPAM’s rules. Emailing on a regular schedule can prevent you from this, as can avoiding unnecessary attachments or excessive images.
Proofreading your emails can also help you stay out of the spam folder. But one of the best ways to avoid spam is by authenticating your email, which proves to the recipient it’s not forged.
You can also consider running your emails through a spam-checking tool. Several good options can help you identify problem areas and red flags and fix those as necessary before you fire off emails, so you don’t land in spam filters.
Create attention-grabbing, accurate subject lines.
Research shows you only have about three seconds to grab someone’s attention in an email before they move on.
An impactful subject line is an important way to get that attention. Subject lines are tricky for many email marketers because they need to be meaningful, short, and not spammy. Marketing experts recommend subject lines stay under 100 characters, but it’s difficult to convey your message with so few words.
Using words like “free gift,” limited-time offer, and “order now” can cause email providers to mark your emails as spam. Therefore, carefully crafting your wording is crucial. Also, keep the exclamation points and all-caps words to a minimum.
If you’re offering a deal this Black Friday, be upfront about what your customers will get. Simply saying “free gift” will land you in spam, but it’s also not very helpful for your recipient.
What kind of free gift?
Will they care enough to click and find out?
Most likely, they won’t because it’s Black Friday, and they have plenty more deals in their inbox from companies who are more upfront with offers. You want to encourage your reader to click to open the email with your subject line. They won't bother to click unless they know you’re offering something they’re interested in.
Create eye-catching images.
If you’re doing email marketing for business-to-consumer (B2C) brands, you know how vital images are. Email copy matters, but your products need to speak for themselves. Your products must stand out in the pictures. An overcrowded background may look pretty, but you’ll want your products to be on a plain or transparent backdrop.
Keeping things simple but sharp is a good rule of thumb regarding product images. You want there to be a solid contrast between your images and the background, but this may be something you’ll need to use a few tools to get right.
Hiring a product photographer to get shots on a white background can get expensive. It’s also unnecessary, as software exists that can place the product photos you already have on a plain backdrop. These background removers ensure your product is the star of the picture.
You should also be mindful of how many images you’re sending. The old rule is email marketers should generally make their emails 80 percent text and 20 percent pictures. But new research suggests even more specific numbers.
For example, recent data found the best click-through rate came from emails with three or fewer images and around 20 lines of text. So you should keep these numbers in mind as you design your email.
A/B test your emails.
When you A/B test your emails, your customers tell you what’s more attractive or interesting to them. But A/B testing isn’t always done right. When you A/B test, you first need to figure out your objective.
What are you trying to discover?
Then you must create two almost identical emails with one thing changed, such as the subject line. Marketers make the mistake of thinking A/B testing means you send two completely different emails. If you do the testing this way, you won’t know what parts of the emails are effective. For example, you’ll know which subject line works better if you change the subject line.
From there, you’ll select a small sample of your subscriber list. Half of the selection will receive Email A, while the other half will receive Email B. Once the emails have spent some time in the sample’s inbox, you can analyze the results. This sample should inform you how to send your Black Friday email to your entire subscriber list.
It’s a good idea to run multiple A/B tests since many pieces of an email affect how they perform.
For example, you can consider testing out the following items:
- The subject line
- The images
- The format
- The call to action
- The button copy
Just make sure to test them on separate emails rather than all in one.
Ramp up your email capture before Black Friday.
Too often, significant events like Black Friday rolled around, and email marketers are left wondering how to make their emails stand out. But they forget there’s not much to stand out in if they haven’t been building their subscriber list throughout the year.
Unsubscribes happen, and you could be dealing with a dwindling list. Unfortunately, that means fewer recipients of your Black Friday email and, as a result, fewer customers.
Before Black Friday arrives, ensure your subscriber list is growing.
Email capture on your website is one of the best ways to expand your list, but not all email capture is created equal. For example, many eCommerce companies rely on pop-ups to entice visitors to share their emails, but some pop-ups work better than others.
One of the best options is to ask visitors to spin a wheel to win a discount or gift.
But the catch is that they must give their email to get the prize in their inbox. So adding a spin-to-win pop-up to your website before Black Friday may result in a longer email list to send your Black Friday deals.
Wrapping It Up
The first step to standing out in your customers’ inboxes is to ensure you end up in their inboxes in the first place. Avoid spam triggers, lower your bounce rate, and consider running your emails through a spam-checking tool. With attention-grabbing subject lines, focused images, and A/B tested emails, you will surely attract more customers and increase sales this Black Friday.
Don’t forget to do it over again for Cyber Monday!