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. 

But, you HAVE to know who you are talking to and, to really get that email sweet spot for Black Friday. Today’s consumers demand more from brands and expect you to ‘see’ and understand them - so personalisation is critical.


The demise of the third-party cookie is coming. Google seems to keep haunting us with that impending deadline…we are still not 100% sure when it is happening. But everyone seems to agree that it is certainly going to happen.

Therefore, it’s vital to have a central CRM strategy with a comprehensive data acquisition, management and usability plan.

With Google taking a privacy-preserving API approach, the onus is on us as marketers and advertisers to find alternative ways to identify and target customers. Email addresses are the ultimate first-party data.

When you have marketing permission to use someone’s email, under GDPR, you can upload that onto advertising platforms like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin as a de facto cookie. Your CRM or CDP platform (Hubspot, Salesforce etc) becomes your consolidator and source of customer email data; overlay that with your insight, and persona-rich profiles and you can start creating valuable, persona-driven data segments to underpin your cross-channel marketing.

With people demanding more transparency in how their data is captured, stored and used, we have to communicate with our customers about what data we are collecting and for what reasons. Make sure you have your privacy, data collection and data privacy policies in good order and ALWAYS make it easy and accessible to opt-out at any point. 

By ensuring better and cleaner email data, your digital marketing efforts can drive better results. And, by following through on a behaviour-focused, insight and persona profiling strategy, you can start to elevate your CRM and email communications.

6 Top Tips for your Black Friday email marketing

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

#1 Plan ahead

While you could chuck 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. 


  1. Take the time to review your database - Refresh yourself on your personas and ensure you’re creating deals that suit their needs.
  2. Don’t overlook Halloween - A great opportunity to test customised customer journeys and subject lines.
  3. Go through your database a few times - Use the weeks leading up to Black Friday to re-engage users.

#2 Decide who your offers are for

The best email marketing rule to really follow here is to segment your best customers first. Give them the early offer or exclusive offer, and make sure you have tailored something to that loyal base, as retention should still be a priority KPI for your Black Friday campaign.

  1. Target your previous customers - It’s easier to sell to existing customers after all!
  2. Target based on past purchases - Reminding people it might be time to re-stock is a great way to get them back for a deal.
  3. Target based on complementary purchases - Look at your cross-pollination products to create some specific offers.
  4. Target based on activity - Build loyalty with VIP offers that will make your repeat customers feel valued. 

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

  • Do you have enough customer insight to allow for the segmentation of parents, and spouses?
  • Can you use last year’s insights to help improve recommendations? 
  • Consider creating a Black Friday shopping guide in anticipation of birthday and Christmas purchases. 

#3 Sweat the subject lines

An unopened email is a lost opportunity. Plus, around Black Friday emails need to stand out as things tend to get crowded. Play with ideas and plan in advance. Consider humour, FOMO and pain points as drivers for your subject lines. Here’s some great examples we’ve seen: 

“You’re missing out on points” 

The Hustle
“A faster donkey”

“Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)”

“Get more kitchen space with these easy fixes”

“Stop wasting money on ink”

“Learn a language with only 5 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. FOMO is a great tactic here, giving customers a sneak preview can help build anticipation ahead of your launch. 

I’d also recommend being transparent about your deal and offer deadlines. If you’re open to extending your sale then make that super clear so that as you near the day, so that you can encourage the longer buying time frame in order to maximise your revenue potential.

And don’t forget that deadlines don’t all have to be time-based. You can make them based on quantity i.e “only 10 left”. ASOS do this really well by showing ‘selling fast’ and ‘almost gone’ banners for items as you view them.

#5 Maximise 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 and limit those in advance by reviewing your customer journeys in the run-up to your offer launches. Consider; 

  1. Social proof - using testimonials, reviews and multiple payment options to build trust. 
  2. Your payment gateway - how easy is it for users to check out, can they use Apple Pay or Klarna?
  3. Navigation and search - how easy is it for users to find and compare products?
  4. Returns and FAQs - how easy is it to find more information about these things? 

Once your 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! 

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

#6 Design with difference

It goes without saying that your emails need to be responsive. Don’t substitute responsiveness for crazy creatives as it might be your downfall. Your emails should showcase the things subscribers care about, the deals!
Emails should be created mobile-first with a clear, visual hierarchy and messaging. Don’t try to cram too much in and make it easy for users to click to shop. 

  • ‘Z’ pattern: This strategy plays on patterns of eye movement. Reading left to right, we have a tendency to jump ahead when engaging with content
  • ‘Pyramid’ pattern: works by broadly catching readers’ attention at the top of the email before narrowing their focus to a call to action, product feature, or whatever the primary goal of your email is.

Don’t forget to include value-adds: 

  • Free shipping
  • Returns policy
  • Satisfaction guaranteed
  • 24/7 customer support or live chat
  • Whatever else matters to your customers

Key Takeaways

  • Your CRM strategy including data acquisition, management and usability should be a key player in your digital marketing plan
  • Plan ahead and start early
  • Understand your database, look for useful segments that can help you craft personalised offers
  • Sweat the subject line! Mix it up and have a variety across your email plan
  • Build anticipation ahead of your offer period
  • Shorten your abandoned cart email trigger timeframe
  • Design creatively but keep your messaging focused

Are you looking to ramp up your email marketing strategy ahead of Black Friday? Find out how our team could help you prepare and stand out in time for the year’s biggest sales.


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