The Flow of Black Friday Emails: Who, When, and What?

The Flow of Black Friday Emails: Who, When, and What?

the flow of Black Friday emails

This post has been contributed by EMPIST Agency, an ActiveCampaign Certified Consultant.

A marketing email can bring about great success. Too many marketing emails can bring about a customer unsubscribe exodus. This holiday season, perfecting your Black Friday emails and Cyber Monday promotions will be critical to your e-commerce success.

But victories may be few and far between without a well-strategized email flow. For successful strategizing and to avoid overwhelming any inboxes, the questions to ask are: who, when, and what?
According to McKinsey & Company, email marketing is 40 times more successful at acquiring customers than the social media forces of Facebook and Twitter combined.
That kind of marketing power is not something most businesses can afford to ignore. Planning strategic email marketing campaigns for such a high-volume weekend can seem daunting, but they don’t have to be fancy, just effective.
Sometimes, less is more with content and with volume.
ActiveCampaign’s goal for marketers and businesses is to have the most impact and maintain high levels of engagement with the fewest amount of emails.
A few well-targeted and intelligent campaigns will go a long way during the upcoming shopping weekend, and there are a few things to consider when developing your Black Friday and Cyber Monday email flows.

Black Friday emails: The do’s and don’ts

Have you ever been on a roll coming up with great ideas and suddenly want to put them all in motion at once?
First of all, kudos to you for being an idea-generating machine! Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer many opportunities to be creative with your communication and messaging.
However, while the enthusiasm is great and speed can be exhilarating, there’s a reason that even the best and fastest cars still have brakes- taking a moment to stop and consider your surroundings saves lives.
In this case, pausing a moment during your great idea parade can save you from overdoing it on an email marketing campaign.
Black Friday emails will be an extremely effective method of engagement during the busy holiday shopping weekend, but not if they overwhelm or irritate your target audience. There are some simple do’s and don’ts when it comes to a Cyber Monday or Black Friday email campaign.
DO create a sense of urgency in your content.

  • If you give shoppers the opportunity to say no to an email, the odds are decent that they will. When it comes to competing for Black Friday sales, the last thing you want is for someone to read your email and react with ‘Hm, no, I don’t think so.’
  • Come up with simple email content that sparks their interest, whether through urgency or curiosity, and causes them to click-through for further action. Phrases such as “ending soon” or “only a few left” may help.

DON’T cross the line between urgent and overwhelming.

  • Try not to cross the line between urgent and overwhelming. Your goal with the urgency is to motivate, not instill fear.
  • Email subject lines or content with a fear-enticing tone may send the wrong message and turn-off customers from starting and completing purchases. Also, too many emails with the same urgent tone might cause recipients to back away. Diversify your messaging among emails.

DO start emailing early.

  • Starting too late is often detrimental to the outcome of projects or goals. Procrastinating on Black Friday and Cyber Monday email marketing is no exception.
  • Marketing for these days should begin 2-3 months prior to the days themselves. The goals here are to stay top-of-mind and to build anticipation for what you’re offering during the weekend.

DON’T be a pest.

  • Whatever emails or social posts you plan to send out in your BF/CM strategy, don’t be annoying about it. 69% of users unsubscribe from mailing lists from excessive emails.
  • Depending on the types of emails you’re sending, weekly or monthly can sometimes show better results than daily or every other day. This will also depend on the different audience types you’re targeting.

DO personalize emails.

  • No one likes to talk to a robot. Human connection is an important relationship building block between brand and buyer. Although a goal for Black Friday and Monday is sales, it’s not the only goal.
  • Take the automated feel out of your automated email campaigns and get a little personal with your tone. Personalized subject lines have a 26% increase in open rates.

DON’T get too personal.

  • There’s personal, and there’s too personal. People are more interested in doing business with organizations whom they feel they can trust, but not one that feels intrusive.
  • Marketers and businesses have access to lots of customer information which needs to be used responsibly while also being used strategically.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: The who and when


Tossing out a wide net to catch as many discount-happy shoppers as you can is not an effective Black Friday marketing strategy. If you’re a marketer, you likely already know that. But how do you target who gets different emails?

Within ActiveCampaign, you can create segmented lists and email automations based on multiple differentiators. For Black Friday, targeting recent and regular email openers and people who have purchased within the last year will definitely help your conversion rates during the main event.

To avoid delivering to an expired inbox or being labeled as spam, be careful about sending too many emails to customers who have not engaged in the last 12-18 months.


As previously mentioned, the Black Friday email campaigns should start earlier than November. But how often should you send?

Unfortunately, there’s no one right answer.

It depends on your business, audiences, followers and a host of other factors. However, the weeks leading up to the holiday shopping weekend is a great time to A/B test different emails. These higher volume shopping days call for a higher volume of emails than usual.

This allows you to target different segments with different messages and find out what works. It should go without saying, however, that emailing people multiple times a day too far in advance is likely to end in a lot of unsubscribes and no-shows on the big days.

Try to avoid more than two emails on any given day.

The what: Black Friday emails to include

You know who you’ll be contacting about your fabulous upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and other info. You know when you’ll be sending emails leading up to the big event.

But what exactly will you be sending them?

Black Friday emails are about more than just discounted items and coupon codes. While those are important, there are a few other email types you’ll want to be sure you have ready send in your automation plan.

Welcome email

Your target audience may not be exclusive to regular subscribers, and Black Friday or Cyber Monday might be the perfect time to make a proper introduction. Newer customers need to build a sense of trust in a brand, even if they’ve purchased from you once before. Kick off the beginning of a new marketing relationship with a friendly hello, and maybe an incentive.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are perfect opportunities to provide discounts and exclusive offers that may give newer customers a stronger sense of trust with your organization. Welcome emails have an average open rate of 45 percent, making them an excellent opportunity to build a connection during the holiday season.

E-commerce receipt email

Although it is helpful to have both, an email record is much easier to keep track of than a hard copy. Plus, especially during a time of holiday gift shopping, they are digital gold to a customer and a business.

Email receipts have an average open rate of nearly 71 percent. Sending them not only proves to the customer that you provide helpful resources, but it allows you the opportunity to continue the interaction.

That kind of open rate leaves the door to communication wide open especially during Black Friday or Cyber Monday. You can make other offers or suggestions that cause them to click-through your email and take further action on your e-commerce site.

Cart abandonment email

A cart abandonment email series is probably one of the most important email campaigns you can run, especially during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

As one of the highest volume shopping periods of the year, there are a lot of sales to be had. However, even in the busiest and most competitive of times, people still take a beat and consider purchases before completing them. To that end, there are a significant number of abandoned online carts.

Research from the Baymard Institute reported that nearly 82% of online shopping carts are abandoned. No business wants to see that level of abandonment during Cyber Monday or Black Friday, but with the right automated cart abandonment email series, they won’t.

Savvy marketers can recover about 63% of abandoned cart shoppers with a remind, resolve, and reward three-email strategy within the first 72 hours: remind them of their abandoned cart, address their hesitation, and offer a reward (such as a discount) to finish the process.

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