Cyber Monday has become the biggest shopping holiday of the year (yep, bigger than Black Friday).

Look at what happened in 2018:

  • Cyber Monday sales reached a record $7.9 billion spent online, an increase of 19.3% from 2017
  • Black Friday also hit a record, with $6.22 billion in ecommerce sales
  • Online sales on Thanksgiving Day totaled $3.7 billion
  • Transactions on mobile devices reached $2.2 billion in sales on Cyber Monday, up 55.6% year-over-year
  • Cyber Monday marked Amazon’s biggest shopping day ever

Many retailers have even extended the online shopping holidays into a Cyber Week, including promotions on:

  • Thanksgiving (Thursday)
  • Black Friday
  • Small Business Saturday
  • Sunday
  • Cyber Monday

If you have an ecommerce store, it’s never too early to start preparing for your Cyber Monday sale. But how can you capitalize on this huge ecommerce holiday by bringing shoppers to your online store?

A tried and true digital marketing tool: email marketing campaigns.

Keep reading for:

  • 10 Cyber Monday email examples — and why they work
  • How to write killer Cyber Monday subject lines (plus examples)
  • Why Cyber Monday matters for ecommerce email marketers — and how to make the most of it

10 Cyber Monday email examples — and why they work

Here are 10 great Cyber Monday email examples from real retailers. No stealing allowed, but we hope you get inspired for your own Cyber Monday marketing campaign!

1. Holiday fun and eye-catching GIFs (Riffraff)

Which outfit would you choose?

Why this Cyber Monday email works:

  • GIFs with a purpose. This email from Riffraff uses a GIF of rotating outfit ideas to show off the products you’ll find if you click through to shop.
  • Mobile friendly. The stacked vertical design is easy to scroll through on any device, making it mobile-friendly.
  • Holiday humor. The promo codes have subtle holiday references (“Santa! I know him!”) — way more fun than codes like 30OFF or SALE.

A promo code fun fact: Discount codes are the most popular type of email coupons. According to Placed, 60% of consumers prefer discounts over other promotional offers like rebates or free gifts.

2. Tech imagery and urgency (Jack Spade)

A total attention-grabber. Does the hourglass icon give you flashbacks to your first PC, too?

Why this Cyber Monday email works:

  • It’s iconic. This email from Jack Spade uses uses a classic hourglass loading icon as a fun play on the tech — or “cyber” — theme of the holiday.
  • Creates urgency. The hourglass and the copy work together to emphasize the urgency of the sale’s final hours.
  • Easy to act on. The simple call-to-action makes it easy to act on the urgency created by the rest of the email.

Creating urgency through limited-time offers works: 48% of consumers say they’re more likely to make a purchase sooner than normal so that they can use a coupon.

3. Big promises and extended sales (Michaels)

Why settle for Cyber Monday when you could have Cyber Sunday and Monday?

Why this Cyber Monday email works:

  • Big promises. This email uses a GIF to make big promises about their deals both in-store and online.
  • Extended sales. Michaels advertises an extended sale to capitalize on the Cyber Week trend.

4. Scarcity and a tech-themed background (Velvet Caviar)

A storewide sale conjures an image of endless possibilities.

Why this Cyber Monday email works:

  • Animated background. Sensing a trend? More animated GIFs! The hacker-themed background animation plays into the tech theme of a holiday that’s all about being online
  • Creating scarcity. The promise of selling out adds some urgency — better shop now, or you might be too late!
  • Product showcase. Velvet Caviar sells phone cases; this email design gives you a preview of what’s on sale.

5. Brand personality and mobile optimization (Dollar Shave Club)

Just one of three emails designed by Joshua Elkin for Dollar Shave Club’s Cyber Monday campaign. Click here to see the others.

Why this Cyber Monday email works:

  • Brand personality. Dollar Shave Club’s brand is lighthearted and funny — just like this email.
  • Mobile-optimized design. A mobile-optimized template (right) to make sure the email looks great on every device.
  • Surprising stat. Did you know clicking burns one whole calorie?!

6. Free shipping and old school tech (ModCloth)

Remember when computers looked like this?

Why this Cyber Monday email works:

  • Old school tech theme. ModCloth sells cute, vintage-inspired clothes, so it’s no surprise that their super-cute Cyber Monday email features an old school tech theme.
  • Subtle humor. The little “beep! boop!” GIF adds some extra fun.
  • Free shipping. A tried-and-true promo. Experian found that emails offering free shipping have 72% more engagement and generate 53.3% more revenue than those that don’t.

7. Gift-giving and simplicity (Casper)

I’m somehow feeling sleepy and full of holiday cheer at the same time.

Why this Cyber Monday email works:

  • Holiday shopping theme. Black Friday and Cyber Monday officially kick off holiday shopping season. This email from Casper embraces the holiday theme.
  • Simple design. The minimalist design and single CTA work well on both desktop and mobile.

8. Hacker humor (The Hill-Side)

Matrix-style hackers and pixelated graphics. Welcome to the World Wide Web.

Why this Cyber Monday email works:

  • Hacker-themed humor. This hacker terminal-themed email from The Hill-Side has fun with the holiday’s cyber theme.
  • Mobile-friendly. Simple, mostly text-based designs look great on pretty much every device.

9. Simplicity and wordplay (The Loft)

Going big and staying home? Be still, my introvert heart.

Why this Cyber Monday email works:

  • Wordplay. The wordplay in this email from The Loft celebrates that on Cyber Monday, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home for great deals
  • Simple, not boring. The clear design and call-to-action will look great on any device — but they’re not so plain or dull that you’ll ignore them.

10. Countdown timer (Dr. Martens)

It’s the final countdown…

Why this Cyber Monday email works:

  • Extra urgency. Doc Martens uses a countdown timer to boost urgency levels. This visual cue tells customers that they better act fast to get in on the deal. An experiment by ConversionXL found that adding a countdown timer alongside an email’s CTA led to a 147% increase in conversions.

How to write a killer Cyber Monday subject line

Without a great subject line, no one will open your email. If no one opens your email, they won’t see your amazing Cyber Monday campaign.

69% of email recipients mark an email as spam based on the subject line alone. Great subject lines help keep your bounce rates low and your open rates and deliverability high.

Here are some subject line best practices for Cyber Monday and beyond.

Make them so curious they have to click

What makes someone open an email?

  • They’re expecting to hear from you
  • They already know they enjoy and trust emails from you
  • Your subject line promises them something they want — like an awesome Cyber Monday sale!
  • Your subject line makes them so curious they have to click

Behavioral economist George Loewenstein uncovered 5 ways to make people curious:

  1. Ask a curiosity-inducing question: “Are you ready for this?”
  2. Start telling a story: “Open up and you will find…”
  3. Go against their expectations: “CYBER MONDAY SUCKS” (Yes, that’s a real subject line. Yes, I opened the email.)
  4. Imply that you have information they don’t: “Mystery Sale! How Much Will You Save?”
  5. Imply that they used to know something that they’ve since forgotten: “You forgot to unwrap a present” or “Did You Get All Your Gifts?” (This works especially well for combining abandoned cart email techniques with Cyber Monday discounts.)

Let’s look at an example. If you’re running a Cyber Monday sale, maybe you start out with an email subject line of “Cyber Monday sale!”

Not a bad start, but what if you added a few of the curiosity levers?

  • First add a question: “Are you ready for Cyber Monday?”
  • Next, start a story: “Are you ready for Cyber Monday? This family is…”
  • Finally, be unexpected: “They prepped 3 months for Cyber Monday. Are you ready?”

Which is most engaging? “Cyber Monday sale!” or “They prepped 3 months for Cyber Monday. Are you ready?”

By adding one curiosity lever at a time, you can gradually amp up your subject lines – and make sure people open your emails.

(Warning: Curiosity levers are powerful, but only use 2–3 at a time. Any more than that and you wind up with clickbait).

Get expressive with emojis

Emojis are a big trend in ecommerce subject lines, especially around Cyber Monday. Emojis can help your email stand out in an overcrowded inbox. And using emojis in subject lines can lead to a 56% higher open rate than text-based subject lines.

Using emojis in subject lines can lead to a 56% higher open rate than text-based subject lines. Click To Tweet

(That said, you know your brand best. If emojis don’t fit in with your brand identity, don’t use them.)

Here are some Cyber Monday subject line examples that use emojis:

  • ⏳ 5 HOUR FLASH SALE: 25% OFF YOUR ORDER
  • 30% off sitewide 💾 Cyber Monday Sale!
  • 🤖 30% Off Everything + Free Shipping
  • 🙌 CYBER MONDAY STARTS NOW | $50 Off $150 →
  • 😱 Just hours left for big Cyber Monday coupons and massive doorbusters!!
  • 💥 Cyber Monday Sale is LIVE! 💥
  • 👇Better Than Their Deals☝️
  • 🚨 NEW DEAL ADDED: Extra 20% off thru midnight
  • 🤑 50% Off Inside 🤑

Put percent-off discounts in your subject line

Let’s get back to the idea that your subject line promises subscribers something they want. Don’t be afraid to share your specific Cyber Monday deals in the subject line. Your contacts will still have to (and want to!) click through to find a discount code or learn more.

One study found that emails with percent-off discounts in the subject line had an average conversion rate of 18.1%. Messages that didn’t include specific offers in the subject line saw just a 3.8% average conversion rate.

(P.S. ActiveCampaign has a subject line generator to help you write effective subject lines all year long. Or check out this guide to writing your own awesome subject lines.)

Make the most out of your Cyber Monday email marketing campaigns

Cyber Monday and email marketing: a match made in ecommerce heaven.

Before you go, here are just a few more tips to make the most of your Cyber Monday emails:

Send emails the day-of: Promotional emails sent on Cyber Monday drove higher conversion rates than any other day.

Get personal: Take your Cyber Monday email marketing to the next level with segmentation. Segmentation lets you personalize the offers you send your subscribers based on what you know about them. With site tracking and retargeting, you can send deals to subscribers based on previous purchases or pages they’ve viewed on your site.

Be mobile-friendly: Make sure you use mobile-optimized and responsive Cyber Monday email templates. In 2018, 54% of Cyber Monday shoppers came from mobile devices. 30% of shoppers purchased from their mobile devices.

We hope that the email ideas and tips in this post inspire you to create your best Cyber Monday email campaign yet. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!