3 ways to boost sales with Black Friday/Cyber Monday emails

Scott Hartley

Updated: Dec 13, 2023 · 6 min read

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There’s an estimated 13.7 billion in sales to be made during the upcoming Black Friday/Cyber Monday holiday weekend. Are you planning on capturing a piece of that revenue? If so, you’re likely to incorporate email marketing to promote your products or services.

In 2022, businesses sent 259 million emails to fuel that massive boost to their bottom line. This year will be no different, and inboxes will be overloaded. With so much competition for your audience’s attention, you, as a small business owner, need to approach your email marketing efforts a little bit differently.

This post will cover three email marketing strategies to help you gain an advantage in inboxes so you can capture the eyeballs of people most likely to buy from you during the upcoming holiday weekend.

Step 1: Segment your list.

Segmenting your list means dividing your subscribers into smaller groups based on certain criteria. This helps you send emails that appeal specifically to them.

Research performed by the Data & Marketing Association uncovered that it’s possible to generate as much as 760% more revenue when you send segmented email campaigns, as opposed to one general message mailed to your entire list.

What are some ways you can divide your subscribers into different groups? Below are a few ideas to get you started. Divide contacts by:

  • Topics of lead magnets they opted in for
  • Topics of webinars they attended
  • Specific products they’ve purchased
  • Their answers to surveys or quizzes
  • How much they’ve spent in your business
  • How frequently they purchase
  • Gender
  • Age

A colleague and I recently tested the power of segmentation for a client who owns a winery and wanted to promote their new release of Cabernet Merlot.

First, we identified the people in the winery’s database who had purchased red wine and had opened at least one email within the last 90 days. We then segmented the people who met this criteria and sent the group an email offering them the new wine. The results of that email? A 72% open rate and a 21% click-through rate, as well as a good number of buyers.

When we sent the same email to contacts who had never bought red wine and had not opened an email in more than six months, it only got a 3% open rate and less than a 1% click-through rate.

As you can see, investing the time to segment your list can pay off by getting more people to see your offers and helping you make more sales.

Step 2: Gradually increase your email frequency

How often have you communicated by email with your subscribers over the last six months?

Most small businesses typically only email once a month. A small handful do better by sending weekly emails. However, many marketers you’ll be competing with over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend send daily emails. This gives them a solid reputation with the mailbox providers, such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

If you’ve been sending emails to your list infrequently, blasting them with five, six, 10 or more emails over a short holiday weekend will quickly raise the suspicions of mailbox providers. You’re imitating the behavior of spammers, who notoriously blast emails in spurts. Instead of your emails landing in the inbox, they’ll likely get buried in the promotions folder or sent straight to the spam folder. This is why you need to gradually increase your email frequency as the holiday weekend approaches.

Between now and the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, I recommend following these steps to better your chances of landing in the inbox:

  1. Three weeks before: Send one email to your most engaged contacts — the ones who’ve been opening and clicking on your emails in the last 90 days.
  2. Two weeks before: Send two or three emails to your most engaged contacts. Add in a few contacts who have been slightly less engaged over the last 90 days. Monitor how many open and click your emails, as well as any spam complaints.
  3. One week before: Send two or three more emails to the same group of people as before. Continue to monitor engagement and spam complaints.

What should you put in these emails?

  • Craft your messages based on how you segmented your contacts.
  • Create curiosity and build excitement for the emails you’ll be sending on Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Make your reader want to stay subscribed and find out what big reveal you’ll announce.
  • Make them interactive — invite recipients to reply, take a survey/quiz or cast a vote.

Start implementing these tactics today, and by Black Friday/Cyber Monday, your audience will be primed and ready for your big offer.

Now there’s one more step to help ensure your emails will be delivered and seen this holiday season, but before I share the final (and potentially controversial) step, I must remind you of something important about your competition.

The big box retailers and other online marketers competing for the inbox space and attention of your subscribers get to play by different rules than you and me. They’re allowed to get away with things you and I can’t — things that might send our emails straight to the spam folder.

Why? They’ve been emailing their massive lists of tens of thousands of contacts every single day, sometimes multiple times a day, for years. This means they’ve built excellent reputations with the mailbox providers.

So when I make this next recommendation, understand that when everyone else is zigging, we must zag. We have to do email differently in order to achieve the results we want. With that said, let’s jump into the final step.

Step 3: Use only text in your Black Friday/Cyber Monday emails.

Beautifully designed emails filled with colors, images, different size fonts and multiple links scream “I’m a marketing email” to the mailbox providers. Marketing emails often land some place other than the inbox. Instead, you should consider:

  • Leaving out colorful backgrounds, banners and images
  • Limiting your total number of links to no more than three
  • Keeping your emails short

Text-only emails are less likely to attract the attention of spam filters because these emails usually aren’t too big and don’t contain coding mistakes or excess images. This often earns them a spot in a person’s inbox, rather than the spam folder or promotions tab.

You’ll need to invest time and creativity into crafting subject lines and body copy that grab your reader’s attention and persuade them to move out of their inbox and on to your website. But this work is an investment that will pay off.

The work will be worth it

When you take these three steps — segmenting your list, gradually increasing the frequency of your emails, and using only text for your Black Friday/Cyber Monday emails — you can relax this holiday season knowing your campaigns are on their way to your subscribers’ inboxes. Make sure to also implement these tips during other busy seasons to ensure you make it into the inbox year-round.

About the author

Scott Hartley is a marketing strategist, automation architect, and certified email deliverability consultant with MasterPlan4Success. An active Keap user since 2013 and Keap Certified Partner since 2018, he has helped over 300 small businesses get more leads, create loyal clients, and grow their businesses on autopilot. Scott is the author of Hit The Inbox: How To Avoid The Spam Folder and Grow Your Business With Email Marketing, an action-packed guide giving you the exact steps to run highly profitable email marketing campaigns.

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