Special occasions are a fantastic opportunity for keeping your customers engaged. They’re one of the most important times to ensure you have a strong online presence and, although I might be biased, what better way to do that than with email?
The latest opportunity to tap into a theme is Black Friday. Somewhat controversial since Black Friday is traditionally an American concept, tied in to Thanksgiving in the same way we have Boxing Day.
Black Friday has been embraced by UK retailers in recent years and merges with Cyber Monday to offer brands a chance to entice customers with special deals and discounts – read more about this here.
This year, it looks like every brand under the sun has taken the initiative and come up with their own way to engage customers on what is now one of the busiest online shopping days of the year. As Enabler’s in-house email expert, I’ve collated some of the top tips to take away from this year’s Black Friday email marketing.
Key to email marketing on this busy day, is of course how to stand out from the competition. Customer’s inboxes are flooded all weekend with deals, so how do you make yours effective?
1. Try something different
Some companies have realised that it’s not enough to just send an email with an offer in the subject line. VoucherCodes decided to go down the route of emoticons in their emails.
‘★ Dom’s Black Friday Special ★ John Lewis | Argos | Amazon | Selfridges | Debenhams’
While this looked fantastic on my Hotmail account, sadly these pretty stars did not grab my attention in a positive way on Gmail as they were blocked. They did make a clever move by naming some big brands, in the hope of encouraging users to open the email to find out what the offers are.
Tastecard also tried something different – their subject line was:
‘BLACK FRIDAY is here’.
The risk with this is that your email might be flagged as shady and end up trapped in your customers’ spam filters.
2. Target your emails
This should be something you’re doing anyway but it’s especially important on Black Friday. Why would a customer open an email if it doesn’t contain offers for products they’re interested in? Make sure the offers in your email are customer specific. If they’ve bought tech products before, you know they might be interested in more tech products so don’t send them gardening supplies.
3. Personalise your subject line
eBay had a great personalised subject line on Black Friday.
‘Gregory, stop everything! Black Friday deals you can’t resist.’
Who wouldn’t open that?! It’s incredibly eye catching, and really convinces you to open the email. eBay had also combined tactic two and three of this list, as the content in their email was targeted based on what Gregory had left in his basket recently and previous purchases. Great job eBay!
4. Cross sell
Use a time you know your customers are likely to interact with your emails to cross sell a product. Amazon did this brilliantly this year with this subject line:
‘Black Friday is here: Up to 50% off, plus £10 off for new Prime Now customers’.
This is very clever wording as it makes you interested in the Black Friday offer as well as curious about what Prime Now is. They have left enough ambiguity about the product, while enticing customers with money off their purchase.
5. Remember the loyal folk
It’s not all about trying to get first time buyers to buy. Showing a bit of love for your existing frequent-buyers can also help to boost your Black Friday sales. Debenhams nailed it this year. Their subject line was:
‘EXTRA 10% OFF for Cardholders this Black Friday’
As an existing card holder, I’d have been all over that. Giving existing customers a boost during the busy times can remind them that you care and help develop the relationship between your customer and your brand. It might even encourage them to buy more out of the busy periods.
6. Get clever with your language
Everyone wants to feel like they’re receiving something tailored to them. This goes beyond sending specific content and instead focuses on how you make your customer feel from the minute your email appears in their inbox. A way to achieve this, even if you don’t have the greatest data in the world, is through the language you use. One example of a brand that did this beautifully this year was LoveLula, with the subject line:
Let’s get this Black Friday week started | See inside for your code!
As someone who received this email, my initial thoughts were ‘MY CODE!’ Sure, the code inside might be a generic code generated for anyone to use within the time frame – but that doesn’t actually matter. What does matter is your customer’s reaction to that wording. It makes it sound like a personally generated offer just for them… thus making them more likely to interact with your email and – more importantly – your discount code!
7. Give it some urgency
For times where your offer is only on for a short period of time, your aim is to convert the highest amount of your click throughs to purchases. One way to do this is by instilling a sense of urgency in your customers. Reminding them how little time they have left to secure items at a cheaper price is a fantastic way of doing this. Several brands picked up on this idea on Black Friday. The first was Photobox, whose subject line was:
‘Black Friday Deals – 1 day only!’
This subject line is to the point, and instils a sense of urgency to the customer.
Second was Great Little Trading Co, who used the subject line:
‘Flash Sale TODAY: up to 30% off’.
This subject line definitely promotes urgency. What’s interesting about this one is that there’s no mention of Black Friday at all. This could be a tactical move on the company’s part. Are they acknowledging that the UK doesn’t actually have a Black Friday and sticking to their guns, yet tapping in to the publicity by having a sale too? Or are they attempting to differentiate themselves from all the other brands emailing by using different wording, and purposefully omitting the name of the sale? Either way, it creates standout.
Overall, brands certainly seemed to have put some thought into their Black Friday emails. Much of the content seemed relevant, on point and useful to their customers. With the Christmas holidays just around the corner, make sure you apply the same rules to your campaigns, and keep your customers engaged with fun, relevant, targeted content. Be clever with your data and Santa will put you on his nice list!