by Anna Wybieralska Nov 18, 2020

Every November, marketers are hustling and all businesses are preparing for Black Friday. It’s exciting and intense.

However, during this rush, some might make mistakes that could possibly hurt their current as well as upcoming email campaigns. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are easily the busiest days of the year. The sales consistently break new records while people go on a shopping craze to get their fill for Christmas, birthdays, and other occasions. Naturally, every company wants to make a sale on a big day like this, but not everyone can make it happen. 

I was thinking why is that? With so many guides coming up each year on various marketing blogs, it seems almost impossible to mess up your seasonal campaign. And, then it hit me. The guides you see online are mostly talking about new techniques, the latest trends, or tried and true, tested ways to get sales. But when it comes to talking about email campaign mistakes, the content is sparse.

People focus on the positives, and while this is not a bad tactic, ignoring the mistakes can render your work useless. So, instead of reading another positive-oriented guide and wondering why your email campaigns still don’t give the results you’d hoped for, try addressing the mistakes you might’ve made along the way.

The pressure of Black Friday Email Marketing

Because Black Friday and Cyber Monday grew from department stores sponsoring Christmas parades to the most important date sales-wise, everybody does it. If someone doesn’t take part in the celebration, it’s missing out on their biggest possible profit during the year.

However, with the high of making money also comes the pressure of the holiday. Currently, you can’t just sponsor a parade and check out. You need to plan your campaigns earlier, make them  bigger and more intense than ever. Each new one has to outshine the old one. It also needs to have bigger discounts than the one before; otherwise, you might be called cheap or a capitalist. 

That’s not the only pressure companies are currently facing. There is always the need to check out your competition and compare yourself to them. This feeling can cloud your judgment, as people often don’t take into consideration the situation of an individual, or in this case, a company. This means that various companies offering similar products or services try to match each other, however, their individual situation can be very different. For example, two companies could be racing to create the best possible offer, but one of them could be simply bigger or had some extra funds set up. So even though their discounts can be the same, one brand will profit more, while others can actually lose money during this time.

Overall, the pressures of upcoming Black Friday email marketing can make companies offer better, more attractive pricing for their assets, yet they might unconsciously set a trap for themselves instead of competitors. The rush that you get planning your marketing tactic can lead to unsatisfactory results. Instead of attracting customers, you could make them leave.

black friday email marketing

What you shouldn't do in Black Friday Campaigns

While creating your marketing attack on customers, brands launch their landing pages, social media profiles and offline marketing, but they seem to omit the importance of email marketing. They treat it as an addition instead of making it the staple of their Black Friday campaigns. 

However, there is nothing like a well-built email campaign that will increase your engagement and visits, make you remembered and keep your customers well-informed. It doesn’t take as much work as you think and it is incredibly effective if done right. 

If you know how to make it, you know all the mistakes you can make along the way. But just to be sure, let’s go through some of the most popular mistakes you can make in your Black Friday email campaigns.

Send a last-minute email campaign

The worst thing you can do with your Black Friday campaign is leaving it to the last moment to send it. Maybe you’ve been focusing a lot on offline marketing or Google ads. Maybe you didn’t have a plan and procrastinated until the very last minute to complete the assignment. Or, maybe the rest of the team didn’t come through on time.

There could be many reasons why your email marketing campaign was sent late. However, that is no excuse. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the most important days of the year. They should be front and center in your marketing calendar and essentially the focus point of the whole year. Your goal is to sell, and if you quickly prepare a last-minute single-email campaign, you’re not gonna reach that.

When it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails, they need to be calculated, verified and carefully put together. So instead of leaving the campaign to create itself, start preparing it a month in advance, especially if you have some really good offers planned for it already.

Flood recipient inbox

If you’re sending only one email for the whole Black Friday email campaign, you can’t expect your sales to skyrocket. At the same time, you cannot launch multiple emails to be sent daily to remind customers about your store.

Everyone wants to be seen, and during November, the struggle to fit into the recipient’s inbox is even harder. However, sending multiple emails a week or even a day can drive away consumers and force them to click on the infamous “unsubscribe” button.

Like with everything in life, this too needs to be balanced. Sending too few emails will make you easy to forget, and more likely ignored when the time finally comes to start the shopping spree. At the same time, too many emails will drive your recipients away. So what is the magical number of emails you should send? There is actually a valid reply. Three. Yep, you read that right.

It’s best to send three emails during Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns. One with the taste of the upcoming offer to induce some FOMO and make people excited. The second email should contain the offer itself, and the last one should be a last-minute reminder for all of those who by some chance missed your previous communication.

You may have the urge to send more - but don’t fall for this! It’s just like sending a message to someone at the beginning stages of dating. Too many texts will drive them away, while relevant yet sparse communication will make them want more. And for those who still decided to ignore you reaching out? Well, they probably weren’t that good for you anyway.

However, if you want to send more emails, as you feel there is more to include in your campaign - plan it ahead. Three emails is a maximum per week. Try to keep that in mind if you’re planning to send another one.

Give people a seizure

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a big sale day. Therefore a lot of people want to make their emails stand out and catch the eye of the recipient. Sadly, a lot of people also think that the only way to the consumer’s heart is with big, bold, flashy designs with intense colors and cliche graphics.

If you want to make your emails have a pop of color or a gif, that’s great! Just keep in mind that when you overdo it, people are gonna be more inclined to look away instead of reading your Black Friday Email Content. Too much of a good thing can harm your brand. Here, balance is making its appearance again. If you want to make effective emails, always stick to the 60/40 rule to maintain the harmony of the email design. Also, you need to keep in mind that for some, emails with a heavy image impact can take some time to load, and as result, some people will simply click away due to being impatient. Here is a pro tip - always keep in mind your loading times and test it to be sure.

If you want to break out of the design mold, you can. There are ways to create beautiful, creative email designs that look different. The only thing that you should look out for is maintaining the same design scheme you already have in your email communication, and creating a well-balanced message that will be pleasing to look at.

Re-engage ghost customers

If you thought that engaging customers who ghosted you on Black Friday is a good idea - think again. There is actually no worse time to start getting your re-engagement campaign out. It’s also not the time to actively onboard new customers unless you have a basic automated onboarding process already in place. 

What you should do is focus on Black Friday and Cyber Monday alone. There is no point pushing sales to people, as they are well aware of your intentions. Furthermore, trying to re-engage ghost customers can be negative for you in the long run.

Sure, there is a chance that some will come back and make a purchase or two, but it’s more likely that they will recognize what you truly want and simply unsubscribe. And then, you don’t even have a ghost customer you could re-engage.

Finally, trying to actively process the re-engagement campaign can put a damper on your Black Friday emails, that should be a priority during this time of year. Let’s put it this way, there are a lot of people that say they are good at multitasking. However, most of those people will give you a mediocre effort because they had to do multiple things at once. 

Don’t test it

I don’t need to tell you twice how important it is to test your emails and test them thoroughly. That should go for any email, but it seems that people still glaze over this step of email campaigns, especially seasonal ones.

Creating a campaign is one thing. But you need to make sure that it works the part. Without complete testing with multiple people on different inboxes and devices leaves a chance that your email might render badly and be unreadable. And you know how this goes - with unreadable email, customers are simply gonna delete it or even mark it as spam since the message will look unprofessional and sloppy. Furthermore, they might establish a negative perception of your brand.

There is nothing worse than having a customer decide your company is unreliable and share it online. Other potential customers might read it and form an opinion even before they access your website or receive a single email. And getting out of this negative flood of comments is not easy.

So, what you need to do is test it and test it well. Allow yourself a whole day or even two to send the campaign to people within your company, request them to check various devices and share their feedback. Also keep in mind that if you want to input a gif, video or typography you need to double-check that as well.  The best way you can approach this is by not trusting anything you see unless you’ve tested it twice.

Make it too creative

Similarly to the previous point, you want to make your emails stand out. We are not talking only about a flashy picture, but also about all the content that goes into it.

Unfortunately, some companies want to stand out so badly, they overdo it. Putting all caps in the subject line, emojis that make it hard to read or clickbait titles are the first things you need to take into consideration. What value do they give? 

Then there is the email body. Marketers tend to use puns, creative slangs and visual cues to make email more interesting. But because we put a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves to always up the game from last year, some elements can get overcomplicated. With complex content comes the issue that most people won’t understand and move along, skipping your next emails, assuming they are similarly overdone.

I get it, you want to catch recipients’ eyes. However, you need to make a positive impression, which means rethinking content as a whole. Taking a more minimalistic and simple approach works best. Honesty and transparency go a long way. 

Then there is also the problem of the amount of content. After all, we want to make sure that customers will see all the options we prepared for them. Quoting Aerosmith “we don’t want them to miss a thing”. But too much content will make the email feel crowded and tiring. Your best bet is to get a second opinion, ideally someone who is not into marketing and doesn’t know all the aspects that go with it. 

Do the bare minimum

Some try really hard, some don’t try at all. Have you ever had a hard week (or a month) and all you wanted to do was not care? Were you ever just so tired of all the other tasks you had to do? Did it ever cross your mind that maybe you could just do a quick email with something, anything that will show your company is participating in the Black Friday celebration and get it out of the way?

Laziness gets everyone. It’s natural. But you really can’t just slap anything in the email body and call it a day. Not during the hottest, most converting day of the year. 

Some companies opt for a simple approach like giving one discount, sending a super-simple email with the announcement or even ditching the email format and posting a small update about Black Friday on their website. Let me tell you, this is not the way to go. The only result you will get from this action is a lukewarm customer base that might check out what you have in store, but ultimately won’t be that excited.

Doing only the absolute basics on Black Friday just doesn’t cut it anymore. You need to give additional value to customers so they will be happy to come and do some shopping. But don’t go overboard as well. Too many popups will make your page look spammy and too many discounts might confuse consumers.

Creating a great Black Friday email campaign

Ultimately, you decide what goes into your emails. But now you at least have some basic understanding of what mistakes to avoid in order for your Black Friday email campaign to be effective and attract customers to buy the products or services that you offer. Keep them in mind while planning all your campaigns, not just seasonal ones, and you’re guaranteed high conversion rates and a happy audience that will come back to you every time.

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Anna Wybieralska

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