3 Tips to Maximize Your Black Friday Email Campaigns
While 37 percent of consumers worldwide will wrap up most of their gift-buying this year before Black Friday, a majority will still shop that day's promotional deals, making it a gold mine for brands. Most importantly, consumers are ready to spend this holiday season. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers plan to spend an average of $805 on holiday merchandise this year, accounting for an expected increase of 3.7 percent in retail sales.
That means that marketers need to be ready to execute in a timely fashion for Black Friday. How? According to Yesmail research, email and social campaigns sent earlier in the week garner higher engagement rates than those sent on Black Friday, so marketers should follow suit.
The study found that Black Friday-themed emails performed the best on the Monday and Tuesday leading up to Black Friday, with open rates 10 percent higher than the week’s daily average. Open rates plateaued on Wednesday, before rising significantly again on Black Friday. Similarly, Facebook engagement was the highest on the Sunday before Black Friday, coming in 157 percent higher than the week’s daily average. Twitter engagement rates were the highest on Thanksgiving — 124 percent higher than the week’s daily average. Yet Twitter engagement on Black Friday was 54 percent lower than the week’s daily average.
Like any successful email marketing campaign, Black Friday takes preparation. And while it’s likely retailers have already planned their Black Friday campaigns, messaging and timing can still be adjusted to engage the most possible consumers across channels. Just as some retailers open their doors early, they must also deploy Black Friday messages early in the week to capitalize and garner the most engagement.
Here are three tips retailers can implement now for successful Black Friday communications:
1. Think beyond urgent subject lines. Urgent subject lines (e.g., Today only! Three hours remaining!) spur some consumers to act, but are often overused around the holidays, making it hard to stand out in the inbox. Rather than bogging down email subscribers with urgent subject lines, pair a playful subject line with a countdown timer in your email header or footer. The countdown timer will serve as an urgent, visual reminder while also keeping subscribers informed and ready to purchase.
2. Appeal to consumer intrigue. Early in the week, it’s effective to send email sneak peeks and mystery savings to email subscribers to pique their interest. Doing so will appeal to the sense of intrigue in consumers. As long as the mysterious offer is strong, it can also create a big revenue boost. As a bonus, marketers can share these sneak peeks on Facebook early in the week. This will reach consumers at the right place and time to increase engagement and sales prior to the big day.
3. Don’t underestimate the value of exclusivity. Our study found that consumers engage with email early in the week leading up to Black Friday and shift their focus on the Wednesday before Black Friday. Open rates begin to rise again on Thanksgiving and soar on Black Friday. To mirror this trend, expand your sales offering with an online-exclusive email invitation on Thanksgiving with featured Black Friday deals. Just as Macy’s is opening its doors on Thanksgiving, retailers can open their online storefront early using a peak time of email engagement as their traffic driver. Mobile purchases are continuously rising on Thanksgiving, and retailers need to get a share of these mobile dollars. Since consumers are also engaging with Twitter posts on Thanksgiving — likely recovering from a good food coma — be sure to tease the online exclusive on that social network as well.
As brands create their own internal countdown to Black Friday, they must consider the best times and days to send Black Friday messaging as well as what content works best on each day across digital channels. Based on the last two years of engagement trends, if you follow any of these tips this holiday season you’ll be primed to tackle the big week.
Kyle Henderick is director, client services at Yesmail, a provider of enterprise email marketing software.
Kyle Henderick is the senior director of client services at Yes Marketing, where he is responsible for helping major clients implement new programs, processes, and data-driven strategies to create campaigns that truly drive revenue. With a passion for technology implementation and a background in database, email, web, and social media marketing, Kyle turns his real-world experience into executable tactics to help clients see an incremental lift in revenue, subscriber engagement and customer retention.