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Black Friday email marketing best practices

February 17 - 2021

Business Insight 5 min read

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Whether it's a dirty burger, a muscle car, a bingeable boxset or a slab of good ol' fashioned Americana, there's many aspects of American culture which have made their way across the Atlantic I love.

But Black Friday? An eye roll and a shake of the head now greet these two words.

The novelty of this American tradition has well and truly rubbed off. If something seems like it's too good to be usually is!

It's cynical, it's a race to the bottom, and (this year in particular) it puts a huge amount of unnecessary pressure on retailers already being squeezed hard.

The flood of emails hitting inboxes has already started because, of course, Black Friday isn't just one day anymore - it's a month-long feeding frenzy. But here's the thing, with inboxes full of messages promising amazing discounts, many will simply be ignored or drowned out.

With open rates and previous sales spikes declining around Black Friday, brands are aware of the increasing futility of such deals and messaging, yet many are terrified of jumping off the bandwagon and potentially losing out to their competitors on pre-Christmas sales.

So what should brands do instead to communicate honestly and engagingly with savvy consumers? There are three routes to consider taking,  all of which can be executed very effectively via email marketing campaigns:

Call it out.

Put out a refreshing message to your customers saying that you're not going to run a Black Friday sale, and instead guarantee to offer great value goods throughout the year. This gives your customers the confidence and time to make their sales choices without feeling rushed. And they'll appreciate your honesty.

Offer value added products rather than discounts to drive sales

Give your loyal customers an incentive to purchase at the original price. A free night; an extra complementary product (if they spend above a certain amount) - whatever it is, it will make your customers feel special and there's no question marks over whether the discounts are legitimate or not.

Offer exclusive deals to newsletter subscribers, throughout the year.

This is a great way to build your database, and instil a sense of mutual loyalty and trust with your customers. Just ensure they can't get the deals through other channels!

And, from a consumer point of view, while you're being bombarded with deep discounts and too-good-to-be-true offers from the world's biggest brands, spare a thought for your local, independent traders.


From small scale, artisan coffee roasters through to boutique shops and everything else in between, it's been small businesses hit hardest by lockdowns and COVID. I've spoken about the power of community in overcoming adversity before and in rings particularly true now. They need our support to survive and many of them simply can't afford to slash their prices - and why should they if they are producing a quality product?

Buying local at this time of year will give a boost to the businesses who need it the most. And if that's not something worthy to do this holiday season I don't know what is.

If you want to talk more about your email marketing campaigns, whatever the season, we'd love to speak to you.

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