Give it up for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday: quite possibly the most important days of a retailer’s marketing year. 

According to the Practical Ecommerce sales report, this week-long period has demonstrated healthy year-over-year sales growth. Cyber Monday was the single most profitable sales day of 2018 in the U.S. We wager that $7.9 billion in revenue (up 19.3% from 2017)  is a darn good reason to look at some of the best emails that go out around this time of year. Black Friday isn’t too shabby either – it generated the second most online sales in a single day, a cool $6.22 billion.

So let’s take a look at what we can learn from the merry marketing emails that went out during the 2019 holiday sales season, shall we?

Mix it up!

In keeping with an obvious but effectively simple theme, many large brands opt for a black background to announce Black Friday deals. While you may want to A/B test (okay, always A/B test)  to see how this performs for your brand, it’s good to note that this is the perfect time to experiment.

This is the week that most brands break away from their traditional email templates and dabble with other colors and formats. It’s a great opportunity to see what resonates with your audience by trying new formats while keeping the tone organic to your brand.

Keep it simple

Bed Bath & Beyond is an excellent example of a brand that’s keeping it simple and to the point. They embrace the black background too, use emojis in their subject lines and really just emphasize their offers with bold, contrasting colors. They tend to use a lot of emojis in the subject lines of all of their marketing emails, so it feels on-brand even as it stands out in your inbox.

BB&B also make a clear announcement of their early opening time, a helpful tip for buyers that saves them having to look it up. Adding in helpful tidbits of this sort can go a long way with your audience.

Amazon operates in a similar manner; they keep their email very simple, highlighting some of the deals they’re offering at the moment. Given that Amazon is a household name around the world, their readers know exactly what to expect from the brand. The sale ‘teaser’ included just tempts consumers to log in and fill their carts to the virtual brim.

In a truly powerful marketing move, Amazon keeps consumers checking back every few hours by offering new deals all day. It’s an incredibly effective way to keep people hooked on your site – and (ideally) add a few unplanned items to their cart, too!

Food delivery service Foodora sends a slightly more text-heavy message to its audience but takes a great approach with the way they present their service. With a clean use of animation and signature bright pink theme, they suggest “supporting” Cyber Monday shopping by offering discounts on the sustenance that can keep you going.

As this week grows in revenue and popularity, a lot of other industries are cashing in by taking a unique stance. Take a note from Foodora and don’t let retail have all the fun!

Extend (and change) offers

Extend your Black Friday/ Cyber Monday sale and weave it into a feel-good Giving Tuesday. Not only can it give you an edge over the competition by extending your sale, but it also gives you a chance to focus on giving back to your community. That’s an approach that’ll resonate with consumers anytime, but particularly during the holidays.

Take a look at this email by Peace Collective; it does a great job of extending their sale while doubling their usual charitable donation (5 meals donated for every garment sold) to encourage consumers to make a difference while spending money. It’s a win-win for your business, your shoppers and your community!

Peace Collective also did a fantastic job offering exclusive merchandise throughout the week. Both Cyber Monday and Black Friday had limited edition garments for purchase – and who can say no to an exclusive? Take a page out of their book and offer up some special items to encourage some spur-of-the-moment buying.

Giving Tuesday is also a great time for non-retail companies to email their subscribers. The Royal Ontario Museum, for instance, asks for donations with an emotional ‘lifelong learning’ message showcasing varied exhibits that appeal to a wide audience.

Embrace a sense of urgency – while still having fun!

Counting down the clock is a great way to remind your audience that they need to act fast to get these great deals. Some companies even use an actual countdown timer – just make sure it fits your brand.

This email by Clinique has a gentle nudge in the subject line – take 30% off before it ends! Other brands might use capitalization, emojis or the number of hours left in their sale, but this simplicity works well with Clinique’s brand voice. (Again, this is a great time to experiment, but the emails you send should feel organic and not jarring.)

Their use of animation works the same way. The first email showcases the variety of free gift options the reader can benefit from, while the second ‘clean start, new price’ message resembles faint glitter or snow, evoking all that holiday feeling! It’s a beautiful email, as they manage to add some fun to the message without taking away from the main focus or overwhelming the reader.

Don’t forget, seen below is what most people’s inbox looks like this particular week. Standing out may not be easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the effort. Start planning next year’s email campaign for these three key dates early, so you can watch the sales roll in!

~ Casey