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5 Black Friday Email Campaigns You Can Steal (Templates Included)

Growth Marketing

In 2017, U.S. Black Friday sales achieved a record $7.9 billion in sales — 18% higher than the previous year.[*]

If the trend continues, this year’s Black Friday will be the biggest yet, which could mean the biggest sales day of your store’s history.

And given that email marketing had the highest conversion rate of all marketing channels for Black Friday/Cyber Monday last year at 4.29% (for Shopify store owners), you’d better be getting your email campaigns right![*]

In this article, I’ll reveal:


5 Black Friday Email Campaigns You Can Copy

Here's what you came for — five Black Friday email campaign types you can steal:

  1. Straight To The Point

  2. Suspense Is Killing Me

  3. Scarcity

  4. Giveaway

  5. Surprise, There’s More!

1. The “Straight To The Point” Email

The first way to entice your customers is a simple, what-you-see-is-what-you-get email.

This email from Shopify store BB Dakota uses big, bold lettering to tell you their discount:

Screenshot showing google search results

I love the big, bold 50% OFF that draws the eye and entices you to keep reading (and click “SHOP NOW”).

Get The “Straight To The Point” Email Template

Let’s keep going.

2. The “Suspense Is Killing Me” Email

Have you ever bought a lottery ticket? If you have, you know what it’s like to have that suspense building as you scratch each box, waiting to see if you've won. You can use that same feeling of suspense to your advantage this Black Friday!

Here’s how Forever 21 did it:

Screenshot showing google search results

They created virtual “scratch cards” in their Black Friday email campaign. You can click the “REVEAL YOUR OFFER NOW” button to see which percentage off you got.

Pro Tip: You can do something similar by creating a GIF, then segmenting your email list, sending a portion of people to each offer. (Like 75% of your list get the 15% off email, 20% get 20% off, and 5% get 25% off, for example.)

People love suspense. It creates a “curiosity gap” — a gap between what your customer knows and the answer to their curiosity.[*]

We’re drawn to close the gap between where we are and what we’re curious about. Think about the last time you got an email from your favorite company offering a mystery prize. Weren’t you curious enough to click the link?

You can do this with your Black Friday emails a few ways:

  • A “scratch off”, like the one Forever 21 used.

  • A surprise gift with a customer’s order.

  • A new product launch reveal.

Whichever method you choose, don’t forget to use the next strategy as well.

3. The “Scarcity” Email

Scarcity has long been an ecommerce strategy to close more sales. What makes you think Black Friday would be any different?

Use wording like…

  • Limited Time Only

  • Today Only

  • While Supplies Last

  • Only X Left

  • Sale Ends At Midnight

  • Last Chance

…to get more sales this holiday season.

Want examples? We’ve got examples. Here’s a great Black Friday email from Not On The High Street:

Screenshot showing google search results

They use red, all-caps lettering to show that the sale ENDS MIDNIGHT. They hammer it home by saying It’s your last chance to fill your baskets.

One thing I recommend changing in this email is the CTA button. Compared to the massive text, it looks tiny and not obvious. I would leave the colors the same, but up the font size 4 to 6 points.

Get The “Scarcity” Email Template

Now we’re learning some real Black Friday email campaign strategies. But this next one is more unique (and effective) than everything we’ve talked about so far…

4. The “Giveaway” Email

Want more people to buy something? Discounts are great, but getting free things is an even better way to increase your sales.

Giveaways are the secret sauce to a great holiday email campaign. Check out this email by Kustom Products:

Screenshot showing google search results

Free giveaways like this allow you to bring in sales without cutting too deeply into your profit margins with big discounts.

Pro Tip: You don’t have to give away big prizes. Go with $1-100 prizes, or whatever you can afford. Do the math to figure out how high your profit margins are on your average order and make sure you won't lose money.

Here are some giveaway ideas:

  • Products

  • Gift cards

  • Other people’s products (go for a partnership for extra effectiveness!)

  • Chances to win a trip

Get The “Giveaway” Email Template

You get the idea. But what if Black Friday comes to a close, and you haven’t hit your sales quota? Then use this…

5. The “Surprise, There’s More!” Email

If all else fails, you can surprise people by extending your Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale by a day or two.

Here’s how Forever 21 did it:

Screenshot showing google search results

Forever21 makes their readers feel special by making the discount code VIP25. They may have even only sent this to select customers who made a certain purchase amount.

These kinds of emails are great because you’re still able to use scarcity on the day of Black Friday (saying “sale ends at midnight” or what have you), but then capitalize on more sales for people who had to work or got distracted, or simply didn’t have the time to buy during your sale window.

Two things to make this work:

  1. Don’t tell people your sale will be extended until after it ends. Otherwise, people might put off buying and you could lose customers.

  2. Don’t use this tactic too often, or people will catch on and expect it.

That's the end of our Black Friday email campaigns! But you need more than just the emails themselves to maximize sales. No one will buy anything unless they actually open your emails.

3 Subject Line Secrets To Get 26% More Opens

Your subject line is arguably more important than your offer or design or anything else. If your subject line doesn’t interest your customers, you’ve already lost them!

To help you get more email opens this holiday season, here are three secrets:

1. Use These “Power Words”

Power words are words that elicit certain emotions in your customers that get them to take action.

Some examples you can use include…

  • Sale

  • Free

  • % Off

  • BOGO

  • Exciting

  • Exclusive

  • Secret

Simple, but effective.

2. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

Did you know that personalized subject lines can increase open rate by as much as 26%?[*]

Something as simple as adding your subscriber’s name to the subject line can make your email stand out and increase the chances of it being opened.

Deeper than that, you should try to send your subscribers deals on the specific items they care about. Add the name of the product your visitor was looking at to the subject line for personalization.

Here’s an example of how Shopify store Orzly uses Sumo’s new Convert Window Shoppers Shortcut to trigger an email to visitors, based on their most viewed product on the site:

Screenshot showing google search results

With this Sumo Shortcut you don’t need to use expensive software to track what items your visitors have viewed in the past, and set up hundreds of different emails for different products. 

Sumo will track your visitors browsing history on your site. They will then send them a personalized email based on the most viewed product they looked at, but didn’t buy.

You can try the Convert Window Shoppers Shortcut on your Shopify store free for 14 days, using the button below.

When you do, be sure to use the {product_name} attribute in the subject line to personalize your email based on the most viewed product your visitor looked at!

This is probably the single biggest thing you can do to get more opens AND more conversions on your email campaigns.

3. Test Out Emojis

Emojis are the closest humankind has come to a universal language. It’s actually pretty remarkable!

Most email providers are capable of displaying emojis, and they really help to make your emails stand out.

Here are some examples:

  • Huge Savings Inside! 💰

  • Fill Your Carts! 🛒 Black Friday is Here

  • 🤑50% Off Inside 🤑

Certain emojis might not display on certain browsers or operating systems. Here’s what I mean:[*]

Screenshot showing google search results

If you’re concerned, try previewing the emails in multiple browsers.

Pro Tip: To find and add emojis to your email, do a search on Emojipedia, highlight the emoji you want, copy it with Control + C (Command + C on Mac), then paste it with Control + Shift + V (again, Command on Mac).

Using the “Shift” key makes sure you’re pasting values only — that way it pastes as a proper size and isn’t linked to the source.

That's all I have for you in terms of subject lines. Finally, I’d like to share some common mistakes you should avoid.

3 Biggest Mistakes Marketers Make With Black Friday Emails

Everyone makes mistakes. Luckily, someone else has already made them so you don’t have to! Here are the three biggest Black Friday email mistakes:

1. Not Sending Enough Emails

If you’re only sending one email on Black Friday, you’re missing out on sales. People get a RIDICULOUS amount of emails on Black Friday weekend (and the weeks before and after… and pretty much every day, period).

That means it’s easy to miss your emails.

To remedy that, I recommend sending at least 2-3 emails on the day of Black Friday (based on the success of store owners I’ve worked with in the past). Here’s how I would do it:

  • Email #1: An announcement of the sale.

  • Email #2: Reminder or pushing a specific sale.

  • Email #3: Final reminder an hour or two before your sales end.

More than that, you should be sending teaser emails leading up to the big day.

For example, you might send something like this…

Subject: Black Friday Sales Are Coming! Here’s What to Expect

Hey, [name]!

Are you as excited as we are for Black Friday?

To celebrate the holidays and eating turkey, we’re running our biggest sale yet. Starting at midnight Thanksgiving day, we’re opening up 40% OFF our hottest products!

Keep in mind that stock is limited and it’s on a first-come, first-served basis!

Don’t want to miss out? Click here to join our special Black Friday email list to be among the first to get notified when our sales happen (and when stock is getting low).

Until then, wishing you a happy dinner with friends & family!


This accomplishes a few things.

First, you’re revealing what your sales will be and getting your customers excited. Second, you’re planting seeds of scarcity to get people to buy ASAP. Finally, you’re creating a small army of soon-to-be customers with a Black Friday-specific email list.

Now to the next mistake!

2. Mobile-Unfriendliness

Did you know that on 2017's Black Friday, 47.4% of retail website visits and 33.1% of online revenue happened on a mobile device?[*]

If your emails (and your website) aren’t mobile-optimized, you’re — you guessed it — missing out on potential sales.

The solution?

While you can check your mobile-friendliness using tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly test, the best way to be sure is to view your emails and make a test purchase from your mobile phone.

Actually going through the process like a customer is the only way to really understand how easy or difficult it is to use. So go do it!

On to the final mistake…

3. Not Personalizing Emails

I mentioned in the section on subject lines how important personalization is. It’s so important I’m going to mention it again.

Personalize your emails!

It might be a pain, it might be hard, it might even be a bit expensive. But if you’re using Sumo’s Convert Window Shoppers Shortcut you can do the setup once, then have personalized emails trigger automatically based on your visitors most viewed product.

Want My Copy-And-Paste Black Friday Email Templates?

You have all the knowledge you need now to run a successful Black Friday email campaign. It’s up to you now to put that knowledge into action.

To help you I put together three Black Friday email templates you can copy and paste into your email marketing software.

Get The Black Friday Email Templates

Black Friday is gonna be HYUUGE! Master your email game to maximize your income.


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