Black Friday 2022: The five most important success factors for your email marketing

Making Black Friday successful - Here are the most important tips from practice

On November 25, it’s that time again: retailers celebrate the start of the holiday season with promotions and special offers on Black Friday. What you should consider in your email marketing for these promotion weeks and what is particularly challenging for online retailers in these times of crisis.

Everyone agrees on this, regardless of whether they are stationary retailers or e-commerce veterans: Christmas business is the most important of the year. With it comes gingerbread and Christmas cheer, and the hunt for the annual gifts. Singles Day and Black Friday are great opportunities for bargain hunters to get gifts early. With a good email marketing strategy for promotional days like Black Friday, retailers increase their sales often. Why is Black Friday so important, and how should you email it?

Buying behavior changes in times of crisis

The pandemic, the war, high inflation, and the energy crisis all massively change customers’ buying behavior. Brick-and-mortar retail is suffering, and customers prefer to shop online. One particularly striking change compared to recent years is that advertising for promotional days like Black Friday has to start much earlier.

My key insight is that you’ll miss out if you don’t woo Christmas shoppers now with crisp promotions. That’s what our customer evaluations and external studies like Salesforce’s show. 30 to 40 percent of online shoppers plan to buy their gifts well before Black Friday in November. Another challenge in these times of crisis: Shopping baskets are becoming noticeably smaller, making competition for customers tougher. This puts pressure on margins, which are already under pressure due to lower prices, higher marketing expenses and the discounts expected by customers. Along with this, brand loyalty is diminishing for many customers. Instead of an expensive Gucci sweater, the sensitized customer chooses one from Benetton.

Why is Black Friday relevant?

Black Friday is one of the biggest sales events of the year. It is well-known and popular among consumers to get their favorite items at the lowest possible prices. In marketing, Black Friday should be used to take advantage of increased sales and traffic. According to the market research company Yougov, 19 percent of Germans express a desire to shop online on Black Friday. The proportion is slightly higher among men (21 percent). Every second respondent said they wanted to purchase something for themselves.

The trend is also confirmed for Black Friday: Germans are starting to look for deals earlier. In its “Festive Season Report 2021,” the technology service provider Criteo determined that, on average, customers search for Black Friday offers more than three weeks before the actual event. For a quarter of customers, more than eight weeks are observed between the first searches and the purchase on Black Friday. Retailers need to start promoting their Black Friday deals early.

This is especially important for e-commerce vendors, as consumers prefer to shop online during promotional weeks. So it’s worth investing more in email marketing and thinking more carefully about how emails need to be designed to generate more customers and lead them to online store promotions. An email strategy that addresses your target groups at the right moment with the appropriate content and impulses is of utmost importance. The following tips will help you to successfully implement your Black Friday marketing:

1. Grow your email list

Before sending emails to subscribers, every marketer should invest time in growing their email list and distribution lists. This is the only way to increase reach and thus profit prospects.

How can this be done? One way: advertising banners on the most popular sites with discounts only for email subscribers, or perks for all who sign up for the newsletter: Coupons, free shipping to exclusive offers. Those who signal interest in your offer once are very valuable to the business and ideally will be a returning and satisfied customer. What also works are exclusive landing pages or ads like Facebook Ads to grow your email list and drive visitors to your planned promotions.

2. Develop a schedule

Consumers are looking for deals and discounts earlier and earlier. To capitalize on this buying intent, start planning early in your marketing and develop a well-thought-out mailing schedule. This will ensure that you reach customers when they are ready. To do this, analyze data from previous campaigns. These will tell you about the success or failure depending on when and what you put in the mailings.

To make the timing work, I recommend dividing promotional days like Black Friday into three mailing periods: before Black Friday, on the day of Black Friday and after Black Friday (Black Friday weekend). According to these phases, develop messages, images and appropriate call-to-action elements. You enter these details regarding target groups and content in an email marketing calendar.

A clear recommendation: create teaser emails or early bird discount codes before Black Friday to appeal to your customers and prospects and motivate them to come to the online store. In the follow-up phase, the main goal is to retain the newly acquired customers with personalized offers and turn them into loyal existing customers. This is where loyalty points and customer-friendly support work.

3. Use the right subject line

An exciting and creative headline appeals to existing and potential customers, ensuring they become curious and open the email. Therefore, the subject line is the most essential element of a door opener. It must stand out to avoid getting lost in the flood of newsletters. Everything must be coherent: The subject line arouses curiosity and shows at first glance what offer I’m receiving. The content of the e-mail picks up on this and motivates recipients to take a closer look. With a clear call-to-action, interested readers are directed to your offer. That’s where they must find what you’ve previously promised and advertised. So match the content to your offers and develop subject lines that grab attention.

Ideally, the subject line should be no more than 50 characters so that your intent is immediately evident. Subject lines that convey urgency and brevity have proven effective. It should also be clear what day of action it is. This should appear as a catchphrase, such as using “Black Friday” in the subject line and visuals. Depending on the target audience, it’s a good idea to use emojis in the subject line to stand out from the crowd of emails.

4. Develop clear content

Whether it’s a simple text or a visually elaborate, multimedia email: Write in simple and clear terms what your offer is and why it is relevant to your addressees. It is very likely that your target groups will receive a lot of offers from competitors in the run-up to such promotions and holidays. To avoid being annoying with your email, it’s important to put yourself in the recipient’s perspective and get straight to the point. Surveys show that newsletter recipients are annoyed if they don’t find out immediately what is being offered. It’s best to show the products right in the body of the email with the discount and benefit codes that go with them. Graphics and text must fit well together and complement each other.

The newsletter should also contain a clear call-to-action – in other words, telling your recipients what they should do. This can be at the end of the email but can also be placed in the middle. The important thing is that the call-to-action stands out and fits with the rest of the text.

5. Create an appealing design.

A picture is worth a thousand words. A mailing should incorporate the imagery of the days of action and use graphics, gifs or animation creatively. The trick is to keep email design simple and straightforward not to overwhelm recipients on promotion days. Appealing photos of your best sellers or of the latest collection should be in the foreground, giving the mailing a “look and feel” of the online store.

You can use your brand’s color palette in the mailing design – the colors must match the brand and target audience. I recommend avoiding the color “black” unless it is part of your own brand world. Signal colors like red work very well psychologically to increase the impact of discounts.


Promotion days such as Black Friday and Christmas sales are the most important campaign elements for generating sales and attracting new customers. E-commerce stores and retailers cannot avoid using these promotion days for their own marketing. In doing so, retailers need to start planning and initial campaigns earlier and earlier if they want to be successful. With well-thought-out email marketing campaigns, you can communicate to your customers and prospects why it’s worth shopping with you. Rely on the right tools and invest in targeted and competent advice. Only with creative content, an appealing mailing design and the right target groups can you be successful and achieve your goals.

Hartmut Deiwick ist seit Februar 2020 CEO der Löwenstark Digital Group. Die Full-Service-Agentur entwickelt und betreut Online-Marketing-Kampagnen in den Bereichen SEO-, SEA-, Marketplace Marketing, Affiliate-Marketing-, E-Mail-Marketing- und Social Media für Kunden aller Branchen. Zuvor war Deiwick Geschäftsführer sowie Sales and Marketing Director bei der PharmaHera Service GmbH, Apothekendienstleister von APONEO Deutsche Versand-Apotheke.

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