Learn From Last Year’s Best Black Friday and Cyber Monday Emails

Summer may just be wrapping up, but like every good B2C marketer, we have the holidays on our minds already. In fact, 58% of marketers start planning for Black Friday and Cyber Monday on or before September.  And how could we not, when last year’s sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shattered records yet again?

But that growth is a double-edged sword. There are more and more brands—including your competitors— vying for consumer attention and money this holiday season. 

How is your marketing message going to stand out amid the myriad of emails about to bombard your buyers’ inboxes? Unfortunately, your average promotional email isn’t going to cut it.

The best ecommerce brands take painstaking care to ensure they have the perfect target send list, the most beautiful creative, the most interesting subject lines, and irresistible copy to convert Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers alike. But what types of email campaigns actually work?

We did an in-depth analysis of the hundreds of thousands of campaigns Zaius customers sent for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2017.

Of the many campaigns, we found three companies with outstanding results from emails that earned the highest click-through and open rates. We’re sharing the subject lines, creative, and overall results of these campaigns in the hopes that it gets you inspired to create your own powerful email campaigns for the holiday season. 

You already know these two days can truly make or break your brand’s profitability for the year, so get an edge on the competition by seeing what really works for Black Friday and Cyber Monday email marketing campaigns.

Subject line: “25% off listings: Cyber Monday Starts Now”

Open rate: 31.22%

Click-through rate: 7.11% is an online marketplace that caters to buyers and sellers of collector automobiles, and the proof is in their products. This Cyber Monday email perfectly highlights the value of the marketplace with a prominently placed customer testimonial that clearly drove results.

Cyber Monday email

Just in case the discount in the subject line wasn’t enough to get you to list your car, hearing from someone who’s been through the process just might do the trick. You may not know who William F. is, but ultimately that doesn’t matter. The social proof provided by his rave review assures buyers that the process is quick and convenient, which pushed buyers to sell their cars now. 

Because ecommerce promotion emails’ stats tend to be on the lower side even on big events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday,’s numbers here are all the more impressive. Simply by putting the discount right in the subject line, the main benefit is front and center. Sometimes it’s better to forego clever copy and cute emojis in favor of what customers care about most.

Provident Metals

Subject line: “Black Friday Bullion Deals – Final Days!”

Open rate: 18.21%

Click-through rate: 7.58%

For Provident Metals, a gold and silver bullion dealer, Black Friday isn’t just a one-day celebration—it’s a week-long shopping extravaganza.

Black Friday email

In this email, the marketing team at Provident Metals puts the emphasis on their week of deals coming to an end. It’s this sense of urgency that compelled customers to open the email, but the spot-on marketing tactics didn’t stop there.

With clearly labeled CTAs, prominently featured special deals and products, and delightful copy (references to Thanksgiving turkey are always welcome in our books), this email’s a winner. And what’s more, it has the successful stats to prove it.


Subject line: “Last chance to save 10% on your entire trip for Black Friday”

Open rate: 7.07%

Click-through rate: 10.74%

As a one-stop-shop for festival-goers, Festicket could have taken its big Black Friday email in multiple directions. With so many diverse target audiences to appeal to, you might have expected their email to be unclear and overwhelming. But instead, they came up with this one-size-fits-all approach that manages to hit all the email marketing sweet spots.  

Black Friday email

Chock it up to the urgency in the subject line (phrases like “last chance” are always a good bet to drive clicks), or the easy-to-navigate layout that’s divided into clear-cut sections, but this email hit it out of the park.

Keep in mind, the average click-through rate in ecommerce is just 2.07 percent, so a CTR that comes in at over 10 percent makes us sit up and take notice.

What works so well about Festicket’s approach to this Black Friday email? We’re big fans of their email layout and design, which highlights all of their many discounts. With so many choices, customers could click on the one that was most customized to their needs. Or, if they weren’t sure which one to go for, they could explore each offer until they found the one that appealed to them.

Key dates to keep in mind while planning for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Now that you have the inspiration you need for your email campaigns, here are some other key strategies to keep in mind as you focus on holiday planning. Whether you started mapping out your campaigns three months ago or just last week, these are the dates to keep a close eye on. Go ahead and write them on a whiteboard in your office or throw them on a sticky note on your computer — whatever it takes to stay on track and hit these benchmarks before Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

October 1: Segment your email lists

  • How can you divide your email list to ensure you have the best send list possible for Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Regardless of how you choose to segment and categorize your lists, you’ll want to get a head start so you aren’t scrambling to throw them together at the last minute.

October 19: Create your campaign calendar

  • Gather your marketing team together to figure out what days you’ll be sending your campaigns and at what times. You know better than anyone when your customers are more likely to engage and be responsive, so make sure the dates and times you set correspond appropriately.

November 2: Draft your campaigns

  • Keep this blog post handy, because you’re going to want to have your creative juices flowing as you write and design your emails.

November 16: Finalize and schedule your campaigns  

  • Check and double check! Are all your links working properly? Any embarrassing spelling errors in the subject line? This is the time to do one thorough, final review before you send your campaigns out into the wild.

November 23-26: The moment of truth (Black Friday/Cyber Monday)

  • Keep an eye on the key analytics that matter most to you, then take a moment to celebrate! You did it, you marketing star, you.

Want even more Black Friday and Cyber Monday tips? We’ve got you covered with this quick-start guide to ensuring your holiday email campaigns hit the inbox.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email