It’s that time of year.

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are a great fit for every business — awesome sales and happy customers! Not only does sending a timely email help your contacts take advantage of your limited deals, but it reminds them they can avoid trampling and deal-crazed fans by clicking your links and buying online.

I’ve researched the most successful campaigns (based on click-through rate) to give you some tips on how to maximize your email marketing results this holiday season.

Keep Your Subject Lines Short, Sweet, and Relevant

Looking at the subject lines of the most successful campaigns, one thing is clear: it’s not very clear. There doesn’t seem to be a common thread, but it does look like simply having “Black Friday,” “Cyber Monday,” or “Holiday Sale” helps. That being said, it’s always best to try and stand out from the standard, “Check out my Black Friday Deals,” so try to spice it up a little. Remember that your readers’ inboxes will be full of holiday promotions.

A couple of my favorites were:

  • “Let’s sweeten the Black Friday Deals with …”
  • “Are you taking time for YOU this Black Friday?”

The first suggests an extra incentive for opening the mail, which is always a great attention grabber, and the second suggests taking time out for everyone’s favorite person: yourself.

Please note: Many senders used a lot of CAPS and exclamation marks in their subject lines. I don’t recommend this, as it can get your mail flagged as spam and filtered. Better: keep it short, sweet and relevant. (Here are some more tips on how to avoid getting your newsletters filtered.)

Strategize Your Link Location

It’s always best to place your most important links near the top of your promotion. One thing I noticed quite consistently is the drop-off in click rates as I scrolled down emails. Most readers will spend less than 20 seconds looking at your promotion, so this makes sense. Put your best foot forward when you have their attention!

4 Email Tips For Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday, And Cyber Monday image Black Friday Preview.jpg

This promotion is a great example of how the top link got the most attention. I also really dig the subtly festive retro turkey lady and how the banner fades into the body color — awesome visuals!

Carefully Format Your Your Calls to Action

  • Keep it simple! Just adding a linked phrase like “Shop Now” can do the trick.
  • Make your links noticeable. I noticed that the most clicked links have slightly larger text or are in CAPS, with a different color than the rest of the text (I’m not talking flashing lights here, but just a tweak can really help). Try using red.
  • Using just one link will help draw attention to it and will keep your promotion simple and clutter-free. Since 50% of emails are now opened on phones, it’s important to bear simplicity in mind.
  • You could also try using a linked image. It immediately catches the eye and can be used to incite a call to action. The example below (an awesomely laid out email) features a clickable image that yielded the lion’s share of the clicks.
4 Email Tips For Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday, And Cyber Monday image Craftsy black friday sale 1 Preview 2.jpg

I particularly like this promotion as it has an eye-catching, rich (but uncluttered) banner and a humorous opening that reminds customers of the hassle they can avoid by snatching up her deals from the comfort of … wherever they happen to be. The clickable image includes a “shop now” call to action and the phrase “holiday sale.” It communicates the sale details with noiseless clarity and November colors.

(Check out a previous post on how to spice up your email lingo.)

Offer an Exclusive Coupon Code

A study by shows that 74% of frequent shoppers watch for coupon codes. Many successful holiday promotions include a coupon code (a.k.a. a promo code) to offer customers a discount. It lends to the sense of exclusivity and makes your loyal customers feel appreciated. Some successful campaigns also use “VIP” in their subject line. It’s simple — your customers/fans are the reason for your company’s success. Let them know they’re special, and you’ll both benefit.

Here’s an example that uses a coupon code and got some great click-through rates:

4 Email Tips For Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday, And Cyber Monday image Statistics Mad Mimi Email Marketing1.jpg

I also picked this one as it illustrates an awesome, festive banner and another example of a highly clicked image.

So … paint your banners, chain those links and make sure you’re battle hardened and fully prepared to make the most of this awesomely busy weekend ahead. 🙂



This article was written by Macdara Bracken from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.