It's time to kick off my yearly report of email subject lines throughout the holiday season. This is my breakdown of "Black Friday" emails throughout November 2014.
As part of my email tracking, I'm subscribed to hundreds of different email lists. Every month, I monitor trends and techniques to see how email marketing is evolving. During the month of November, I received almost 1000 emails building towards the launch of the holiday season.
It used to be that Black Friday was only advertised during the few days before Thanksgiving, but not anymore. This year I received my first "Black Friday Sneak Peek" email on November 7th. In total, 13.6% of all the emails I received this month had the phrase "Black Friday" in the subject line.
There were a few e-commerce jewelry sites that aggressively promoted different "Black Friday" deals every day from mid November through Midnight on the night of November 28th.
I received a huge number of emails between Monday, November 24th and Sunday, November 30th, in fact, 33.3% of all the emails for the month arrived during those 7 days. Digging deeper, 30.8% of all those emails had the phrase "Black Friday" in the subject.
Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are well known for their sales and "blowouts," it's more important than ever to stand out from the crowd of other retailers all claiming large percentages off.
While most Black Friday email subjects also had had percentages off or dollar amounts, it was the emails with interesting subject lines that grabbed my attention first. My favorites were:
"Forget Black Friday, HELLO Sparkly Friday!"
"Click Click Click - It's Cyber Monday!"
"A Monday we actually ♥."
I've come to expect certain discounts and special Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals from several of the websites I track. Deals for certain items that are not available on Black Friday are often discounted on Cyber Monday.
Scheduling your own deals and discounts is very important. You shouldn't have blanket special offers throughout your store all season long, but rather, different days for different offers. With this strategy, you can then segment your email marketing to the right audience.
A frequent Chamelia or Pandora charm buyer will be more interested in the promotional offer from those companies than an offer to get a free iPad with a large purchase. You could even run multiple promotions on the same day if your segmented audiences do not overlap.
On the other hand, there are some companies that send emails blasts more than once a day. Alex and Ani sent an email on Friday morning around 10AM with the invitation to "Brighten Black Friday with 15% off." They then sent another email at about 7PM saying "Hurry! This great deal ends as midnight."
Blue Nile didn't send multiple emails in a single day, but they were one of the e-tailers sending one email every day of the month since November 3rd. Take note that their emails didn't mention "Black Friday" until the 24th.
I found another e-tail jeweler sending the same email at about 8AM on Black Friday and then again at about 6PM. The body of the email was the same but the subject line was different. This was either their attempt at A/B testing of subject lines, or they were really trying to get my attention. This is a very risky email method which could result in several unsubscribes, or worse, being tagged as a spamming company and trapped in spam filters.
There was only one e-commerce site with an incredibly ambitious email campaign throughout the month, including 4 Black Friday emails offering better and better deals as the day went on. Although I won't name the website, I have a feeling that their campaign works very well because all of their online marketing is very strategic, tracked, and analyzed over and over again.
You might think that social media marketing is a better bet, but since I've started tracking email marketing in 2010, the techniques have become more sophisticated and without any hint that this marketing medium is fading away.
Give it a try; there's always time to send one last email before time is up.