7 Lesser-Known Black Friday Marketing Strategies (That Work Like a Charm)

Updated: Jun 21

The busiest shopping day of the year is around the corner. According to Shopify, merchants on the platform made over $1.5 billion in revenue throughout the shopping weekend last year. And this year, it’s only going to get busier.

Wanting to skip the long lines, more and more Black Friday shoppers are choosing online stores over brick-and-mortar shops.

That means lots of potential revenue for e-commerce businesses of any size.

Since Black Friday is this big, competition among online stores is, naturally, intense.

But don’t let the competition scare you.

With a solid Black Friday marketing plan, you can join the top e-commerce brands and skyrocket your sales, too.

Remember, Black Friday marketing starts long before the Friday. That’s why today we’re sharing the seven brilliant marketing strategies you need to try if you want to win this Black Friday.

Let’s get started.

Want More Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies?

1. Experiment with Timing

2. Make Your Sale Memorable

3. Use the Element of Surprise

4. Offer More Benefits

5. Make Your Subject Line Stand Out

6. Redefine Black Friday

7. Tease Your Next Campaign

Build Your Black Friday Email List

First things first.

You already know the effectiveness of email marketing in driving sales. But for your Black Friday email marketing to be fruitful, you need to grow your email list with leads that are interested in your upcoming offers.

A few weeks before the shopping season starts, you need to create an on-site campaign targeting potential Black Friday customers that are interested in Black Friday deals.

Then, as Black Friday gets nearer, you’ll get the chance to tease the big day and thank those subscribers with an extra discount or early access code.

If you don’t want to discount your products any further, try giving your subscribers a freebie with their Black Friday purchases.

Here’s a Black Friday list building campaign example by Miinto:

(Sign up for our newsletter and get access to our Black Friday offers before anyone else.)

Note the visual representation of exclusivity in the popup design and the benefit-driven call-to-action (CTA) button: “Give Me the Best Offers.”

Leverage the time before Black Friday with a similar campaign and collect leads you can send promotional emails to—before, during and after Black Friday.

7 Tried-and-Trusted Black Friday Marketing Strategies

You’re likely looking for new ways to increase your Black Friday sales. Maybe you designed a few popups and already scheduled some emails.

But you’re also aware that your competition is doing the same.

If you want to make a difference this year, try these seven lesser-known strategies that only the best e-commerce marketers know about.

1. Experiment with Timing

The problem with many online stores’ Black Friday strategies is that they’re too predictable.

While there’s nothing wrong with being consistent and setting expectations, the situation is more tricky for Black Friday.

Consumers become numb during the shopping weekend because they receive the same type of marketing messages over and over again.

This year, try changing your timing—slightly or dramatically—so your messages don’t get lost among a million other distractors.

How early or late should you be? That’s up to you.

i. Act Early

Small or big—everyone’s doing Black Friday.

Luckily, there are creative ways to catch your potential customers’ attention before they are exhausted by e-commerce giants’ Black Friday messages.

Acting early is one way of doing this and Wool and the Gang knows this strategy better than anyone:

Instead of waiting for Friday, the company starts its sale already on Thursday and owns the day by calling it “Black Thursday.”

This way, they have a headstart in their subscribers’ inboxes (and wallets).

Typically, Black Friday emails consist of a simple sale announcement and a scarcity-driven CTA. However, Wool and the Gang do something different in the remainder of this email:

They recommend products that are on sale, so you know where to start shopping.

It’s a smart tactic that’ll help convert your subscribers who don’t know what to buy.

Kate Spade is another Black Friday early bird:

Mailed by the sender name “kate spade surprise,” the company announces their early Black Friday sale by triggering your impatience.

Most of us like surprises, especially if we’ll gain something from it. Knowing this, Kate Spade runs a surprise sale before Black Friday so that you don’t have to wait another day.

In this email, they use a GIF as a sneak peek to their discounted products.

the value-driven CTA button “Shop Gifts $100 and Under,” they aim to lure you to the site, where they can later cross-sell or upsell you with higher-priced items.

Knowing that Black Friday is a time when consumers are looking for a bargain, they focus on their more affordable products, instead of the bestsellers or limited editions.

ii. Act Late

Catching early birds is one Black Friday tactic to increase your holiday sales

—and converting latecomers is another.

Since consumers associate the words “Black Friday” with unmissable offers, you can use them during the year to imply too-good-to-miss deals.

Check this email I received from Doggyloot in December:

By claiming that they bring Black Friday back, they hint that great offers are awaiting their customers. Even though the company’s offers don’t go beyond 25%, they successfully create a perception of Black Friday.

Forever 21 takes a similar approach and runs a Black Friday sale in July:

They simply run a limited time offer that gives their customers 30% off, yet frames it as “Black Friday in July.” (Notice how they use GIFs to drive urgency.)

If you’re reading this outside of the typical Black Friday schedule or if you want to stand out among the competition, try running your own Black Friday by acting early or late.

2. Make Your Sale Memorable

Your online store may have the best deals and the fastest delivery options. But you won’t be the only one making these claims.

While every single e-tailer is competing for your prospects’ attention, the competition gets even more fierce during Black Friday.

It’s not easy for consumers either. They have to navigate through different stores, make comparisons, and create shopping lists so that they can buy their favorite items before they sell out.

This is a great opportunity for you to stand out and make your e-commerce site memorable on Black Friday.

See how Glossier does that in their Black Friday emails:

Sometime before Black Friday, they send their subscribers this email and help them to “be prepared.”

In addition to writing down the big sale’s beginning date and time, they give you the option to add the event to your calendar by clicking the “Add to Cal” button.

When you download the .ics file in the email and add the event to your calendar, this is what you see: