7 Email Tips to Absolutely Nail Black Friday

7 Email Tips to Absolutely Nail Black Friday


It’s mid-November, which means Black Friday is almost here. And since today eCommerce sales make up 21% of global retail sales, Cyber Monday is equally essential. (In fact, most retail bloggers refer to the entire weekend as one unpronounceable acronym: BFCM). 

According to research by Future Publishing, 76% of US consumers will shop BFCM this year, and 56% will shop only online. Thus, the BFCM period represents an undeniable opportunity to get wine sales messages out via email to capture those shoppers. This blog reviews how to maximize email marketing to increase conversions and bring people to your websites.

1. Send Emails Early

What makes BFCM so unusual is that people plan their shopping much like a vacation: They check for deals and plan store visits in advance. This type of “appointment shopping” is predicated on the assumption that they know what products are included in the sales ahead of time. So don’t think you can send an email on Wednesday before Thanksgiving and capture their attention.

Some online retailers start promoting their BFCM offers as early as a month ahead – yes, before Halloween (insert eyeroll here). An early email is generally wise for significant purchase planning – like a new car or large-screen TV. But wine tends to be an impulsive purchase requiring less planning. You still need to give your buyers time to figure out how you’ll fit into their BFCM budgets. Count on a minimum of a week in advance to ensure interested customers will include you in their plans.

2. Send Multiple Reminders

BFCM is a busy time for anyone’s inbox, and your emails will need to break through the clutter. One way to do this is to send several reminders. A week ahead, a day before, the days of, and the final 12 hours aren’t too many emails. Remember, your customers are busy with their families over a holiday, shopping, and possibly decorating, all on the same weekend. You will be rewarded with sales if you assume you are not top of mind and send reminders.

3. Focus on Subject Lines

Three things determine if your email is even opened – the “from” address, the subject line, and the preview text. 35% of emails are opened based on the subject line alone. (CRMNext) If you are sloppy with these three items, the rest doesn’t matter because your customer won’t see it. 

Therefore, be thoughtful with your subject lines and plan them out with the rest of your email. Follow these best practices:

  • Keep it short: We see a 25% increased open rate on emails with a subject line under 25 characters. (WGM)
  • Don’t yell: Subject lines with an exclamation point perform 20% less than subject lines without one. (WGM)
  • Bring on the gingerbread man emoji: We see a 6% increased open rate on emails with emojis in the subject line. (WGM)
  • Take Action: Action verbs used at the beginning of the subject lines urge customers to open emails better than passive statements. (For example, “Shop Chardonnay Gifts Until Sunday” versus “Our Holiday Gifts Are Online”).
  • Get Testy: Set up A/B testing to determine which subject lines yield the best response, then put the best performer on all your future marketing emails.

4. Seeing is Believing

Emails with images get a 42% higher click-through rate than those without images. (Vero) If your database is dreaming of a white Christmas, then give it to them with vibrant photography that pulls them into the environment. Show the bottles under the tree or on the dinner table so they can envision the situation. And since mobile devices open 62% of all emails (easysendy), feature close-up label shots that will show up on phones.

However, just adding random images won’t do the trick, either. You need unique and compelling photos with a well-thought-out strategy for each email. This will ensure more website visits as well as a higher conversion. Here are some best practices:

  • Use only complementary colors (colors that work well together). Colors elicit strong emotions, and meticulous use of color will help you design professional-looking emails. An easy way to find colors that pair well together is by using design programs like Adobe Kuler or Coolors.co. These online tools display color palettes that work well together and offer the chance to generate your color combination.
  • Text that is easy to read and blends well with other elements in the email will entice people to read your email and click the call-to-action button. Use simple fonts that are easy to read and a neutral color or one compatible with your brand’s color palette. Limit the number of fonts to 2 or 3 compatible fonts. Using too many fonts will make your design look inconsistent and messy. 
  • The subject line and copy should communicate a clear call to action. Buttons have a 127% higher click-through rate than text links. (Campaign Monitor). Buttons are so crucial that if you can only do one thing to help your email design, make the call-to-action graphic buttons.
  • Finally, be protective of the negative space in your email. (Negative space refers to all the blank spaces in the email layout.) Don’t give in to the temptation to fill every spot, as our brains need this space. These empty spaces are essential to draw the eye to the vital components of design and make your message easier to read for viewers.

5. Make the Timing Clear, and Urgent

Even if you send your emails early, ensure the copy and offer is straightforward, direct, and has a due date for a call to action. Many wineries do this by providing a shipping chart right in the email. A chart is not only helpful information to customers sending gifts, but it also creates an urgency to respond. You can do this with subject lines if you send multiple emails, as noted above. (“Ten days until launch,” “four-day sale,” “two days left,” “the last 12 hours”, for instance.)

6. Offer Personalized Discounts/Suggestions

BFCM is a universal selling period, but don’t use that as an excuse to send a one-size-fits-all email. Segmentation still applies here. Send prospects offers on familiar varietals with small price tags. Suggest your buyers share their favorites with friends. Say thank you to your biggest buyers with your best offers.

And speaking of offers, there is no need to dig deep and give away the winery. Over the 2021 BFCM weekend, the global average discount shoppers received was 24%, down 8% from 2020. (dot digital) The average rate of inflation globally this year is 5%. Combine these facts, and you can see that BFCM isn’t all that discount focused.

This year, focus on the specific benefit to the customer. In addition to how much money they save, make sure to include what benefits they will get from the product, whether they will get free customer support, shipping, or returns, and how this purchase might help the winery, others, or the environment. All these messages will resonate more than just a straight discount.

7. Don’t Forget Cyber Monday

If possible, extend Black Friday promotions to Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is a large shopping event for e-commerce stores, and it doesn’t make sense to limit your sales window to Friday when you could take advantage of an entire weekend of increased sales.

As a sales strategy, consider heightening the urgency by announcing an extension until after Black Friday has concluded. Subject lines like, “Last chance to take advantage of this deal!” are excellent for squeezing out a bit of additional sales before the weekend ends.


With a bit of planning, thoughtful messaging, and following the above best practices, we hope your BFCM timeframe is prosperous and that you have a great Thanksgiving.

Susan DeMatei is the founder of WineGlass Marketing, a full-service direct marketing firm working within the wine industry in Napa, California. Now in its 10th year, the agency offers domestic and international clients assistance with strategy and execution. 

WineGlass Marketing is located in Napa, California at 707-927-3334 or wineglassmarketing.com

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