7 Strategies to Prepare Your Email Marketing for Black Friday 2020

Anne Jarry
October 28, 2020

The year 2020 has brought radical disruptions. But even in a year overshadowed by the global coronavirus pandemic, one thing remains unchanged: Βlack Friday and Cyber Monday still reign supreme as the biggest combined shopping event of the year.

But marketers need to adjust their playbook this year, as the impact of COVID-19 has caused a shift in consumer behavior: A whopping 62% of shoppers are so worried about the pandemic, that “no amount” of safety measures would convince them to shop in physical stores this Black Friday. Consequently, 28% will cover all their holiday shopping online, while only 4% plan to shop in stores.

Black Friday has increasingly evolved into an online event over the past few years. Now the pandemic has put rocket boots on this shift into digital channels. The industry expects total online spending to reach $21 billion for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday in 2020; only slightly less than $21.3 billion in 2019 – and quite encouraging in light of the pandemic.

Black Friday Goes Digital

In this new reality, Black Friday deal-hunting will happen, not with long lines outside of big box stores, but from the socially distanced safety of the home. Companies that prepare their digital marketing accordingly will be positioned to drive meaningful conversations with consumers and cut through the noise this season.

That’s why we have created a new guide, ‘Your Digital Marketing Checklist for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020’. For the latest pro tips on making the most of this big event – and generate loyalty and consumer insights for years to come – download your free eBook now.

As a quick start guide, here’s our checklist on how to Prepare Your Email Marketing for Black Friday 2020 in the New Reality:

1. Use the inbox as a branding opportunity.

Simply add your Gmail logo! Reach out to the deliverability team to associate your brand logo with the email address for your marketing. This will drive brand recognition in the Gmail mobile app & the Gmail webmail.

2. Keep your lists clean.

Remove email addresses that have:

3. Know your complainers and don’t send to them.

Keep track of complaint addresses received through ISP Feedback Loops. When adding new opt-ins to the list, exclude these complainers by either purging them from the list upstream or suppressing them at send time.

4. Focus on engaged users.

Why? Because disengaged or abandoned addresses carry a higher risk of becoming spam traps – and sending to spam traps increases the risk of an ISP block. It’s still okay to target unresponsives in a six-to-three-month window from last engagement – especially around Black Friday with captivating offers – but at a lower frequency.

5. Prepare for emergencies.

On top of a backup campaign (see ‘Plan B’ below), also pre-define a recovery segment on your user list with the most recently engaging users. This will be your lifeline in case you are noticing a drop in open rates during Black Friday season. If the decline is due to reputation drop, you could target that backup audience quickly and avoid further reputation damage.

6. Accept a hard ‘no’.

Honor all opt-out requests (it’s 2020!), not just those received through a Preference Center or unsubscribe link. Opt-outs received via email message or through a call center should also be removed. Make sure a process is in place for handling these requests, even manually, before Black Friday arrives.

7. Level up your automated templates.

Pre-holiday season is the perfect time to update your email templates for a holiday look and feel. What’s more, platforms such as Selligent let you personalize messages with Live Content based on real-time data from consumer profiles to drive engagement. You can also add a sense of urgency by implementing a countdown timer to Black Friday.

Speaking of countdowns and sense of urgency, the time to prepare your digital marketing for Black Friday 2020 is now! And this email checklist is just the tip of the iceberg. That’s because our eBook also presents pandemic-proof strategies for aligning your automated campaigns and personalized engagement in preparation for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020. Plus, tech advice on prepping your websites and customer service for the big event.

For added relevance, the eBook also features the latest statistics on the state of consumer behavior and currently trending shopping habits in a post-COVID-19 world. So why wait? Get a head start on the competition and download your free copy, using the box below. The clock’s ticking!