Email Tips: Black Friday 2020

By Jana Sabol Darling, Senior Account Director

This year has been unlike any other. In 2020, we have faced a global pandemic, historic job losses, economic instability, political turmoil, and much more…and we are only in November. With everything going on, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if a Black Friday email campaign slipped through the cracks. But, the good news is that there’s still time!

Last year in the October MGI Tipster, we shared a few very basic tips for launching successful Black Friday email campaigns. While it’s still quite valuable, it is important to note that this article was written pre-pandemic and a lot has changed since then.

What are a few things to keep in mind if you are planning a Black Friday email campaign for this year?

  1. Due to the pandemic, more people than ever will be doing their holiday shopping online. Many retailers have already started their Black Friday sales, offering extra incentives for shopping early. This is partially due to the fear of an already-stressed shipping infrastructure being overwhelmed by unprecedented levels of online holiday shopping. This may seem irrelevant to associations, but it’s good to take note. People are already looking for Black Friday deals – you don’t need to wait until after Thanksgiving to start your promotion.
  2. Email deliverability during this holiday period is going to be a challenge due to the shift towards online shopping. A few tips for ensuring your messages are delivered to intended recipients during this time:
    1. Do not send at on-the-hour times, when most others deploy their emails. Instead, consider sending at times such as 8:15 or 8:45, rather than 8:00 or 9:00.
    2. Segment your audiences, based on previous levels of engagement, and send to your most-engaged audience first. Doing so will decrease the likelihood of your email ending up in spam.
    3. Ensure that the From Line is from a source that the recipients will recognize.
    4. The Subject Line should describe the offer AND be creative. Now is not the time to be vague!
    5. Consider placing the opt-out link in an easily found location, such as above the header.
  3. FOMO, fear of missing out, is always highly effective with any marketing campaign. Be clear that there is a time limit on the offer, and consider placing visual aids such as a countdown clock somewhere in the body of the email.
  4. If your association does not have a great discount to offer during this period, you may want to consider a “soft sell” approach, an opportunity to engage your audiences by sending them something for free. People will be inundated with sales and special offers during this period. You will stand out from the crowd by simply sending a link to a valuable new podcast or white paper, with no strings attached. You could follow up in a few weeks with a more sales-oriented email.

If you have any questions or would like more information on how MGI can partner with you to help improve your email marketing and increase your membership, please contact Jana Sabol Darling, Senior Account Director, at

Request a Membership Consultation