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Creating ‘Black Friday’ Email Campaigns in Marketing Cloud

‘Black Friday’ is arguably the most awaited shopping event of the year. Retailers offer incredible discounts on products and customers are more willing to shop. Black Friday consumers spent $9.12 billion online during ‘Cyber Week’ 2022 according to Adobe.

Coloured background with text Creating Black Friday Email Campaigns in Marketing Cloud

Needless to say, it’s an excellent opportunity for email marketers to create an impressive email campaign in Marketing Cloud Engagement. 

In this blog, we’ll run through the best practice steps to creating promotional email campaigns, including the use of a countdown timer to drive that all-important sense of urgency.

1. Set your goals

Before building any marketing campaign, we should set SMART marketing goals. These help us decide whether the campaign is successful or not once it’s complete. Make it clear what the priority objective is, for example, increasing website traffic, improving brand recognition, and so on.

There is no doubt that the aim of a Black Friday campaign should be to boost sales and revenue but you might have lower priority goals such as traffic to the website that you’ll measure as a KPI too.

2. Write a standout subject line

During the Black Friday period, consumers are inundated with emails in their inbox. To ensure the best chance of having your email opened, you need a standout subject line. 

Marketing Cloud Engagement allows you to use personalization strings in subject lines, meaning you can insert the customer’s first name or other fields, which can be a successful way to grab their attention by providing immediate personalisation in your message.

Screenshot of email personalization strings

To use personalization strings click the person icon below the subject line in the email builder and select the Data Extension where your customer’s data is stored. Choose from the list of attributes that are displayed. 

Don’t be afraid to think out of the box with this! Rather than defaulting to first name personalisation, have a think about other data points you could use, such as their most recent product interest. If this product is now on sale, make that immediately clear in the subject line.

3. Use A/B testing

Marketing Cloud Engagement has the capability for A/B testing on elements like subject lines, email content, and CTA buttons, all helping you to optimise email performance and ensure the best results.

It’s possible to do a test depending on these variables:

  • Subject line

  • Email from name

  • Content areas

  • Send dates

  • Preheaders

To A/B test on email content areas, the ‘A/B Testing’ content block must be used while creating the email in the Content Builder. The Audience should be chosen by selecting a Data Extension. Note that it is possible to make exclusions for your opt-outs during setup. 

Naturally, how you decide your winner should be based on the most logical metric. If you are running an A/B test on banner images or buttons, it’s best to determine the winner by click-through rate. However, if you are doing a test on two different subject lines or preheaders, it only makes sense to determine the winner by open rate. 

The ‘Send Management’ step of the A/B testing process allows you to send immediately or schedule for later, so you can be prepared well ahead of time.

Screenshot of Pardot email testing steps
Screenshot of Marketing Cloud email testing

4. Make use of dynamic content

Dynamic content blocks are massively helpful for personalising product recommendations, discounts, and messaging for each recipient, based on what you know about them. This feature of Marketing Cloud means we can show different products or messaging to different customers, determind by the rules we create. 

For example, we could create a rule specifying that those who live in Liverpool see photos of the Liverpool store but those who are living in London see photos of the London store. This level of localisation can help to boost relevance and in turn, conversion rates.

Screenshot of dynamic content block

5. Add a countdown timer

For this one, we’re going to make use of one of the many tools out there that generate countdown timer HTML code. We tend to use Sendtric but you can search for another if you prefer.

All you need to do is set the Time Zone and enter the date and time your Black Friday deals will end. Then, you can brand the timer as needed by changing the background, label, and digit colour. When you click ‘Generate button’ you’ll see the HTML code based on these settings

Screenshot of countdown timer tool
Screenshot of countdown timer in email

Adding the countdown timer to Marketing Cloud is easy. Use the ‘HTML’ block in Content Builder to copy and paste the code and voilah!

Top tip: To ensure a consistent brand experience, use the same countdown timer in your social media and other channel promotion.

6. Send reminder emails

While you want to be mindful of annoying and alienating your subscribers with a really high frequency of emails, you also don’t want to send one email and expect that they’ll see it in their inbox. As mentioned, this is a particularly busy time of year for marketing communications, so your email could be easily overlooked! 

Sending reminder emails as the sale progresses and draws to a close, with a countdown timer, is going to help you push that sense of urgency and FOMO. 

7. Thank you emails

Too many marketers end the customer journey at the point of sale, without following up to simply say ‘thank you’. It’s a small and simple email but can do wonders for brand affinity and loyalty.

After your Black Friday sale ends, why not send thank you emails to those who purchased and even ask for reviews to gather feedback.

8. Automate with Journey Builder

If you’re sending a sequence of communications across multiple channels to promote your Black Friday sale, automation is key. Journey Builder is fantastic for setting up journeys that include email, SMS, and even push notifications.

When it comes to building your journey, the sky is really the limit in terms of segmentation and ‘Split’ decisions. Download our simple guide to customer journeys so you can deliver highly-targeted content and offers to different customer groups with confidence.

Screenshot of Marketing Cloud Journey Builder

Unsure on the difference between Journey Builder and Automation Studio? We have a guide for that! Download it today.

Remember, Black Friday is not just about discounts, it's about building excitement and creating a memorable shopping experience that people want to repeat in the future. Set that timer and get ready to make this Black Friday your most successful campaign so far!

Want some expert consulting or hands-on campaign management? MarCloud is a team of Marketing Cloud specialists, so reach out at any time.

Taner Seker headshot

Taner Seker

Taner has worked for some of the biggest banks in Turkey, managing and maintaining campaigns, and QA/testing of all email & push notification deliverables. With a keen interest in data analysis, he likes to create new marketing strategies depending on customers' wants and needs.

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