Holiday Email Marketing Tips & Trends for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday email marketing

marketing planHow small businesses can use email marketing to maximize sales opportunities Thanksgiving week

For small businesses in the retail sector, the holiday season can make or break their year. And for most, the week of Thanksgiving typically marks the kick-off of sales and discounts that will help them end the year strong.

But for small business marketers there are a lot of moments and special days to try to optimize the sales opportunities the week of Thanksgiving alone…

  • Head Start Monday – the Monday BEFORE Thanksgiving WEEK
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Black Friday – the Friday after Thanksgiving
  • Small Business Saturday – the Saturday after Thanksgiving
  • Cyber Monday – the Monday AFTER Thanksgiving

Balancing email marketing efforts with all these days can be tricky. You don’t want to blast your list with too many emails, but you also don’t want to send too few. You want to send communications at the right time and in the right frequency.

Email is one of the primary marketing channels that drives e-commerce orders during the holiday shopping season. It’s a key time for small businesses to engage with their customers, but our data shows that many are missing an opportunity to stand out when it comes to scheduling their marketing efforts.

Luckily each year we learn a little bit more about buyer behavior, response metrics and optimal timing – particularly when it comes to the highly trackable email campaigns marketers send.

The Email Marketing team at GoDaddy has shared some of their marketing insights based on customer data collected by GoDaddy between November 2014 and January. Their analysis of the 2014 holiday season uncovered a number of email marketing trends small businesses should be mindful of during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales peaks.

These best practices can be used as a guide when planning your holiday email marketing campaigns to help make the most of your busy retail season.

Send on Head Start Monday: The BEST day for email marketing

November 16, the Monday before Thanksgiving week, GoDaddy finds to be the optimum day to engage with customers. GoDaddy coined this “Head Start Monday” because on this day in 2014, open rates were 14 percent higher than the average daily open rate for the November – December period.

Head Start Monday also sees a spike in click-through rates (CTR), or how many recipients click through from inboxes to websites. On this day in 2014, the CTR was 23.5 percent higher than the average daily CTR for the November – December period.

Consider going dark on Black Friday

Email marketers often misjudge their timing with Black Friday, which sees 30.4 percent more marketing emails sent than Head Start Monday, but a drop in open rates by 19 percent, compared to Head Start Monday.

Avoid Turkey day

On Thanksgiving Day, open rates hit their lowest rate for the entire month of November.

Beware of the Cyber Monday surge

GoDaddy saw a huge surge of messages sent on Cyber Monday 2014, but open and click-through rates pale in comparison to those noted on Head Start Monday. Email marketers who plan to send on this day should be ready to compete and prepare their subject lines accordingly.

Email is one of the primary marketing channels that drives e-commerce orders during the holiday shopping season – for both big businesses and small businesses. Small businesses need to be sure they are not missing an opportunity to stand out when it comes to scheduling their marketing efforts.

What was once a 1 day event with Black Friday, then a 2 day event with Black Friday & Cyber Monday, has now become a week long marketing opportunity. To maximize success, start the email marketing communications about a week and a half earlier (what GoDaddy calls “Head Start Monday”) so you can engage with your customers before they are busy with the turkey and family time.

Expanding beyond email, small businesses should also use an integrated marketing approach with social media and online/offline direct marketing campaigns aimed at beating the rush and earning a piece of your customer’s holiday shopping budget.

Email Marketing Tools

For email marketing services, check out our Email Marketing Tools directory.

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With nearly 30 years of integrated marketing experience, Diane is the founder of and author of the award-winning book PR Tools to Toot Your Own Horn. Diane also runs Marine Marketing Tools, a site that bridges her passion for boating and small business marketing, and two boating lifestyle sites: and