Make the Most of Holiday Marketing, Starting with Black Friday

black friday marketing

Text by Brady Evan Walker

According to a study done by AdRoll that analyzed ad performance between November 26 and December 31, 2015:

The click-through rate of ads rose 22.6% on average compared to Q3 — July 1 to September 30. What’s more, the click-to-conversion rate (CTCR), which measures how likely users are to perform a desired action after clicking, like purchasing, rose 11.5%.

Consumers want to want what you’re offering, but marketing efforts across the board are at fever pitch. You must stand out.

Despite any hubbub around social media, in 2015, email marketing reigned supreme, generating 25.1% of all online orders. Organic search was close behind with 21.1% and paid search ranked third at 13.3%.


Have a clearly defined interpretation of success. The stakes are too high in the winter holiday season to set it and forget it. Lay out daily, weekly, monthly benchmarks. The more detailed your vision of success, the better equipped you’ll be to handle setbacks or to tweak as you go.


In 1930, Coca-Cola standardized the American idea of what Santa Claus looks like, forever tying their brand to Christmas. Quite a feat for a cold drink! By creating a holiday brand, you tap into the excitement and anxiety of gift shopping by aligning your brand with your audience’s own anticipation. Don’t underestimate this step!

black friday marketing

American Eagle has their own Christmas brand that they apply across channels, including paper catalogs and Q4 website redesign.

black friday marketing


It might be a cliche, but during the winter holidays, people are looking for a genuine emotional connection. Having that rapport with your brand extends itself brilliantly to gift-giving because the emotional attachment can travel from one consumer to the next.

Whether it be the traditional and effective approach, using emotions like Excitement and Luck, or something more unusual like the Curiosity inspired by Everlane’s and REI’s decisions to close altogether on Black Friday as a statement of company values, the necessity of that emotional connective tissue between a consumer and your brand cannot be overstated.

See below for Everlane’s strong statement on why they ended their tradition of closing on Black Friday.

black friday marketing


The delicate art of subject lines is not to be underestimated. Email inboxes are gradually filling up. Consumers are curious, looking for deals, but that doesn’t necessarily correlate to patience when dealing with a glut of hyped up emails.

Mention the holiday name as close to the beginning of the subject line as possible. Increase curiosity by refraining from naming specific products. Create an emotional connection with the buyer, not the unknown receiver, of the gift.

For more on how to write better holiday subject lines, with thousands of multivariate tests to back it up, check out our Holiday Marketing Subject Lines Do’s and Don’ts ebook, and for extra credit, we have our Mother’s Day Marketing and Fourth of July Marketing infographics illustrating principles that easily apply to the season at hand.


If you’ve done a good job of clarifying your goals, your emails should be clean and minimal with a clear offer and call to action. Keep in mind how many emails your audience is getting daily. A crowded email body will overwhelm them as much, if not more, than the crowded inbox they just clicked over from.

Below are examples that demonstrate a range of approaches: fun yet vague, overarching with a compelling offer, or a single highly specific deal.

black friday marketing
black friday marketing
black friday marketing

With Black Friday still weeks away, now is the time to build suspense, to prime your audience so they expect the unexpectedly amazing deals, freebies, giveaways you have in store with them. If you time these seed emails appropriately, it’s almost never too early.