Top Black Friday Subject Lines for Your Inspiration

Top Black Friday Subject Lines for Your Inspiration
03 October, 2023 • ... • 614 views
Natalie Voloshchuk
by Natalie Voloshchuk

Subject lines are one of the things that influence open rates the most, so Black Friday email subject lines should be designed to engage and motivate. They need to be catchy, spot-on, and get right to the point — there is no time for guessing and dilly-dallying in the fierce competition for customers between businesses. Stay around and get inspired by some of the best examples of Black Friday subject lines other businesses used.

The importance of Black Friday email subject lines

In 2022, 85% of retailers planned to have a Black Friday marketing promotion. No wonder that during the Black Friday sale, there is a cutthroat fight for attention between e-commerce businesses in the inbox. Black Friday campaigns themselves can last from a few days to a few weeks, so as a marketer, you need to make the most of it. 

In the U.S., Black Friday and Cyber Monday come after Thanksgiving Day and represent the start of a long period of Christmas shopping, and it’s a prime opportunity to increase business profits. Email marketing is one of the best ways to get those deals into your customers’ inboxes. And when it comes to the Black Friday email campaigns, you want to get the highest email open rates possible to ensure your deals are seen by as many potential buyers as possible. 

The email subject line is one of the two things that make a person decide whether they need to open the email (the other is the sender’s reputation). The difference between a good and bad subject line (or, rather, the one that works and the one that does not) may as well be a difference between making another sale or not.

Best examples of Black Friday subject lines

Early Black Friday deals email

When sending “early access” emails, make sure your readers understand what’s in it for them. Email campaigns with “early Black Friday deals” should differ from the full-blown Black Friday sale itself. 

A few ways to approach this are:

  • Exclusivity 
  • Secret deals
  • “Get it done and over with” appeal
  • Digital-only deals
  • Early or express shipping offers

Getting something exclusive is a popular but very effective tactic. Secret deals that are available only before the main sale starts also work great. And there is a category of people who hate shopping but still have to do it — resonate with them via a “get it done early” type of subject line.

Swipe to see the examples:

Early Black Friday deals from Fujifilm email subject line
Source: Really Good Emails
Shop early, rest easy email subject line and a snippet of an email
Source: Really Good Emails
Email with a subject line Psst — You're invited to shop our Black Sale early
Source: Really Good Emails

Gym & Coffee goes the exclusivity route with the email subject line “FREE BEANIE just for YOU!!”:

Early Black Friday deals email subject line and email example
Source: Milled

Other early Black Friday weekend subject line examples:

  • Get a jump on holiday gifting with early access (Tommy John)
  • SURPRISE! Black Friday came early ✨ (Numi)
  • Black Friday VIP ACCESS: Confirmed (IDEAL OF SWEDEN)

Teaser email

A teaser is a type of email that builds interest through curiosity.

Black Friday teaser emails play an important role: they inform your customers that you are planning to have a Black Friday sale and give them a sneak peek into what they could expect from it. 

And although they are teasers, they are still straightforward — take a look at the few examples below from past Black Friday campaigns:

Teaser email Black Friday subject lines examples: Something New is Coming on Black Friday ⌚, It's coming, Turning Black Friday Green, etc.
Source: Really Good Emails
An email from OffCourt with the subject line: NOT another Black Friday email
Source: Really Good Emails

Days leading to Black Friday are especially precious: they let you run promotional campaigns leading to the big sale and build excitement. 

Emails like “early deals” and teasers are a way to get ahead of your competition and help you build anticipation, set expectations, and create excitement through mystery (with some bits of sneak peek into what is coming, to whet the appetite). They can also be purely informative — like telling the subscribers when exactly the sale is going to start.

Every customer has a limited amount of time and money they are willing to spend on Thanksgiving weekend, so by informing them early, you make sure they plan for you and won’t spend it all on deals from others. This is especially true for big check products — people need to plan ahead and a surprise sale with no warning might not be the best approach. Warn them to get prepared in advance — to make sure they can buy what they want, while you can meet your e-commerce sales plan for the holiday season.

Some more Black Friday marketing email subject line examples to tease the sale:

  • Incoming: BLACK FRIDAY! Sign up and receive our deals first… (Online4Baby)
  • Our exclusive waitlist for Black Friday is open ♥ (Waterford)
  • Take a sneak peek at these early Black Friday deals (Dell)

Launch emails

Launch emails’ purpose is to inform people that The Black Friday sale started and to announce the exact details, dates, and numbers. Sometimes, the online sale only lasts a few days (some businesses even make it last for one day only), so it has to go out as soon as the sale actually starts.

Drop the fluff and get to the point: this is the time to get serious about selling. The straightforward and direct subject line is good, and adding a detail or two to it makes it better.

Black Friday launch email subject lines examples: The Black Friday sale is now on, 3-2-1: Our biggest sale is on ❗️, etc.
Source: Really Good Emails

Some more Black Friday marketing email subject line examples to tease the sale:

  • Black friday is here! Theres no time like the present (influenceu)
  • 🔥 Best. Black Friday. Deals. Ever. 🔥 (Starfire)
  • ⚡Black Friday sale is here – act now! (Ultimate Guitar)

Last chance email

Finally, the Black Friday sale is coming to an end — time to remind everyone about this fact. Last chance emails are a last-ditch effort in order to get potential buyers to buy. They prompt potential customers to act on an expiring offer, and capitalize on a “fear of missing out”, or FOMO for short. 

Considering that big discounts like this happen only once a year, you have to do everything in your power to make your Black Friday emails be taken seriously.  

Here are a few last chance email subject line ideas for Black Friday:

Black Friday last-chance email subject line ideas: Last chance for free shipping, Black Friday deals are almost over, etc.
Source: Really Good Emails

Other last chance Black Friday marketing subject lines for e-commerce marketing:

  • EXPIRING: 20% Off + Huge 🖤 Black Friday 🖤 Savings on all things home (Overstock)
  • ONE. LAST. CHANCE. Up to 50% off moisturizers + 30% off sitewide! (Clinique)
  • Last 6 hours: Black Friday will end tonight (UNice)

Tips for your Black Friday subject line

Pay attention to the language you use

Holiday email marketing differs from regular newsletters and campaigns. Overall, Black Friday emails are better to be bold, straightforward, and concrete. What could come off as too “salesy” at any other time is perfectly fine during Black Friday weekend. 

Swipe away:

Black Friday emails with the subject line The Beauty Oral Care Brand that everyone's talking about! 🖤
Source: Really Good Emails
Black Friday email with the subject line Black Friday is almost over 🔊🎧 You can still save with Bose
Source: Really Good Emails
Black Friday email with the subject line 💵 Early access to Black Friday Sale
Source: Really Good Emails

Add urgency

The sense of urgency — such as time-limited offers and deals that expire soon — creates an impulse to buy, and a combination of urgency with direct and spot-on subject lines is a recipe for success.

Time is running out, or the stock is running low — both of these situations create a sense of urgency and trigger the “fear of missing out”. Last chance emails capitalize on this to get their share of sales.

Ways to add urgency to your e-commerce marketing:

  • A chain of emails that are like a Black Friday countdown timer themselves: e.g., “3 hours left till the end of sale”, “2 hours left…”, “1 hour left only”
  • Emphasizing scarcity: if there are only a few pieces/spots left, say so in the subject line

An event email subject line that expresses how much prices will jump up once the sale is over

Black Friday email with the subject line The Black Friday countdown has begun
Source: Really Good Emails

Black Friday subject lines that emphasize the sense of urgency:

  • [LOW STOCK ALERT] Black Friday ends when supplies run out (Atrantil)
  • You still have a chance to save big ➡️ (MVMT)
  • ⏰️ Final Hours to save 25% (Shoe Carnival)

Use a dollar value discount rather than a percentage

In his book “Contagious”, Jonah Berger mentions that dollar-off discounts may seem to be a better alternative to percent-off discounts, especially for higher-priced products.

The difference is how consumers feel about it. When it comes to a laptop for $2,000, $500 off seems larger than 25%, which makes people more likely to purchase when they see the dollar discount. On the contrary, if it’s chocolate for $20, then 25% off will psychologically “feel” bigger than a $5 discount, even though the actual amount is the same.

Email with the subject line Join for less. Save $350 🎉
Source: Really Good Emails

Give a sneak peek of the offers inside

The sneak peek tactic is about letting out a fraction, but not the whole deal. For example, you might mention one or a few specific products in the subject line, while keeping the rest of them secret until the email is opened. Let subscribers know what is waiting for them without the need to open your email.

An email with the subject line CleanMyMac X and other apps are 30% off
Source: Really Good Emails
An email with the subject line See what's heating up on Black Friday
Source: Really Good Emails
An email with the subject line Don't Miss up to 65% Off Thousands of Items
Source: Really Good Emails

Be sure to stand out in the inbox

People’s inbox is crowded during Black Friday sales. Here are a few ways to stand out from the crowd:

  • Use capitalization for part or whole of the subject line.
  • Use special symbols to replace letters in the subject line, or replace one or a few words with symbols.
  • Write the whole subject line in lowercase.
  • Try a creative approach — a usage of words, analogies, and euphemisms that express the meaning but are not normally used in a sales context.
An email with the subject line Snooze through the sales…
Source: Really Good Emails
An email with the subject line LAST DAY: 60% OFF on Designmodo, Black Friday Sale! 🔥
Source: Really Good Emails
An email with the subject line ⚫ BLACK FRIDAY = 25% OFF SITEWIDE ⚫
Source: Really Good Emails

More creative Black Friday marketing email subject lines examples:

  • The week ends. The Black Friday begins! ⚡ (Uniquilling)
  • FOMBF: Fear of Missing Black Friday (Sok-It)
  • In case you were in a Food Coma yesterday – 50% Off Agora (AGORA)

Use emojis

Emojis are also a way to stand out — when they are used appropriately, or a way to sink the email — if it makes no sense and puts people off. 

Here are a few reasons you might want to use an emoji:

  1. Emojis in the subject line may increase the email open rate (according to Campaign Monitor, the companies that incorporate emojis have a 56% increase in their unique open rates). 
  2. Emojis save space. They let you express a lot with just one symbol.
  3. Emojis convey emotions and sentiments and make your subject line expressive. 

Here are some of the best practices when it comes to emojis in the subject line:

  • Keep your emojis relevant. 
  • Don’t go overboard. 
  • Pay attention to the context, your brand’s style, and your customers’ preferences.
An email with the subject line 🛍️🍵It's Black Friday! 20% Off Sitewide!🛍️🍵
Source: Milled
An email with the subject line ⌛️ LAST CALL: Shop Black Friday Early
Source: Really Good Emails
An email with the subject line 🎉 Black Friday Deals Came Early This Year!! 🎉
Source: Really Good Emails

You can use regular emojis associated with sales like fire, a clock, or a running person. The other option is to try out black emojis. Here are some email subject lines with emojis from e-commerce brands:

  • 🖤Black FriYAY Starts Now! 50% Off Lifetime Memberships 🖤 (codeSpark Academy)
  • ⚫ Black Friday top picks ⚫ (Wiggle)
  • ✨ 20% Off + Free Gifts – Today Only! ✨ (Art of Play)

Final thoughts

Black Friday means you’ll have to fight for attention. Of course, good deals and email design are important, but you need to make your subscribers open the email in the first place. That’s why you need to put a little more strategic thinking into your subject line planning and write content that stands out from the rest. 

A few effective tips to use for Black Friday and Thanksgiving emails:

  • Use straightforward and direct language: “Early access to Black Friday deals”, “See what’s heating up on Black Friday”, “Black Friday: 25% OFF”.
  • Add urgency: “Only two hours left till the end of sale”, “The Black Friday countdown has begun”.
  • Use a dollar value discount over a percentage-based: “Save $350 on Your Tempo Studio”, “Black Friday $8.88 Sale”.
  • Give a sneak peek into the coming offers: “CleanMyMac X and other apps are 30% off”.
  • Stand out in the inbox: use emojis, use a countdown, capitalize your subject line, use lowercase, add some special symbols if appropriate: “🤘🏽 Black Friday starts now 🤘🏽, “Snooze through the sales…”.

This article was originally published in November 2022  and was updated in October 2023 to make it more relevant and comprehensive.

Article by
Natalie Voloshchuk
Natalie is a content writer and blog writer that specializes in SEO and on-page optimization. Her specialty is marketing and sustainability niches, with years of actual hands-on experience in the roles like digital marketer generalist, webmaster and Facebook advertiser. Outside and in the course of work, Natalie remains an animal lover and a human-nature coexistence enthusiast.
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