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Mailgun Festivus: The airing of grievances for Black Friday marketing emails

Before you jump down our throats about hating Black Friday deals, that’s not what we mean.



The holidays are right around the corner — whether you like that cliché statement or not. While everyone is out enjoying their various festivities, we decided to celebrate a little differently this year. Mailgun Festivus is upon us! Before you ask, no, we don’t have an unadorned aluminum pole… yet. However, we felt like we should kick things off early and kick things off right. It’s time to start the airing of grievances.

For those of you who haven’t watched and/or hate Seinfeld, the airing of grievances is the event that kicks off Festivus. It’s pretty straightforward, we’re going to let all the bad blood out before we move onto feats of strength. First, we a few things to say about Black Friday email campaigns.

What’s to hate about deals?

Before you jump down our throats about hating Black Friday deals, that’s not what we mean. We love the deals, we get to knock out a ton of holiday shopping with Black Friday. How they’re sent via email… well, we have a couple of gripes.

Grievance 1 — Sending so fast without warming up your IP

Some people believe that it’s better to start increasing their frequency by a lot when Black Friday rolls around. When you get a ton of senders suddenly doing this, it does several things: flood customer inboxes with too many messages, make your IP rep look suspicious when you haven’t warmed up, and work your teams to the bone when your ROI might not benefit from that increase in sending frequency.  Pumping the brakes can be a good thing, especially when it comes to sending frequency.

Grievance 2 — Please, design them right

We’re not in the space to tell you how to design your templates from an aesthetic standpoint, but we can tell you from a technical standpoint. If your layouts look bad, ESPs might think you’re a spammer or worse – someone who is trying to phish your business. Even a simple design that speaks to your brand is better than something that looks like some shady deal.

Grievance 3 — If they haven’t opened an email in a while, don’t send to them

Seriously, they haven’t opened one of your marketing emails in almost two years, what’s going to make them open now? We get it, you want everyone to see the deals you have in store for them, but some people just aren’t that interested anymore. Outside of Black Friday itself, low open rates and low click-through rates look terrible and can make you look like a suspicious sender. Do yourself a favor and send to only engaged, consenting email recipients.

Grievance 4 — Why does Black Friday get all the love?

We get why Black Friday is such a big deal, but why limit yourself? Cyber Monday is considered equally if not more important as online retailers continue to reign supreme, but some senders still don’t do their due diligence. This is a great time of year to get creative with your holiday campaigns. We have Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so get creative with some of the other days of the week as they work out for your brand. A good blanket example to try would be a Twenty Tuesday where you take 20% off your whole stock; if you have anything left after Black Friday and Cyber Monday of course.

Grievance 5 — Thanksgiving isn’t Black Friday

Okay, this one is a little personal, but why are you starting your Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving itself? We just ate a ton of turkey, we’re not ready to move yet.

GIF of overweight cat falling onto its back

All jokes aside, be very upfront about when your sales are starting in your Black Friday Emails. Misinformation is a quick way to get a lot of unsubscribes and social media complaints from people who missed out on your deals.

So what?

We complain because we care. Bad sending best practices can lead you to the spam folder or even blacklists. It can be tempting to steer away from your best practices when you see other senders flooding your personal inbox, but actually landing in the inbox with your Black Friday deals is going to take a bit more strategy.

As far as sending frequency goes, think less about how often you’re sending and more about when you’re sending. Preview your deals over the weekend if you haven’t already, and then send a few reminders during the week. Then, think about what time you should be sending, do you get more opens in the morning or the afternoon? Details like this can work wonders for your open rate.

Besides how often you’re sending, double check everything from spelling to design before you send out those deals so you’re giving your campaign the final polish that can get you in the inbox. Also, we’d be remiss if we didn’t say to use a clean and updated list

We Want Happy Sending, Not Unhappy Sending

At the crux of these grievances is the fact that we really do want to see senders succeed. When you sign up for an account, you might not know the best practices needed to get good open rates, click through rates, reputations, etc. and we want to help out. We’ve got some great topics coming up in the next few weeks for Festivus, but if you haven’t read our FML series from last year, they’re a great complement to what we’ve got going on this year.

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