10 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Your Black Friday Cyber Monday Email Marketing

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black friday marketing mistakes

Black Friday Cyber Monday is a boom time for most ecommerce stores. We know that you can easily make 25-30% of your annual revenue in this one month alone which starts from Thanksgiving and goes on upto Cyber Monday and then lasts throughout December as part of the holiday marketing season.

No doubt it’s a busy time for ecommerce stores, but with all the moving parts, the elaborate BFCM strategies, and crazy rush to get those offers out and maximize the BFCM revenue come the challenges and the blunders. For starters, making mistakes in your holiday marketing is more common than you’d think.

So we’ve rounded up the most commonly made mistakes around Black Friday Cyber Monday marketing strategy so you can learn from and avoid them. These are email marketing mistakes that should be avoided any time, but more so during the cyber week when a huge revenue is at stake and a small mistake can make a huge difference to the bottomline.

1. The Black Friday emails are sent on the wrong day

Make sure that your “black Friday” discounts go out on or before the day – not after. Many times stores end up mixing the black friday offers with the cyber monday ones and end up sending on the wrong day. Some times it’s also got to do with email scheduling – not all emails are sent at the same time and sometimes a long enough delay in sends can spill on over to the next or even a day after. “Today our Cyber Monday “deal sweetener” went out instead of our Saturday “Black Friday sale continued” email. How? I am a tired email marketer who just scheduled it for the wrong day and spent the entire morning waiting for everyone to wake up and send help with ideas to remedy. In the end we sent an apology and just made the deal last from today to Monday. My heart is still racing lol. ” , says Kathy, an email marketing strategist at a baby store.


2.  The CTA have broken or wrong links

You’d think that the most important part of the email – the CTA button would be the most thoroughly checked part but truth is a lot of times, marketers miss the most obvious. Check for:

  1. If the CTA button exists
  2. Does it link to the right page?
  3. Does it have the right UTM parameters set up? (Not mandatory, but important if you’d like to track sales by specific campaigns/CTAs


3. The discount code works/ offer  doesn’t exist

Another common mistake many ecommerce stores make in their excitement to be quick in shipping out BFCM offers is designing the emails first and then forgetting about the offer promised! A manifestation of this is when a discount code mentioned in the email actually hasn’t been created on the store, or isn’t activated yet. Or it could simply be different from the one in the email. Make sure to create the discount code first and then use it in the email, or create the exact same discount offer as the one in the email copy. Nothing is worse for user experience than promising a discount or offer only for them to find that it doesn’t exist.


4. Giving a discount on the wrong items

What’s worse than offering a non-existing discount code? Offering one that will run your margins dry! Be careful with discount codes created that are valid on the entire site. While the intention is to sell more, you don’t want to discount the already discounted or brand new inventory and sell it at throwaway rates. When creating discount codes in Shopify, choose items or collections on which the discount code would be applicable. But also be very transparent about it in your marketing.

“Our e-commerce team forgot to turn off the big Black Friday sale when Cyber Monday launched. And our email went out to hundreds of thousands of people (correctly), but drove them – en masse – to a website that was allowing them to stack discounts that worked out to almost 90% off sitewide. FUN TIMES.”


5.  Sending a test email to the entire list

Believe it or not, this happens. When trying to send an email preview to a “test audience” folder, you may end up choosing the wrong folder and send it to the main audience or a big list instead!

“I sent an email to 20 million instead of the five intended test people. The link was not live yet and included content from a celebrity.”


6.   Having your website crash in the middle of a BFCM traffic surge 

So you have some kickass marketing going on for the BFCM period, and you’re set. But you didn’t expect to just succeed as much as you did. Good problem to have? Not so much when it means that you didn’t anticipate all the extra traffic and your website keeps crashing through it all! Well, even the biggest sites go through the website crash problems. (here’s looking at you Facebook/Instagram/Whatsapp on your Oct 4, 8-hour outage!)  But it can cost you a lot of BFCM sales. So do make sure that you buy additional server capacity for a limited time from your domain hosting provider. Anticipate 2-3x of your regular traffic during the cyber week and go from there.


7.  Send a campaign without optimizations for mobile and dark mode

This is a classic email marketing mistake in any time of the year but more so during the cyber season. Don’t set up campaigns without testing on how they look on all devices – including mobile. 60-70% of your customers are going to view an email on a mobile phone so make sure it lays out well on the mobile screen. Plus, another thing is dark mode. While it’s not a criminal email mistake, it just makes your email look wayy more professional and easily read if they’re optimised for dark mode.

dark mode optimised



8. Promoting an out-of-stock product

This is an easy mistake to make. You focus all your energies in heavily promoting one product, and it actually works. The said product sells hot off the shelves and eventually gets sold out. But the promotions keep running. Be it the ads or your pre-scheduled email campaigns — keep highlighting the now sold-out product. Keep an eye on inventory levels. Estimate sales of a particular product and ration your marketing on it accordingly. Not only is it a criminal waste of money to be throwing ad spend on a sold-out product, it’s also bad user experience. And yes it’s not always possible to match inventory and marketing to the T,  in that case, have a “notify me” option when a product gets sold out.

9.  Sending an email to all your list at the wrong time

Again a painfully common email marketing mistake which can cost you those Black Friday sales.  If you choose to send out an email campaign to your entire list at the same time or at a prescheduled time, some of your customers may receive it at the wrong time in their time zone! (no, noone’s shopping those 50% off products at 4 in the night!) So make sure you schedule the campaign in a way that it goes out at a convenient “store opening hour” to all your customers by choosing the “send by user time zone” option.

10. Not having an expiration date or a quantity limited for a BFCM discount

setting expiration date on discount codes

Yes Black Friday is all about crazy discounts but do you really want a BFCM discount offered in November to be redeemed 6 months later? No! And yet not having a deadline to redeem the discount code by is a rookie mistake to make.  Make sure you set an end date by when the discount to be used. Additionally, you can also put a person limit on how many times a discount code can be used by the same person.

Want to have an error-free, massively successful Black Friday email marketing campaign? Give us a call and avail of a limited time, special offer for just $999 for 12 BFCM campaigns!


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