3 creative flash sale email templates and design ideas to inspire your next marketing campaign

Profile photo of author Marissa Petteruti
Email marketing
June 6, 2016
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Successful flash sales require careful planning.

They usually only last a day, but can sometimes last several. If you are extending your flash sale across multiple days, send two emails a day for each day of your flash sale.

Many ecommerce stores send an email one day before the flash sale starts to alert their subscribers to what’s coming. Below, I will outline what you should include in your flash sale emails.

Email campaign templates will help you create campaigns faster and scale with your email marketing strategically and effectively.

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1. Create a flash sale email template that targets VIP customers with a preview

This initial email should notify your target email audience that you’re having a flash sale. Specifically, you should inform them:

  • When you’re having your flash sale
  • How long the sale will last
  • What products will be on sale
  • What discount you’re offering

Brand sample: MRKT’s flash sale email does a great job of concisely outlining these key points at the very top of the email. You may choose to simply stop here and leave your subscribers wondering and wanting more, or you could do what MRKT did and spark their interest by giving them a glimpse of what will be on sale. MRKT also created a Twitter hashtag for the event, which helps spread the word about the sale via social media.

Flash sale email from M.R.K.T displaying four panels for their products at 20% off
Image via MRKT

Flash sale strategy to apply: If you wish to target a specific subset of your audience, you may choose to only send this preview email to some subscribers. For example, if you’re looking to attract new customers, you can send this email to a segment of contacts that have never made a purchase.

If you’d prefer to market to existing customers, on the other hand, you can create email segments based on prior purchases in order to further hone your message. If your sale extends across multiple product categories, for instance, you can feature products from categories that loyal customers have already purchased from in your emails.

2. Set up the template to be sent in the morning

Send your first marketing email as soon as your flash sale campaign begins. It’s important to foster a sense of urgency and scarcity, so make sure you note that the sale is a limited-time offer, while supplies last.

If you’re only opening the flash sale to a certain subset of your audience, include a discount code in the email. This will limit the span of your marketing strategy, but running exclusive flash sales for subscribers is a great way to incentivize people to join your email list.

Flash sale email from THIN TEA for 25% off
Image via Thin Tea

Again, make sure to include the promotion you are offering. Most often, this is a percent discount on certain items. Ecommerce businesses sometimes choose to run site-wide sales instead, depending on their product catalog and inventory.

3. Send a reminder email on the evening of the sale

Send a follow-up reminder email around six hours before your flash sale ends. This should be a “last chance” email and reiterate the content of the first, with a strong focus on the sense of urgency. Include the amount of time left in the flash sale in the subject line and header of the email.

Image from Baby Be Hip brand for a sitewide flash sale
Image via Baby Be Hip

Higher customer engagement for flash sale email campaigns

Flash sales are a great way to drive a spike in customer engagement and increase traffic to your site. Just remember to plan ahead and schedule your emails in advance. Create a sense of urgency with an initial preview email, and build on this with your day off emails. The primary things to include are how long the sale offer is going to last, the specific products that are included in the sale, and the discount you’re offering.

Flash sale email templates FAQs

What is a flash sale?

A flash sale refers to a limited-time promotion that ecommerce or retail brands offer to incentivize their customers and boost sales. Flash sales generate FOMO (fear of missing out) by introducing a limited quantity of discounted products, thus prompting customers to make impulse purchasing decisions.

How to write flash sale email subject lines?

Incentivize your subscribers to open and read your email newsletter by writing a short and to-the-point subject line. It can include a call-to-action (CTA) (e.g., Shop now, Save today, Act Now, Don’t Miss Out On) or key information, like the start and end date of the sale, discount and coupon information, or anything else you believe will attract your customers.

How do you introduce a flash sale?

Time the email sequence to introduce the flash sale to your subscribers a few days before the sale officially begins. Your first email should arrive one day before the sale starts, and the last reminder should be on the last day of the promotion in order to have enough touchpoints to remind your subscribers of the sale.

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Marissa Petteruti
Marissa Petteruti
Marissa Petteruti is the manager of Klaviyo's Academy team. She leads the creation of content that helps customers learn how to get the most of out Klaviyo. Prior to joining Klaviyo's Academy team, Marissa was the first member of Klaviyo's marketing team. She joined the company shortly after graduating from Brown University. In her free time, you can find Marissa experimenting to find the world’s greatest penne alla vodka recipe.