Email List Priming: The Missing Ingredient for Your Biggest Black Friday Yet

Email Warming

*Editor’s Note: This article is a guest contribution from Dylan Kelley, Founder and CEO of Wavebreak, an ecommerce email marketing agency.

I was on the phone with the CEO of an eight-figure ecommerce store yesterday who said, “Our ads are already getting more expensive. At this rate, they’re not even going to be profitable this holiday season.”

It’s that time of year again when ad costs start to increase like crazy heading into Q4. Rising ad costs are never fun and can be super stressful, especially this time of year.

You have inventory you need to sell. You have payroll you need to hit. But if your ads aren’t profitable, you could end up in a very bad place. What should be your best months of the year could easily become your worst.

Relieve stress by leveraging what you already have.

You already have a bunch of past customers and email subscribers who you paid good money to acquire all year long. You don’t have to waste money on ads that aren’t profitable. Instead, you can leverage your email list to have your best Black Friday and holiday season ever.

It’s not too late to turn your existing audience and customer base into a powerful Q4 revenue driver using email.

Here’s a closer look at email list priming—the secret ingredient to Black Friday success. You’ll learn how to have an engaged email list that is ready to buy from you on demand. And you’ll break brand records on Black Friday and beyond without the stress of rising ad costs.

How to warm up your email list for your best Black Friday ever

Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend will be here before we know it. If you want to have your biggest BFCM ever, you need an engaged email list.

Last year, 48 percent of BFCM sales came from customers who already had a relationship with the brand. To have an email list that produces sales on demand, you need to start doing these two things as soon as possible:


1) Send email campaigns consistently.

When Black Friday rolls around, you want your email list to be used to hearing from you. If you’re not staying top of mind, people will forget about you.

If your brand just randomly appears in the inbox on Black Friday, you’re going to miss out on a ton of sales. If you have a loyal email list who is trained to open your emails, you’re going to have a record-breaking weekend. People won’t even think about going to the competition because they’re already loyal super fans to your brand.

Start training people to open and click on your emails now by sending consistently. 


2) Be strategic about which email campaigns you send.

Don’t just send random email campaigns with no rhyme or reason to them.

To really crush your BFCM email marketing, you need to take a step back and start to think about WHY and HOW people actually buy.

People have objections. That’s why they don’t buy.

They don’t trust you. They’re not sure about sizing and if your product will fit them. They don’t want to pay for shipping. And so on. 


Send emails that address objections and answer FAQs.

When’s the last time you sent an email directly addressing your top customer objections?

People are lazy. Using email marketing, you can make it easy for them to convert. You can put the content they need to see right in front of their eyes. 

If people are worried about sizing, remind them about your free return policy. If people have common questions before they buy, shoot them an email with answers to FAQs.

Here’s an excerpt of a great objection-busting email example from Freddy:



Instead of making the customer figure out their size on their own, Freddy shows the customer how to use their size calculator in the rest of the email.


Send emails brimming with valuable content.

Blog posts, videos, tips and tricks, and lookbooks are some examples of valuable content you can send. Believe it or not, these emails can generate serious revenue even though they’re not directly asking for the sale.

Most brands are just sending selfish “buy from us” emails. By sending non-sales related content, you’re adding value and building a real relationship with your audience.

You’ll stand out from the competition and build a loyal following of people who open and buy from your emails.

If people are used to opening your emails, what do you think they’ll do on Black Friday when the inbox is filled with the competition? They’ll open your email because you have a great relationship with them.

If you’re in fashion, you can add value by sending a lookbook like this example from Child of Wild:



If you have an active blog, you can send an email featuring blog content like Roark does here: 



Send emails that showcase customer reviews and build trust.

It’s no secret that reviews increase conversions like crazy. Send an email with reviews that address common objections. Send a link to a video review that a customer made.

Here’s an example from LATHER:


Send emails that expose customers to the rest of your product catalog.

Very few people will take the time to go through your entire website to find a product they like.

If you have a lot of SKUs, send a few emails that showcase the different parts of your product catalog. This is also a great way to move products that don’t sell as well. Some people just might not know a certain product exists.

Here’s an example from Ridge Wallets:



Closing thoughts: What did we learn?

Before Black Friday hits, warm up your email list by consistently sending valuable content. Start as soon as possible to ensure your email list is warmed up in time and you’ll blow Q4 out of the water. Your email list and past customers will be excited to hear from you, have fewer objections, and convert higher than average. Most importantly, you won’t have to stress out about rising ad costs.

To make your life easy, I turned this article into an easy to follow email calendar which you can grab for free here. You’ll learn exactly what emails to send and when to send them to warm up your list for in time for Black Friday. Best of luck!


Want more tips to prepare your store for the holiday shopping season? Check out this holiday planning guide to learn how to drive more sales. 


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