Best Black Friday subject lines, emails and subscriber sign-ups

The Best of Black Friday: Emails, Subject Lines and Subscriber Sign-ups


Black Friday is one of those holidays that applies to just about every brand and therefore just about every email marketer. We see all kinds of Black Friday campaigns in our inboxes, taking mental notes for our own holiday messages that we’ll create. Not to mention, more brands are finding clever ways to drive subscriber sign-ups using social media so they can reach more people.

Here is a small sample of the best last minute subscriber sign-up forms, Black Friday subject lines and campaigns!

Last Minute Subscriber Sign-ups

We’ve talked before about different ways you can encourage email list sign-ups via your social channels. These three brands expertly used the days (and hours) leading up to their Black Friday campaigns to make sure everyone who wanted a piece of their promotions was able to get on their list in time.

United by Blue

United by Blue strategically used an Instagram Story to drive both subscriber sign-ups and web traffic to their Black Friday sale using the “swipe up” functionality.

"Swipe Up" CTA in an Instagram Story to subscribe

When you swipe up, you’re taken to their Black Friday landing page, which is optimized for mobile and has a simple pop-up subscriber form. Within seconds, visitors become subscribers, thanks to Instagram.

United by Blue's pop-up subscriber form


In marketing, the feeling of “missing out” can be a major factor in consumer psychology and decision-making. Even if someone isn’t a promoter of your brand, you can still motivate them to join your community by hinting that they’ll miss out on something if they don’t. FOMO (fear of missing out) may be the most eye-roll-inducing acronym ever, but it’s still very real and very influential on motivating people to subscribe.

Parachute executed this flawlessly with their sponsored Story. They kept their copy minimal, used a contextual image for anyone not familiar with their offering, and of course, they included their branding.

Parachute's swipe-up form in Instagram


Exclusivity is another well-known approach. You’re playing to people’s egos. It’s the thrill of knowing they’ll get early access to sale items before they’re sold out. One of the main reasons Black Friday and Cyber Monday draw such a crowd is because inventory doesn’t always last long. People want to buy their gifts before they’re out of stock. Offering early access to fully stocked product pages can be an effective way to drive sign-ups.

Prose went about this by adding a bit of mystique to capture attention and pique the innate desire to be on an exclusive list.

Spark a sense of exclusivity

Above all, be intentional with your copy. Don’t underestimate how alluring words and phrases like “unlock” and “early access” can be for prospective subscribers.

Holiday and Black Friday Subject Lines

Something we noticed about Black Friday subject lines was that they tend to either lean functional or quirky. It’s very difficult to strike a perfect balance. On the one hand, you want subscribers to know what the email’s content is. That’s a common subject line best practice. On the other hand, Black Friday is a major email marketing holiday where it’s even more important (and challenging) to stand out amongst who-knows-how-many other brands vying for readers’ attention.

These brands leaned into their voice for the subject line and let the promotion in their Black Friday campaign do the rest.

Tuesday Morning

Gifts That Whoa Without A Lot of Dough

And to this email marketer, bra. vo. Readers instantly know this email contains gift ideas, like good gift ideas, and ones that won’t break the bank. Nicely done, Tuesday.

Crate & Barrel

Leftover turkey can wait. Black Friday can’t.

It’s always good to remind your audience of the timeliness of any sale or promotion. They don’t last forever and people can be phenomenal procrastinators. Caution them in a fun, on-voice way against the possibility of missing out if they don’t act soon.


Go Online to Get Offline

If putting your offer in the subject line isn’t practical, you can still motivate opens by piquing customer interest.

Disney Destinations

Don’t miss the holidays at the DISNEYLAND® Resort!

People tend to shy away from using caps since it feels scream-y. However, using them strategically, like Disney did on its brand name, can draw in readers. Plus, occasionally placing your brand name in a subject line can be beneficial for subscribers who don’t pay close attention to sender names in the inbox.


We’re all about that baste 🦃

And we’re all about puns with flavor. Don’t shy around having a little fun with your readers, especially when the season calls for it.


Seamless pivots for this Thanksgiving’s awkward chitchat

Okay, this one isn’t specific to Black Friday either, but it gets honorable mention nonetheless. Keeping a subject line #relatable (but still clear about the email’s content inside) can definitely help boost opens.

Black Friday Campaigns


Black Friday is already information overload for subscribers. The more direct you can keep your offer, the easier it will be to remember.

Munchkin's Black Friday email

These two emails from Munchkin strike a healthy image-to-text balance and don’t get carried away with copy. As marketers, it can be really easy to accidentally over-sell. In Munchkin’s case, they started out with two promotions and then whittled it down to one on everything they offer. The three additional details: free shipping; no minimum; and no code allowed this email to be kept brief and easily memorable.

Munchkin's Cyber Monday email


It’s a small thing, but still good to point out. Getaway communicated their offer in two different ways, one that’s better for people who retain information by reading and a more graphic version for those that are more visual.

There’s definitely a strategic way to repeat yourself without coming off as repetitive. You want to be able to convey your message to each reader in whichever way they best understand (sentence form vs. visual).

Getaway's Black Friday email

Also, try to have your promotion somewhere in your email as text (not on an image), so screen reader users can understand it and take advantage as well.

Empathy Wines

Not every brand has a Black Friday promotion, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still use it to connect with your audience!

Empathy Wines’s email used Black Friday to reinforce its company ethos, encouraging readers to simply be good Samaritans in some way rather than buying cases of wine. Plus, they end the email with an assurance of an entire year’s worth of exclusive (there’s that magical word again) offers and created for themselves an opportunity to grow their text message subscriber list as well.

Empathy Wine's Black Friday email


This goes to show that a nearly plain-text email can have just as meaningful of an impact as a heavily-designed one. If anything, it makes this one stand out from the other emails even more. The most important part of the offer doubles as the emphasized CTA. Plus, the header still has branding.

Whether or not this email was planned, it has the feeling of authenticity. Maybe they always knew they were going to extend the sale, or maybe they really were caught by surprise and had to throw together an impromptu email. Either way, it was nicely executed.

Everlane's Cyber Monday email

What Inspires You?

Let us know what your favorite Black Friday campaigns or subject lines are that caught your eye this season! Or, if you found something else clever (like a nicely placed sign-up form, we want to see those too. Let us know in the comments!

Remember to check every piece of your email’s content, test your deliverability and preview every email before you hit send in one smooth process with Campaign Precheck. Your ROI will thank you.

Get the Black Friday Email Report

Pathwire report graphic for Black Friday email survey

Download free, original research revealing how B2C email marketers approach the Black Friday and Cyber Monday season. Get your copy of Pathwire’s report, Email is the New Black [Friday].

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Author: Melissa Berdine

Serendipity steered Melissa into email marketing in 2017, and she's been hooked ever since. Creating emails for luxury hotels, sustainable foods, Netflix series, CBD brands, and more, she can be found with no less than four beverages on her desk, and her dog snoozing beside her. In her free time, Melissa likes to re-watch '90s sitcoms.

Author: Melissa Berdine

Serendipity steered Melissa into email marketing in 2017, and she's been hooked ever since. Creating emails for luxury hotels, sustainable foods, Netflix series, CBD brands, and more, she can be found with no less than four beverages on her desk, and her dog snoozing beside her. In her free time, Melissa likes to re-watch '90s sitcoms.

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