Everyone loves the long Thanksgiving holiday for different reasons. As a lifecycle marketer, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are like the Super Bowl for me. According to our friends over at the Retail Email Blog, references to Black Friday during Black Friday week were up 48% as of Tuesday, November 22. And, the top online retailers sent each of their subscribers a new all-time high of 4.9 promotional emails on average during the week ending Nov. 25, 2011, eclipsing the previous record of 4.6 set last year at the height of the holiday season. That’s up 18% week-over-week, up 35% from where it was four weeks ago, and up 19% year-over-year. Weekly email volume should rise for another couple of weeks before starting to decline as the holiday season begins to wind down.

While others watched football or shopped ’til they dropped, I scoured my inbox for some great and not-so-great examples to share with you.

There were three common themes in the subject lines that I received: Gobble, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I have to hand it to mass-retailer Old Navy for using the From Label Gobblepalooza – fun and brand appropriate.

Old Navy Gobblepalooza: The Year’s BIGGEST SALE Starts Tomorrow! In Stores & Online

Subject lines that caught my attention addressed a specific need or obstacle that shoppers might need to overcome like crowds, shipping, etc. Some stand-out examples include:

  • Lou Malnati’s To-Go: Dasher’s Early Bird Special from Tastes of Chicago (Lou’s didn’t even bother with the turkey and went straight in for reindeer!)
  • Zagg Inc: Open me to see our Black Friday sale
  • BananaRepublic.com: Open me today for special deals + FREE Shipping Every Day
  • LeapFrog: Black Friday Savings without the Big Crowds!
  • TOMS Headquarters: Giving Just Got Easier…Free Shipping!
  • GoCoffeeGo: Exclusive Black Friday / Cyber Monday Super-Sale Deals!
  • Spreecast: Thanksgiving, Football & Black Friday, Oh My!
  • Thrillist: SF: Screw Black Friday, Let’s Drink
  • Disney Store: Cyber Monday Savings! Free Shipping PLUS Up to 25% Off
  • Groupon: Groupon Celebrates Small Business Saturday – Shop Local Today!

I was surprised that I didn’t see more Small Business Saturday subject lines, but perhaps SBS got a bit lost in the holiday shuffle?

Of course, there were some duds, in my humble opinion, including these turkeys:

  • Spanx: Happy Turkey Day! Eat Up & Slim Down! (Um, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to think about eating up and slimming down in the same sentence on Thanksgiving)
  • Poppy’s Closet: Don’t read me! You just might… (This tactic did not work for me)
  • Bliss Beauty: No Subject  (they forgot to include a subject line!) Doh! Talk about a missed opportunity. Then they proceeded to send an email every day throughout the weekend.


With the biggest month of sales ahead, what will you do to make your emails stand out in the inbox? Check out our Creating a Successful Email webinar on 12/15 from 1-2 pm PST for tips and tactics.

© 2011 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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