BLACK FRIDAY HAS ALWAYS BEEN the most important day on the retail calendar, but in an omnichannel world, making your deals stand out from the crowd can be difficult. While the digital world offers a myriad of options for campaigns, sometimes a return to basics is just what a brand needs. That’s why Ebates, a member-ship-based discount aggregator, turned to an old standby to push its Black Friday specials: Email.
“We go heavy on TV coverage in the holiday sea-
son, and we also use search,” says Derek Kazee,
director of retention marketing for Ebates. “But in
terms of how we promote ourselves and our pro-
motions, we lean heavily on email.”
Kazee says the idea for a specific Black Friday
preview email came after getting a reminder email
of his own from a different company.
“In addition to being marketers, we’re also con-
sumers, and we knew from some of our test-and-
learn methodology that email is a good reminder
that it’s time to go shop—people can refer back to
this email and plan their shopping,” he says. “We
did not plan this email months in advance.“
“We were looking at historical data and we saw
that Black Friday is bleeding into multiple days be-
fore and after,” Kazee says. “But even though the
promotions weren’t live at the time the email was
sent, it was something to use to mark your calen-
dar and anticipate.”
The preview email reported results greater than
Ebates expected: the open rate was 16. 5 percent,
the click-through rate was 2. 5 percent and the con-
version rate was 10 percent. The company’s email
partners include Epsilon and Movable Ink.
“It was unique and original high quality content.
Everything about it screamed ‘open me, click on me, and go buy,’” Kazee says.
Email is a major driver of other Ebates promotions as well. The company is making a big push toward getting users to download its app so it can communicate with push notifications. This push includes email links to app downloads, as well as specials related to mobile purchases.
“We’re definitely pushing hard on mobile,” says
Kazee. “The whole purpose of ‘Mobile Monday’
[part of the Black Friday promotion email] is to
shine a light on our mobile products, and to really
get people to download the app.”
That means that follow-up emails sent on Mo-
bile Monday are designed to drive users to down-
load the app and then get deals. Clicking links on
a mobile device—phone or tablet—goes directly to
the applicable app store.
“This was one of the first times that a lot of our
channels got together; paid marketing, SEM, all of
the graphics and taglines,” says Zack Woolford,
Ebates content marketing manager. “You don’t
have an option [to get deals outside of using the
app] because we didn’t want people to get con-
fused about Mobile Monday being about the mo-
With advanced email technology increasingly
available to marketers, Kazee says that future
Black Friday promotions could be even better.
“We made graphics non-clickable for things that weren’t live yet,” he says. “I think in the future we would love to use technology to alleviate that dead link, so that the email is actually dynamic, on the actual day it is opened.” MQ
HOW EMAIL HEATS
UP BLACK FRIDAY
BY NATHAN GOLIA
“BLACK FRIDAY IS BLEEDING
INTO MULTIPLE DAYS.”
—DEREK KAZEE, EBATES