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106. [BIZ BITE] How many emails should I send during a promotion

106. [BIZ BITE] How many emails should I send during a promotion

On last week’s episode we chatted about how many emails you should send a week at any given time in your eCommerce business, if you haven’t listened to that yet – definitely go check it out, it’s episode 104 and under 7 minutes. 

But what happens when you’re in a promotional time in your business, for example, Black Friday? In that case, your cadence should be different and will be increased from what you typically send. 

So let’s chat about what that looks like. 


First up, let’s pretend you have a standard promo happening over the weekend. At a minimum you’re going to want to have at least 3 emails, a launch, a reminder, and a last chance. Even if you only have a few hundred people on your list, you’ll want these three emails. 

For the purposes of today’s episode, I’m going to talk through what a typical Black Friday email cadence would look like and then you can pair that down for your smaller promotions. 

We’re going to run our sale from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. 

On Wednesday, we’re going to launch to our VIPs On Thanksgiving evening at around 4 PM we’re going to Launch to the entire list, and then our promotion is going to end at 11:59 PM on Monday night. 

To keep this example simple we’re going to have the same promotion throughout the entire weekend. 

  • Tuesday night we’re going to remind our VIP list that their access to the sale is coming tomorrow and to watch their inbox at X time. 
  • Wednesday we send the VIP launch email
  • Thursday morning we send the last chance for VIP access to the VIP list and exclude those who already purchased. 
  • Thursday evening we’re going to send the promo launch to the entire listOn Friday morning we’re going to resend the launch email to anyone who didn’t click (I used to say open but since iOS15 I’ve changed it to click) the email from the night before 
  • Friday evening we’re going to send our Holiday gift guides to everyone who hasn’t purchased
  • Saturday morning we’re going to resend our Holiday Gift Guides to anyone who didn’t click the email from Friday evening. 
  • Saturday evening we’re going to send a product or collection feature email to everyone who hasn’t purchased. 
  • Sunday morning resend the Saturday evening email to everyone who didn’t click the email from the night before. On Sunday night send our bestsellers to anyone who hasn’t purchased from the sale yet. 
  • Monday morning resend our bestseller to anyone who didn’t click from the night before and remind them that the sale is ending that night
  • Monday night, about 6 hours before the sale ends, we’ll send a last chance email to everyone on both your regular list and VIP list even if they have already bought. 

A few things to think about here:

  1. This is a very general cadence that you can get more specific with in terms of what content you want to share which is going to vary widely depending on your business and product assortment
  2. For your last chance email, you can send different versions to your purchasers and non-purchasers so far throughout the sale. For instance – maybe the email you send to those who have already bought from the sale receive more of a “Who did you forget on your list” email. 
  3. Use a mix of content inside your emails. Sometimes feature product, sometimes it’s more of a full graphic flyer. You want them to feel fresh, especially those resends. Since we can’t rely on open rates alone, it’s possible someone already saw the original version of that email, so you’ll want to switch up the content so it doesn’t feel redundant. 
  4. You’ll also want to monitor your results in real time and adjust if you need to. If you see that your email engagement is tanking, you may need to pull back on your sends. If it’s holding strong and you have more messages you want to send – you can send those additional emails to everyone on the list vs. just those who haven’t clicked the email from the day before. 

And I know, when you’re listening to all those emails it seems like a lot and it is. But when we’re talking about a season like black Friday, people’s inboxes are like Twitter feeds, so you need to keep sending so you’re getting in front of your customer. 
If your promotion is not during such a heavy promo season, if it’s just a random weekend in March, then you don’t have to send as many emails. One a day is likely enough. 

One other thing I want to touch on here is the VIP list. Some people wonder why do I have to build a VIP list if I’m basically sending everything to my main list anyway. And it’s really twofold here:

  1. You can do something special for them like early access or a bigger discount so they feel special + taken care of. 
  2. Is that now you have this group of people who have raised their hand and saiid yes, I want to hear more about this thing that you’re promoting or talking about. And when someone specifically opts in to hear about something going on in your business, you can email them about it more without worrying about them getting fatigued from your message. 

Additionally, once you get more comfortable in your email sending and have your strategy down, you can start giving your people the option to opt out of certain messaging without unsubscribing from your entire email list. This way they can say hey, I want to stay on your email list but I’ve already made my purchase related to this thing you’re promoting and now I’m done with this messaging. 

If you’re on my email list you probably saw that option when we were launching the lounge earlier this year. You could click a button in an email and it would take you to a landing page that said you will no longer hear about the Lounge. Then you were automatically added to a segment that was then excluded from any future emails about the Lounge specifically. 

You don’t have to worry about that when you’re first starting out, but it can definitely be helpful as you grow and increase your sending cadence. 

Ultimately, the big takeaway that I want you to have here is to send more emails. And remember as a general rule the bigger your email list and the wider your product assortment the more emails you can send! 

Listen to the Episode

Hey, I'm Jessica

I support scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale the traffic, sales & profit in their eCommerce businesses. 


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