Your overall Black Friday ecommerce strategy is one thing. Marketing is a different ball game entirely.

Coming up with a marketing strategy for Black Friday isn’t always easy. So we put together this list of ideas to set your brand on the right track.

5 of the best Black Friday marketing ideas for 2021

Here are five BFCM marketing ideas that all online stores need to implement to maximize holiday sales. After that, stick around for some *bonus* material – some of the best examples of marketing tactics we’ve seen in the wild.

  1. Segment your Black Friday deals
  2. Create amazing & consistent Black Friday content… beyond just email
  3. Pump up your BFCM social media strategy
  4. Offer free shipping (and free returns shipping)
  5. Offer a free gift with Black Friday purchases

1. Segment your Black Friday deals

Online marketing on Black Friday takes on at least two forms:

  • Customer acquisition
  • Customer retention

Would you offer both these groups the same deals on Black Friday? Only if you don’t want to maximize profits.

When you think of the above groups, they really can be sliced up in many ways. Take your existing customers for example. When segmenting them and creating offers, ask yourself the following questions:

  • When was the last time they purchased?
  • What did they buy?
  • Do they engage with your website often?
  • Are they opening your emails?

By thinking about customer history, you can segment accordingly. If you’ve got a group of people who haven’t purchased in a while, you may want to target them with a stronger offer than the general public gets.

Or not – it depends on your brand and your overall strategy. The bottom line: one size does not fit all when it comes to marketing Black Friday deals.


2. Create amazing & consistent Black Friday content… beyond just email

Okay, so you’ve created your Black Friday/Cyber Monday email campaign… what else?

To be competitive, you’re going to have to pull out all the stops. That means creating an entire suite of content offerings all pointing back to your fabulous deals.

What could you create? Here are some ideas:

  • Banners & banner ads
  • Infographics
  • Pop-ups
  • Landing pages
  • Blog articles

Just as you would every other time of year, you’ll want to create a cohesive content strategy for BFCM. Don’t stop your Black Friday promotion at email, go further!

Also, consider that email is a very competitive medium. According to Campain Monitor, more business emails go out on Black Friday than any other day.

Email marketing is still big (it pushes 20% of online visits on BFCM), but it’s not everything. This year, it’s time to diversify your content offering to reach more potential customers.

3. Pump up your BFCM social media strategy

The best Black Friday marketing strategy will never be complete without a social media element. The question is… how big will that element be? A few random posts linking to your deals may not cut through the noise.

At a minimum, make sure you handle the following:

  • Frequent ‘enough’ posts
  • Cover all the right hashtags
  • Use images & links
  • Pump out your best deals

To really make your Black Friday online marketing plan pops, you’ll need to crank it up a notch. One great way to do that: social media giveaways.

Using an app like Gleam, you can easily build giveaways/contests that incentivize potential customers to take beneficial actions in exchange for a chance to win some glorious prize.

In other words, you can ask potential customers to share your Black Friday deals, follow you on Instagram, and join your mailing list. That’s one way to go viral on the most important sales event of the year!

4. Offer free shipping (and free returns shipping)

This may seem more like a logistics play, but your shipping policy and your returns policy can actually be major marketing tools.

Customers will be flocking to sites like Amazon on Black Friday. One reason for that: free shipping. And if you can’t beat ’em… join ’em!

Look at it this way, Black Friday is an opportunity to acquire new customers. Free shipping is a tool that online retailers can use to draw attention to their Black Friday campaign and win sales.

After you’ve got them in the door, the work isn’t over. You could still lose customers through the returns process… does that sound like an opportunity to you? This is yet another conversion breakpoint.

If that sounds crazy, think of it like this: returns can be converted into exchanges.

Selling a customer on an exchange is like converting them all over again. If you know anything about post-purchase behavior, happy customers stick around. Promoting an awesome returns experience will help retain & gain customers.

How do returns help you gain customers? Because your return policy is one of your best marketing assets. Having a generous return policy can inspire customers to buy. During Black Friday, you can consider extending your return window to make your brand even more enticing.

For more on this wild, crazy, and effective philosophy, check out the following articles:

5. Offer a free gift with Black Friday purchases

Okay, it’s starting to feel like ‘free’ is a theme with this list of Black Friday marketing tips, but hear me out. According to this survey:

90% Of Consumers Say Free Gift With Purchase Increases Brand Loyalty

Wouldn’t it be great if all your Black Friday customers also became rabid fans? Free gifts can go a long way toward guaranteeing that. A well-chosen gift could also introduce new customers to other product lines and inspire future purchases.

Besides, offering a free gift is something you can promote your deals with too. This strategy is becoming a BFCM mainstay – right up there with free shipping. Don’t get left behind!

Bonus: Black Friday marketing examples that nailed it

The above list offers some sound strategic advice. But how about the execution?

Black Friday marketing tactics can be difficult to conceive. Luckily, there are a lot of great examples from prior BFCM events that we can draw from. Here are a few of the best Black Friday marketing campaigns, curated to inspire.

Chubbies Shorts

Our friends at Chubbies Shorts outdid themselves when they created a new spin on Cyber Monday… Thighber Monday 😆

Besides that, they’ve executed a mobile-friendly email with an urgency-building design that almost everyone will a smartphone will recognize.


Here’s Knix offering a freebie on a minimum Black Friday purchase. In this case, the freebie is the backbone of the offer. Sure they’ll offer some discounts, but I wonder how many customers came through just for the free stuff?

Princess Polly

Spend and save is a great tactic to make sure that people are making bigger purchases. This email was also sent to a segmented list of customers as an “early access” offer. People love to feel special.


Here’s an idea: promote your brand by not running a Black Friday offer at all. That’s what Allbirds did – and guess what? They stirred up a ton of interest on social media. A bold move indeed.


With a lightweight popup, Brooklinen was able to offer early access, a free gift, and some outstanding deals. By clicking the button to activate the deals, it gives customers the feeling that they’ve created their own destiny.

Why wouldn’t they go one step further and click the buy button?

Wrapping up

Feeling a bit better? Less nervous? You can never be prepared enough for the Black Friday rush, but hopefully, these strategies have given you the strength to dig deeper.

By the way, have you thought about your BFCM returns strategy? We’ve been helping brands get ready for the 30%+ influx in returns that otherwise might swamp your service teams.

There’s still time to get your brand in position. Spend time driving new business, not losing customers to returns. Book a demo with our team to see how Loop can help! Still not sure? No prob – check out this list of the best post-purchase software to give your team the edge this holiday season.