Email Design

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are marked with red ink on every retailer’s calendar. Combined, these dates offer an excellent opportunity to increase revenue. They are peak volume days when potential clients are eager to wander around digital stores.

Use email newsletters to drive traffic directly to your website and channel it in the right direction. When skillfully designed and sent at the right time, they can work magic. They deliver a message, engage subscribers, boost income, and build strong relationships. Their success depends on several factors, and the timing is the most crucial.

We have already highlighted the basic principles of good email campaigns as well as considered highly converting subject lines; it is time to maximize your strategy with proper timing.

Start with Email Design

Before we move into finding the best time to send an email for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we need to make sure that the design of our newsletter will not fail us nor disappoint the audience. Therefore, it should comply with best practices of email newsletters such as:

  • Have a themed look
  • Include an attractive offer or offers
  • Highlight the value of your deal
  • Stress a deadline
  • Include brand identity
  • Meet the mood of the event
  • Do not bore the audience
  • Do not overwhelm users with too many options
  • Has optimal readability
  • Be straight to the point

Check out our guides to get more information.

Also, ensure several vital things.

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  • First, you should have good deliverability rate, even on the busiest days of the year.
  • Second, your email should look great across various email readers. Pay attention to the limitations of using images, gifs, and emojis.
  • Finally, your email newsletter should look good on small and large screens.

If you do not have time to create a design that will look great across numerous devices, and email readers, you can use special tools that will do all the heavy lifting. Consider Postcards for that.

Postcards is a free HTML email template builder

Postcards is a free HTML email template builder with a drag-and-drop interface where you can quickly create a template without coding. Inside you will find more than 100 functional blocks that have responsive behavior, elegant design features, and most importantly work consistently across all popular email readers.

How Many Emails to Send for BFCM

According to recent statistics, November (the month when BFCM campaigns are sent) have an average open and click rates that are lower than usual. Many reasons cause this, but one of the most obvious is that hundreds of emails will bombard subscribers’ inboxes. Even if people want information, this flood is just too much. Therefore, you need to be ready to face the harsh reality where your email newsletter will go unnoticed, and your rates see a decline.

However, it does not mean that something is wrong with your strategy. It just indicates that you need to be tougher and more creative. One email newsletter is not enough to get through the door, to say nothing about encouraging subscribers to open the email and click the call-to-action button. You need more to do the trick.

Several strategies imply sending out more than one or two emails. Let us consider the most popular ones.

The first strategy covers the period from early November to early December. It aims to:

  • Nurture your audience
  • Build momentum
  • Create engagement

It primes subscribers long before the big day. Send teasers the week after Halloween. During the entire month of November, including Thanksgiving Day, drums up interest and butter up the audience.

Consequently, by BFCM weekend subscribers are truly excited and looking forward to an email from you. Numerous retailers, some of whom are the goliaths of industry, adopt it from year to year. And it works.

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Time to Send Email Newsletters for Black Friday

The Apple Shopping Event

The second strategy bets everything on the BFCM weekend. It implies sending out emails during the sale window that is from Friday (or one or two days before Friday) to Monday (or two days after it). Here you can send two emails a day. As a rule, they will be packed with psychological tricks. So be ready to:

  • Stress urgency
  • Underline scarcity
  • Use magic words, such as “Exclusive” or “VIP”
  • Place huge bold “SALE” message

What’s more, you should make the most out of the transactional emails such as abandoned cart notices or follow-up emails.

Hour Send Email Newsletters for Black Friday


Note both these strategies involve sending multiple emails. While it may seem like overkill, however, bear in mind customers will be hit with hundreds of newsletters during BFCM weekend so this will increase your chances of success.

The Best Day to Send BFCM Emails Is…

There are several strategies designed to improve BFCM email campaigns, and one of them implies sending out email newsletters as early as possible. Many experts and skilled marketers adhere to this scheme since they will be able to build anticipation and generate excitement.

If this is your strategy, the best day to start sending out BFCM email blasts is a week after Halloween. The day after All Saints’ Eve is often regarded as the start of the holiday season, but wait until the fuss around it settles down. By then, subscribers will be ready to receive another dose of offers. Do not bombard your contacts with teasers. Drop them a line once or twice a week building anticipation unobtrusively, preferably on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday (the most favorable days of the week to send out the email newsletters, according to stats published by Mailchimp).

The Best Day to Send Black Friday Email Newsletters

Source: Mailchimp Insights

What if you are not a fan of premature campaigns? In this case, you start sending BFCM emails right before Thanksgiving Day and consider combining it with a gift card. Note sending out the first email newsletter directly on the big day is considered a bad practice and leads to little or no results.

Best Time to Send an Email Newsletter

If you send an email too early, chances are your best offer will sink in inboxes. If you send it too late, it will sit unopened and may be forgotten.

With the busiest shopping weekend of the year, you will not have many opportunities to be heard. Knowing the time of the day when subscribers will be waiting for your email is the way to success.

To determine the best period for sending out BFCM email blasts, you need to analyze open rates and click-through rates since they give insights about the time when your contacts are mostly engaged in your emails.

According to recent studies that analyzed the period from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., there are two absolute winners. The best times to send out emails are 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. These times show the highest open rates. The reason for this is that usually at that time people open their inbox and go through them. Some evening hours can also be regarded as an alternative; 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. are other options.

Best Time to Send an Email Newsletter

Source: Mailchimp Insights

These studies are based on the open rate. However, what about click-throughs? After all, it is a more important number. The situation is no different. These four times still show the best CTR with 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. in the lead.

To sum up, there are four most convertible times – 10 a.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. – that are recommended and statistically proven to send out email newsletters for Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. However, 4 p.m. sees an uptick in both open and click rates. Therefore, if you want to bet everything on just one email, then you should probably go for this time.

If you are eager to send more than one eblast then you should make a small interruption between these two. For instance, send the first one in the morning and the second at 4 p.m.; or start at 4 p.m. and then send a reminder in the evening. In this case, you will have a better chance to get the attention of subscribers and drive traffic to your website.

Use A/B Tests to Polish Timing

We have determined the best hours to send out email newsletters. But there is a catch. There is not, and never will be, a one-size-fits-all answer.

The Mailchimp team has analyzed thousands of campaigns and found that optimal send times by hour of day differ for various groups of people. For instance, if you are targeting Egyptians, then the best time to send an email blast is at 1 p.m., whereas those who want to reach Spaniards need to send at 10 a.m.

Use A/B Tests to Polish Timing

Source: Mailchimp Insights

Your target audience is unique therefore the best time for sending out email newsletter may vary a bit. The weekend after Thanksgiving Day may also bring changes in behavior patterns and preferences. To draw conclusions about the best delivery times, conduct A/B tests during the year and right before the event. What’s more, if you have been running email marketing campaigns for a number of years, then you should use data from last year since it can provide helpful insights.

Use A/B tests to determine a specific delivery window and properly segment your audience based on preferences in time. Moreover, clean your subscription list to check who is still active, retarget customers who abandon their carts, and send out the offer on a schedule that works best for your subscribers.

Finally, yet importantly, keep in mind that BFCM weekend is a holiday period. People will be engaged in shopping and various social activities. Therefore, stats collected during past events will help you polish your tactics.


Thanksgiving, as well as the weekend after it, are massive email days. Subscribers’ inboxes will be flooded with deals and offers. It is a noisy time with the toughest competition ever, so everything should be perfect. For that reason, do not neglect timing.

Much like the subject line is the first impression of your email, it is also responsible for open rates that may lead to better CTR and growth in revenue.

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More often than not, when we talk about ’creating great user experiences’ we think about the challenges from an internal point of view when we really should consider the user – it’s literally 50% of user experience. While there has been a lot of talk in recent years about the importance of email marketing and the value you can bring through email, it’s still a communication channel that get’s very little UX love.

Email as a tool

91% of consumers check their email daily and it beats any other channel in terms of return on investment (ROI). In fact, every dollar spent on email marketing gets you an estimated $40 in return! As a comparison, that number is $22 for SEO and $2 for banner ads (do people actually still run banner ads? ?). So while there’s already a healthy premise for email marketing, I think there’s an enormous possibility to make so much more from it. The key though? Don’t treat it as a sales channel – treat it like a brand building opportunity. Any decent brand advocate will tell you that branding is primarily one thing: trust and the story we build our brand on.

Instead, most brands primarily focus on selling. Since sending emails is cheap, they figure they might as well just send one more. What’s the harm, right?

I think brands should take a different approach to email marketing: Your email marketing strategy should be to prepare someone to buy from you. Perhaps they just signed up, but are they ready to buy from you? They may not know enough about you to trust you yet. Honestly, you don’t enough know anything about them either! Without this knowledge about your new customer, it’s impossible to know when they are ready to buy. Think of a physical retail space. When you enter the store, a person will probably approach you, but they probably won’t ask you to buy right at that moment – they’ll ask questions to better understand what you’re looking for: ‘How can I help?, Are you looking for anything specific?, Let me know if you need assistance.’ But for some reason when it comes to email, our first impulse is to ask them to buy straight away.

As a creator, you need to be thinking about how you can turn subscribers into would-be customers.

This means that the curated pathways you’ve created have a single end: To prepare someone to buy from you.

What you’re looking for are the right signals that show that somebody is sufficiently engaged with what you’re sending, and (ideally) doing something with the information.A better email marketing framework

Onboard users

A lot of companies have blogs. A lot of companies ask readers for their emails. Very few of these companies balance the line of sending the appropriate amount of emails. It’s either a lot – like every day – or the opposite which is even worse. Let’s say I read an article on your blog and I want to know more. Congratulations, you now have my email. I signed up and then… nothing. Silence. It’s like you’re asking me to dance and then just walk away.

Confused dog

I’m then left alone for three or four weeks and suddenly your name pops up in my inbox with ‘an offer especially for me’. By this time, there’s a 95% chance I’ve forgotten who you are and I’ll just delete your email and unsubscribe.

Your most important email: The Onboarding email

Instead, the onboarding email should be the most thought-through email that you send. Why? Because it’s guaranteed to go out at a time when a user (read: potential customer) specifically has asked to know more and agreed to have a connection with you.

Unless you’re selling Birkin bags, where there’s a massive waiting list, you need to know when your customer is ready to buy – not when you’re ready to sell.

The onboarding email is your best chance at the one key thing that will help you eventually make a sale: knowing and understanding your customer and the problem they want help solving.

Curate your content. Front-load your best material, and line it up in a way that makes sense for somebody who’s new to your list. Lead them. Your subscribers are often most engaged when they first join your list, so give them an amazing first-run experience.A better email marketing framework

I would love nothing more than for everyone to sign up for my newsletter (where I share content just like this), but I also don’t want to bloat my list with signups that will just go on to unsubscribe. Here’s my onboarding email and how I handle this issue:

Subject: This is a totally automated email.

Let’s get this out of the way. This is an automated email. But… I still wanted to say hello and let you know that I’m a real person. I’m Anton and I am the UX-designer whose website you just visited. I may not know you personally yet, but I’m excited that you’re here ??

You have my word that I’ll be respectful of your inbox and only email you when I have some new content or a big announcement that I think you may find interesting.

One favor before I go:
Reply to this email and let me know why you signed up?

You can always connect with me on twitter or by just replying to this email. Until next time my friend, stay awesome.


Here’s why it works

First, it uses humor. There’s occasionally a fine line between being funny and not being professional, but the premise here is that – this is me, an actual person. Sometimes I’ll throw in a joke, but either way, I’ll always see to your interests.

Secondly, it’s short. People are busy and no one likes a long email especially if it doesn’t have to be long.

Third, I’m asking for a favor. It’s not a demand or insisting they go to a website to fill out a long form. It’s just one question. And while it’s just one simple question, most people respond with fairly long answers. They’ll tell me why they signed up (what posts they read for example) and tell me about their problems (I’m just getting started in UX and want to learn more, I’ve just been promoted to UX Lead and not sure what that means).

I’m also giving them an idea of the amount of emails I’ll send – it also states one email every two weeks when they sign up. The opening rate for the first onboarding email is over 80% and, after one week, I follow up with another email. I’m not going to post that one here, so you’ll have to sign up to see it!

Companies that “get it”

Some companies completely get this. I wanted to highlight some of my favorites:

  • Gosquared (no onboarding sequence) – Their weekly email is one of the few link emails that I’ll allow to go straight to my inbox.
  • Paul Jarvis – Master of email. It’s no coincidence that Paul, whose list has 15,000 subscribers and who created the email marketing class, Chimp Essentials, has thought these things through.
  • Val Geisler – I’ve followed Val on twitter for some time and she’s always sharing awesome email tips. Her own onboarding email is funny and she lists #5 things that you probably didn’t know about her. The 5th one being that she’s on a mission to share what works and what doesn’t in email marketing and she wants to share that with a list of 10,000 subscribers. It strikes a great balance between being personal and professional.

What are you favorite email newsletters? Do they all end up directly in your inbox?

UX in email is more than wireframes

As you can see, creating a great user experience is a lot more than just designing wireframes, creating an information architecture, or even doing user journeys — it’s everywhere and everything where your user could be interacting with you. So if email provides a channel that’s direct, personal, and where they specifically asked for us to contact them – why don’t we give this medium more love?

Let me know (through email!) if you want to discuss email marketing with me. I’m always willing to share my knowledge and learn from you too!

All writing


As web developers, we (obviously) help create the web. So it should come as no surprise that we have an inordinate amount of blog posts, articles, and links created on the web every week related to web development. Keeping up can be tough. One of the tools I use is to subscribe to newsletters, but there are a lot of those too! In this post, I cover all the ones that I personally am aware of that are relevant to frontend web developers. Please feel free to share additional newsletters in the comments.

General Frontend Development

Frontend Focus

This newsletter, formerly named HTML5 Weekly, from Cooper Press (as a number of inclusions in this post are) focuses on web standards, HTML, CSS and related technologies.

Frontend Weekly

Frontend Weekly covers similar topics to Frontend Focus (i.e. web standards, HTML, CSS) but often with very different links.

Responsive Web Design Weekly

RWD and just plain-old web design have mostly become indistinguishable, but this newsletter covers a lot of general frontend development with a tilt towards web design and mobile.


This newsletter is curated by Nicolás Bevacqua is focused on the web platform and is usually a good source of deep technical posts.

O’Reilly Web Newsletter

O’Reilly’s web-focused newsletter has the benefit of being short, never presenting more than 8-10 links, which makes it good for very quickly catching up on some top links.


The Web Development Reading List by Anselm Hannemann is good read in that it has a limited number of links but always with commentary and context for them.


JavaScript Weekly

JavaScript Weekly, also from Cooper Press, has been around for a long time and has a huge audience. While it often has a ton of links, some relatively recent changes to the format still make it easy to scan and find what you are interested in.

ES.Next News

This newsletter is curated by Dr. Axel Rauschmayer, a well known JavaScript expert. It focuses more on JavaScript language features. It also is limited to 5 links, making it a quick and easy way to catch up.

Node Weekly

A Cooper Press newsletter focused on the Node ecosystem or relevant articles on the JavaScript language.

CSS and Web Design

CSS Weekly

CSS Weekly, curated by Zoran Jambor, has been around for some time and rounds up articles, tutorials, experiments and tools related to CSS.

Web Design Weekly

This well curated newsletter by Jake Bresnehan has a broad array of links often from straight design to tools and development related to web design as well as links for design inspiration.


This newsletter covers similar topics to Web Design Weekly, but with what seems like a slightly stronger designer tilt, even though it does include some more general web development links.

CSS Animation Weekly

This newsletter, curated by Donovan Hutchinson, focuses on web animation using CSS, as the name implies.


Mobile Dev Weekly

I curate this one with my good friend Holly Schinsky and the folks at Cooper Press. While it focuses on anything mobile development, we heavily cover mobile web focused content as well as tools like React Native, NativeScript, Ionic.

History of the Web

We can’t really understand where we are unless we understand how we got here – and, when it comes to the web and web development, Jay Hoffman serves up history that, on top of being useful, is always fun to read.

Web Tools Weekly

Do you find it tough to keep up with all the new tools and open source libraries, well this newsletter, curated by Louis Lazaris, gives you the latest tools and releases focused on web development and design.