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Paola Bergamini
9 November 2022
Reading time: 4 min.

10 tips to push your Black Friday emails beyond the usual design

Have you run out of ideas for your Black Friday campaigns and need some inspiration? Find out what you can do (and what you should definitely avoid) to make your emails look original, as recommended by our design team.

Black backgrounds, countdowns and GIFs… you’ve tried everything for your Black Friday campaigns and, let’s face it, this year you have to come up with something new if you want to draw attention.

To explain how you can make your emails stand out in the overcrowded inboxes this Black November, we asked Yuliana and Luana, two experienced designers from BEE. Bee develops the drag & drop editor to create emails and landing pages available in the MailUp platform; the company is part of the Growens group, together with MailUp.

There is a new BEE editor feature in the platform. Scroll down to discover it!

Find out the email design best practices to follow (and mistakes to avoid) with the help of the team that works every day creating click-proof email templates. Don’t miss the best Black Friday templates chosen directly by Yuliana and Luana at the end of the article!

Activate now the free trial to discover MailUp's potential.

From developing integrations to strategic support, from creating creative concepts to optimizing results.

Before you start

What do you need to create a WOW campaign for Black Friday?

Essentially 2 things:

  • An email delivery platform that has an integrated editor to create customisable, original and optimised email templates for mobile
  • Lots of creativity and imagination

For the first point, MailUp, our professional email marketing platform has already integrated the drag & drop BEE editor, a tool with easy drag & drop features to create highly customisable emails for high visual impact.

For the second point, BEE designers Yuliana and Luana will give you all the advice you need to boost your artistic skills.

Keep on reading their interview!

Hello Yuliana and hello Luana. First of all, please tell us something about what you do at BEE as Designers.

Yuliana: I am a bulgarian graphic designer, based in Southampton, UK. I love experimenting with design and typography, learning new things, and developing my design knowledge and style. I enjoy producing designs that make an impact and I am always up for a new challenge.

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Luana: Hi, my name is Luana. I come from Italy and I’m based in the countryside of Naples. I was 15 when I fell in love with graphic design and this relationship still continues. For me being a graphic designer is more than just pixels, pencil and colors. It is about designing with an open mind, showing passion and pushing myself to be better. My promise as a designer is to always design with dignity, never stop learning, and most importantly, strive to create excellent work. All of my works are very modern and simple. In my opinion this is the key for timeless design.

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10 tips for original Black Friday email campaigns

Let’s get started with your advice! What Email Design tips would you give the readers to create really effective Black Friday-themed email templates? 

Yuliana: My top 5 suggestions would be:

  1. Stand out from the crowd. Choose something different from the standard black background used by all brands. Go beyond clichés. Opting for different colours can be a great way to grab attention.
  2. Choose good photography and pay attention to the visuals in the email. Whether they are images or GIFs, they have to be eye-catching!

Tip no.1 : If you choose a GIF, remember to check the preview and make sure the message is conveyed in words as well. Some mail clients could block the GIF resulting in a poor experience for your customers. 

  1. In addition to the visuals, also pay attention to the typography of your email. From formatting to font style, make sure you maximise the beauty of your copy.
  2. Black Friday is Mobile First! Most Black Friday shopping now takes place from mobile. Always check the email preview from your smartphone.

Tip no. 2: The Message Preview feature in MailUp helps you check how the email is displayed on desktop and all devices. 

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  1. Last but not least… the hybrid layout. Play with a layout that is not too rigid, alternate a single column for the main content with multiple columns below the fold to create space for secondary content, like Google does:
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(Source: Really Good Emails)

Luana: I agree with Yuliana’s advice. I will add 4 more tips that I find particularly useful in general, not just for Black Friday:

  1. Choose an essential colour palette. You can create impactful emails with two colours only, as seen in the template above from Google.
  2. Place the Call To Action button above the fold (the first part of the email visible without scrolling) so recipients won’t have to scroll through the whole message to find the link to your Black Friday offers.
  3. Keep the layout minimal and essential. A clean email without too many elements can help the eye to scan the content more quickly and immediately understand the message.
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9. Stay consistent with the brand’s style. Maintaining a style that distinguishes the brand and makes your emails immediately recognisable is essential to stand out in the inbox.

Extra tip: the new feature Saved Rows helps you speed up your work

One of the latest email design features you can find in the MailUp platform is the Saved Rows (part of the BEE editor), available in the Plus and Premium editions only.

Thanks to this feature, when creating an email template you can design a custom row (e.g. header, footer, any recurring section in your newsletter and so on) save it and reuse it whenever you want, in any template you create.

What is the advantage?

  • Saving time and having ready-made content without needing to remember all the specific settings used previously (e.g. margins, fonts, colours)
  • Maintaining consistency and minimising the risk of changes to your style and brand (especially if you have a team people working on your email templates).

This is how the feature works in the MailUp platform:

  1. Click on the floppy disk icon to save the style of the row
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  1. Give your row a name and save it
  1. When creating a new email, click on the “Row“ tab and select your Saved Row:
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In BEE user manual you can understand how this features work and how handy it can be, above all when adding your usual footer in your emails:

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Can’t find the feature in your platform? Saved Rows is only available oh the Plus and Premium editions. Get in touch with our Team to upgrade to Plus or Premium


Black Friday templates available for free

Is there a Black Friday template that you find particularly effective and can share with us?

Y: I really enjoyed creating this gym/fitness black friday template, which is free on beefree.io

L: I’ve recently designed a Black Friday template available for all BEE users and highly customisable according to your business. Here’s the link: https://beefree.io/template/black-friday-watch-sale/

The most useful tools to create great emails

What BEE Editor features do you think make a difference when creating an email?

Yuliana: definitely all those features that allow you to adapt the layout to mobile, such as the Hide on mobile/desktop feature, which allows you to show or hide certain elements of the message depending on the device, and the Do not stack on mobile and Reverse stack order on mobile, which optimise the structure of the message on smartphones.

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Luana: the modular structure of the BEE Editor makes it possible to build a flexible email, with content blocks that adapt based on the device detected. This is an example of a MailUp newsletter displayed on different devices:

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Thanks to the modular structure of the editor, in the mobile version the layout gets reorganised and the secondary copy is aligned vertically to be read even on the smallest screens.

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Mistakes to avoid for Black Friday…and beyond

What are the design mistakes to avoid when creating a Black Friday email?

Y: One mistake we often see is to use most of the body of the email for a visual, be it an image or a GIF. Many brands think that filling up the entire email with an image or photo will automatically make it impactful and creative. The risk is that some mail clients might not display the image, making the whole email appear empty and meaningless.

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Steps to follow when creating an email template

Last question: is there a process you deem effective or that you follow to get inspired when creating an email template?

Y: Step 1 is to look for inspiration and stimulate your mind with ideas and ideas. Pinterest or the Really Good Emails website are two great sources of inspiration.

The next step is to research the theme of the email to understand what are the key concepts you need to convey through the design.

L: creating a moodboard is also a good step to follow. This allows you to tidy up all the ideas you have in your head and give a logical outline to the first draft of the template. Finally… of course use the BEE editor which will guide you through its endless possibilities for experimentation!

The Ultimate Email Design checklist for your Black Friday

  • Go beyond clichés and experiment with original images and fonts
  • Focus on how the email will display on mobile
  • Choose a hybrid and essential layout
  • Don’t just play with images – typography is important too
  • Place the Call to Action in the first part of the email (above the fold)

And use your creativity to experiment with the BEE editor in the MailUp platform!

You don’t have all the features of the BEE editor we recommended? Upgrade to the Plus edition of MailUp! 

And if you haven’t put MailUp to the test yet, activate a free trial of the platform now to test the BEE editor and all its features.

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Paola Bergamini

I was born in 1993 in Como and I escaped from this little town to study in Milan, where I graduated in 2017 in philosophy. I've always been interested in marketing and communication and I love writing and reading. As Content Editor at MailUp, I try to keep up to date with Email and Digital Marketing news, in order to share trends, theories and tools about this constantly evolving sector.

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