Not only is Thanksgiving weekend great for all the noms, it’s also great for businesses that count on it for generating heaps of revenue. According to marketing data from Adobe, shoppers spend over $10 billion dollars over Thanksgiving weekend, and more than $3 billion of this is spent on Cyber Monday alone. Because of this, many marketers have been carefully planning their Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns for a while, and it’s almost go time.

Think you’re all set with your email campaigns? Odds are you may be forgetting something. We’ve created this simple 5-step checklist to help guide you to Black Friday and Cyber Monday email marketing success.

1. Goals

With more than $10 billion dollars up for grabs, marketers wouldn’t plan a Black Friday or Cyber Monday campaign without a clear revenue goal in mind. Starting with a goal allows you to carefully craft an offer and messaging that resonates with your customers and gives you the greatest return.

So before you hit the big send button, take a look back at your goals and make sure your campaign still aligns and that you can effectively measure its success.

2. Compelling subject line & offer

No one likes a boring subject line, and 35% of consumers open emails based on subject lines alone, according to Convince and Convert. For marketers, this means that the more compelling your subject line amongst all the Thanksgiving inbox noise, the more likely a customer is to open. So when giving your campaign a final look over, ask yourself if the subject line is compelling enough to open your email. If so, go ahead and mark this one off your list! If not, give the 75 email subject lines to light up inboxes this holiday post a read.

Brands using emoji in their subject lines have seen a 45% increase in their unique open rates. So maybe it’s time to consider putting those holiday emojis to good use. The snowman is known for his open-inducing charms.

3. Mobile optimization

A pretty email goes a long way, but is it optimized for mobile? Roughly two-thirds of emails are opened on mobile devices and 51% of marketers have no mobile strategy at all or just the very basics.

For marketers, it’s imperative to have a clean design that gets your message across and makes it easy for consumers to take action – but mobile optimization doesn’t stop there. If consumers are opening their emails on their smartphones, they’ll be visiting your website on their smartphones too. So a mobile optimized site is just as, if not more, important than an optimized email.

Looking good on the mobile front? Give yourself a big checkmark if your email and website are mobile optimized.

4. Send date & time

According to TechCrunch, 50% of people check their email while in bed, 18% check while driving and 42% check while in the bathroom. So when is the right time to hit subscribers’ inboxes?

The short answer is, there’s no one size fits all approach to sending emails, as every industry and every person is different. So it’s important to test throughout the year. Start by first segmenting your audience, testing the day of the week and then work down to the hour. CoSchedule makes the following testing recommendations:

Optimal send times

Already know the optimal time to send to your target audience? Give yourself a big, checkmark.

5. A clean email list

This is the most forgotten step and arguably the most important. Your list might not be as fresh as you think. Things change – people get married, change jobs, retire old email addresses, etc.

Feeling not so fresh now? In order to optimize the return on your campaign and prevent a Blacklist Friday from happening, you need to ask yourself a few important questions:

How old is your list?

According to Marketing Sherpa, an email list decays 2.1% every month. So that list of 5,000 addresses you acquired through last year’s Cyber Monday campaign, might now only be 3,740. If 1,260 of those emails bounce, this could hurt your sender reputation and significantly impact the deliverability of your campaigns, putting you at risk for getting blacklisted.

How did you acquire these email addresses?

The source of your list matters. If your list was recently acquired through a double-opt-in process, then you’re likely in good shape, as this helps eliminate invalid email addresses. If your campaign experiences a high number of bounces, say hello to Blacklist Friday and goodbye to a good ROI.

Want to avoid Blacklist Friday? Verifying your email list before sending can help keep you from being blacklisted, while also elevating your email marketing efforts. Using an integration like the new BriteVerify-Campaign Monitor integration, you can quickly and easily verify your email list at the click of a button.

Wrap up

By following the checklist above, you can prevent a Blacklist Friday from happening to you and ensure you hit the inbox and break through the holiday noise. For more holiday email deliverability tips check out 7 email deliverability tips for the holidays.