How To
11 min read

How to Write an Effective Flash Sale Email That Converts

Mariana Krasteva

August 8, 2022

Did you know that online flash sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday generated an astounding $6.3 billion in 2021, exceeding the 2020 figures by almost 25%? These “golden hours of retail” offer an exceptional opportunity to boost sales you wouldn’t want to miss. 

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How can you join the league of winning businesses and make flash sales work for you, too? A flash sale email can be the answer. All you need to do is make it part of your digital brand strategy. Flash sale emails differ from holiday emails and emails that address abandoned carts during checkout on e-commerce websites. Each strategy is different and purposefully written to achieve the desired outcome.

Writing a successful flash sale email, however, can be challenging. Ideally, you have about 10 seconds to spark your reader’s interest in your product before they jump to the next message in their inbox.  

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What’s more, you must be proactive, create a sense of urgency, and prompt your audience to initiate and complete the purchase process. However, being too pushy will likely scare them off, so you have to strike the perfect balance. There's a lot to consider when writing a flash sale email—from selecting the tone and writing the subject line to incorporate the right call to action.

To help you navigate the maze of creating an effective flash sale email that converts, we’ve listed some best practices that will help engage large audiences. You’ll also find tips and examples that will enable you to turn uninterested viewers into loyal customers waiting anxiously for your next flash sale email.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive right in! 

What is a flash sale email?

First, let’s define what a flash sale is. It’s a short-term promotion that offers limited-time discounts and deals. The sale is usually over a short period of time, typically between 24 and 72 hours, where the brand offers substantial discounts on products or services. 

Why should you opt for a flash sale?

  • It drives sales and brings in revenue. 
  • You can clear out excess stock and out-of-season products.
  • A flash sale enhances brand awareness and helps you become recognized by your customers. It’s a great way to help your prospects learn about your products.

One of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to inform online shoppers about a short-term sale and create a buzz around your products and brand is through emails. So, a flash sale email can be used to promote:

  • Product-based flash sales—These emails feature a product or a set of products. This type of email is often used for launching a new product or offering exclusive deals on products that are in high demand.
  • Service-based flash sales—This type of email can be used to promote anything from restaurant reservations to vacation packages.

In any case, a flash sale email aims to attract people’s attention and drive increased sales over a short period. Its success is based on creating urgency and a fear of missing out, which can encourage your audience to act quickly before the deal expires or runs out.

To achieve its goal, this type of marketing email blends a compelling discount offer with enticing images of the products or services on sale and links back to your store's website, where customers can make a purchase. 

Now that you know the name of the game, let’s start with the first and most important step.

1. Hook the reader with an attractive subject line

The subject line is a key element of a flash sale email. It’s the first thing your recipients will see; doing it right will increase your chances of getting your message across and boosting sales. So, it’s imperative to make your flash sale email subject line catchy, clear, and concise. It should also be specific and relevant to your audience and the product you sell. 

Make sure that your offer in your email inspires confidence in its quality and value. This will help overcome customers’ hesitation and drive conversions. 

Here are some examples you can use for your next campaign.

  • Flash sale: up to 50% off
  • Save up to 50% with our flash sale on summer essentials
  • Flash sale: get 25% off your order
  • Best deals of the year: up to 50% off!
  • Save with our 12 days of Christmas sale
  • Shop the holiday sale for huge savings
  • Cyber week is here: up to 50% off all shoes!
  • Save big while shopping our biggest sale of the year
  • Save up to 25% on all your purchases this weekend

Need more inspiration? Use Copy.ai’s Free Email Subject Line Generator tool to help generate a list of attractive subject lines for your flash sale campaigns.

2. Optimize the preheader text

The second important key to writing a converting flash sale email is the preheader text. This text appears in the inbox before the main email content. 

Preheader texts are often used to get your reader’s attention and give them a preview of what they can expect in the rest of the email. It should be 40-130 characters long, to the point, and compelling enough to convince recipients to click through.

Here are some examples of preheader text:

  • Click here for instructions on how to use this coupon code at checkout!
  • This is your last chance to get up to 50% off our best-selling products.
  • Only a few days are left until our big sale's end!
  • A pair of black leather boots for $99 (normally $200)
  • The best deals from around the web, delivered straight to your inbox.
  • We're having our biggest sale ever! Don't miss out on these amazing deals.
  • Take up to 50% off everything! Hurry! Sale ends today at midnight.
  • We've just launched our new line of organic teas! Get them while they last!
  • Get ready for another Flash Sale! Shop now before it's too late!

A good preheader will either explain what you're selling or provide some value for your readers like an exclusive discount offer. 

Now, it’s time to deliver on your promises and create a powerful email body that flows from your subject line and the preheader. Let’s explore the best approaches you can take.

3. Inject your brand’s personality into the email copy

When running a flash sale campaign, it's important to ensure your emails are well branded to increase brand awareness. This is a great strategy to expand your customer base and make your current flash sale work for your business in the long run.

Here are some tips on how to create a branded flash sale email:

Select color scheme and fonts in line with your website design

This will create consistency across your marketing materials, including emails and social media posts. Customers feel more comfortable buying from businesses they recognize, so make sure they can instantly identify your brand by using the same design elements on your website.

Use your logo

Your logo is another key part of your brand identity, so ensure it features prominently in all flash sale emails. This way, your audience will begin associating it with your products and services and instantly recognize it when they see it in ads.

Make sure your logo is high resolution to look crisp on any device and stand out clearly from any background. 

Use your brand name and tagline

Always include your company name and tagline in your flash sale emails, as these are what customers associate with your business. It’s important to ensure that both are clear in every email so that customers know who they’re buying from.

4. Write in the active voice

The key to writing a converting flash sale email is to make it easy for the reader to understand what you're offering, how they can take advantage of the deal, and why they should buy your product. So, consider using active voice instead of passive. 

Active sentences are much more reader-friendly than passive ones and require less effort and time to decipher. In addition, they make your statements straightforward and positive. Opting for an active sentence structure allows you to focus on what your product or service does and how it will benefit your customer. Note that modality can also make you sound less direct and confident.

For example, use verbs like "jump" or "take advantage" instead of passive phrases like "can be purchased" or "can be accessed." This makes your emails easier to read and understand and more persuasive.

5. Keep your flash sale email short and simple

As we mentioned above, keeping your sales email short and sweet is vital. Not only will long sentences kill your reader’s interest and excitement, but they might bounce from your email entirely. This means your message (and chances for sale) is lost on them. 

So, try to avoid using unnecessary words or sentences and consider removing them if they don’t bring value to your customers. Use short words and clear, easy-to-read sentences so your readers can quickly scan your email.

To maximize readability, you can use bullet points and make the copy easier to scan while keeping it informative. Be careful not to overuse them, however. Too many bullet points may seem overwhelming and negatively affect reading and understanding. 

Your reader will appreciate having the key information and sales parameters readily accessible instead of sifting through a bunch of filler and fluff.

6. Create a sense of urgency

Creating a sense of urgency and a fear of missing out is vital to the success of your flash sale email. How can you trigger this powerful buying motivation? 

Indicate that there are limited quantities or time available and that if your customers don't act now, they'll miss out on the offer. You can do this by including a countdown in your email, like “Only 3 {items} left!,” "The sale ends in 3 days!" or "Only 5 hours left!"

Here are a few flash email subject lines that create a sense of urgency.

  • Last Chance: Today's flash sale ends at midnight!
  • Cyber Monday Sales End Tonight - Shop Now!
  • The Holiday Sale is here! Take advantage of these limited-time offers.
  • Big discounts are waiting. These deals don't last long.

Wondering how to create a sense of urgency in your flash sale email? Consider using the following words:

  • Limited
  • Now
  • Final
  • Running Out
  • Hurry
  • Expires
  • Last Chance

You can include these words in your subject lines and CTAs, making them time-sensitive to encourage buyers to purchase. Remember, the more urgency there is in your offer, the more likely people will buy right away. 

7. Use enticing images

Images are a vital part of any flash sale email campaign. Using images to capture people's attention and make them want to buy your product is important. They can also help guide readers through your copy, giving them the information they need without having them read every word of it. 

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Images should be relevant and large enough for viewers to see details. Note that pictures that are too large may distract from your message. Try placing them strategically, so your email layout doesn’t overwhelm the reader's eyes. 

8. Include a motivating CTA

The main goal of your flash sale emails should be to convince customers to take action by clicking the buy button. A motivating CTA will help you achieve this. Take a look at the following example.

 

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Make sure it stands out from any other text or images. Also, you should place your CTAs where your readers expect to find them and will easily locate them. Here are some examples of CTAs that can increase conversions:

  • Shop Now—A simple CTA that transports shoppers directly to your store and shopping cart. 
  • Add To Cart—This CTA allows customers to add items directly into their carts without leaving the email. It also helps them avoid having to scroll through your products again if they accidentally close their browser tab or leave their computer for another reason.

Remember, your CTA should be short and sweet. It has to be relevant to the email and actionable. 

9. Mobile optimization is not optional

Did you know that 81% of consumers prefer to open their email on mobile devices? Your customers are on the go and expect their content to follow them wherever they go. Make sure your flash sale emails render properly on mobile devices. 

All buttons and links should be large enough so your viewers can easily click on them, and the overall format should be optimized for readability. Use bolded text to emphasize important points in the email, but do not overdo it.

What’s more, ensure that all your images are responsive to all devices and display sizes. If an image doesn’t load properly or isn’t sized correctly for mobile devices, for example, it can ruin the entire email content and the whole campaign.

Pro tip: Send your flash sale emails sequentially 

Unlike the ordinary discount offer email, flash sale emails are organized as a sequence, which maximizes their efficiency. The best way to get the most out of your flash sale email campaign is by breaking it down into four stages: notice, launch, last day, and last call. Let’s take a closer look at each stage.

Notice stage

This email aims to let your audience know about the sale and what it entails. It's best to keep it short and cover all important details, including when it starts and ends. Consider incorporating a link that takes readers directly to the registration page for more information about what they'll receive when they sign up.

Launch stage

The next email should announce what is on sale. Make sure to state how much customers can save if they make an immediate purchase. You may also add to the sense of urgency by adding extra reasons to make a buying decision instantly. For example, you can mention limited product availability to make customers act fast. 

It's important that flash sale emails at the launch stage are delivered in advance so that customers have enough time to place their orders before the offer expires. 

Final day stage

This is where you rely on the FOMO technique to drive a purchase from your recipients that still haven’t taken action on your offer. This is the time to state there are limited spots, items, or time left available. Here are some examples of how to create FOMO:

  • "Hurry, only 2 spots left!"  
  • "Last chance to save 50%"
  • Before we sell out." 
  • Just one day left – get 50% off today only!” 

You can also use a countdown timer to remind your audience that they don’t have much time left to take advantage of the discount before it ends.

Last call stage

This stage is the final step before the actual close of your flash sale. The last call email can help your recipients change their minds and make a purchase. Send it 4 to 6 hours before the expiration of your flash sale to remind them that time isn’t their friend. 

Also, you can include an additional discount on your product for extra motivation. Your customers want the best deal possible, so give them one. That said, it's important not to go overboard with your pricing. Offer something that feels like an appealing discount but doesn't push customers away with a price that seems too good to be true. 

Best flash sale email examples

Want to see who is doing it right? Here are some of our favorite examples of flash sale emails.

Copy.ai

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Why is this flash sale email great?

  • The copy is short and to the point.
  • It creates urgency and fear of missing 20% off for life.
  • The email features a highly effective CTA, with an easily located large CTA button, making it hard to quit without clicking.

Freshbooks

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Why is this flash sale email great?

  • It offers a huge discount for all of the tier options.
  • A branded color scheme builds brand consistency.
  • The variety of options and the multiple CTAs cater to making a buying decision more easily.

DesignModo

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Why is this flash sale email great?

  • The offer is clearly shown through the large bolded font of the heading that stands out against the background.
  • The copy is short and sweet.
  • The offer provides for all tier options.

Hush Puppies

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Why is this flash sale email great?

  • The offer is clearly shown through the large bolded font of the curiosity-evoking heading.
  • The products on sale are well-illustrated through clear, high-quality photos.
  • The recipients can easily proceed with shopping directly from the email.

Conclusion

Flash sales are the go-to for every business that wants to boost sales and revenue within a matter of hours while enhancing brand awareness and attracting new customers. 

In order to create an effective flash sale email, there are several important elements that must be in place: the subject line, copy that creates a sense of urgency, captivating images, and motivating CTAs. However, the key to creating flash sale emails that convert is to plan well in advance and offer an irresistible discount so that your customers will want to participate. 

In addition, the overall layout and design should be visually stimulating enough to encourage them to actually make a purchase. When all these features work together, you’ll reap the rewards of increased sales and customer loyalty.

Need a helping hand in writing your flash sale email subject lines? Use the Copy.ai Free Email Subject Line Generator to grab your prospect’s attention and make them read on. Towards a successful flash sale!

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