It’s the eCommerce event of the year that merchants spend weeks (even months) prepping for — we’re talking about Black Friday, of course! For some, it’s the biggest sales event of the year, and it well and truly kick starts the holiday season with 30% of all retail sales being made from BFCM and throughout the Christmas period. Last year, Black Friday sales hit a record $9 billion in the U.S. alone, so it’s no surprise that retailers want to get their ducks in a row as quickly as possible.
How to plan your BFCM email campaign timeline
It might seem like a no-brainer, but email campaigns will be the cornerstone of your success when Black Friday rolls around. A missed opportunity can be costly, especially during a time when customers are eager to splash their cash. So, planning in advance what campaigns you’ll send out, and when, is a must.
There’s no exact mould that BFCM campaigns need to follow, after all, each store and its customers are different to the next. If you’re stuck on where to begin, here’s a basic email campaign framework we suggest starting with:
Thursday November 25
Type: Early access campaign
Description: If you’re giving your VIPs or other customers early access, you will need to create a campaign with messaging specific to this audience. This campaign should also include a discount code for customers to enter at checkout. Let these customers know that they’re the very first to access the Black Friday deals, and that there’s limited time to shop before the sale goes live to the public. Create a sense of urgency, prompting these customers to shop while they can, before stock runs out.
Friday November 26
Type: BFCM Launch campaign
Description: Alert the rest of your customers that BFCM weekend has begun. Remember, your customers will likely be bombarded with other BFCM offers, so make your campaign stand out (we’ll cover copy and design tips later on in the blog).
Saturday November 27
Type: BFCM deal highlights
Description: With the massive savings that BFCM offers, customers are likely to splurge not only on items they’ve had their eye on, but on products they might not usually buy. With Christmas just around the corner from BFCM, it’s likely that customers will start their holiday shopping while the sales are on. Try cross-selling techniques to introduce a wider range of products to your customers.
Sunday November 28
Type: 24 hours remaining
Description: FOMO is real! Remind customers that Black Friday ends in 24 hours. While Cyber Monday is only a day away, customers don’t know what the deals will be. For all they know, your Black Friday sale might offer up to 50% off, whilst Cyber Monday only offers up to 40% off. So urge them to shop the Black Friday sale while they still can (and while there’s still stock).
Monday November 29
Type: Cyber Monday launch campaign
Description: You’re on the home stretch! Similar to your Black Friday launch, introduce the Cyber Monday sale. This campaign should highlight what deals are on offer, and make it easy for customers to click through and shop what’s featured in your campaign.
Monday November 29
Type: Sale ends tonight
Description: Go out with a bang! Let customers know that it’s their final chance to shop Cyber Monday sales. By this point, your customers will have likely hit the add to cart button more times than they’d like to admit (and not just at your store). So this is your last opportunity to either get hesitant customers across the line at checkout, or convince them to make another purchase.
Be sure to schedule resends of your campaigns (where appropriate) to ensure you see the maximum results. It’s also important that you update the subject line and exclude people who have already opened the campaign previously. More emails are sent out on Black Friday than on any other day during the year — 116.5 million to be exact. So make your subject lines stand out and make people want to click on your emails.
Bonus tip: set up a BFCM themed Abandoned Cart email
During this time of increased buying behaviour along with impulse purchases, it’s easy for customers to get distracted by competing offers. Be sure to have an efficient Abandoned Cart email in place to remind shoppers to complete their purchase before the sale is over. To increase the hype of BFCM, consider creating a dedicated BFCM Abandoned Cart automation. If you choose to do this, be sure to turn off your existing Abandoned Cart flow so that customers aren’t hit with multiple cart reminders at once.
Use BFCM hype to encourage engagement across your other marketing channels
There’s no doubt that when it comes to BFCM customers are eager to hit the ‘add to cart’ button again and again. Customers look forward to spending cash because the sales are often so good that they’re “practically making money”. Ok well not literally making money, but you get what we mean. The point is that it would be a missed opportunity to let the built up hype surrounding BFCM go to waste. So, use this existing hype to get your email subscribers to engage with your brand further, for example signing up to SMS or your loyalty program.
As we touched on in part 1 of our BFCM blog series, it’s a great time to build your SMS database by adding an opt-in screen to existing data capture forms. To ensure all bases are covered, we recommend adding an SMS block into your email campaigns so that existing subscribers have the opportunity to opt-in prior to BFCM. Leading up to BFCM, create a dedicated campaign that encourages customers to sign up for SMS — you could even offer these customers early access to the BFCM sale. Be sure to exclude existing SMS subscribers from your send list for this particular campaign.
To encourage existing email subscribers to sign up to your loyalty program, try offering an increased reward for new account creation. For example, if you currently offer 250 points to customers who create an account, try offering 500 points in the week leading up to BFCM. As the name suggests, your existing loyalty members will be among your most loyal and engaged customers. So to reward them, offer them early access to the sale weekend. A tactic we’ve previously used is staggering access based on a customer’s loyalty tier. I.e. the higher the tier, the earlier the access.
BFCM email campaign hype tactics
It’s all about the hype! Shoppers are already keen to access sales, shop with brands they might not normally shop with, and make impulse purchases. By creating even more excitement, you’re able to hype your subscribers up at all stages of BFCM weekend and urge them to hit the checkout.
Like we mentioned in our suggested campaign timeline, a hype campaign is a must. FOMO is a real thing — especially when it comes to missing out on the biggest sale of the year. So sending follow up campaigns throughout BFCM is essential for continuing the hype all weekend long. If a popular product or collection has almost sold out, be sure to let your audience know. If these customers were hesitant to purchase the item earlier, the fear of missing out is likely to motivate them to commit.
Other simple hype tactics we recommend for BFCM include:
- Giving certain customers early access
- Offering a GWP for the first 100 customers
- Countdown timers. Nothing like a ticking clock to get customers to act!
- Creating a sense of urgency through copywriting choices e.g. “almost sold out”, “sale ends soon” and “don’t miss out”
Be sure to check out our blog on how to create product hype — similar tactics can be used for BFCM.
Email design and build tips
BFCM isn’t the time to give your customers a long-winded spiel about your brand. Customers are after one thing and one thing only — a bargain! Cut right to the chase and make it easy for the customer to take action from your email.
Here are our top 5 tips:
- Have clear messaging on your hero image (i.e. Black Friday Is Here. Shop 50% Off Sitewide)
- Include a personalised welcome (e.g. Hey Samantha! Ready to shop the BIGGEST sale of the year?)
- Write minimal body copy (you can charm your customers post-BFCM)
- Highlight set products (but not too many)
- Design clear CTAs that stand out
Think about the user experience as a whole when designing and building your emails. Be sure to auto-apply discounts and link images and buttons to the right destination. If you’re showing products from a certain collection, link to that collection, not the home page. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for the customer to make a purchase directly from your email.
Black Friday is less than two months away, so it’s time to get cracking on your BFCM email strategy.
- Outline your campaign strategy — don’t just send 1-2 emails over the weekend
- See what other channels you can leverage, and intertwine these within your strategy
- Create hype leading up to BFCM and capitalize on FOMO
- Design sleek yet eye-catching email campaigns that drive action
If you missed part 1 of our BFCM blog series where we cover growing your database and segmenting your audience, be sure to check it out here. Stay tuned for the next instalment of our BFCM blog series in the coming days which talks about all things SMS.