Black Friday has grown in popularity here in Australia.
In fact, in 2021, BFCM (Black Friday/Cyber Monday) eclipsed the traditional Boxing Day sales as the preferred shopping event of the year, with Australians spending a whopping $8 billion during the four-day sale period.
So when it comes to making the most of Black Friday, we’ve put together a list of things that eCommerce brands should be implementing to get their email and SMS marketing channels primed and ready.
Start your BFCM preparations early
As the saying goes, “it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen” and that rings true when it comes to preparing for Black Friday sales. There might be a temptation to simply discount your inventory, turn on a few ads and call it a day.
However, competition for people’s spending money is fierce, especially during BFCM, and brands that haven’t invested the time and effort to be prepared will be left in the rearview mirror.
From an email perspective, preparation is doubly important. Inboxes will be bombarded with offers, not just from your direct competitors, but also from every other brand they have subscribed to.
Therefore, inbox visibility will be crucial, and that means getting good email deliverability and priming your sender reputation in the lead-up to BFCM.
In the following sections, we’ll run through the things that you need to do to prepare your email channel for BFCM success.
Stage One – BFCM Planning, September
Conduct an account audit
It’s probably been a while, but it’s always good practice to audit your account to make sure everything is operating as intended.
- Ensuring all your integrations with your marketing automation platform (MAP) are operating correctly
- Important triggered-based messages/sequences such as your welcome series and abandoned cart are enabled
- Sending campaigns regularly to develop a good delivery cadence
These are things that are better resolved early rather than scrambling at the last minute.
Start thinking about what promotions you want to run now. Simply applying a discount and crossing your fingers isn’t going to lead to much sales success. You must formulate a plan to let your customers know about your promotions.
This could include teasers, VIP/Early access, multi/omni-channel marketing, etc. For more strategies and BFCM promotional ideas, check out our article here.
From there, set key dates for when you’ll be launching these campaigns. With inbox competition reaching a fever pitch during BFCM, a single mailout won’t cut it. You will need a content plan to keep your message and brand visible during this peak period.
When it comes to email marketing, it’s important to take segmentation and audience targeting seriously. However, when it comes to the biggest sale event of the year, you’re probably wanting to cast your net out as wide as possible by emailing your entire database.
With that said, simply blasting your entire subscriber base without taking steps to manage your email deliverability can be a perilous exercise.
Before sending your BFCM campaigns to your entire database, you will want to warm up your audience beforehand to avoid any sender reputation issues. Check out our guide to improving your email deliverability in the lead-up to Black Friday.
Review/implement your SMS channel
SMS is a great channel for generating visibility and awareness of your promotions.
Depending on who you ask, SMS open rates can be as high as 90% – that’s super impressive considering a 30% open rate for email would be considered healthy!
However, people are not as forthcoming in handing over their mobile phone numbers as they are with their email addresses. So if you haven’t implemented a strategy for collecting mobile numbers, don’t delay as it’ll only get more difficult and costly as time goes on.
Even if you do not intend to use SMS messaging in the short term, you should be finding ways to collect mobile numbers in case your communication strategy changes.
Plan forms/flows creation
Depending on how you’re intending to execute your BFCM strategy, the creation of collection forms, landing pages and flows may be on the cards.
Do you want to onboard BFCM prospects through flow sequences differently compared to regular visitors? Will you need to develop special landing pages to communicate all the offers you will be running?
Additionally, think about any special banners or messaging (e.g. last shipping date for holidays) that you’ll need to design and implement.
Map out what your prospect and customer journey will look like. All these things take time and planning ahead will take the pressure off.
Stage Two – BFCM Implementation, October
Design and develop your content
Now that you’ve planned what your content calendar looks like, it’s time to brief in those campaigns, flows, landing pages and banners. Get them designed, developed and locked away.
Ensure you’ve settled on the coupon codes/offers you’ll be running. Additionally, if these can be scheduled in advance, do so, it’ll be one less thing to worry about.
Whether you’re designing in-house or engaging an agency to assist with your sales messaging, it’s important to get your campaigns squared away as early as possible.
Test your campaigns
Once you’ve developed all your content and developed all your assets, run a test to ensure everything is working as intended. It’s better to pick up on any issues now, rather than trying to troubleshoot or hotfix your set-up during the sale period!
Stage Three- BFCM Activation, November
With all the preparation you’ve made beforehand, BFCM should be as simple as sitting back and monitoring your campaign performance.
Of course, it is important to check in and see how things are running and whether they are trending compared to previous BFCM events or anticipated results. This is where you might need to make any course corrections depending on your performance.
Brands that have developed an SMS audience will find themselves in an advantageous position. SMS is a fantastic channel to create reactive campaigns that require little effort, but excellent speed-to-market deployment.
Whether it’s communicating end-of-sale announcements to boost orders, or informing your customers of any delivery cutoffs, SMS messaging provides brands with a channel that can communicate with their customers quickly and effectively.
Stage Four- BFCM Review, December/January
Login to your marketing platforms and review your BFCM success! Develop a campaign performance report to better understand how your content calendar drove customer engagement and sales conversions over the sale period.
Deactivate BFCM content
Ensure that sales-specific content such as landing pages, website banners, flow sequences, etc. have been deactivated. Keep any notifications that are needed for messaging such as final shipping dates.
Confirm Holiday Sending
With BFCM ending close to the Christmas holiday season, make sure to develop and schedule campaigns outlining your shipping cutoff dates.
Turn your newly acquired BFCM customers into loyal ones using post-purchase flow sequences as well as cross-sell segments to target customers with items relevant to their previous orders.
If you’re running a loyalty program, encourage them to sign up to drive additional future purchases.
Black Friday is the major sales event in Australia and it takes a considerable amount of preparation to make sure everything runs smoothly. By having an action plan/checklist in place, you’ll be able to stay on top of all the tasks your brand will need to square away in order to have a successful sales campaign.