Two of the biggest shopping days for online retailers are quickly approaching: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As an online merchant, these two days are essential to increasing your sales. But how do you prepare your business for Black Friday Cyber Monday? In this article we go through what to include in your Cyber Weekend marketing strategy.
What is Black Friday Cyber Monday?
Traditionally, Black Friday is the first Friday immediately following Thanksgiving. It is often marks the start of the holiday shopping season. Black Friday deals are often found at both physical and online retail stores, although traditionally Black Friday has been a purely physical store affair.
The initial notion of the name “Black Friday” came from a specific day, 24th September 1869. When the US gold market crashed. The term, however was popularised when the volume of shoppers caused traffic accidents and violence.
Cyber Monday on the other hand always falls on the Monday proceeding Black Friday and together they form “Cyber Weekend.” Traditionally, Cyber Monday as been purely online. However, as physical retailers look to build an online presence these deals have also moved to physical stores as well.
Check out our blog on the History of Black Friday and Cyber Monday here
Let's talk numbers
Cyber Weekend or BFCM (Black Friday Cyber Monday) is huge. In the U.S alone Black Friday sales totalled $7.4 billion and surprisingly Cyber Monday sales totalled $9.4 billion in 2019. But it’s not just in the U.S where BFCM has exploded.
In Australia, BFCM is the biggest week for Ecommerce purchases in Australia and it’s growing with a 28.7 growth Year on Year. This makes BCFM impossible to ignore as customers are now shopping earlier for Christmas and are actively on the hunt for BFCM bargins.
Why you need a strategy
BFCM is statistically proven to be the time of year where you can make more money. So it’s important that you both prepare and execute a campaign around BFCM to maximise those sales. To summarise your strategy should be broken up into three:
- Pre campaign
- Black Friday Weekend Campaign
- Post Campaign
Each campaign has a different goal as customers are at different stages of the purchase cycle. You want to plan your messages to hit the customer at the right time so that they will be more likely to take a desired action on your site.
Before we get into the strategy stuff there are some things to consider.
Things to Consider
There are six things you have to consider before you start planning your BFCM strategy:
- Increase in Customer Service Needs. How are you going to cater for this increase?
- Rising Ad Spend. Where are you going to get the biggest return on investment possible?
- Inventory. Do you have enough inventory or do you have to much?
- Shipping and Fulfilment. How are you going to send your product?
- Returns. How are you going to manage all returns?
- Average Order Value. How are you going to boost your AOV to cover rise in costs over BFCM?
Pre Campaign Strategy
The pre campaign strategy is all about building anticipation and awareness. The way to do this effectively is to let your customer know about your upcoming sale well in advance. Most shoppers are planning to participate in BFCM so if you can give them notice of your planned sale in advance shoppers may put your store on in their BFCM plans.
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Campaign (organic)
- Do a pre BFCM sale
- Facebook Instagram and Display Ads campaign
When it comes to reaching your warm audience, there is nothing better than a good email marketing campaign. The aim with your email marketing strategy is to let your customers know that you’re having a sale for BFCM. Ideally you want to send 3-4 brand focused emails which both create hype and awareness around your BFCM plans.
Here are some email subject lines to get you started:
- Don’t miss out on our BFCM Sale
- Huge Discounts on product (x)
- Register for early access
Ideally your BFCM pre sale campaign will run for around 3-4 weeks so aim to send an email weekly. If you’re running low on time aim for 2 weekly emails.
Social Media Campaign (Organic)
Social media is a powerful communication tool. Not only are you able to easily communicate with followers, you are also able to reach new people through content.
Social media plays a vital role in online marketing today. If you’re not on it your missing out. In regards to social media your campaign should be divided into two parts.
What is organic marketing
An organic marketing strategy generates traffic to your business naturally, with out the need of any paid advertising. There are a lot of tactics you can use to generate traffic to your site for free using social media and considering that on average the cost of advertising rises during the holiday sale season it is important to make the most of whatever free marketing you can do to generate traffic to your store.
During the pre sale campaign include the following organic posts in your social media content calendar:
- BFCM Sale Announcement
- Behind the Scenes content on your BFCM sale plans
- Give teasers on what products will be on sale
The goal with your social media is to build anticipation with those who follow you on social media. Chances are that more people follow your brand on your socials than on your email list. So it is important to hit as many people as possible organically before you go looking for new customers to target for your BFCM campaign.
Do a pre BFCM Sale
This suggestion is optional, but if you have the inventory and the profit margins in your products to do it, go for it. There are 2 common ways ecommerce businesses do a pre sale for BFCM.
The first way is to offer a particular product range for sale. For example, if you run a clothing brand, maybe only hats are discounted during the pre BFCM sale. The second way is to give exclusive early bird access to those who opt in.
Lets go into each pre sale idea into more detail below.
Pre Sale Idea 1: Offer one type of product at a huge discount
There is no better way to tease your BFCM sales than with an early preview. A pre sale gives your brand the opportunity to show your potential customers how big your BFCM sale will be. If you are wanting to do a pre sale of this type be sure to consider your profit margins of the product group you wish to discount. As mentioned earlier, the cost of paid ads increases during this period. So be cautious. Be sure to to do the numbers and make sure that doing a pre sale will be worth it for your business.
One way to optimise those margins, is to think of your profit margin on a per order level rather than a per product level. This opens your mind to ways to increase your average order value of your order. For example, do you bundle products together? Do you upsell the customer at the checkout? Do you implement a free shipping threshold on your site that is 20% higher than your current average order value? These are all tactics that are proven to increase your AOV.
Pre Sale Idea 2: Hold an Exclusive Pre Sale
Everyone loves an exclusive. Why not reward your current email subscribers and those who opted in from social media with an exclusive sale. The key to a successful exclusive pre sale is to make sure there is scarcity. By promoting scarcity, whether it’s a time scarcity or otherwise you can give customers that sense of urgency to purchase from your store before they miss out.
As a bonus tip you can offer a further discount to those who took part in your pre sale for your actual BFCM sale. This strategy is called a discount ladder and is commonly used during the holiday period.
Facebook, Instagram and Display Ads campaign
While BFCM may be statistically the best time to make sales. It is also the best time to get new customers to entering the sales funnel.
Through the use of Paid Ads, you can get new prospects to opt in to your sales funnel with a lead gen ad and through pixel tracking. Giving you the opportunity to run retargeting campaigns and look alike audiences during BFCM.
Black Friday Weekend Campaign
Black Friday Cyber Monday is here. YAY!! Now is the time to go HEAVY!!
Every established ecommerce business will be taking part in BFCM so to get noticed you have to go heavy. Here is a brief overview of what sort of activities you should be doing over Cyber Weekend to get the most sales possible.
Getting your subscribers attention on BFCM is hard. If you look at the conversion rate of emails sent over BFCM, it’s a lowly 0.14%. While revenue per email recipient is 4x higher on an average day than for Black Friday, Cyber Monday emails. So how do you get your customers attention?
Easy. Bombard them with emails.
You can send more than you think without annoying people, especially if you are providing value.
Here is a brief outline on how to set up your emails over Cyber Weekend.
- Black Friday- send up to 3 sales focused emails
- Saturday 2 emails 1 brand focused email & 1 Sales focused
- Sunday 2 emails 1 brand focused & 1 sales focused
- Cyber Monday send 3 sales focused emails
Be sure to spread out your email communications. Morning, noon and night.
Social Media and Paid Ads
In the pre campaign strategy the goal of your social media and paid ads was to build anticipation for your sale and to get new prospects going through your sales funnel.
During BFCM, it’s all about conversion.
So how can your ecommerce business get the most conversions possible? Here are some action points to get you started:
- Capitalise on the cookies you have captured during your pre campaign and prior (hopefully) so you can go hard on your retargeting campaigns.
- For Search Ads apply your remarketing lists. Consider that users who weren’t ready in October/November are much more likely to buy around the holidays.
- Audiences to focus on are:
- Product page viewers
- Anyone that added products to cart
- Users that navigated to 3+ pages
- Users that visited your shipping info page
- Set up/Increase your dynamic remarketing budget to stay front of mind
- Announce the start of BFCM on your social media and highlight your most popular and most profitable products that are on sale.
Post Campaign Strategy
Time To Get Festive
Black Friday Cyber Monday may be over but Christmas is just around the corner. Your post campaign strategy is all about maintaining momentum as you head into Christmas.
Good news is that window between Cyber Weekend and Christmas is quite short for Ecommerce. Thats because shoppers shop online knowing that they have to get in early because they have to consider delivery times.
This means that on average ecommerce business owners have to keep the momentum rolling for around 2 weeks.
To keep the momentum with email you want to send one email a day to your subscribers. As a guide here is an example of how you can set up your email campaign for the 2 weeks between BFCM and your express shipping deadline.
- December 3-9: Holiday Sale focus on 1 email per day make them brand and product focused emails
- December 10-14- Standard Shipping Deadline- 1 email a day with a different product each day
- December 14-18- Express Shipping Deadline- Last Chance emails.