Black Friday and Cyber Monday present two enormous opportunities for e-commerce stores to leverage sales. Here's how to prepare your email marketing strategy to capitalise on the opportunities.
In 2018, Black Friday sales in the UK reached £1.49bn online.
In the US, the figure reached $6.2bn.
Cyber Monday was even greater in the US, with sales totalling $7.9bn.
These staggering statistics suggest the obvious: you need to be involved, otherwise, you'll be left behind...
While a lot of shoppers do buy into impulse buying from their favourite brands, it's important to note that a lot of online buyers also plan in advance for the holiday seasons.
With this in mind, it's important to consider a multi-faceted approach to your email marketing strategy on Black Friday & Cyber Monday: gifts your customers will buy for others, and regular purchases they'll make for themselves.
Why Email is an unparalleled opportunity during Black Friday & Cyber Monday
According to Disruptive Marketing, PPC/ad bidding increases by up to 140% during the holiday season.
That means that conventional advertising channels such as Facebook & Google will be licking their chops at the sight of your wallet.
It also presents the uncomfortable reality of a potential race to the bottom. Heavy advertising costs + low-profit margins is a recipe for minimalistic gains at best, loss at worst.
Email marketing, however, presents a unique opportunity during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period.
Check out these conversion stats from Shopify below on the best-performing marketing channels from last year:
The evidence is clear: a healthy database of subscribers is going to play a pivotal role in your ability to generate sales during Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
How to create a Black Friday/Cyber Monday Email Strategy
The first question you should ask yourself is: "Do I have my core email infrastructure already set up?".
By this, we are referring to:
These 3 email sequences, in particular, are crucial to take advantage of customer behaviour on your website and encouraging your customers from all angles to purchase from your store.
Regular email campaigns alone aren't enough for Black Friday/Cyber Monday; you need these flows in place to maximise sales, and ultimately, customer lifetime value.
Email Marketing Campaign Strategy for Black Friday/Cyber Monday
If you're looking for an email calendar/structure to follow for sending, the below resource from Klaviyo is an excellent place to start.
The key things to take note of are:
- Start early and give special attention to your best customers
- Use deadlines to remind people when sales will end
- Use multiple emails throughout the day to remain competitive with other retailers
- Leverage segmentation to avoid repeat-emailing people who have already purchased
- Combine your email marketing with an aggressive social media strategy for optimal results
Go big on sales on Black Friday/Cyber Monday
It's the nature of the beast, ultimately.
Even if your business isn't typically run on discounts, it's unlikely your customers will be too turned off by discounting on these days in particular.
Companies who don't participate in Black Friday/Cyber Monday tend to lose out to their competitors these days rather than abstaining out of principle.
A word of caution: absurd discounts like 50%+ may drive short-term sales, but if you're in the FMCG industry, it may also drive a 'stock-up' approach where customers take you to the cleaners. Be sensible: 20% is usually more than enough for most brands to incentivise sales. It's worth offering your best, but it's not worth harming your bottom line.
An alternative approach to discounting: Upsells & Cross-sells
Rather than offering standardized discounts, Black Friday/Cyber Monday also presents a unique opportunity to offer added-value products to sales.
This can be an effective way to move more units while still retaining profitability.
Examples of this include:
- Buy 2 get 1 free
- Buy product X get product Y free
For FMCG brands in the food & beverages space, it may also be an effective way of shifting unwanted stock that has a fast-approaching shelf life. Bundling it into these offers is still valuable for the consumer and can incentivise sales.
Here's an example of how this could work in practice.
Essentially, say someone buys something of value £100.
If you discount that by 20%, it's going to be £80.
Say the items cost price is £20 and you normally sell it for £50.
If you sell two items at cost £20 = £40 cost, and you sell them for £80, you make £40 profit crudely put.
If you sell two items at cost £25 = £50 cost, sell them for £100 as normal but throw in a 3rd free, it's cost you £60 cost, and you make £40 profit (same) AND the customer gets £150 worth of product for £100 (so more value for the customer) and you move more stock. Everyone wins and there's MORE value in the promotion to the customer.
Following along? Here's another alternative strategy (that won't p*ss off stockists and retailers of your brand if they're important channels for you):
Say you have two items.
Item A (best seller) - cost £20 / RRP £50
Item B (poor slow-moving seller) - cost £10 / RRP £40
You want to sell more of Item B but it rarely sells volume compared to best seller Item A.
Customers often want to try item B, but they only have so much disposable income, and always buy Item A and never even try item B to see how good it is.
At this type of promotion, you sell both items:
Item A - cost £20 / RRP £50 and item B - cost £10 / promo FREE.
It's cost you £30 cost, and the customer pays £50.
For the customer, they spend their usual £50 but get the value of £90 worth of product (massive win).
At the same time, it finally allows the customer to 'try' item B for free, enjoy it, approve of it, harvest reviews and they're more likely to start buying both items again in the future instead of just Item A solo.
You've done all that without peeing off off stockists and retailers of your brand as you've never dropped your pants and reduced the headline price of anything - you've not reduced your value, ever.
Instead, you've increased your value to everyone, and still making the same margin, AND you're shifting more stock (essential in the FMCG market) - while opening up a new sales channel for item B.
An omnichannel approach works best to giving yourself the best chance of success for Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2019, and email marketing should be at the forefront of your strategy.
Remember to be aggressive, start early, and genuinely offer your best without cutting into your bottom-line. If you can follow these simple principles, you will jolt your revenue effectively and kickstart your holiday earnings.
P.S - If you're behind schedule (which you will be, at this point, if you haven't started planning - contact me directly ASAP for our Black Friday/Cyber Monday saviour plan (that's not an actual thing, but, yeah, we can help you turn things around quickly).
My email is: adam[at]magnetmonster.co.uk
further in depth reading
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