Your Winning SMS & Email Strategy this BFCM
For most people fall means long picturesque walks, cozy sweaters, the scent of cinnamon rolls, and pumpkin spice lattes. For eCommerce brands, this time of year means long working hours, “cozy” nights in front of the monitors, and the scent of too-much-caffeine drinks.
Acknowledging the fact that the most hectic period in retail is upon us, we have prepared the ultimate Black Friday/Cyber Monday playbook – full of best practices and tips on how to maximize your revenue this holiday season with text and email marketing.
We have prepared everything for you: step-by-step expert strategies and a campaign calendar paired with actionable SMS and email templates to make sure you've checked off every item in your to-do list well before the holiday madness begins.
So sit back, relax and let us walk you through our winning SMS & email BFCM game plan.
September: 3 months before BFCM
Starting early should be the #1 priority for every business when it comes to BFCM planning. This is the biggest eCommerce event of the year and you want to make sure it goes smoothly.
Here is how to plan winning SMS & email marketing strategies that will ultimately drive results your competitors can only be jealous about.
Step 1: Supercharge your subscriber collection
The first and most crucial step is to make the most out of the time ahead and grow your list of subscribers. It is pretty simple: the more people opt in for your SMS and email marketing programs, the bigger audience you’ll have. This way, when the time for sweet deals and discounts comes, you’ll have higher chances of increasing sales and maximizing profits.
With the help of our innovative subscriber collection tools, there are countless opportunities to grow your audience: through the checkout of your website, via an engaging pop-up, or through a mass email blast. You can leverage your social media platforms, such as TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, to give your lists a boost, too!
Add a small incentive in the form of a discount or limited-time free shipping. Your new subscribers will greatly appreciate the extra care and come to your store ready to buy.
Learn more with the help of our thorough guide on how to grow your SMS and email subscribers at scale.
Step 2: Create a customer journey that maximizes success
Now that you have taken care of growing your lists of subscribers, it is time to move on to the next step of the process and create an engaging customer journey. The best part? It can be highly personalized, super effective, and... fully automated.
Your game plan at this point is to use a powerful combination of SMS and email strategies and utilize both channels to start meaningful interactions with your audience well before BFCM – collect valuable information about their previous purchase behavior, get to know their product preferences, and position your brand as their go-to place when the time for holiday shopping comes.
Use our advanced SMS & email Flows to send a heart-warming welcome message to your new subscribers, recover abandoned carts, or win back inactive customers. Offer excellent post-purchase care with automated order confirmation or shipping updates. Reward active shoppers with loyalty points and provide them with appealing opportunities on how to redeem them. Utilize higher traffic around the holidays to double down on user-generated content and send product or website review requests.
There is a flow for every step of the customer journey. Go to your Yotpo SMSBump account and enable all the right flows you will need this BFCM. They will work in the background of your online store, taking care of customers even when you are not looking.
Excited to learn more? Explore our top strategies on how to use Flows to automate sales before, during, and after BFCM.
Complete these two steps as early as September and you’ll soon reap the benefits of your excellent preparation for the most important retail period of the year.
October: 2 months before BFCM
Use the following weeks to create a campaign schedule for the busy holiday season and invest some time and effort into your subscribers' segments to ensure ultra-sharp targeting.
Step 1: Create a campaign schedule
The first thing on your “to-do” list in October is to draft a clear action plan for your SMS and email campaigns. Remember that most consumers will start their holiday shopping much earlier, so you want to extend your sales well beyond Black Friday.
Don’t miss out on sales opportunities and actively engage with your audience throughout the entire month of November.
BFCM Warm-up: Use SMS & email to approach shoppers with early-bird deals.
- Nov 4: BFCM warm-up campaign. “Early deals for early shoppers.”
- Nov 5: Gift guide promotion. “Who are you shopping for this BFCM?”
- Nov 7: Thanksgiving essentials. “Time to change the wardrobe,” “Find the perfect gift for your Thanksgiving hostess.”
- Nov 10: Thanksgiving shipping deadlines. “Purchase now to get your package before the holiday.”
BFCM VIP Promotions: Use SMS & email to send your top-spenders exclusive early access to your BFCM offers.
- Nov 13: World Kindness Day. “Our treat to you – enjoy a 20% sitewide discount.”
- Nov 15: VIP early access to BFCM sales. “Two days only! Get early access now.”
- Nov 17: Last-chance VIP early access. “Final hours to grab your special deal.”
- Nov 18: Loyalty Day & perk reminders. “Enjoy VIP expedited shipping.”
BFCM Kick-off: Use SMS & email to launch a countdown to your BFCM sale.
- Nov 21: Early Thanksgiving. “Ready for Thanksgiving?”
- Nov 22: Early Thanksgiving. “Last-minute Thanksgiving discounts”
- Nov 23: 48-hour BF Countdown. “The countdown to BF is ON.”
- Nov 24: Sharing the BF schedule. “Our massive BFCM flash sale starts tomorrow!”
- Nov 25: Black Friday
Morning. “Our BFCM deals are here!”
Midday. “Hey, just a quick reminder of our flash sale.”
Afternoon. “Last chance to get our exclusive deals”
Weekend Sales: Use SMS & email to promote extended Black Friday deals.
- Nov 26: Small Business Saturday. “Deals are still on.”
- Nov 27: Share the Cyber Monday schedule. “Set your alarms for Cyber Monday Deals.”
Extended Sales: Use SMS & email to send last-minute Cyber Monday offers.
- Nov 28: Cyber Monday
Morning. “Cyber Monday Deals are finally here!”
Afternoon. “You have only a few hours left.”
- Nov 29: Cyber Monday Extension/Giving Tuesday. “Our Cyber Monday flash sale ends at midnight!”
Go to our built-in Campaign Planner, where you can find a full list of suggested dates and campaign ideas paired with corresponding SMS and email templates.
Step 2: Create your BFCM Segments
Good segmentation is a crucial element of every successful marketing strategy, as it allows you to send the right message to the right person.
Remember how we told you collecting valuable information about your customers' habits, preferences, and previous purchase behavior will come in handy soon? Well, now is the time to put all that knowledge into action and build narrow consumer segments that will help you send relevant and tailored offers.
With the wide variety of Yotpo SMSBump’s descriptive and behavioral filters, you can build sophisticated segments, such as:
- Top active customers: shoppers who frequently purchase from your store. Inform them about your latest sales campaign.
- VIP customers: customers who are part of the high loyalty tiers. Offer them exclusive discounts.
- Last year’s BFCM shoppers: customers who purchased from your BFCM sales last year. Give them early access to this year's sales.
- Frequent holiday shoppers: people who often respond to your seasonal promotions and discounts. Thank them for being loyal customers with an exclusive discount.
- Inactive customers: shoppers who haven’t recently interacted with your brand. Launch a winback flow with a small incentive to make them come back and make a purchase.
- Engaged but haven’t purchased: create a segment for those who engaged with some of your campaigns but haven’t made a purchase yet.
- Buyers with particular passion: people who have bought from specific products or categories. Use this segment to inform them about your latest product/collection from their favorite category.
If you need more detailed inspiration and best practice tips on segments, check out the five must-have segments for every eCommerce store.
It is essential to plan separate campaigns for the different segments of customers. This will allow you to send them tailored offers, making their experience with your brand engaging and personalized, and ultimately – lead to an increase in conversions and ROI.
November: 3 weeks before BFCM
Time to focus!
The upcoming weeks will be the ultimate test for everyone in the eCommerce industry. Have you planned your marketing campaigns properly? Have you secured deliveries? Do you have enough stock to meet the demand?
So many questions and so little time to act. But worry not, here is a list of everything you need to do to score an A+ when it comes to BFCM.
Step 1: Build copy for every campaign
The BFCM marketing jibber-jabber is usually very loud and noisy, so having a catchy copy for each and every one of your planned campaigns and audiences is a major advantage.
Here are some useful tips on how to build the perfect message:
- Make a valuable offer
- Add a suitable visual or GIF
- Keep it brief and clear
- Personalize your message
- Use F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out) to give the message а sense of urgency
- Avoid cliches and add a pinch of humor
- Use a strong call-to-action
Follow these few expert tips when drafting your next marketing campaign and your audience will love you for it!
Step 2: Create & schedule your campaigns
Our best advice for you at this point is to create and schedule your campaigns now to relieve last-minute jitters and unnecessary stress. This will help you plan better, avoid possible mistakes and clear some of your time around Black Friday if you need to deal with unexpected issues.
Here is our detailed BFCM campaign schedule:
They say that “excellence is in the details: give attention to the details and excellence will come.” And this is precisely what we’re going to do: we will help you develop a full-on action plan, covering all the things you should do during Cyber week, the exact timing, and even the audience you should aim to reach. Ready, set, go!
Thanksgiving: Thursday, Nov 24
Goal: Get your customers ready for BFCM! Tell them what to expect from your brand, when the sale starts, and what your special offer is. Adding a countdown would be a nice touch at this point, as it will create buzz and excitement.
Target audience: VIP customers.
Timing: Midday – Thursday, Nov 24.
Pro tip: Set your VIP customers with early access and offer exclusive discounts. This is a great way to open up your holiday sales, targeting your most engaged group of shoppers. You can go one step further and offer a unique discount for every VIP tier in your loyalty program or create more exclusivity by setting promotions to start at different times for each tier.
It’s Black Friday: Friday, Nov 25
SMS #1: “It is ON”
Goal: Let shoppers know that your sale has started! You can divide your audience and send tailored messages to nudge different groups of shoppers to make a purchase.
Target audience: Everyone!
Timing: Morning – Friday, Nov 25.
Pro tip: For best results, use our A/B testing feature that will allow you to send up to 5 test messages to a portion of your target audience, determine which one of them performed the best and send that top-performing message to the rest of your audience, ensuring optimal results. A/B testing is currently available only for our Powerhouse or annual customers.
SMS #2: Reminder
Goal: Remind certain groups of shoppers about your offer.
Target audience: Group 1: People who have engaged but haven’t made a purchase. Group 2: Inactive customers.
Timing: Midday – Friday, Nov 25.
Pro tip: Send two different text messages to the two separate groups of people. Use personalization, add a sense of urgency and a small incentive if they make a purchase.
SMS #3: Last Chance
Goal: Final push.
Target audience: Everyone!
Timing: Afternoon – Friday, Nov 25.
Pro tip: Use strong F.O.M.O. Don’t forget to use shortcodes to make the text messages as personalized as possible.
Goal: Score additional sales by focusing on procrastinators and last-minute shoppers.
Target audience: only people who haven’t made a purchase yet.
Timing: Saturday, November 26 & Sunday, November 27.
Pro tip: Use wording such as “We got you covered,” “Psst, our sale is still active,” etc.
Cyber Monday is here, Nov 28
SMS #1: Start Cyber Monday
Goal: Announce your Cyber Monday offer.
Target audience: Everyone!
Timing: Morning – Monday, Nov 28.
Pro tip: Craft an appealing offer and copy that will attract your customers’ attention even after all the “noise” surrounding Black Friday. Include the name of your store so shoppers know where this offer comes from.
SMS #2: Last Chance
Goal: Remind about the last and final campaign.
Target audience: Everyone!
Timing: Afternoon – Monday, Nov 28.
Pro tip: Again, use strong F.O.M.O., such as “sale ends in a few hours.”
Need more inspiration? Check out our 40+ tried-and-tested SMS marketing templates that will win you big this Black Friday.
Step 3: Smart planning
When planning your BFCM campaigns, there are a few more things you need to consider:
The Smart Sending option in your SMSBump Settings helps you avoid spamming your customers with messages. Usually, we recommend setting this feature to 16-20 hours, but regular rules don’t apply to Black Friday. Disable this option when sending your campaigns to ensure your SMS subscribers receive all your messages.
And another important thing: some regions such as the U.S. and Canada have obligatory quiet hours set by mobile providers. So if you plan to send out a campaign at midnight (as you might have been doing with emails), this won’t be possible. Especially around Black Friday/Cyber Monday, try and schedule your campaigns well in advance to make sure your messages will be sent on time.
Now, let’s talk about your brand kit. Around the biggest retail holidays, consumers' inboxes will be overflowing with promotional offers. This is why it’s crucial that your message really stands out.
Apply your brand’s look and feel across email campaigns, templates, and more. It will automatically pull in your store’s theme settings, such as colors, fonts, logo, etc., so shoppers will get a full on-brand shopping experience.
One last thing – before BFCM, it is time to warm up your email domain. How? Start gradually increasing the frequency and volume of your email campaigns. Sudden peaks are considered suspicious and might be perceived as spam. For more useful tips, check our thorough guide on email deliverability.
And now… let’s get ready to Rumble!
The Week of Black Friday/Cyber Monday
This is it: the moment of truth. For most brands, these few days will be the turning point when it comes to sales and profits and will provide opportunities to maximize success throughout the year.
The good news is that you’ve already done most of your job in the previous weeks, so now you’ll have time for some last-minute tweaks and details.
Ready for some eleventh-hour tips from us?
First and foremost – enable your Chat option. Maybe your customers have questions about their order or want to change their delivery address. The one-on-one chat will give you a direct line of communication with shoppers, and you will be able to provide them with exceptional customer service even during the busiest time of the year.
And second, but also important – enable the Auto-Reload option to ensure you’ll always have sufficient funds in your Yotpo SMSBump account to send all those fantastic Black Friday campaigns.
Check out our last-minute BFCM checklist to ensure you are all set up for success during eCommerce's most crucial time of the year.
That’s all, BFolks!
This was our detailed SMS & email marketing game plan for the upcoming Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
Start NOW and you’ll thank us later! :)
Don't forget to visit our Black Friday Cyber Monday Knowledge Hub for more valuable tips and tactics for the most successful BFCM yet!
Mariya Arabadzhieva Todorova