Your winning SMS 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 marketing. We have everything set up for you - from the planning calendar all the way through the SMS templates and the targeting.
So sit back, relax and let us walk you through our winning SMS BFCM game plan...
October: 1 Month 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 a winning SMS Marketing strategy that will ultimately drive results your competitors can only be jealous about.
Step 1: Supercharge your subscriber collection
The first and most important step at this point is to make the most out of the time ahead and grow your list of subscribers. It is quite simple: the more people opt in for your text marketing services, the bigger audience you’ll have. That 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: whether through your website at checkout or via a pop-up or through a mass email blast. You can leverage your social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to give your list a boost, too! Learn more with the help of our thorough guide on how to gain subscribers everywhere.
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.
Your game plan at this point is to use the power of SMS marketing and start meaningful interactions with your audience, well before BFCM: get to know their preferences, collect valuable information about their habits, and position your brand as their go-to place when the time for holiday shopping comes. How? Send a heart-warming welcome message to your new subscribers, or recover abandoned carts with our automated Flows. They will work in the background of your online store, taking care of customers even when you are not looking. Use those first touchpoints and ask your audience some questions. Answers will help you collect valuable information about your customers and at the same time - extend relevant offers.
Excited to learn more? Explore our top engaging strategies on how to maximize sales this BFCM.
Step 3: Create a content schedule
The next thing on your “to-do” list in October is to draft a clear action plan for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period. They say that “excellence is in the details: give attention to the details and excellence will come”.
And this is exactly what we’re going to do: we will help you come up with 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.
Sounds good? Read on to find detailed recommendations for each part of this plan.
Complete these 3 steps as early as October and you’ll soon reap the benefits of your excellent preparation for the most important retail period of the year.
November: 2-3 weeks before BFCM
Time to focus!
The upcoming weeks will be the ultimate test for everyone involved 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, so little time to act. But worry not, here is a list of everything you need to do SMS-wise to score an A+ when it comes to BFCM.
Step 1: Create your BFCM Segments
Good segmentation is a key element of every successful text marketing strategy, which allows you to send the right message to the right people at the right time!
Remember how we told you collecting valuable information about your customer habits, preferences, and previous behavior will come in handy soon? Well now is the time to put all that knowledge into action by building narrow segments that will help you send relevant and tailored offers.
With the wide variety of SMSBump’s descriptive and behavioral filters, you can build sophisticated segments, such as:
- Top active customers: consists of those shoppers who purchase frequently 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 certain passion: people who have bought from specific products, or specific categories. Use this segment to inform them about your latest product/collection from their favorite category.
In case you need more detailed inspiration and best practices when it comes to segments, check out our 5 must-have segments for every eCommerce store.
It is important 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.
Step 2: Build copy for each and 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 SMS:
- 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 text marketing campaign and your audience will love you for it!
Step 3: 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.
As promised, here is our detailed winning BFCM SMS Campaign schedule:
Thanksgiving: Thursday, Nov 25
Goal: Get your customers ready for BFCM! Let them know what to expect from your brand, what time the sale starts, what your special offer is. Adding a countdown would be a nice touch at this point, it will create buzz and excitement with customers.
Target audience: VIP customers.
Timing: Midday - Thursday, Nov 25.
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 customers. 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 26
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 26.
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 26.
Pro tip: Send 2 different text messages for the two separate groups of people. Use personalization, add a sense of urgency and a small incentive, if they make a purchase. Check out this blog post for more ideas on how to get lapsed customers back for Black Friday.
SMS #3: Last Chance
Goal: Final push.
Target audience: Everyone!
Timing: Afternoon - Friday, Nov 26.
Pro tip: Use strong F.O.M.O. Don’t forget to use shortcodes to make the text messages as personalized as possible.
Saturday Nov, 27 & Sunday Nov, 28
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 27 & Sunday, November 28.
Pro tip: Show some extra care. Use wording such as “We got you covered”, “Psst, our sale is still active” etc.
Cyber Monday is here, Nov 29
SMS #1: Start Cyber Monday
Goal: Announce your Cyber Monday offer.
Target audience: Everyone!
Timing: Morning - Monday, Nov 29.
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 is coming from.
SMS #2: Last Chance
Goal: Remind about the last and final campaign.
Target audience: Everyone!
Timing: Afternoon - Monday, Nov 29.
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 text marketing templates, that will win you big this Black Friday.
Step 4: Smart planning
When planning your BFCM campaigns there are few more things you need to consider:
The Smart Sending option in your SMSBump Settings helps you avoid spamming your customers with too frequent messages. Usually, we recommend setting this feature to 16-20 hours, but regular rules don’t apply when it comes to Black Friday. Simply disable this option when sending your campaigns to make sure the audience receives your messages.
And another important thing: some places like the U.S. and Canada have obligatory quiet hours that are set by mobile providers. So if you plan to send out a campaign at midnight (as you might be used to do 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.
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 done most of your job (SMS marketing-wise) in the previous weeks already, so now you’ll have the time for some last-minute tweaks and details.
But, anyway, do you want some eleventh-hour tips from us?
First and foremost - enable your Chat option. This will help you maintain a quick and seamless connection with your customers. Maybe they have some questions about their order? Or want to change their delivery address? The Chat will give you a direct line of communication to your shoppers and you will be able to provide them with some exceptional customer service even in the busiest time of the year.
And second, but also important - enable your Auto-Reload option, to make sure you’ll always have sufficient funds in your SMSBump account to send all of those wonderful BFCM campaigns.
That’s all BFolks!
Congratulations! You’ve made it through the most challenging period of the year! But before you take your well deserved rest (for a day or two before you start your Christmas promotions and campaigns), here are some final tips for you to maximize results.
Tip 1: Don’t forget to track and analyze data. You can do all this within your SMSBump app - check your top performing campaigns and automations: was it the copy or the engaging visual? This will help you use this knowledge and amplify the success of your campaigns in the future.
Tip 2: Invest some effort into post-purchase care. Check out our blog post on how to turn Black Friday customers into repeat shoppers with 3 simple tricks.
This was our detailed game plan for the upcoming BFCM. Start NOW and you’ll thank us later! :)
Mariya Arabadzhieva Todorova
Mariya is a Content Creator at SMSBump with strong passion for writing, crime novels and puzzles. Travel & Gaming enthusiast.