As we head into fall, it's time to start planning your Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) sales strategy. You might be thinking, "Mike, it's too early to plan my Black Friday Sale." Too often businesses wait until late October or early November to plan one of their largest sales of the year and they are left scrambling.
This year, BFCM has added challenges like the continued impact COVID-19 has on the global economy and the anti-racism and environmental movements that have customers more conscientious about where they spend their money. However, there are also tremendous opportunities as more brands have invested in their online business and more customers have turned to their mobile and desktop devices to find the products and services they need. Also, recent anti-racism and environmental shifts in our culture provide you with an opportunity to shine or adapt your business model to be more in-line with customer and industry expectations.
Needless to say, BFCM is challenging during a normal year, and 2020 is not a normal year. Good news, having advised over 100 businesses through successful BFCM weekends I can offer some valuable tips.
Data is Useful, but Your Customers are Golden.
Normally, business operators review last year's sales analytics, highlight what they believe will work this year, take note of sales tactics that underperformed or performed positively, and create a marketing campaign based on these variables. 2020 is a whole new world. Businesses need to do more than review the data and adjust accordingly.
You need to talk to your customers. It's a brave new world. Your customers' needs, behaviours, priorities and habits have all changed and they continue to evolve from week to week. If you haven't been having quality conversations, in at least the last month, with your customers you need to start now. 76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs.1 If you have a retail location, talk to them about their current challenges (not only about your products, but their life as well), send surveys to highly engaged and repeat customers, DM (direct message) customers on social media, and/or email them to understand what they need and how you can help.
Your CMS Analytics are Very Useful
Google Analytics is the gold standard for online data, customer behaviour and demographics. However, most CMS (Shopify, Squarespace, etc.) platforms have very useful customer data too. Make sure you use your CMS's analytic sections to your advantage. Here are a few examples:
- Where are your customers? Are they local, national, or international? Can you implement a curbside pickup service to increase sales?
- Have your average order values changed? Do you need to lower your free shipping threshold?
- Are more people paying with credit or payment terms? Do you have an option for payment terms through split payment providers like Sezzle, Klarna, Affirm, or Afterpay?
- Are particular products doing better than usual and why? Have your customers' needs changed and have you adapted your product/service offering to meet the change?
- Is there a difference in the purchase behaviour of first-time customers versus repeat customers? How can you encourage repeat purchases?
The Right Sale
Many businesses struggle with what exactly their BFCM sale should be. There's no right answer as every business, industry and customer demographic is different. What you can be sure of is that during BFMC, people are expecting great deals, sales, and promotions. Whatever your sales campaigns are, they should be fantastic. Your customers should think to themselves, "I'd be dumb not to buy this now, I'm getting this before it is gone."
Here are some sales campaigns that have worked with other merchants:
- Flash Sale
- Volume Discounts
- Discounted Bundles
- Discount codes for VIP
- Limited time or quantity offers
- Special email marketing offers
- Buy One Get One Free, a.k.a. BOGO Sale
- Discount codes for customers with a high CLTV (Customer LifeTime Value)
- Percentage discounts on specific collections or items
Whatever you do, make it worth your customer's time to visit your store or online shop.
Marketing Content and Distribution
Don't wait until the week before your sale to figure out what to say and what images to use. If you have a design team you're going to stress them out and if you are your design team, you're going to stress yourself out. Take some time now to collect your marketing images, decide your messaging and create content. You might need:
- product photos
- podcast ad copy
and you'll be sharing it with your customers during the sale and/or the week leading up to the sale through
- social media
- in-store displays
- your website
- email marketing
- and wherever your customers are.
If you don't have access to a designer, tools like Canva and Stencil are great ways to create marketing materials on a budget.
Promote Your Sales
"If you build it, they will come" is a great movie line, but it doesn't work that way in business. You have to build it, make it great, provide an easy way for them to get it, and tell people about it - then they will come.
Online Advertising (Facebook/Instagram Ads, Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc.) can be very beneficial promotional avenues. Just be aware that during BFCM, potential customers are being inundated with advertising. If you're going to join the fray, make sure your messaging is very engaging and/or your offer is very compelling. Weak social ads create a negative emotional response in less than a second.2
Email Marketing is still one of the best ROIs (return on investments) online3, but you mustn't spam your audience. Use segmentation to send the right emails to the right potential customer. Marketers who use email segmentation note as much as a 760% increase in revenue.4 As a Klaviyo Partner, I frequently recommend Klaviyo* to my clients as it provides useful templates for those relatively new to email marketing while being robust enough to scale with multi-million dollar brands.
Social Media is a powerful tool when used correctly. Remember, the goal isn’t to treat your social media as an advertising billboard. Successful brands build a community and truly engage with their followers. Since most adults use more than one social media platform regularly, 91% of retail brands have a branded profile on two or more social media platforms.5 This empowers brands to be where their customers are and engage in beneficial relationships. It may sound simple but being responsive, offering promotions and being knowledgeable on social media can motivate sales “...answering a customer’s question on social prompts 48% of consumers to purchase, 46% are swayed by promotions and contests and 42% say they’d be converted by educational content.”6
Influencer Marketing is the new word-of-mouth. By coordinating customer referral, ambassador and influencer campaigns, you can create a groundswell of attention around your event. 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations to make their purchases.7 At a time when more and more people use Ad-Blockers when they navigate the internet on desktop and mobile8 it's important to get your positive message directly to potential customers from a source they already follow and trust.
Make sure your team is ready to field questions anywhere you engage with the customer - via phone, email, text, social media DM, in-person. An accurate and timely response can mean the difference between gaining a loyal customer or losing a loyal customer. 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service.9
I hope this helps get you started on the path to a successful BFCM. A little work in September will save you a lot of time and stress in November. If you'd like assistance or service recommendations to help with your marketing strategy, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or through our website contact page HERE.
Have a great day!
Sprout Social: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/data/q2-2017/
Digital Marketing Institute: https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/blog/20-influencer-marketing-statistics-that-will-surprise-you
* This affiliate link is provided to quickly direct you to additional information about Klaviyo email marketing. If you decide to signup for a free or paid plan, we may receive a commission.