Can you believe that Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are less than six months away? Yes! The biggest shopping days of the year are just a few months away.
If you haven’t started thinking about BFCM yet, then it’s definitely time to do so now. Being prepared earlier allows you to create promotions that your customers will love while also having everything ready to make the holiday sale a success.
In this guide, we will go through all the ways you can prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Let’s get started.
Prepare for BFCM in Advance
In the months leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you need to do some website testing, product and sales forecasting, and create a content calendar.
Get Your Website Ready
Your business’ website is an important marketing tool no matter whether you run an online store only or have a physical location too. People interested in your products will visit your website to see what BFCM promotions you are running and may even sign up to your newsletter so that they can be the first to know what’s on offer.
Firstly, do some conversion rate optimisation tests to see how easily website visitors make a purchase. Play around with different imagery, messages, colours, and layouts. Test one option at a time to determine what affects the conversion rate.
Next, ensure that your website is optimised for mobile devices. Many customers are making purchases from their smartphones or tablets so it’s important that your website functions well and makes it easy for customers to find what they are looking for.
Finally, your website will get a lot more traffic on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Does it have the necessary capacity to support increasing numbers of visitors? Ensure that your server can cope with a larger volume of visitors to prevent your website from crashing on the day. If you are uncertain of how this works, your website hosting company or the company who made your website should be able to assist.
Improve Email Deliverability
One of the best ways to promote your BFCM offers is to send promotional emails to your subscriber list. But, your competitors are doing the exact same thing too. You will be fighting for inbox space.
If you want a better chance of your emails being seen by customers, you have to focus on sending frequent emails in the months leading up to BFCM to improve your sender reputation and increase email deliverability.
To do so, send frequent emails (about weekly) to your customers list. It will make it easier to see which customers are engaging with your content and what works best for conversions.
It also makes it easier to know which customers are most likely to open your emails and make a purchase. When the time comes to send your Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails, send them to your most engaged segment (last 30 days) first, followed by readers who are slightly less engaged (last 90 days), and then only to people who haven’t engaged with emails in the last three months.
While email marketing is important, quality over quantity is important. Don’t send lots of low quality emails as that will damage deliverability; rather, send fewer high-quality emails that share valuable information with readers.
Demand and Supply Forecasting
Deciding which products to promote for BFCM requires careful consideration because you have to select items that will sell but also ensure that you will have sufficient supply to meet the demand. This is where demand and supply forecasting comes in.
A word of warning: You might be tempted to bundle old stock with new stock in a single offer, but BFCM is not an opportunity to get rid of old stock you don’t want. Visitors will recognise this tactic, so be very careful with how you formulate your offers.
Review historic data to identify which products sold well during previous sales and especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Check how much site traffic you got during these times, review conversion rates, and factor in year-on-year growth as you do your forecasting.
Next, conduct industry research to identify the latest trends and in-demand products. This will give you a decent idea of what customers are expecting to see on sale during the holidays. It’s also a good time to consider which products make good gifts for the holidays or even to plan some package deals based on products that are frequently sold together.
Once you have the basic forecasting done, do a deep-dive to determine how many of each product you will need to make BFCM successful.
While you do demand forecasting, also consider that higher sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday may require that you have extra staff available to help pack and ship orders, and to give excellent customer service.
Consider Customer Segments
No matter how much effort you put into BFCM, it’s only useful if you consider your customers. You need to offer them something they want to buy.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a chance to get more people shopping with you, but it’s also an opportunity to show your loyal customers that you are attentive to their needs. For this reason, you have to consider what each customer segment wants when you are crafting your promotions.
New shoppers may have visited your website before to see what you are offering. You could convert them by promoting some of your most popular products.
Loyal shoppers — the ones who purchase from you frequently — know exactly which products they like, but they may have been interested in more expensive items or product add-ons that they usually don’t have the budget for. Identify what those products are for your sale, instead of only promoting the products customers usually buy.
Finally, you will also have VIP customers. These customers spend a substantial amount of money at your store, so you want to thank them for their support. Choose high-value items to promote to your VIP customers, or give them early access to the BFCM sale.
Identifying your most valuable customer segments can be time consuming.
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Creating a Content Calendar
Another part of preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday is to build a content calendar that will be used to let people know about your promotions. The content calendar you create will have a major impact on the success of your BFCM efforts since it is the easiest way to push content to your audience.
Decide on which communication channels are most suitable for your customers. Are they on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or Twitter? If your customers are businesses, should you consider LinkedIn? Think about all the places your customers could learn about your BFCM promotions. Email marketing is another way to communicate with an engaged audience who might be expecting promotion material already.
Next, determine when you want to communicate with your audience about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Obviously, you want to send them promo material in the days leading up to BFCM, but you can also send some teaser emails earlier on or send a “last chance to shop” email in the final hours of your sales.
Once you’ve finalised your important content dates, you can move on to creating content (in advance) so that everything is ready to go before the sales weekend rolls around. Ensure your content displays promotions clearly, as well as any terms and conditions to avoid any confusion on the part of customers. After your content is ready, use your chosen content management system (CMS) to schedule the content.
Best Practices for Black Friday/ Cyber Monday
Now that you’ve gotten the basic preparation out of the way, it’s time to consider a few Black Friday/ Cyber Monday best practices.
Stick to the Planned Promotion
BFCM promotions are planned in advance, so you should stick to them. Don’t change your mind last minute or alter the offer when the holiday sales weekend is already in full swing.
Customers might have received an email advertising the BFCM promotions and already decided on what they want to buy. Imagine their disappointment if you were to then change or remove that product from your sale entirely.
Similarly, customers don’t want to buy an item on Friday, only to see that it’s a better price on Monday — that just creates frustration on the customer’s side and makes them feel as if they missed out on a better deal.
Prioritise Advanced Scheduling
All that planning and content creation can only pay off if you push out messages to your customers telling them about your holiday sale. Use your chosen CMS to schedule all your content several weeks in advance. Take some time in the days before content goes out to check that everything is correct and ready to post.
Keep Your Message Consistent
Speaking of content, it’s important to give the same message through all communication channels. If you are talking about a specific promotion on social media, then you should be communicating the same offer via email too. You can’t be creating different offers for different channels.
For example, if you are offering 35% off on t-shirts, then that should be the message across all channels. You can’t decide to add an extra 5% off on your social media posts. Keep it consistent to keep your customers happy.
Where possible, show customers you care about their needs and wants by personalising messages. For instance, use the customer’s name when sending out emails, or let them know that products they’ve purchased previously will be part of the BFCM sale.
BFCM campaigns require time and effort.
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It helps to look at channel optimisation in more detail since messaging is such an important part of your Black Friday/ Cyber Monday strategy.
Website Marketing Strategies
Your website is one of your most valuable marketing tools which makes it an important part of your marketing strategy, especially when it comes to sales. Here are a couple of things to pay attention to for BFCM.
- Do homepage updates: Your homepage is the first impression visitors get so theme it for Black Friday/ Cyber Monday with clear links to sale items.
- Edit sign-up forms: Any subscription forms can be updated to say that subscribers get early access to sales.
- Ensure contact details are correct: Customers may want to contact you about promotions or follow-up on orders which makes contact details essential. If possible, add an FAQ page or a chatbot to make communication easier.
Emails are a great way to let customers know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. As a start, you need to create a BFCM campaign, but you can improve your email strategy by also making use of email flows.
If you have updated your newsletter sign-up form, update your welcome flow too so that it matches up with the BFCM theme. Just remember to make a note that you need to revert any changes after the holiday sale passes.
The next flow that needs attention is the abandoned cart flow. Get it set up as soon as possible if you don’t have one active already. Many customers will add items to carts but never check out. If they get abandoned cart flows — especially ones that mention the sale and create a sense of urgency — then customers could be convinced to finish the purchase.
Other flows you should add or update include a post-purchase series (cross-sell in these emails) and browse abandonment emails.
Since these Black Friday/ Cyber Monday flows are only needed for a short time, it could be a good idea to clone your current email flows, update the clone for BFCM, and set the clone to draft. Activate it as your current flow once your sale is active. This makes it easier to revert back to the original flows after the promotion.
Some other things to consider:
- Run A/B tests to determine which messages customers respond to the most.
- Clean your subscriber list to ensure maximum deliverability.
- Send follow-up campaigns after BFCM to encourage additional purchases.
- Review performance metrics frequently.
Organic Social Media
Your social media accounts probably reach a wide target audience, making it an ideal channel to promote your offers. Spend some time updating all your accounts with the correct details and links to your website. While you do so, change branding on your accounts to reflect your Black Friday/ Cyber Monday sale.
Tease your audience in the days leading up to the sale, and encourage them to sign up to your newsletter for early access to deals. Make sure you post regularly (and even more than usual) during BFCM, and draw attention to the items on sale.
Ensure you reply to any comments on content as this will improve engagement. Encourage customers to share their purchases and share user-generated content (UGC) if it resonates with your audience.
Paid advertising is a good way to let people know about your sale, but it is expensive during November because of intense competition. It’s a better idea to use paid advertising in the months running up to BFCM as it will cost less and help you to gain a wider audience if you can get people to sign up to a newsletter or follow your business on social media.
Influencers can be valuable contributors to help you grow your audience or increase brand awareness. Get influencers that your target audience follows to promote your business in the months leading up to Black Friday/ Cyber Monday so that you can build your following, instead of leaving it to the last minute.
If possible, give influencers a unique code or offer to share with their followers. For example, they could get a discount on their order or a free item added to their purchase if they spend more than a certain amount.
During the BFCM weekend, encourage influencers to share your promotions, or if possible, get them to go live and talk about the offers.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be here in the blink of an eye. Getting ready for it in advance makes it much easier to execute your strategy and can have a major impact on your sales figures.
Note: This article is based on the Klaviyo course Optimise your digital marketing for Black Friday/ Cyber Monday.
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