Temp Blog – 15 real Black Friday Cyber Monday email campaign examples and results
If anything needs a shift in perspective, it’s Black Friday Cyber Monday. In 2021, total sales during Cyber Week (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday) fell 1.4%, while Black Friday sales fell 1.3%, compared to 2020. Thanksgiving Day sales stayed flat, according to Adobe Analytics.
That doesn’t mean Q4 spending was down, though. From November 1-29, 2021, people spent 11.9% more than they did in 2020. Throughout October and November, consumers spread out their holiday spending and took advantage of early deals.
This year, people could be shopping even earlier to take advantage of Amazon’s announced “Prime Fall Deal Event,” rumored to take place in October.
Consumers aren’t waiting for Black Friday Cyber Monday to shop because supply chain issues and rising inflation are making them afraid to wait. BFCM may still be when end-of-year sales peak, but it’s time to start thinking many plot points ahead of the story’s climax if you want to see a happy ending.
If you’re looking for the full scoop on how to prepare for BFCM—and how to use owned marketing channels to have your best Q4 yet—you’ve come to the right place. We’re happy to help when it comes to creating SMS and email marketing content that converts
Table of contents:
- Why “start earlier” isn’t cliché Black Friday Cyber Monday advice
- Black Friday Cyber Monday email campaign planning
- Black Friday Cyber Monday email campaign best practices
- Black Friday Cyber Monday email campaign examples
Why “start earlier” isn’t cliché Black Friday Cyber Monday advice
“Start earlier” may sound like cliche advice for the Black Friday Cyber Monday planner, but it’s useful if you want to stop relying on paid ads to carry you through the holiday season.
Your paid advertising strategy from 2020 is obsolete. Since then, data privacy changes have wiped out audience targeting on social media, customer acquisition costs have increased, and return on ad spend has decreased. As a result, more retailers are investing in building and segmenting their email and SMS lists to reach people who are more likely to buy from their brand.
In this case, early BFCM planning means analyzing your owned lists so you can segment them for targeted, effective Q4 holiday promotion. This is where a successful Black Friday Cyber Monday starts—by realizing that the days of blasting your whole email list with the same messages are over.
Keep reading to find out how to put this principle to practice for your Black Friday Cyber Monday season. Here’s what you’ll learn:
- When you should send Black Friday Cyber Monday emails
- How often you should send Black Friday Cyber Monday emails
- How to create a Black Friday Cyber Monday content calendar
- How to announce Black Friday Cyber Monday sales
- How to write a good Black Friday Cyber Monday email
Black Friday Cyber Monday email campaign planning
Before we dive into step-by-step planning, let’s establish what good email segmentation looks like before your final quarter begins.
If you’re able to start planning for Black Friday Cyber Monday in August, you can take steps to prime your email list for Q4. Wei Tan, co-founder of The Orchard Agency, says you can start preparing your email and SMS lists for BFCM segmentation in a few ways.
When your email and SMS subscribers sign up for early access, they’re giving you permission to contact them before BFCM is on anyone’s radar. Consider the opt-in a signal that someone is more interested in your brand than someone who subscribed to a general list a while back—these are the people you’ll want to engage with the most when Black Friday Cyber Monday rolls around.
Even more important, however, are your existing customers. According to Klaviyo data from BFCM 2021, the same group of consumers is spending 16% more on online purchases with stores they’ve shopped at previously.
So how do you communicate best with highly interested people? Every brand is different, but here’s a high-level, step-by-step process to get you started:
Step 1: Determine your BFCM offer (last week of August)
Black Friday Cyber Monday is known for steep discounts, but that doesn’t mean they’re your only option. Last year, the average BFCM discount was 24%, which was 2-4% down from previous years.
Depending on the current state of your financials, you may want to offer something other than a margin-killing discount, like a:
- Holiday product launch
- Limited-edition bundle or collection
- Free gift with purchase
- Partnership offer
- Donation incentive
Our recommendation: Choose a few offers that work for your business, and use Labor Day weekend to test them against each other. The tests will give you more information about your audience segments as you head into Q4.
Step 2: Determine your BFCM email cadence (first two weeks of September)
Black Friday Cyber Monday is known for steep discounts, but that doesn’t mean they ’re your only option. L
It’s a question as old as time itself: How often should I email my segments about Black Friday Cyber Monday?
Knowing what we know about BFCM 2021—that consumers spread out their holiday spending throughout November—it’s safe to say you can start emailing your audience earlier and in stages before the big weekend. Here’s a sample cadence you might want to adapt for your business:
- October, last week: season kick-off email to highlight discounted overstock
- November, first week: gift guide email
- November, second week: free shipping weekend email
- November, third week: bundle promotion or escalating discount with cart value + VIP early access
- Black Friday to Cyber Monday: Black Friday Cyber Monday announcements
- Tuesday: extended final sale
- December, second week: last chance for guaranteed holiday delivery
A note on timing: For those weeks before Black Friday Cyber Monday, we recommend emailing your most engaged email lists on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays (more on this segment below).
Email your VIPs between Tuesday and Thursday before Black Friday.
Email every day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Then, in December, email between Monday to Wednesday—depending on your supply chain and when you can guarantee holiday delivery.
Watch this short video clip for more details on how to build out this cadence in your content calendar:
Step 3: Assign segments to emails and SMS messages (first two weeks of September)
Steps 2 and 3 go hand-in-hand: You may have a robust SMS list, for example, and want to develop messaging specifically for this segment. Or you may want to segment your VIP list even further into super-loyal customers who have purchased 5+ times or subscribed to your product for more than a year.
You know your list better than anyone else, but one rule is universal across all businesses: never treat your whole email list the same.
What does a “tight” segment look like? For Black Friday Cyber Monday, you’ll want to focus on the following 3 segments:
- Engaged list: If you’re emailing a few times per week, your engaged list is people who have opened or clicked on an email within the last 30-60 days. If you’re only emailing a few times a month, you may want to expand this list to 90-120 days.
- VIP list: You may define your VIPs based on dollar value, number of purchases, or subscription length, depending on your business model. Every brand defines their VIP list differently, but these are basically your most loyal customers.
- Previous BFCM purchasers: These are people who converted on Black Friday Cyber Monday emails in previous years.
Watch this short video clip for more details on how to think about these segments:
Black Friday Cyber Monday email campaign best practices
Now that you know the basics of planning for Black Friday Cyber Monday, we’ll give you some tips, tricks, and strategies to boost conversion and engagement. We’ll also tell you what not to do so you don’t have to learn the hard way.
Do these things for Black Friday Cyber Monday
Your BFCM communication needs to focus on building trust, not eroding it. Here are some of the things you can do to side-step the holiday promo email fatigue:
Clean your list before the holiday
Your BFCM communication needs to focus on building trust, not eroding it. Here are some of the things you ca
Before you can segment your lists, you’ll want to clean them. That means letting go of people who haven’t opened or clicked on an email in a long time—especially around BFCM, when your email deliverability needs to be in tip-top shape if you want your messages to reach your subscribers’ inboxes.
A general rule of thumb is to aim for a 20% open rate to consider a segment “engaged.” If you’re seeing consistent 20% open rates on your 90-day engaged list, consider opening up your engaged list to 120 days. But if you’re seeing less than 20% open rates on your 90-day engaged list, narrow your focus to 60 days engaged or less.
Watch this video for more details on email deliverability standards when preparing for BFCM:
Segment your sends
After you’ve cleaned your lists, you’re ready to segment them further. Here are 6 suggestions for how to best segment for BFCM:
- VIP customers → Send early promo access
- SMS opt-ins → Send early promo access
- Browse abandonment → Send a custom gift guide based on what they viewed
- Browse abandonment → Send a custom gift guide based on what they didn’t buy
- Previous BFCM purchasers → Send early promo access
- Current BFCM purchasers → Suppress this list for post-BFCM promotion
Personalize your content
When you’ve segmented your lists, take a moment to assign characteristics to those lists.
One way to look at your list is by product interest. If you have a sizable browse abandonment list for a certain product, build a custom gift guide for the category and use it to build hype for a BFCM promo.
Another way to build personalized content is to know your customers. What keeps your customers loyal? Why do they buy from you? Build a special deal for them on top of early access, and you’ll build even more loyalty that can extend after the holiday season.
Be transparent about shipping
Shipping delays plagued the 2020-21 holiday seasons—and people haven’t forgotten. Get ahead of consumer anxiety by setting clear expectations about when people need to order so they get their deliveries on time for the holidays.
Here’s a great example from BrüMate—in their email footer, they include clear shipping cut-off dates for ground, express, and two-day shipping.
The BFCM tactics consumers loved (and loathed) this year
SMS marketing: are you prepared for BFCM?