8 BFCM email tips from Western outfitter Tecovas’s superstar marketing team
Thanksgiving weekend isn’t exactly a holiday for everyone. It’s the time of year ecommerce marketers work hardest: Black Friday/Cyber Monday, or BFCM.
“It’s our professional Mount Everest,” says Megan Edwards, email marketing manager at Tecovas. “We know it’s going to be a sprint, but it always comes together.”
Online stores see a huge revenue spike over the long weekend—in 2022, online shoppers spent $11.3B on Cyber Monday alone, according to Adobe Analytics—and in 2022, Tecovas was a BFCM winner.
The DTC Western outfitter, whose cowboy boots you may have spotted on actor Jason Momoa or country star Thomas Rhett, hit ambitious growth goals during the holiday weekend, with an assist from email revenue—it jumped 30.5% YoY.
Here’s what Edwards recommends doing behind the scenes—starting in the summer—to set yourself up for a record-setting BFCM.
- Start prepping for Black Friday early—like, July
- Set revenue goals based on last year’s BFCM
- Plan creative based on more recent performance
- Invest in an email platform with an intuitive editor
- Send every day, but not to everyone
- Max out your abandonment flow revenue
- Track down relevant competitive intelligence
- Dream even bigger for next year
1. Start prepping for Black Friday early—like, July
In 2022, Tecovas started planning for BFCM in September. In 2023, Edwards wants to kick off strategizing even earlier, in July or August.
Months before Black Friday, she plans to know:
- Optimal campaign send times
- Planned campaign cadence
- Segmentation strategy
- Quantity of creative deliverables needed
With enough forethought, “we can let it ride during that Black Friday week and see the numbers roll in,” Edwards says.
Planning ahead improves quality, too, she finds.
“The sooner we can get things to creative, and the more rounds of edits that they go through—it’s just going to make the campaigns better,” Edwards says.
2. Set revenue goals based on last year’s BFCM
BFCM is a long weekend completely unlike the rest of the year, so Edwards and her team set high-level revenue goals based on the prior BFCM’s revenue—especially when they’re running a similar promotion.
It matches the structure of most holiday retros. “That’s what we’re going to report on to leadership: what we did year over year,” Edwards says.
3. Plan creative based on more recent performance
When Edwards plans creative deliverables, she looks at recent history.
“What’s most top of mind for me is what we’ve seen over the past few months performing well for us in emails,” she explains—especially in terms of layouts and landing pages.
Culture and marketing best practices move too fast to repurpose year-old creative. “Some things we were speaking to last year just probably aren’t relevant anymore,” Edwards says.
4. Invest in an email platform with an intuitive editor
Email is one of Tecovas’s most creative-intensive channels. They need their campaigns to fit detailed specs in terms of copy, visuals, and CTA locations.
Sometimes, they need multiple versions so they can run A/B tests.
So how do they thrive with a lean creative team? One key factor: “the flexibility that I have in Klaviyo,” Edwards says.
The team is still figuring out the ideal workflow and templates for email creative production, Edwards notes, but she finds she can often tweak and restructure sends by herself in Klaviyo’s drag-and-drop builder, instead of relying on creative for every single edit.
It’s quick work, too. “I can’t complain about the time that takes,” she says.
Edwards and her team expect to lean heavily on Klaviyo’s ease of use to get the BFCM 2023 email creative out the door on time.
5. Send every day, but not to everyone
Tecovas only sent to their full marketable email list once during their 2022 holiday email promotion—right at the beginning.
After that, they continued to send campaigns daily, but targeted people who had engaged with prior emails, and changed up their messaging.
On Cyber Monday, Tecovas sent to a very specific segment: users who had opened or clicked on an email in the last 48 hours, but hadn’t purchased yet.
“Hitting them with that final-hours messaging when the promotion ended was pretty key,” Edwards says.
Constantly narrowing focus also made their emails less likely to feel annoying. People who ignored emails stopped getting them, which also may have helped reduce unsubscribes.
Though Tecovas ramped up their campaign frequency from BFCM 2021 to 2022, their unsubscribe rate dropped 22.5% YoY.
6. Max out your abandonment flow revenue
Edwards and her team watched effortless revenue roll in from Tecovas’s abandonment flows during BFCM 2022.
In the months leading up to Black Friday, Tecovas launched two new, upper-funnel abandonment flows:
- Site abandonment, for shoppers who landed on the site and bounced
- Browse abandonment, for shoppers who clicked around the site but added nothing to their carts
The team also A/B tested all 4 of their abandonment flows, including abandoned cart and abandoned check-out—comparing performance with and without dynamic content, with different CTA placements, and especially with different subject lines.
“Just knowing how crowded in boxes are during Black Friday Cyber Monday, it’s really important to grab the customer’s attention,” Edwards says.
When the holidays arrived, numbers from Tecovas’s optimized abandonment flows were “super impressive,” Edwards says—and helped drive their revenue from flows up 138.8% YoY.
7. Track down relevant competitive intelligence
Tecovas doesn’t just aim to beat the past year’s BFCM revenue—they want to stand out from their competition.
So Edwards keeps an eye on Klaviyo benchmarks, a tool that shows median performance from Tecovas’s 100 most-similar competitors on Klaviyo. Edwards can see benchmark performance on email marketing metrics from click rate to revenue per recipient.
In November 2022, Tecovas drove 2.43x median revenue per recipient on browse abandonment flows for their cohort, and an overall unsubscribe rate 63% below median.
“It’s something I’m constantly being asked for from leadership: ‘How are we doing compared to the retail environment?’” Edwards says. “It’s just a helpful comparison to have.”
8. Dream even bigger for next year
After a successful BFCM, Edwards celebrates—and starts imagining an even more sophisticated email strategy for next year.
In 2022, her focus was on email segmentation. Next year, Edwards wants to ramp up usage of dynamic content in emails.
Tecovas already uses dynamic content in their abandonment flows, so customers can see the exact products they almost bought—but the brand could use dynamic content in campaigns, too.
Edward envisions a promotional campaign that spotlights women’s boots to their audience most likely to be women, and men’s boots to the audience most likely to be men—forecasting gender based on purchase history and predicted gender in Klaviyo.
In 2023, Edwards sees Tecovas “really taking that next step of personalizing the content in emails.”