The BFCM tactics consumers loved (and loathed) last year
It may be hard to believe, but Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) is once again nearly here. And for the marketers responsible for driving $33.9B during Black Friday in the US last year, BFCM has probably been part of daily life for a while now.
Planning for a big campaign—perhaps the biggest campaign of the year—is nerve wracking and time consuming. And with so much change in ecommerce over the last two years, marketers might be left wondering how consumers will behave this year.
While it’s hard to predict anything for certain, all ecommerce brands can use learnings from Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2021 to inform their 2022 planning.
So if last year already feels like decades ago, don’t worry: We’ve put together the most important BFCM tactics and strategies that consumers raved about last year—plus the ones you should stay away from.
9 email marketing tips to make 2022 your best BFCM yet
Which tried-and-true BFCM marketing tactics should you test on your audience?
Here are a few tips on what saw resounding success—based on exceptional metrics, or even got a shout out on Twitter, the universal consumer satisfaction mouthpiece.
1. Be honest in your marketing
One thing was loud and clear: Shoppers can smell fake marketing from a mile away.
In this example, you can see that the brand creates urgency around its early Black Friday sale—but then extended the sale for another day.
This strategy might have worked when BFCM was just starting, but now it flags to savvy consumers that your brand isn’t trustworthy.
2. Make your deals crystal clear to understand
Psst…because it came up a great deal in consumer feedback, tip 2 is also about authentic marketing. Listen up, marketers!
Your customers have been around the BFCM block. So when you’re talking about sales, never try to “fool” your audience into visiting your website with misleading or partial information.
It’s not worth getting someone to visit your site if they lose trust in your brand in the process.
Instead, give the customer everything they need to know in order to qualify for the deal up front. It’s fine to tease a deal—but it shouldn’t be difficult for customers to figure out they need to spend $200 in order to get a 10% discount on their purchase.
A brand that does this well: Last year, Girlfriend Collective sent a special deal after their main BFCM sale where customers could get a free beanie with a $100 purchase—and check out how clearly they spelled out how someone could redeem the offer:
3. Over-communicate about what customers can expect
When something pops up that might confuse customers, always err on the side of over communication.
For example, with shipping issues last year, many brands chose to start—and end—sales early to avoid delays. That’s perfectly fine—as long as you clearly articulate what customers should expect.
So if your pre-Black Friday deals aren’t getting better––from the POV of your customer––by the time BFCM hits, let your customers know what to expect. Otherwise, they may not know to shop early—and may not shop with you at all.
4. Build trust by asking customers what they want—and delivering on it
When customers leave feedback for a brand, typically they don’t get any sort of response. But when a brand takes a customer’s feedback seriously enough to change their products or how they do business—then customers feel like the brand really cares about them.
Ekster, a European smart wallet brand, used BFCM as a time to launch new bundles that customers requested. They paired this personal touch with a plain text email to stand out among the flashy BFCM sales.
Similarly, The Fish Society directly asked for feedback on what their customers wanted to see in their Black Friday deals—and then put the top 10 in the sale collection.
Fish Society’s customers saw the real effect of telling the brand what they wanted after taking a poll. Listening to your customers and showing that their voice matters builds trust and makes them more excited to shop with you.
5. Give customers a new offer to get excited about
The customers who have been shopping with you throughout the year—or shopped with you during the last BFCM—have already seen your promotions. And those who haven’t yet made a purchase might have not been enticed by your regular promotions—so show fresh offers that get people excited to shop with you over BFCM.
6. Give your loyal customers the VIP treatment they deserve
To really give repeat customers a reason to shop with you this BFCM, consider making a unique experience for special customers.
For example, UK-based fashion brand The Couture Club gives VIP customers early access to their sale based on what tier they’ve achieved in their loyalty program—resulting in 2.1 average orders from their customer base during BFCM, which is 60% higher than the industry average, according to Klaviyo’s benchmark data.
This technique worked on several different levels:
- It drove awareness about the loyalty program to anyone who tried shopping without a password.
- It made loyal customers feel appreciated.
- The countdown created urgency for early access customers to shop immediately.
Living Proof took a similar approach last year—but sweetened the deal even more for repeat customers: The VIP deal was an extra 5% off compared with their sitewide sale.
This helps to encourage customers to stick with the brand that they already know and love—instead of trying something new and cheaper.
7. Take recent behavior into account when planning communications
Your primary goal is to get someone to checkout during your Black Friday sale. So once they take that much-anticipated step, what’s the next step?
Your new goal should be getting them excited about their new item—and by all means necessary, making sure they have no regrets about their purchase.
You can start with a widespread email to announce your sale—but once someone converts, they don’t need another five emails to remind them about it.
For recent purchasers, if you do continue sending customers BFCM content, segment your lists so that you are offering those who already purchased them something new—or personalize your messages based on what they’ve already purchased, like a related product that’s an enticing cross-sell opportunity.
8. Plan channel strategies that complement each other
Email, SMS, organic and paid social channels are all unique. Keep in mind that the conversation is happening across different platforms when creating your content calendar. Tune in to what your subscribers and followers want on each channel to provide a unique, integrated brand experience.
For example, if you’re using email campaigns and text messages together this BFCM, avoid sending identical messages through these two channels. If you use the same messaging in texts as you do in your emails, your customers could feel like you’re pestering them.
Pro tip: The median time between an email being received and getting clicked is 2.5 hours. For texts, it’s just one hour. Use this immediacy to your advantage. Text your customers to remind them of a time-sensitive deal or to pop in after someone leaves your website.
9. Use social media to showcase your products and directly engage your audience
Going live on social media, like Instagram or Facebook, is a great way to showcase your top products—and it’s another channel to share details about your BFCM deals.
You can answer your customers’ questions in real time or respond to behavioral trends. For example, if a lot of customers are emailing customer support with the same questions, it might be helpful to host a live product demonstration or question and answer session.
You can repurpose these live events, too, by recording them and then embedding them in your emails or on landing pages you promote via SMS.
Make BFCM 2022 your best yet
As you plan your own BFCM this year, consider how you can use the typically sale-focused period to build a better relationship with your customers.