3 min read

#69. Black Friday Cyber Monday Campaign Strategy

Written by Vira and Alissa
3 min read

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Black Friday is coming up. Fast. There’s an estimated $90 billion (yes, with a B) in sales up for grabs this year. When one-fifth of those are coming from email, your campaign strategy needs to be top-notch.

In this episode, we dive into the nitty-gritty. Breaking down exactly what you should be sending, when, and to which customers to make the most of this Black Friday weekend.

Get ready to send a lot of emails. This is the only time we’ll ever tell you it’s a good idea to blow up your customer’s inbox!

Listen to the episode and leave us a review! Then, take a screenshot of your review, and send it to us and we will send you customized Flowium socks 🙂

You’ll learn

  • Our complete 6-Day Black Friday campaign rundown
  • How to engage your VIPs early
  • The strategy to keep readers engaged, not overwhelmed

Links mentioned in this episode

Andriy: Hi, thank you for listening to Email Einstein. This is Andriy, the founder of Flowium. I have a quick announcement to make. We've got great news for you. Now, listening to our podcast comes not only with practical advice from our host and valuable insights from our guests, but also prizes. If you enjoy our podcast, take a moment to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, and we will send you a pair of coolest Flowium socks. And since we know you may be busy later, pause this episode now, go to Apple Podcasts and share your review with our community. After you do, go to flowium.com/socks to request the prize.

Vira: Yay, more Black Friday things. Today we're discussing the calendar. What to send and on what days, and how many emails send.

Alissa: Welcome to Email Einstein, a podcast by Flowium. It's time to start honing your inner marketing Einstein. Tune in for the data-driven tips that'll make you a marketing genius. Here you'll find email marketing formulas and tips straight from the brilliant, mad scientists at Flowium. It's time for your emails to start earning more money. It's time to unleash your Einstein.

Alissa: Hello. Hello everyone. And welcome to another episode of email Einstein by Flowium. Vira and Alissa here as always. We are two email marketers at an email marketing agency called Flowium. We are super passionate about email marketing and because we love what we do, we want to share our insights with you.

Alissa: Flowium is one of the fastest growing email marketing agencies in the world. We specialize in providing a premium, full service, e-commerce email marketing experience for all of our clients. Our service is tailored specifically for your business and is designed to help increase your online retail revenue. We deliver the right message to the right person at the right moment. That's what we're all about here at Flowium. We are continuing our trend of Black Friday, Cyber Monday goodies. So Vira, take us away.

Vira: Yay. More Black Friday things. Guys, I hope you are still with us. It's a big season for us. So yes, we do have a lot of goodies prepared about the Black Friday, Cyber Monday. And today we have a special guest with us. Well, not really, but we had Alissa's baby, Henry with us at the beginning of the show. And he was so cute, you might be able to hear him the background.

Alissa: He knows a thing or two.

Vira: Yeah, he knows a thing or two about email marketing and he's been on your calls probably from day one, right Alissa?

Alissa: Yep. Yep. Yep. Yep.

Vira: If you need a free consultation, flowium/Henry. Well, anyways, let's talk some Black Friday stuff. I don't know guys, about the States, but in Canada we do things way early here every year. So some stores are already busting out giant bows and have some promotions for Black Fridays. No santas in the malls yet. But it just in a matter of a week or two, we'll have them there. So we're starting things early. And I mean, there is this fade of chill air that is indicating that holidays are coming. Not for you Alissa, probably, you're in Florida. So no chill air for you,

Alissa: But still...

Vira: I mean...

Alissa: It's supposed to be 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Vira: Oh, come on height.

Alissa: Which is...

Vira: You and your 79 degrees.

Alissa: 20, 24, I think 24, 25, 26 Celsius this weekend.

Vira: And we're like, ooh, it's cold. It's chill, sweater, weather. Florida people.

Vira: Well, anyways, it's official. The holidays are coming. And so are a lot of emails. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. Last year they found this number. I think it was from HubSpot or something. I'm not sure. So last year retailers sent 55.4 more emails campaigns on Black Friday than the year before that. Can you imagine, literally 50% more emails in 2020 than in 2019?

Alissa: Which is crazy.

Vira: Yeah. And I mean, it was a big year for all of us with COVID and everything. Everyone got more involved with email marketing and stuff, but yeah, this year will be no exception. So there will be a lot of emails, but that doesn't mean that you have to stay away from that. You have to be a part of that huge party. And today we're discussing the calendar, what to send and on what days, and how many email send, this is a big one too. Because people are asking us all the time. Do I need to bother my customers at all, when they are so busy with all the other email campaigns? The short answer is yes, but today we'll discuss what exactly. And when to send.

Andriy: Are you ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other holidays? Is your marketing strategy set, and up to speed with new trends? I'm excited to announce that we released our first Flowium book, which covers the latest email marketing strategies for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holidays. You can grab your own copy today at flowium.com/holiday. This book will help you to maximize customer growths and revenue through the busiest season of the year.

Vira: Alissa, take us off with day number one.

Alissa: Day one, day one. My day ones, all my day one's out there. So day one, early Black Friday deals for your VIPs. So even though things are getting really, really earlier as time goes on year after year, you can still kind of keep some sort of exclusivity with how early you get with your details. So a long time ago, a very long time ago, it feels like, Black Friday was one single day of shopping excess. People would wake up early the day after Thanksgiving, not me, and would head to the malls and fight over deeply discounted sweaters, coffee makers, and TVs. I still have this image of a viral video of someone literally playing tug of war with a TV at a Walmart or something. And that's what I used to picture when I would think of Black Friday.

Alissa: It's a little different now, and that's because Black Friday 2021 is starting even earlier and it's even earlier than ever, however...

Vira: That's true.

Alissa: ...Your VIPs should be the first ones to enjoy it. So what you want to do is offer your VIP customers early access to your promotions with a unique coupon code or other incentives, which helps build brand loyalty amongst some of your best customers. So in episode 68, we talked about this. So definitely check that episode out, because we did talk about specifically an early bird strategy. The other thing to note is you don't have to be offering your VIP discount in October. One of my clients, we offer a VIP discount, so Black Fridays, that Friday, we usually do it on the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving. So it's not crazy amounts earlier. It's just something that's a little earlier than when the actual Black Friday sale launches.

Alissa: The other thing that you should keep an eye out for is when Amazon Prime Day kicks off. You can consider that as the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season, especially if it's within the October timeframe. So what you can do is you can pick some of those following weekends to introduce upcoming holiday deals and also think about maybe even launching some early access campaigns around that timeframe. And weekends, well, they tend to see a lower sending volume. People tend to, or companies tend to focus all of their sends throughout the course of the week, because people just aren't as heavy on email. So when you send things out on the weekend or you have your VIP deals going out on the weekend, people actually have time to read emails and do some online shopping.

Alissa: So you can use Saturdays and Sundays throughout the entire sales season to your advantage. And the other thing that we've talked a little bit about too, is there are some brands that Sunday mornings, tend to be their best campaign sale days. So if that is one of your brands, then use that towards your advantage as well. And just think about where your customer is at, meet them, where they're at in their life and what day you think you're going to be able to catch them best and then start launching some of those earlier Black Friday promotions for them.

Vira: Yeah. That's actually an interesting point, Alissa, because I've noticed with one of my clients that whenever I'm sending the campaign for them on Saturday, usually we do for this client either Thursday or Saturday. So whenever I send the Saturday campaign, the open rates usually are lower, but the average order value is much higher.

Vira: And I'm talking 20% higher, which is weird, right? It's like, why would you spend more money on Saturday than on a Thursday? But somehow it works for them this way. And this is a brand for car enthusiasts. So I don't know. Maybe people who love cars are willing to spend more on Saturdays. I don't know. But that's just an interesting thing. And thank you for pointing it out, that yeah, because people sometimes they try to stay away from weekends not to bother your customers. And sometimes we do agree with that strategy. Not during the holidays. Holidays does your time to bother your people.

Alissa: I cannot.

Vira: I feel people do expect to receive more emails. So they wouldn't be too angry with you, right? Yeah. Cool. Day number two.

Vira: Well, this is just the basic strategy. Obviously, you don't have to follow it to of the tee, but day number two is your Thanksgiving day. And when it comes to Thanksgiving, there are three approaches. Approach number one, blasting your list with products like many brands do. That's a valid approach, but not the one that we prefer. Spoiler alert. Number two, not bothering your customers with promos at all. So do not send anything, be silent, let them enjoy their Turkey and their families. So that's approach number two. Approach number three is somewhere in the middle. Doing a thank you campaign and sending it to your engaged 12 months customers. Yet this thank you campaign, we shouldn't include any promos or anything. This is more, a relationship building campaign, right? On Thanksgiving day, you simply want to send Happy Thanksgiving wishes to all of your subscribers.

Vira: This should be a genuine email. More like a, "from our family to yours" kind of email. Yeah. So this is a really good valid Thanksgiving campaign strategy. It is simply to express gratitude, thanks with your customers. And instead of trying to bombard them with product landing pages, sales, share something that is warm, that is heartfelt Thanksgiving message. It will help to build you, brand loyalty, which will last longer than your promo. So this is a good one. And there is this company that is selling books. I really like them. And a few years ago they sent this really cute email. I can just read it quickly because it was so warm and nice.

Vira: Called, "Today, we share a table". Maybe yours is messy. Filled with familiar faces, belly laughs and happy cries. Maybe it finds you full. Maybe it's aged with gathering of years before or perhaps it's brand new, waiting expectingly for traditions to come. Very few days do we get to make room for gathering, and when we create the space to do just that together, we seem stumble upon what we're looking for. Are we witness the joy of connection. With every hour spend, we find together we belong. Yada, yada, yada. I mean, this is a long email. It's just so different. It struck me because it...

Alissa: It's really sweet.

Vira: It's sweet. They thank you for being their customer. They thank you for sharing your table with them. I mean, that's a way to go, but that's just our personal opinion. That's what we did last year with many of our clients. Again, it depends on the client. Depends on the brand. How aggressive you want to be with your promos.

Vira: But this is a nice little touch. Optionally, you can also send an SMS. If you're doing SMS, you can also send it later in the day when people are done with their dinners and when they're eating their dessert. You can send an SMS to drive the start off your Black Friday, Cyber Monday offerings, especially to VIPs. So Thursday afternoon, SMS messages, they do see good engagement throughout Cyber weekend. So this is a good opportunity for you to kickstart your Thanksgiving. But again, depending on your strategy and how invasive you want to be on Thanksgiving day. So day number two, send the Thanksgiving email.

Alissa: Yeah, the email I agree with, the SMS is tough for me because it does feel...

Vira: I know how you feel about SMS.

Alissa: It feels invasive on Thanksgiving. I'm on board with the SMS marketing, but it does feel a little invasive on Thanksgiving. Now it just depends on the content, right? If you're sending a sweet message like that. Hey, thanks for sharing your table with us. I think that's nice. You know, that would be a surprising text to get from a brand that I really liked. So yeah. Interesting. Very interesting. So day three, Black Friday. Dun, dun, dun. This is the big one. So we actually have an email and then an optional SMS, if you're doing SMS marketing. So on Black Friday at 12:00 AM, this is what you would send. But before we get into that, let's talk about some stats.

Alissa: 116.5 Million emails are sent on Black Friday, more than any other day of the year. That is whack.

Vira: Insane. Insane.

Alissa: That's whack. That's crazy. And over at 90 billion dollars in sales are expected over the four day weekend, with email expected to be driving a fifth of these sales.

Vira: Wow.

Alissa: That's crazy. Email is real people. For any of you who think that email is dying, just look at the numbers. So once the actual big day Black Friday arrives, you definitely should not be shy with your emails. And you'll definitely want to send multiple campaigns on that one day. And this is probably the only day of the year that you can actually get away with that sort of thing. You will easily upset a customer if you send two or three campaigns on any old Tuesday. But when you get to Black Friday, it's okay to do that, because you want to make sure that you're hitting top of inbox for customers. Your first email, it can go out as early as midnight. So that's why we said 12:00 AM midnight. And yes, there are definitely shoppers who will start their Black Friday shopping in the first minutes of the day.

Alissa: And I might be one of them, who knows, maybe I'll be working and then maybe I'll be like, let's see what happens and see who decides to email me. And obviously the goal of your Black Friday email is to get people to take action and purchase from your store without delay. So you don't want people to wait until you probably send out that extension email on Tuesday after Cyber Monday. You want people to buy right away. Because then the best thing is when people buy right away and then you get a repeat purchase from that same customer within the same weekend. And then your other option is SMS. So we have here a recommended send of around 11:15 AM. So what you would do, is you would use this SMS to actually target those who haven't converted from your earlier emails in the day and encourages sale.

Alissa: And this is an opportunity to reach subscribers who may not use email as much directly on their phone. The other thing is, there are still people who take it really traditional and they like to go out for Black Friday shopping. They will still show up and wait in line at five o'clock in the morning to get into their stores and find the best deals. And that's okay. But those people are likely not on their phone, checking their email all the time. But when a text comes through, it's a little different, right?

Vira: Yeah. That's a good point.

Alissa: You can still reach your customers through SMS, even if they're out doing the physical Black Friday shopping.

Vira: Do you know anyone who's still doing that physical Black Friday?

Alissa: Yeah.

Vira: Really?

Alissa: Yeah. A lot of people.

Vira: That's so interesting.

Alissa: There are a lot of people who just like to be, I mean, it's usually older people, right? No offense to...

Vira: That's true.

Alissa: No offense to the older generations who are listening out there. But it's usually older people and they just don't trust the internet. So they're like, you know what, I'm going to go to Walmart and actually make the purchase versus just making the purchase online. But on the flip side you do have a lot of older people who are a little apprehensive about going out.

Vira: Yeah, that's true.

Alissa: So they have no choice but to learn how to trust the internet. So yeah, you see two sides to it. But the SMS side of things is really great because it gives you an opportunity to catch people who may or may not be doing their Black Friday shopping out and about. So it's definitely worthwhile. And then we have two other emails that you would send on Black Friday. So if your first is going out at midnight, then your second is going to go out at 11:30 AM.

Alissa: This email would act as a follow up to your first early morning message in order to catch the eye of anyone who may have missed it. And what you want to do is you just want to keep your sales and call to action, above the fold, to ensure they are visible. These emails that you're sending on Black Friday do not need to be long. They don't need to be filled with copy. If anything should be short, to the point and just kind of design fun so that they really catch your customer's eye. And that's really what you're working with. And it should be a glance where they just see discount, buy here, done, and then you're moving on. And then you're sending a third email at 8:00 PM as your final follow up on actual Black Friday. So now that the bulk of Black Friday has passed, people are home having Thanksgiving leftovers, you want to make sure that you're creating a sense of urgency to encourage the later day sales.

Alissa: So you would send this message to a majority of your Black Friday, Cyber Monday segments, just to kind of capture everyone. And again, add some urgency to the fact that the day is ending and it kind of comes across as if the sale is only lasting that one day. So definitely make sure that you make the most of Black Friday and send as many emails as you feel comfortable or you feel like your audience would feel comfortable with.

Vira: That's a good one. And I mean, it sounds like it's a lot of emails, but chances are, if you send more emails, one of your email at least will be opened, right? Because on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, people do get a ton of emails. So don't be shy. This is literally one day of the year when we recommend to bombard your customers with email, to a smart extent.

Vira: Obviously use your segmentation to the rescue. So yeah, day four, Saturday after Black Friday. So start off Saturday with an early campaign, a reminder campaign, if you are doing, not a one day sale, but if you are doing the entire Black Friday, Cyber Monday weekend, which we certainly do recommend and to do. Start off Saturday with an early campaign, encouraging those who still haven't made their purchase to take advantage of your existing promos, right? So segments to send to are probably all your subscribers. So you can literally send to your master list. You can send it to your engage customers of the year, but also for the last year Black Friday, Cyber Monday buyers. This are your window shoppers. So like include them into that campaign as well.

Vira: Optionally, you can send another email around 2:00 to 3:00 PM. By this time, you've likely sent a lot of emails already. And most of your customers potentially bought something from you. Sometimes, depending on what you're selling and how many products you have, maybe it's not a good strategy to send as many emails, right? And maybe, zero pretend, maybe your customers could potentially need a break from your messages. So keep this message focused mostly on your window shoppers or people who are almost buyers, right? Do not exhaust your entire list with this message. Optionally, on Saturday you can also send an SMS, as always just to sum up what to have and to target those people who are not in their emails on Saturday, right? Especially non-openers and non-buyers. So yeah. So here you have your Saturday after Black Friday day. And if your sale ends in Sunday, remind them about the ending time of the sale. Because the sense of urgency is important, especially around the holidays.

Alissa: Yeah, and you need a finite time of, it's ending this time. So then that way you're not just keeping it vague and open and people don't really understand if there's legitimate urgency or not. Okay. So day five, this is the Sunday after Black Friday. So this is optional. However, I would recommend for sure, sending an email. So your email, it would just be one and it, your campaign would go out at around 10:15 AM. Again, these are just recommended times. So see what works best for your brand. But you would use this email to remind your subscribers that your Black Friday promos are running out by the end of the day and encourage them to take action before it's too late, because Sunday is technically the last day of Black Friday because obviously the following day is Cyber Monday.

Alissa: And your reminders can be fun. So you can put in a gift guide, you can show your CEO's favorites, you can show your tribe's favorites. However it is that you want to kind of frame it. Just make it fun. Again, these campaigns should be pretty short, sweet, to the point. You don't need to write mountains and mountains of copy in the email. So just make sure if the design is fun, it's interactive, the customer will get engaged. So then that way, they're taking advantage of the last day of your Black Friday sales specifically.

Vira: Yeah. That's a good one. And day six is your... Is it day six? Yeah. Day six is your Cyber Monday. This is the big holiday in the industry. Back in the day, it was Black Friday of e-commerce industry. Now we have Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So we have them both. So it's your call. Basically, there are two big approaches. Approach number one is to be sending Cyber Monday emails only to people who haven't purchased within that Black Friday weekend timeframe, right? So you can have two separate sales. You can have a Black Friday sale and Cyber Monday that will only go to people who are sort of non-purchasers.

Vira: Or you can bless your entire list with Cyber Monday promotions as well. Usually Cyber Monday promotions are slightly better than Black Friday. So my preference is more... Is probably the first approach, just so we don't make people who already purchased from you angry with a higher discount. Because yesterday we were promising you that 20% off will be our best ever deal. And today we're like, ha, you know what? Here's 25 or like 30. So I mean, it's your call again? You do you.

Vira: But yeah, that's something that I will be doing with my clients this year, with majority of them anyways. So you can send a quick email introducing the sale in the morning, AM email, but then around 3:00 or 4:00 PM, you can send an optional SMS. You can use this to inform your SMS subscribers that Cyber Monday sales will be ending soon and to entice them to make the purchase before it's actually over. And email number... I don't know what number it is, but whatever. The last email of the day is email that you will send around 9:00 PM. That will be, basically reminding your customer that time is running out. This is email to alert your subscribers that Cyber Monday deals will end today if you are ending them on Monday, obviously. And there are only a few hours left to shop for the sale.

Vira: Countdown timers would be nice to have here. And I think we talked about them before, but there are ton of ways to do your countdown timer. So this is a perfect campaign to have it. So yeah, six days of Black Friday, it's almost like 12 days of Christmas.

Alissa: I know I was just thinking that.

Vira: This is a very easy strategy. Obviously, you can be more sophisticated with segmentation and you can do different offers for different customers, but that's a whole different story. For now, this is an excellent beginning. Let us know if you guys have any other sort of tricks in your sleeve that you can share with us. We're always on the hunt.

Alissa: We're always on the hunt for fresh Black Friday strategies. So guys, thank you so much as always for coming in, listening, touching base with us. Don't forget to subscribe and share this podcast with your friends. And as always, if you leave us a review, or if you like what we do, leave us a review. You'll get some free socks. If you do leave a review, what you should do is visit flowium.com/socks. It'll lead you to a type-form survey. You'll basically just plug in your name, your address so we can send you the socks and then a place where you can put in your screenshot. So then that way our team will make sure that you get your socks sent over to you. And as always, if you do want to get involved in a community of like-minded email marketing nerds, join us at flowium.com/community. We all touch base in there and chat. And any questions that you have, we will try to answer to the best of our knowledge.

Vira: Yay. And come back next week. We will keep talking about Black Friday, Cyber Monday. But next week, we'll be talking about the bounce-back strategies. So don't miss it.

Alissa: I love it. Love it, love it. Thank you guys for listening.

Vira: Thank you so much. Talk to you next week.

Alissa: Thanks for listening to Email Einstein. Can you feel that? Your marketing brain just got a little bit bigger. We ask that you please use it wisely. You've got all the theory you need to get out there and start boosting your sales, because great emails equals revenue squared.

Andriy: You just listen to an episode of Email Einstein. If you enjoy it and want to continue getting valuable insights from our hosts, let us know. Go to Apple Podcasts, find our podcast by searching email marketing, leave us a review and we'll send you a pair of Flowium socks. We know you may be busy later. So take a few minutes to pause this episode, now go to Apple Podcasts and share how you are enjoying this podcast with our community. After you do go to flowium.com/socks to request the prize. Thanks and come back for more e-commerce email marketing knowledge next Tuesday.

Meet your hosts

Vira Sadlak​

Vira Sadlak​

Podcast host, marketer, traveller and a life lover from Vancouver, Canada

When she’s not at her computer, conquering the world of e-commerce email-marketing, you can find her climbing one of the Pacific Northwest Ranges.

Alternatively, try her email at vira@flowium.com, and she’ll probably shoot you back a list of her favorite cat videos.

Alissa Horta

Alissa Taggart

Alissa is an email marketer that is passionate about relevance!

Her main goal with all clients is to create a strategy and campaigns that are unique to the customer-base. Her favorite part of her role as an account manager with Flowium is to meet with her clients as she loves people. She lives with her husband and growing family in Boca Raton, FL.

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