It’s that time of the year again. Businesses and consumers are getting ready for the biggest sales frenzy of the year – Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BCFM). If businesses get BCFM right, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. But, it’s not the right fit for every single business.
In this blog, we’ll:
- Dive into Black Friday and Cyber Monday
- Talk about small businesses and BCFM, including pros and cons
- Show you some marketing tactics that work for BFCM
What’s the difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
In 2022, Black Friday is on November 25th. It’s held on the last Friday of November, the day after US Thanksgiving.
Founded in 1952, Black Friday is one of the busiest and most profitable sales events of the entire year. It has been the single biggest shopping day of the year in the USA since 2005.
It is a day of major discounts, fantastic deals, and limited offers on services. Black Friday sales are held throughout North America, the UK, Europe, Australia, and many other nations.
How is Black Friday different from Cyber Monday?
Black Friday is store-based and online. It’s typically dominated by the larger chains with their ‘doorbuster’ sales. We’ve all seen images of massive queues outside a Walmart and the chaos when the doors open. Who knew flat-screen TVs could cause so many bust-ups?
In recent years, online sales have become a big part of Black Friday and will continue to grow.
Cyber Monday is the Monday after the US Thanksgiving holiday. In 2022, it will fall on November 28th. It’s the digital equivalent of Black Friday, which was in-store sales only in the past.
How is Cyber Monday different from Black Friday
Cyber Monday is online only. It started in 2005 when online shopping wasn’t as popular as it is today. Back then, people needed encouragement from retailers to visit and purchase from their websites. Times have changed, and now, it’s a way for smaller retail websites and online-only stores to get in on the action.
Aren’t they the same thing?
Yes and no. Black Friday was born for bricks and mortar stores. Cyber Monday was the online world’s answer. Back in the day, you’d physically hit the stores on Friday. Then digitally hit the stores on Monday. Nowadays, Black Friday is online too. Deals may differ as a way for retailers to keep momentum and interest going.
So, should your business get involved?
On one hand, it seems like a no-brainer. You can boost sales, especially in the short term. Plus, you can leverage all the excitement to build long-term brand awareness.
On the other hand, there may be costs attached. There’s increased packaging, distribution, and returns handling to be calculated. There’s also a potential longer term cost to consider; the impact on consumer perceptions. Plus, you’ll need to do some paid advertising promoting offers (unless you have a killer social media presence or a big enough database to promote your involvement).
There are lots to weigh up. Especially for small businesses that don’t have the same financial backing as major corporations.
To help you decide, we’ve listed some BFCM pros and cons from our experience and from our small business customers.
Some Pros and Cons
1. Buzz, hype, and shopper enthusiasm
PRO: Most people know about BFCM sales events. The broad awareness and interest mean that, in some ways, the promotion is done for you. Basically, a large number of people are already looking forward to shopping that day and grabbing a bargain.
CON: You may become too well known for your BFCM sales, and customers expect you to have one every year. This may discourage them from purchasing from you at other times. Some smart lifecycle marketing will help with this.
2. Lots of businesses get involved, competition is fierce
PRO: Small businesses are more agile than bigger retail beasts. If you have great offers on great products, you can get a smart marketing campaign out much quicker than your larger competition. Leverage low-cost channels like email, SMS, and social media before, during, and after the event/s. We’d recommend working your social media following and database as hard as possible.
CON: The competition from other retailers is intense. Big retail chains will have crazy loss-leader, ‘door-buster’ specials to get people queuing up well before opening. They usually have much larger marketing budgets, and it can get expensive to get cut through to a wider audience.
3. Quickly shift old stock
PRO: It’s a great opportunity to shift old inventory quickly. Think: inventory that you’d be marking down at some stage or even disposing of if not sold.
CON: Customers are price-sensitive during BFCM, and it’s very easy to shop around in our digital world. You could find yourself needing to discount on your discounts to close sales.
4. A big increase in awareness and traffic, physically and digitally
PRO: You can generate extra footfall into your store and hopefully generate some new, loyal (local) customers. You can also drive extra traffic to your website and capture a lot of valuable data.
CON: Can you adequately serve all of your new customers online and in-store? Do you have adequate staff cover, bags and enough till rolls? Is your website robust enough to handle a surge in traffic? Is the eCommerce side of your website working? Do you offer enough payment options? Is the fulfilment side ready to process all the orders? Do you have SMS updates in place to keep customers updated on their orders?
5. Increase your customer base
PRO: Many BFCM shoppers hang around after the event. Customers who buy from you during the sale may purchase full price items at other times. You might also capture the attention and business of customers who normally go somewhere else.
Con: Most new customers will probably be bargain hunters. You may not see them again until the next BFCM (or at all). Consumers have a hell of a lot of choices at their fingertips nowadays. Often, loyalty is more of a dream than a reality.
After reading a few pros and cons, would you get involved?
If you are going to join in the fun, you need to start locking down your BFCM marketing and comms ASAP. Email and SMS are effective and cost-efficient ways to tell your audience about the sales season and encourage them to visit your store – physical or digital. SMS, in particular, cuts through like nothing else with open rates of 98%. There is no more affordable nor effective method of communicating with consumers than via text message marketing
Some Marketing Tactics that Work
1. Begin Advertising Early
Get ahead of the competition by beginning your campaign earlier. Start before other businesses begin the Black Friday advertising bombardment. Capture consumer attention and anticipation as early as possible to get people looking forward to your sales. Promote engagement with:
- Sneak peeks
- Product launches
- Refer-a-friend incentives
- Flash sales
- VIP events
Your clients may be hesitant to shop ahead of the Black Friday weekend, expecting further discounts on products. Encourage sales ahead of Black Friday by offering a price guarantee, so your customers can buy with confidence.
Don’t forget, even Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving Day are also massive for sales and revenue.
2. Boost Subscription with Early Access
People love feeling special. Reward existing customers and new subscribers with early access to sales before they are open to the general public.
3. Create Urgency and FOMO
Compel your customers to buy now. Provide details on flash sales, exclusive offers and limited stock. You can build up to the main sale by advertising which goods will be available from a specific date (but won’t last long!). Be very specific about this in your communications.
4. Use Multiple Channels to Promote
Multichannel marketing is not just for the big retailers! And by multichannel we don’t mean television, radio, print, and outdoor. We’re talking about agile, cost-effective, and efficient channels like email, SMS, and postcards.
It’s simple to set up a nice little multichannel campaign in the lead-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday and beyond. Be sure to send out text messages, emails, and postcards every few days to build anticipation and keep your offer front of mind.
Here is a simple little multichannel campaign:
- Introduce your participation – Email 📧
Promote your business’s involvement in BF or CM or both. Don’t drill into the details too much at this stage. Save some of that for later. Throw some big bold headlines like 50% OFF ALL STOCK to catch attention.
- Promote some of your best offers by Post 📫
Follow up by promoting some of your hot offers using direct mail. People expect bargains during BFCM, so put your best bargains forward to drive anticipation.
- Offer additional purchase incentives to encourage action by SMS 💬
If you don’t already offer free shipping, this is a great way to build trust with your customers. Offering free shipping gives you an extra benefit to promote. While reassuring customers that they won’t have an extra cost tacked on at the end of the transaction.
- Remind that sales will end soon – SMS 💬
Yep, here’s where a little FOMO via SMS marketing messages will help drive action and boost sales 💸
- Thank your customer and keep them informed by – Email 📧 SMS 💬 Post 📫
Once an order is placed, thank your customer for their transaction and provide their order info by an automated email. Then keep them informed of their delivery via SMS notifications. After all of that, a really nice gesture that works is a follow-up ‘Thank You’ postcard after delivery.
5. Re-Engage with Past Customers
Previous customers lapse for many reasons. Invite them to re-engage with your brand by sending a welcoming SMS to those who have not purchased with you for a while. Promote all your great offerings and offer an incentive to buy now.
6. Timing is Everything!
Time your emails and SMS marketing messages right and you’ll reap the benefits. Time them poorly, and your subscribers are likely to opt-out (or worse – report spam! 😱).
Schedule and stagger your marketing campaigns and plan your strategy for communications timing. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend that businesses avoid sending marketing messages:
- in the evening
- early in the morning
- on a Monday morning
- at the end of the weekend
Be mindful of the different time zones your customers may be in. For example, your 9am text blast may be okay for customers in your state, but you may end up alienating your customers who live in a timezone 3 hours behind you.
7. Personalise your Marketing
Who is your target audience? What do they want to see from you? Tailor your content to suit your brand and your target customer. Every email and SMS message should:
- Greet the recipient by name
- Send local-based event invitations
- Consider their opt-in preferences
- Consider and respect their time zone
- Reward loyalty with exclusivity (VIP offers, events, etc.)
8. Incorporate MMS
Capture your customer’s attention quickly with imagery. MMS marketing and rich content are a fun way to provide greater value and persuade consumers to buy more. Images, animations, GIFs, and links all work effectively to further engage your audience and promote your brand in a more sophisticated way.
9. Follow up
Thank your customers after Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over. Extend the dialogue between you and your customers by sending messages to:
- Seek feedback about their experience
- Test future product ideas
- Encourage ongoing customer loyalty through loyalty programs
- Build trust and a rapport with your customers
- Extend the sales period
One of the most personalised and engaging ways to say thank you is with a postcard. In a world where most communications are digital, the humble postcard really stands out. And they get attention in the postbox too, they’re different to junk mail and windowed letters people receive.
Make your BFCM a breeze with ClickSend
We work with businesses and organisations all over the world. Our messages get sent globally via reliable direct routes.ClickSend is the premier choice for SMS marketing and online post.
From delivery updates for online orders to marketing with SMS or online post, we have the tools to supercharge your Black Friday and Cyber Monday events. Our customer service team is available 24/7 to help you put them into place.
Sign up for your free trial, so you can see just how easy it is to send your SMS marketing campaigns.