E-mail checklist: How to make the most of Black Friday

The last months of the year mark the main shopping season of the year for many retailers. For many, these few weeks can account for up to a third of their annual turnover. And e-mailing, in combination with other communication channels, is one of the most effective means of sales promotion. To help you through this challenging period, we’ve put together some basic points to help and guide you in getting the best out of this channel for your business. And that’s not all, there’s also a quick checklist at the end for you to download and keep handy during your campaign planning.

How do you approach a Black Friday campaign?

Prepare a campaign tailored to your offer

The season is slowly kicking into gear, Black Friday is already knocking on the door and you feel like you’re running out of time. Stop for a moment, don’t stress and plan everything calmly. There’s no need to overdo it with campaigns. Avoid copying your competitors and focus more on what makes sense for your business and what you want to achieve.

Take last year’s results to hand

Last year’s campaigns can be a great resource for creating this year’s campaigns. See what worked and what was a flop. With this data, you can quickly see what your customers are interested in.

Determine the goal you want to achieve

Goals within e-mail marketing are different for different entities. These goals can include % increase in sales, inventory liquidation, new product launches, reactivation of existing customers, or expanding your brand awareness.

Set a budget, timeline and calculate your return

Define how much resources and time you want to invest in your campaign. It’s important to understand whether you have enough funding and time to set everything up. In this step, calculate which activities are worthwhile and which ones do not make sense to invest funds in.

Don’t forget the other important days for your business

The end of the year offers plenty of opportunities to take advantage of in sales. You don’t have to focus primarily on Black Friday. We’re adding more inspiration:

Cyber Monday – the next big day after Black Friday. You can use this day as a second attempt to reactivate customers who missed out on Black Friday and offer them a little more of a bargain.

St. Nicholas Day – play Santa Claus and send an e-mail with a St. Nicholas gift. This type of e-mail is not so common and will set you apart from your competitors.

Advent – take advantage of the Advent weekends and perhaps prepare a special Advent calendar with discounts.

Christmas gifts – any marketer who doesn’t take advantage of Christmas would literally be a fool. However, there is a lot of competition, so really make sure you prepare your Christmas campaign intensively already. It really is high time and in five minutes to twelve.

New Year’s PF – strengthen your relationships with your customers and send them a New Year’s card, maybe with a nice surprise in the form of a gift or a discount. Just like that.

New Year discounts – many of your customers will be eagerly awaiting this period. So go out of your way to meet them. It would be a shame to miss out on this opportunity for more sales.

New Year’s resolutions – if your business can be linked to a resolution, take advantage of it. Offer your customers products or services that will help them keep their resolutions.

Don’t forget the timetable

If you have already thought everything out, it is important to put these ideas on paper and plan everything carefully. This planning will give you a better idea of how many newsletters you will send to your customers by the end of the year. It will also avoid the unnecessary stress of not keeping up.

When to plan everything?

According to Deloitt, about 26% of purchases are made in November, and up to 54% during December. All other purchases take place before Black Friday. So it’s the perfect time to plan everything you need in the next few days so you don’t miss any opportunities.

For example, create an excel file or grab a pencil and paper and write everything down. By all of this we mean the types of e-mail campaigns, their rough message content, the necessary supporting documents or the dates of the mailings. This will give you a detailed timeline to stick to for the rest of the year.

You’ll likely send multiple e-mails within these campaigns. Really include them all in your plan. You’ll definitely want to tell your customers what you’re going to do for them, when it’s going to go live, then towards the end of the campaign you’ll want to reactivate those who haven’t done any action and remind them. Keep in mind that less is more. Definitely don’t spam your customers. At the same time, make sure you don’t have an automated campaign running. It might be a good idea to pause these for a while or limit their frequency so you don’t overwhelm your e-mail inbox. Customers are more likely to be put off.

Make sure you prepare your message

Your customers’ inboxes are overwhelmed with offers from other marketers. You need to fight hard to get their attention. Opening and reading the e-mail is the key to winning. So how do you do it?

The subject of the e-mail

The very first thing your customer sees in their e-mail inbox is the subject line, the subject header and the sender. These three elements have a big impact on whether or not the user opens the e-mail. The sender’s name influences 72% of e-mail opens, the subject line 12% and the subject header 8%. You can also test your e-mail open success rates with A/B tests and compare two variations of sender name and subject line.

E-mail content

Great! The recipient has opened your e-mail. However, we’re not done yet. They need to read your message and take the desired action you have prepared. So be concise and specific. Whether you’re offering a special event or an offer, it’s important to make that the main message of the entire e-mail.

How to make the template more attractive?

✔️ Insert a countdown timer in the body of the e-mail. Offers with a limited duration are tempting to customers.

✔️ Use interactive elements that make the content special (gifs, videos, …).

✔️ Motivate customers to buy with discount coupons for signing up, for thanking loyalty or as a motivator to complete a purchase.

✔️ Above the footer of the e-mail, include information about year-end order delivery, including deadlines.

Take advantage of multichannel communication

Extend your campaign to other communication channels. They work great with e-mailing SMS messages. If you also have phone numbers and permission from your customers to use them, definitely take advantage of this and prepare an SMS campaign in addition to your e-mail campaign. 90% of messages sent are read within 3 minutes of delivery. And that’s a hell of a lot of reach to your target audience.

Expand your contact database with new ones

Expanding your database with new contacts is simply essential. The more relevant contacts you have in your database, the more chances you have to increase sales of your products or services.

You can get contacts both through static forms on the website and from first orders. You can also include Facebook and Instagram campaigns in your contact collection.

You can throw your website forms into a themed jacket and send valuable content in exchange for an e-mail (recipes for fall recipes, Christmas cookies, Christmas decorating tips, etc.).

Reactivate contacts

Surely you have contacts in your database who haven’t taken any action in a long time. They haven’t read an e-mail, they haven’t made a purchase. The end of the year is the best time to try to reactivate these “dead” contacts and get them to make a purchase.

Tag these inactive contacts from your database and make a special offer for them. It can be a special Black Friday discount, a gift with purchase, 1+1 free product. In some cases, it takes really little and you have your active contacts back.

Plan your Black Friday

A great opportunity to rev up your sales even more. It would be a shame not to take advantage of it.

In the beginning, it’s important to set a plan for your e-mail communications. How many e-mails will you send, to whom, at what time, what will be the content.

A schedule might look something like this:

E-mail #1: A few days before Black Friday, let your customers know you have something in store for them and tell them what to look forward to. If you want to “pepper” the message a bit, put a countdown timer in the message.

E-mail #2: On the morning of Black Friday, send an e-mail to your customers the morning of Black Friday kicking off your special Black Friday offer and inviting them to make a purchase. Highlight the information that this is a one-time-only offer that is truly special and limited-time.

E-mail #3: Take the last chance to write to those who haven’t purchased from you yet. Encourage them to buy and make it clear that this is a last chance that ends in a few hours.

Don’t overdo it with Black Friday campaigns. The offer needs to be really interesting to your customers. If you’re not able to offer anything like that, skip the day and get ready for the Christmas sales. An irrelevant message could get you into SPAM which would be very annoying before Christmas.

Remember to be original. Many of your competitors will take advantage of Black Friday. Differentiate yourself from them by offering, for example, a limited edition collection that is only available on Black Friday or by donating a percentage of your profits to a good cause. It’s up to you what you come up with.

Bonus: Checklist for planning your year-end campaigns

E-mail marketing is a channel that needs to be long-term and consistent; random seasonal shouts in the dark don’t work here. So don’t overdo it with your campaigns, think them through and plan them well. Consider including SMS messages, which work well in this combination and complement e-mailing effectively.

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