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Everything You Need to Know for Big BFCM Success [2022 Edition]

How your store can take advantage of the biggest sale of the year for huge brand and customer base growth

Introduction

What is BFCM?

Email Marketing Benchmarks

What Should I Aim for?

BFCM Planning Calendar

When Should I Start Preparing for BFCM?

Anatomy of a Winning Email

How Should my Emails Look for BFCM?

Key Lifecycle Marketing Strategies

How do I use Email and SMS marketing strategies for BFCM?

BFCM Best Practices

What are the top-recommended BFCM tactics I Should Know?

INTRODUCTION

What is BFCM?

BFCM is short for Black Friday Cyber Monday. Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season where stores shower consumers with a myriad of discounts and promos.

Cyber Monday follows up Black Friday as the last major sales event in a year, with more focus on website-exclusive deals.

So, why shouldn’t you miss out on these holiday sales events in particular?

They’re regarded as THE BIGGEST sales events that happen in a year for retail and even eCommerce stores.

This combination of major sales events would see millions upon millions of shoppers with the latest recorded online shopper count reaching more than 186 million in 2021’s BFCM.

Other BFCM stats you should consider:

Another reason why you should prepare for BFCM? Your competition will be as high, if not higher, as the potential rewards you can reap from this holiday sale.

In fact, BFCM just keeps getting bigger and BIGGER as the years pass.

Is BFCM Celebrated Globally?

BFCM may just be an American sale event, but eCommerce stores from around the world are gaining huge profits for taking part in it. In fact, global sales reached $6.3 billion as of 2021’s BFCM.

Other countries also have their own equivalent of BFCM, here’s a quick list of big sales events that happen around the same season as BFCM:

  • The Middle East celebrates White Day, launched by the online retailer souq.com which sold 1.2 million products over the sale weekend in 2016.

  • China has Singles Day, which at one point surpassed BFCM sales by 4x in 2017. Even Australian consumers spent an estimated $150 million over the sale weekend.

  • UK and Muslim communities would have Ramadan which, aside from its religious significance, is also a hugely celebrated retail event.

  • Mexico has El Buen Fin where local stores also highlight big sales and discounts.

  • India has the Diwali Festival where shoppers spent $146 billion back in 2016.

Email Marketing Benchmarks:

What Numbers Should I Aim for in Preparation for BFCM?

How do you know when your email marketing systems are ready to take full advantage of the BFCM season?

This is when you should start asking yourself questions like—

To help you answer these questions, we’ve come up with a checklist of benchmarks you should aim for:

Email marketing benchmark

Why is open rate important?

This is the main metric that would tell you how often or how less your subscribers open your emails.

If your open rate is low, you can expect it could have something to do with your subject lines, preview text, send times, or even your sender name.

Why is click rate important?

Click rate can help you determine if subscribers are clicking the CTAs in your emails.

If you notice you have low click rates, you’ll need to revisit how to present your CTAs.

Are they clear and visible? Are they just embedded clickable text links or have visual button GFX? Should they be static clickable images or animated CTAs?

BFCM Planning Calendar:

When Should I Start Preparing for BFCM?

As a rule of thumb, you’ll need to start preparations as soon as Q2. You’re main concern, however, would be when to start your BFCM campaigns.

Based on our experience working with our clients, we’ve narrowed the best time to start your BFCM campaigns on as early as late October to mid-November.

Here are some of the highlights from our clients who started their campaigns within that time range:

Email marketing open rate

This means the revenue your campaigns would generate could potentially reach an average of 50% if you were to start your campaigns within this earlier time range.

Based on this recommended launch time, here’s a brief calendar plan breakdown of actionables for your BFCM prep beforehand:

Anatomy of a Winning Email:

How Should my Emails Look?

You should be sending only the best of the best that your email marketing arsenal has to offer. 

This is why we recommend you start your BFCM preparations as early as Q2, it’s to give you enough time to A/B test and optimize your emails accordingly.

Here’s a great example of how a winning email should look:

To take your emails further for BFCM, here are some quick tips to make your emails convert:

Key Lifecycle Marketing Strategies:

How do I use Email, SMS, and Push Notification Marketing Strategies for BFCM?

Email and SMS marketing is like a match made in heaven. Email’s high personalization and customizability paired with SMS’ high reach and almost guaranteed deliverability make up for each other’s weaknesses.

Top it all off with push notification marketing and you’ve got a recipe for success.

So, what strategies of each can you use to maximize your BFCM profits?

You can break down your overall BFCM marketing strategy into three major parts:

For email marketing, the 6-Step Holiday Sales Sequence is something we’ve developed and applied in many of our clients’ email marketing systems—with promising results.

Essentially, this sequence is geared towards hyping up your audience, nurturing them throughout the sales event, and instilling urgency by the near end.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the process:

Step 1: Hype Up Your Customer Base

Send emails that give your customers a heads up to prepare for your upcoming sale—in this case, BFCM.

Your customers can get started browsing your store early and setting aside shopping funds. Having hype or teaser emails can also play a part in boosting your overall campaign revenue.

Based on our experience with our clients, brands who have teaser emails brought in more revenue than brands who opted not to.

Step 2: Segment Your VIPs and Regular Customers

Start creating segments for your priority customers and general customers. This way, you can focus your higher value promos and offers to the people who’ll most likely buy from you (VIPs).

VIPs also tend to regularly buy your products at full price as opposed to other customers who would only interact with your store during a big sale.

Step 3: Give Early Sale Access to Your VIPs

Reward your VIPs with exclusive early access to your sale. Doing this will also show how much your brand values its VIPs, further reinforcing their loyalty to your store.

Step 4: Execute Your Main Lunch for Your Regular Customers

It’s time to open the flood gates to the rest of your customer base. All the emails you’ve been optimizing, all the tactics and strategies you’ve been sharpening—it all leads to this moment.

Step 5: Send Social Reminders

User-generated content (UGC) can play a critical role here in clearing customers’ second thoughts. Also, you can use UGC as part of your post-purchase flows to eliminate buyer’s remorse.

These can range from product reviews and customer feedback to product demo videos. The main goal of using UGC is to educate your customers on how much of a positive impact your product will have on their lives.

Step 6: Close Your Sales with Urgency

You can still maximize your sales as the sale event comes to a close. Add a sense of urgency to your emails, such as “Last 24 hours of the Sale!” or give a big “Everything Must Go!” discount to really push your customers into making last-minute purchases.

The magic of this 6-step sequence is that you can freely apply this strategy to holidays outside of BFCM as well.

For SMS marketing, you can leverage these 3 creative strategies:

If your store has an app, push notification marketing is a must-have.

For one, push notifications are permission-based. What this means is that people who allow them are already telling you they are very much interested in your brand’s products and content.

By the way, we observed that our clients with apps for their stores would generate 7% of their overall revenue. This is because apps act as a convenient way to access your store through their mobile devices.

On the other hand, they work effectively as reminders for your customers. Got some abandoned carts? Need to remind your customers that BFCM is almost over? Do some of your customers still have unused discount codes?

Push notifications guarantee that your customers see what you need them to see since they display as these big banners on their mobile device screens.

BFCM Marketing Best Practices:

What are the Top Recommended BFCM Tactics I Should Know?

Aside from going for an earlier BFCM sale launch, here are other tactics you can consider based on our clients’ results from their BFCM performance:

1. Revisit Your Existing Flows and Have Them Reflect Your Holiday Discounts

Just as we mentioned in the SMS section, make sure that your automated flows reflect your current holiday.

This should maximize the relevance of your messages to your customers—minimizing spam flagging.

2. Expand Your Reach by Leveraging Omnichannel Marketing

You’ll need to create a seamless customer experience across your multiple marketing channels.

This way, you can speak the language of your target audience no matter what platform they use—be it email, SMS, or social media.

3. Use the Best Practices when Offering Discounts

Examples we’ve pulled from our clients’ BFCM results would be 15% discount offers for VIPs and 10% for regular customers.

Why does this matter? Carefully planning your discounts can help you strike a balance between gains and losses, especially when dealing with different customer segments.

4. Make Your Emails Dynamic with a Combination of HTML and Text-based Emails

This all depends on what emails you’re sending. Flashy HTML emails are best for sales emails like product highlights and sales event announcements.

On the other hand, text-based emails are enough for important notification-type messages like reminder emails (cart recovery), company operation announcements, or personal messages.

5. Grow Your BFCM Mailing List Further with Website Pop-ups

You can set up BFCM-specific pop-ups on your website to get visitors to opt into your email lists. That’s already much of your BFCM segmenting work done for you!

Pop-ups can also help you monetize your website traffic—taking full advantage of the expected high BFCM traffic flow when the big sale event rolls in.

Key Takeaways

Use only the best strategies and collaterals your marketing can dish out from months of A/B testing. You shouldn't be A/B testing anything in the middle of BFCM.

Hype is key. Give your subscribers a huge headstart so they can start setting aside shopping funds and looking up what to buy from your store.

Prepare early. Nothing throws a wrench in your operations harder than avoidable issues that could have been ironed out earlier. Test your site and optimize your lists for a smoother sailing BFCM.

Launch early. Reward your most loyal customers with early exclusive access to your sale to maintain their strong relationship with your brand. This will also give your store a headstart on making sales BFCM sales—it’s a win-win!

Revisit your existing flows and align them with BFCM. You don’t have to make new flows from scratch. Save time and production by aligning your existing flows with BFCM.