Note: In this article, we’ll be talking about Klaviyo, but this guide applies to all Email Service Providers (ESP).
If you think it’s too early to start planning for Black Friday, you’re dead wrong.
Black Friday drives the most significant chunk of revenue for many e-commerce businesses, and if you want to make the most out of it, you need to start preparing ASAP.
In this guide, we’ll help you plan ahead. You’ll learn what to focus on each month, starting from September, what offers to give, and how to prepare your email marketing channels to yield the most significant results.
Follow these tips and tricks, and you’ll be set for your most successful Black Friday to date.
Even the most seasoned email marketers can sometimes skip a step when it comes to Black Friday preparations. That’s why we recommend starting to think about everything as early as September to get the best results.
Why so early? Because things can and will go wrong. What happens if you create the perfect plan in November and then come Black Friday, your integrations are not working for some reason, you start sending, and no one opens your emails due to a bad delivery reputation, or people don’t want to hear from you because you didn’t prepare them early on. Everything can happen, but if you have a solid email marketing plan, you can mitigate most troubles early on.
So what should you do in September? Focus on the fundamentals.
- Go through your ESP account and check that your integrations are working correctly. This includes your Shopify, Facebook, and Google Ads syncing with Klaviyo, and all events are being captured.
- See if your product catalogs are syncing as well. Sometimes, they might go off sync, and you wouldn’t even know unless you check them personally.
- Set up A/B tests of your flows and see what works best regarding open and click rates. Once you have the data, switch to that version of the flow.
- Create mock-ups of your existing flows and adjust their message to reflect your Black Friday offers.
- Create mock-ups of your pop-ups to capture subscribers for Black Friday early on.
- You can start running acquisition campaigns to grow your subscriber lists. These can include contests, giveaways, and sending vouchers for referrals.
- Check your deliverability rates and optimize your flows and campaigns to improve your metrics. Click here to learn more about deliverability rates.
October is the time to iron out the details of your Black Friday offers.
Are you offering a flat discount on your website? Are you going to use discount codes, bundles, or free shipping? When will you start your Black Friday campaign? Will it be over the weekend, a whole week, or the entire month?
You should decide now to get a hold of your creatives and give your teams something to work with. The last thing you want to do is tell your marketing team one thing and change it at the last minute. All hell will break loose, and you will end up losing quite a bit in the end if you don’t plan.
One thing to bear in mind is that all customers are waiting for Black Friday to save on their favorite products. While that’s great for them and you, since you’ll be making lots of sales, your discounts will hurt your margins. That’s why you want to create smart discounts and encourage customers to make repeat or bulk orders, which will increase their AOV.
What else to do in October? Focus on list building.
- Start cleaning your lists: Everyone who hasn’t engaged with your emails in the last 365 days needs to be suppressed.
- Start segmenting your audiences to see who engaged with previous Black Friday sales. Use these segments to create VIP lists and send them offers early to capture their attention.
- Promote your SMS opt-in by sending opt-in campaigns for SMS. You can say that everyone who opts in for SMS will get early access to your Black Friday deals. Make sure to follow up on your promise come Black Friday.
- Test and optimize your ad spending to get the most out of your ads when the costly Black Friday period comes.
- Don’t forget about Halloween: Even if your products don’t relate to Halloween, you can make a flash sale for your most engaged segments and give them a treat to what they can expect for Black Friday.
It’s time for all your hard work over the past couple of months to pay up.
While there are no specific dates and times to send your campaigns, you can use your knowledge from previous years to optimize your sending schedule. Ensure your ads are also optimized, as they get expensive during this time of the year. Spending lots won’t guarantee you more sales.
So, what do in November? Focus on campaigns.
- Run an opt-out campaign the first week of November: While it may sound counterintuitive, sending an opt-out campaign to customers who don’t want to get bombarded with your emails is a smart way to lower unsubscribe and spam complaints. Create a segment of those customers and don’t send them campaigns throughout November.
- Build your campaigns early on and get them approved by all stakeholders so you’re not rushing at the last moment with scheduling.
- Turn on your Black Friday pop-ups and flows and draft the ones you’ve used until now.
- Send last-chance reminders to customers who want to opt-in in your early bird campaigns (Nov 06-12).
- Start running your early-bird campaigns to your VIPs (Nov 13-19).
- Run your Black Friday campaigns for all customers (Nov 20-26).
- Run your Cyber Monday and Last Chance campaigns (Nov 27-30).
- Make sure to send several daily emails and SMS campaigns, especially on Black Friday. With countless other e-commerce stores sending their emails, yours might get lost in a pile of emails. Make sure to stand out by being the loudest business in the inbox.
- Analyze your results and see what worked best and what didn’t. Make notes and ensure you build up your knowledge for next year.
- Don’t forget to turn off your Black Friday pop-ups and flows and go back to your usual ones.
What offers should you include for Black Friday? Consider the following ideas and implement them as you see fit:
- Add a flat discount for all products on your website: Start with 10% and build up from there.
- Create bundles: Buy X and get Y at 25/50% off.
- Offer discount codes: One of the benefits of subscribing to your email lists is that customers expect exclusive bonuses. Send discount codes that build upon your website offer. A discount code for an extra 15/20/25/30% will entice customers to buy.
- Make tiered offers: Spend over $50 and get free shipping. Spend over $100 and get X for free + free shipping. Spend over $200 and get X and Y for free + free shipping, etc.
- Consider cashback offers: Buy X and get $20 back.
- Make sure your VIPs feel like VIPs: They should receive early access and higher discounts than the rest of your customers. Otherwise, why are they your VIPs in the first place?
- Last Chance offers: Send a last chance offer on Cyber Monday and/or the days after that to maximize your sales.
Email marketing tips and tricks
While you may have the best offer and the perfect plan, no one will receive your emails if they are not optimized.
Make sure to perfect your emails and get them delivered, opened, and clicked by following these tips and tricks:
- Segment your audiences
- Write clear and concise subject lines and preview texts
- Personalize your emails
- Evoke curiosity and urgency
- Don’t use too many emojis, ALL CAPS, or spammy words
- Optimize for mobile
- A/B test everything beforehand
Start early, get massive results
If you start early on with your Black Friday preparations, you can get massive results in terms of revenue.
Follow the steps in this guide, and you’re a shoo-in for a great Black Friday.