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Now is the time to prepare for this holiday shopping season and the first place to start is with your Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) marketing efforts. In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know to prepare your online store for a successful BFCM campaign this year.
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What Is BFCM Weekend?
BFCM stands for Black Friday Cyber Monday, a pivotal four-day shopping event in the e-commerce calendar. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, marks the onset of holiday shopping with brick-and-mortar stores offering significant discounts. Cyber Monday follows, dedicated exclusively to online deals. For e-commerce businesses, BFCM is a prime opportunity to boost sales, attract new customers, and reward loyal ones.
The Importance Of BFCM Marketing Initiatives
The Black Friday to Cyber Monday (BFCM) window is the most important time for direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands. Shoppers are most active during this time as they shop for gifts for friends and family at massively discounted prices.
In fact, 76% of consumers say they shopped online during Cyber Week last year and 70% of that spend went toward holiday gifts. Overall, online sales grew 9% from 2021 to 2022, and these numbers will likely continue to grow each year.
Here's why prioritizing your BFCM marketing initiatives is good for your business.
- Increased Sales: The sheer volume of online shoppers during BFCM means a significant boost in sales. When paired with a loyalty program, you can incentivize customers to spend even more during the BFCM period.
- New Customer Acquisition: BFCM attracts a wide range of shoppers, and when paired with a referral program, you can let your existing customers tell others about your enticing BFCM offers.
- Inventory Management and Clearance: BFCM sales can help businesses clear out old stock, making way for new products. It's a good time to offload old inventory while also offering customers great deals.
- Customer Engagement: It's a time when consumers are more receptive to marketing messages, making it a good time to have engaging offers, interactive campaigns, and unique marketing strategies that promote customer engagement.
How To Prepare A Business For Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Just like many things in running a business, your BFCM marketing campaign will take time to prepare for. Ideally, you begin this process a few months before BFCM weekend.
Here are the essential steps we’ll go through to guide your preparation:
- Start planning in advance
- Start growing your audience before the sale begins
- Choose your BFCM offer
- Identify and develop key messaging
- Create required assets for your campaign
- Start promoting your offer before the sale begins
1. Start planning in advance
A few months before BFCM weekend, take the time to plan out your entire BFCM marketing strategy for the year. By planning ahead, you position your business to make the most of these peak online shopping days. The more planning that goes into your efforts, the better.
Let's look at some key areas you should focus on in the months leading up to BFCM:
- Learn from past campaign performance: Analyzing the results of previous BFCM campaigns can offer invaluable insights. Understand what worked, what didn't, and use this data to refine your strategies for the upcoming sales season.
- Invest in holiday support: The influx of shoppers during BFCM can be overwhelming. Ensure you have enough customer support staff and resources in place to handle queries, complaints, and other customer interactions efficiently.
- Optimize your post-purchase experience: A seamless post-purchase experience can turn one-time shoppers into loyal customers. Focus on aspects like quick shipping, easy returns, and effective communication to enhance the customer's journey after they've made a purchase.
2. Start growing your audience before the sale begins
Earlier in the year, after the last holiday rush and before you begin prepping your upcoming BFCM strategy, establish a few solid ways to grow your audience and marketing lists. That way, when BFCM rolls around, you’ll have a larger pool of potential buyers when the sales kick off.
Here are a few ways to grow your audience in the months leading up to BFCM:
- Website Pop-Ups: Display pop-ups with a special offer or sign-up incentive after a visitor has been on your site for a certain duration or just as visitors are about to leave the site.
- Influencers: Collaborate to create unique content that resonates with the influencer's audience. Partner for product giveaways or contests to boost visibility and engagement among followers.
- Social Media: Create engaging content with polls, quizzes, and user-generated content. Create stories and reels on platforms like Instagram and TikTok for limited-time offers or behind-the-scenes looks.
- Paid Ads: Launch retargeting ad campaigns to show ads to users who've visited your site but didn't make a purchase. Use platforms like Facebook to target lookalike audiences, reaching users similar to your existing customers.
3. Choose your BFCM offer
Crafting the perfect BFCM offer means striking a balance between enticing customers and maintaining profitability. A deep discount isn't always necessary; sometimes, bundled deals, free shipping, or exclusive products can be just as compelling.
Here are some well-known discounts or deals for this BFCM season:
- Percentage Discounts: Classic and clear, like 20% off storewide.
- Cash Discounts: E.g., “$20 off on $100 purchases.”
- Early Bird Specials: Extra perks for the initial wave of shoppers.
- BOGO (Buy One Get One) Offers: Especially “Buy One Get One Free,” these deals clear inventory and offer great perceived value.
- Gift with Purchase: Spend a certain amount and snag a bonus item.
- Loyalty Boosts: Double or triple loyalty points during BFCM.
- Anti-discount BFCM Deals: Stand out by bundling products, offering free gifts, or providing extended warranties.
- Free Shipping: Especially with a minimum purchase, it encourages bigger carts and higher conversion rates.
- Category Deals: Discounts on specific product lines, such as 40% off footwear.
- Bundles: Grouped products at a reduced rate.
- Door Crashers: Time-limited or quantity-limited deep discounts on popular items.
- Extended Returns: Give shoppers peace of mind with a longer return window.
- Gift Cards: E.g., a free $10 card for every $100 spent.
- Tiered Discounts: E.g., 10% off $50, 15% off $100, pushing customers to spend more.
- Exclusive Member Discounts: Reward loyalty and encourage repeat purchases with special deals for members.
Whatever your BFCM offer is, it needs to be more enticing than any other discounts or holiday sales you have currently running.
4. Identify and develop key messaging
Your BFCM messaging should be a balanced mix of brand values and enticing offers. Here's how to make it resonate:
- Audience Insight: Analyze customer data. If 70% of your audience are eco-conscious, highlight sustainable products or green shipping methods in your BFCM promotions.
- Spotlight Your USP: If you offer handcrafted products, emphasize their exclusivity. “Handmade limited editions available this BFCM only!”
- Urgency is Key: Use phrases like “Only 50 items left!” or “Exclusive 3-hour sale!” to drive quick decisions.
- Unified Messaging: If you're promoting a “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” deal on Instagram, ensure your emails echo the same.
- Clarity Wins: “Flat 30% off storewide. No exceptions.” is clearer than “Up to 30% off on select items.”
5. Create required assets for your campaign
Preparing for BFCM marketing requires a comprehensive approach, meaning that every touchpoint with potential customers is optimized for the sales event. The assets you create should be cohesive, reflecting the central theme and messaging of your campaign.
Here's a breakdown of the key areas to focus on:
- Blog Post: Craft engaging content that highlights your BFCM offers, provides shopping tips, or showcases product features.
- Website Update: Update your website with the latest BFCM deals, banners, and landing pages.
- Email and Text Message Copy: Design compelling email and SMS campaigns that inform subscribers about your BFCM deals, using persuasive copy and eye-catching visuals.
- Banner Ads: Create visually appealing banner ads for various platforms.
- Video: Produce engaging video content that showcases products, offers tutorials, or shares customer testimonials. Videos can be shared on social media, embedded in emails, or featured on your website.
- Social Media Graphics: Design shareable graphics tailored for each social platform, promoting your BFCM deals and encouraging user engagement.
By meticulously preparing these assets, you'll ensure a seamless and effective BFCM campaign that resonates with your target audience and drives conversions.
6. Start promoting your offer before the sale begins
In the weeks leading up to the big event, start dropping hints about the exciting offers you have in store. Whether it's sneak peeks of products, countdowns, or behind-the-scenes glimpses of preparations, these teasers can create a buzz and keep your brand at the forefront of customers' minds. By the time Black Friday and Cyber Monday roll around, your audience will be eagerly awaiting to see what you unveil.
11 BFCM Marketing Strategies For 2023
To benefit from the full potential of BFCM, it's important to have a few effective strategies in place. This guide showcases the leading BFCM approaches for 2023, designed to boost sales and foster loyalty with your customers.
We’ll get into tactics ranging from loyalty initiatives to strategic collaborations, all fine-tuned for BFCM:
- Focus on loyalty customers and create offers specifically for them
- Drive referrals with a dedicated referral campaign through the weekend/campaign
- Simplify the buying process as much as possible
- Use as much personalization as possible
- Create special offers that go beyond just discounts
- Include BFCM email marketing
- Partner with other brands on BFCM promotions and sales
- Run as many offers as you can
- Offer category-specific discounts
- Make your offers email-exclusive
- Offer free shipping with minimum purchase
1. Focus on loyal customers and create offers specifically for them
Loyal customers are the backbone of any successful e-commerce business, and BFCM is the perfect time to reward their dedication. By using a tool like Friendbuy's loyalty program software, you can craft exclusive offers tailored just for them.
You can also incentivize them to spend more during the BFCM weekend with tiered rewards, minimum purchase requirements, and bundled deals exclusive to loyalty members.
Here are a few examples of the kinds of loyalty rewards you offer during BFCM:
- Give loyal customers a VIP discount
- Double or triple loyalty points during BFCM
- Early sale access
- Extended BFCM sales
- Free gift
Friendbuy’s integrations allow you to connect with your existing tech stack so that customers can move through your loyalty program–and their BFCM deals–seamlessly.
2. Drive referrals with a dedicated referral campaign through the weekend
Use referral program software like Friendbuy to streamline the process.
- Boost your referral rewards specifically for BFCM to incentivize more shares.
- Introduce tiered referrals, where rewards increase based on the number of successful referrals.
- Run a referral contest that enters customers to win massive BFCM discounts.
- Include a free gift for every referral during the BFCM weekend.
Refine your referral program with A/B testing—analyze, iterate, and optimize every element to make sure you’re getting the most out of your efforts. To learn more, read our guide to optimizing your referral funnel with A/B testing.
3. Simplify the buying process as much as possible
A simplified buying journey not only reduces cart abandonment but also improves the overall customer experience. By prioritizing user-friendliness, you'll encourage quicker purchasing decisions and foster repeat business.
Here are a few ways to simplify the buying process:
- One-Click Checkout: Allow returning customers to purchase with a single click, similar to Amazon's “1-Click Ordering.”
- Progress Indicators: Display a step-by-step bar during checkout (e.g., “Shipping > Payment > Review > Confirm”).
- Guest Checkout: Offer an option to buy without account creation to reduce friction.
- Quick Load Times: Optimize website elements for faster page loads. Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to see how one of your online store's pages performs.
- Sticky Cart Button: Keep a “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” button visible as users scroll on product pages.
- Live Chat Support: Add a chat feature on checkout pages for immediate customer assistance.
- Minimize Form Fields: Request only essential information and offer autofill options.
- Mobile Shopping Optimization: Ensure a user-friendly checkout process on all mobile devices with large buttons and easy forms.
Incorporating these steps will streamline the buying process, especially during the BFCM rush.
4. Use as much personalization as possible
As you gear up for the BFCM holiday season, make personalization a cornerstone of your marketing strategy. McKinsey's research underscores the transformative power of personalization, revealing that businesses adept at tailoring their offerings can witness a staggering 10-30% uptick in revenue and retention rates.
Ilia Beauty makes personalized product recommendations based on past browsing and purchase behavior
Here are some concrete examples of how to use personalization in BFCM marketing:
- Personalized Product Recommendations: Analyze a customer's past purchases and browsing behavior to suggest products they might be interested in. For instance, if a shopper previously bought winter boots, recommend complementary items like winter socks or gloves during BFCM.
- Tailored Email And Text Campaigns: Segment your email list or SMS list based on purchase history, location, or preferences. Send targeted BFCM offers to each segment. For example, offer exclusive early access to VIP customers or those who've spent above a certain threshold in the past year.
- Dynamic Pricing: Offer special discounts to loyal customers or those who've abandoned their carts in the past. This can incentivize them to complete the purchase during the BFCM sale.
- Custom Landing Pages: Create landing pages tailored to different customer segments or traffic sources. For instance, a shopper coming from a Facebook ad might land on a different BFCM page than someone coming from an email link.
- Personalized Retargeting Ads: Use retargeting ads to remind customers of products they've viewed but haven't purchased. Enhance this by offering a special BFCM discount on those specific products.
- Interactive Personalized Content: Implement quizzes or interactive tools that guide shoppers to personalized product recommendations. For example, a “Find Your Perfect Holiday Gift” quiz that suggests products based on the user's answers.
- Localized Offers: Recognize where your customers are shopping from and tailor offers accordingly. For instance, offer special shipping discounts or exclusive products to shoppers from specific regions or countries.
The best part? Incorporating these personalized strategies can not only boost sales during BFCM but also enhances overall customer satisfaction, fostering loyalty and repeat business.
5. Create special offers that go beyond just discounts
Most brands will be offering discounts during BFCM season, so create a special offer that is unique to your brand.
Here are some standout special offers that can differentiate your brand during the BFCM rush:
- Exclusive Bundles: Pair bestsellers with lesser-known products at a special price, introducing customers to new favorites.
- Limited-Edition Products: Offer products or variations (colors, designs) exclusive to BFCM, creating a sense of rarity.
- Gift Wrapping or Custom Packaging: Provide complimentary festive packaging, adding a touch of luxury to the shopping experience.
- Loyalty Points Multiplier: Grant double or triple loyalty points on BFCM purchases, incentivizing future shopping.
- Interactive Contests: Engage customers with a chance to win prizes or exclusive discounts when they share their purchases on social media.
- Personalized Recommendations: Use past purchase data to suggest curated products, making shoppers feel valued.
- Early Access or Extended Returns: Allow loyal customers to shop deals before the general public or offer extended return periods for BFCM purchases, enhancing their shopping experience.
6. Include BFCM email marketing
It's crucial to have your email marketing game on point well before BFCM approaches. This gives you time to craft a strategy that resonates with your audience and drives sales.
The key is to be relevant, timely, and provide value to your subscribers. Preparing well in advance gives you space to get this right.
- Start by segmenting your list based on purchase history, engagement levels, or interests. This allows you to tailor your messages to specific groups, increasing their relevance.
- Next, plan your content calendar, deciding on the themes and offers for each email.
- Lastly, set up your automations, like welcome sequences for new subscribers or reminders for abandoned carts.
Once you've laid the groundwork, dive into these specific tactics:
- Early Sale Access for Subscribers: Offer your loyal email subscribers a sneak peek or early access to your BFCM deals. Example: “Exclusive for our email family: Shop BFCM deals 24 hours before everyone else!”
- Abandoned Checkout Recovery: Target shoppers who left items in their cart without completing the purchase. Example: “Forgot something? Here's an extra 10% off to complete your purchase.”
- Price Drop Notifications: Alert subscribers when a product they've shown interest in goes on sale. Example: “Good news! That dress you loved is now 30% off.”
- Distinctive Email Design: Make your BFCM emails stand out from your regular communications. Example: Use bold colors, animated GIFs, or unique typography specifically for BFCM promotions.
- Countdown Clocks: Add urgency and excitement to your emails. Example: Embed a live countdown timer showing hours left for a special flash sale.
7. Partner with other brands on BFCM promotions and sales
One effective way to amplify your reach and offer unique value is through brand partnerships. By teaming up with complementary (non-competing) brands, you can co-create exclusive deals, tap into new audiences, and create a fun shopping experience for both customer bases.
But how do you make these partnerships work? Here are some actionable ideas to consider:
- Joint Bundles: Collaborate to create product bundles that combine best-sellers from both brands. Example: A skincare brand partnering with a makeup brand to offer a “Complete Beauty Kit.”
- Exclusive Discounts: Offer special discounts on partner products for your loyal customers and vice versa. Example: “Shop with [Partner Brand] today and get 20% off with our exclusive code!”
- Shared Giveaways: Organize joint contests or giveaways, where participants can win products from both brands. Example: A joint referral contest where participants have to refer both brands and successful referrals count as entries.
- Cross-Promotion: Feature your partner's products in your email campaigns, social media, or website and have them do the same for you. Example: A “Brand Spotlight” section in your newsletter introducing your partner and their BFCM deals.
8. Run as many offers as you can
We've already talked about the importance of personalization during Black Friday Cyber Monday, and this is where we're saying to go wild with your personalized offers. By diversifying your offers, you both cater to a broader range of customer preferences and also provide unique offers for all of your different existing customer segments.
Another helpful benefit is that specific deals can also target slower-moving items, helping you clear out older stock efficiently.
Here's how you can diversify your BFCM promotions:
- Flash Sales: Limited-time offers that create urgency. Example: “Only for the next 2 hours! Grab 30% off on selected items.”
- Buy One, Get One (BOGO): Encourages bulk purchases. Example: “Buy one pair of shoes, get the second at 50% off.”
- Tiered Discounts: Offer greater discounts based on purchase value. Example: “Spend $50 and get 10% off, spend $100 and get 20% off.”
- Exclusive Member Deals: Special offers for members or subscribers. Example: “VIP members get early access to our BFCM sale and an additional 10% off.”
- Gift with Purchase: Offer a free product or sample with a minimum purchase amount. Example: “Spend over $75 and receive a free tote bag.”
9. Offer category-specific discounts
Instead of broad discounts that blanket your entire store, hone in on specific product categories. This approach allows you to strategically push products that might have higher margins, more stock, or are seasonally relevant.
Here are a few examples of category-specific discounts:
- Seasonal Spotlight: Offer discounts on winter apparel as the colder months approach. Example: “Stay warm with 40% off all winter jackets.”
- Overstock Clearance: Push products that are overstocked to free up inventory space. Example: “Overstock special: 50% off all summer sandals.”
- New Arrivals Promo: Introduce and promote new product lines. Example: “Check out our new skincare range with an exclusive 30% BFCM discount.”
- Bestsellers Bash: Highlight and discount your store's most popular items. Example: “Join the craze! Our top-selling headphones now at 25% off.”
- Niche Nudge: Target specific niches, like eco-friendly products or artisanal goods. Example: “Go green with 20% off all sustainable products.”
10. Make your offers email-exclusive
By offering email-exclusive deals, you're not only incentivizing customers to join your mailing list but also fostering a sense of loyalty and privilege among your subscribers. This approach can also significantly boost your email open rates, drive traffic directly to your site, and enhance the overall customer experience by making them feel part of an exclusive club.
Let's look at some ways to craft compelling email-exclusive offers:
- Early Bird Access: Allow email subscribers to shop BFCM deals a day before everyone else. Example: “Exclusive for our email family: Get a head start on BFCM with early access starting tomorrow!”
- Bonus Gifts: Offer a free product or sample for orders made through the email link. Example: “Shop through this email and receive a complimentary hand cream with every purchase.”
- Tiered Discounts: The more they shop, the bigger the discount, exclusive to email subscribers. Example: “Spend $50 and get 10% off, spend $100 and get 20% off. Only for our email insiders!”
- Flash Sales: Time-limited offers that are only communicated through email. Example: “Surprise flash sale! Next 3 hours only, exclusive to our email subscribers.”
11. Offer free shipping with minimum purchase
Shipping costs can often be the deciding factor between a completed purchase and an abandoned cart. Especially during BFCM, when consumers are on the hunt for the best deals, offering free shipping can be a powerful incentive.
By tying it to a minimum purchase amount, you can effectively increase the average order value, making the promotion beneficial for both the customer and your bottom line.
Let's explore some actionable ways to implement this strategy:
- Tiered Free Shipping: Offer varying shipping discounts based on the order value. Example: “Spend $50 for free standard shipping, or $100 for free express shipping.”
- Bundled Products: Promote product bundles that meet the free shipping threshold. Example: “Buy our skincare set for $75 and get free shipping!”
- Limited-time Offer: Provide free shipping for a specific duration leading up to BFCM. Example: “Enjoy free shipping on all orders this weekend as we gear up for BFCM!”
- Exclusive Products: Offer free shipping on exclusive or new product launches. Example: “Introducing our latest collection! Shop now and get free shipping on these exclusive items.”
- Loyalty Program Perks: Reward loyal customers by lowering the free shipping threshold for them. Example: “Special for our loyalty members: Enjoy free shipping on orders over $40!”
7 Examples Of Brands That Have Done BFCM Sales Well
Online stores that do BFCM marketing all share one thing in common: they're prepared. When Black Friday and Cyber Monday actually roll around, these BFCM marketing campaigns are on auto-pilot. Let's take a look at some examples.
Thinx used the tiered discount strategy in the past to provide multiple Black Friday deals for its existing customer base. Knowing that its customer base typically needs multiple products at a time, Thinx is able to maximize sales with this tiered strategy.
2. ROKA Performance Sunglasses
Last year, ROKA provided both a sitewide discount as well as a hefty dollar-based discount for their key product category: ultralight heavyweight sunglasses.
Further along the same email, sent on Black Friday, were a few of the most popular items from this product category. Each of the products showed the BFCM discount applied, perfect for impulse holiday shoppers who were not originally planning on buying anything for Black Friday Cyber Monday.
3. Bed Threads
Bed Threads offers different Black Friday deals for its top selling categories. The email also includes a countdown timer (which, by now, has expired) to create a sense of urgency amidst the shopping frenzy.
And just like ROKA above, the brand showcases a few of its most popular items with the Black Friday discounts already applied.
4. Vitamin A Swimwear
Vitamin A, a sustainable swimwear brand, launched their Black Friday Cyber Monday sales the Wednesday beforehand. This jumpstarted online sales while giving holiday shoppers more time to come back to complete their purchase.
Sonix launched its BFCM discounts the Tuesday before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, giving email subscribers exclusive access to the sales event in the days leading up to it.
6. Australian Wholesale Oils
Australian Wholesale Oils offered a free gift with minimum purchase order.
7. Awe Inspired
Email subscribers get early access to sitewide discounts with this Black Friday deal. Awe Inspired also includes a countdown timer right within the email to create a sense of urgency.
How Do You Track And Measure The Success Of BFCM Marketing Campaigns?
To truly gauge the success of your BFCM campaigns, you need more than just sales numbers. You need to understand what's working and what's not, guiding your future strategies.
Here's how you can effectively measure your BFCM marketing impact:
- Set Clear KPIs: Before BFCM, define what success looks like. Is it sales volume, new customer acquisition, or repeat purchases? Example: Aim for a 20% increase in new customer sign-ups compared to last year.
- Use Analytics Tools: Implement tools, like Google Analytics or Friendbuy's referral tracking, to review your KPIs. Monitor things like traffic, engagement and conversion rates of your marketing campaign. Example: Monitor the bounce rate on your landing pages to see if they're engaging or turning potential customers away.
- Track Email Campaign Performance: Monitor open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates of your BFCM emails. Example: If one email subject line has a significantly higher open rate, consider using similar phrasing in future campaigns.
- Review Social Media Engagement: Measure likes, shares, comments, and most importantly, clicks to your website from social media posts. Example: If an Instagram post showcasing a product gets high engagement, consider promoting it more heavily.
- Survey Customers Post-Purchase: Ask customers how they heard about your BFCM deals to understand which marketing channels were most effective. Example: If most customers mention a specific influencer's post, consider partnering with them again in the future.
- Calculate Return on Investment (ROI): Compare the cost of your marketing efforts to the revenue generated to determine your ROI. Example: If you spent $1,000 on ads and made $5,000 in sales from those ads, your ROI is 400%.
Uplevel your BFCM Marketing This Year
With careful preparation, your online store can take part in the riches of BFCM. Ready to multiply your Black Friday and Cyber Monday success? Contact our team to see how Friendbuy can support your business this holiday season.