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Guide to Web Push Notifications for Black Friday Marketing (BFCM 2020)

An illustration of a store with shopping bags hanging from it, highlighting Black Friday Marketing (BFCM 2020).

Every stakeholder in the eCommerce space knows the importance of Black Friday. Due to BFCM’s short time period, Shopify stores need to be able to communicate about their sale to their customers instantly and ensure their Black Friday marketing promotions are viewed as soon as they are sent out. 

This time-sensitivity and the need for instant visibility makes web push notifications one of the best marketing channels for merchants during Black Friday.

Planning your web push communication— from your campaign strategy to your opt-in copy— is a bit time-consuming. That’s why we created this guide to help you plan and implement an easy web push marketing strategy for Black Friday to increase your sales.

Build Subscriber Lists Before and During BFCM

As an owned marketing channel, web push notifications can help you capture store visitors as subscribers so that you can later market to them with ease. When building your subscriber list around Black Friday, you need to keep in mind the different kinds of shoppers you’ll be attracting and the different use cases each have:

  • Pre-BFCM: Capturing store visitors as subscribers to make it easier to promote your Black Friday deals. 
  • During BFCM: Turning casual Black Friday visitors into subscribers who you can easily convert into shoppers and in turn, loyal customers. 

Let’s dive deeper into the strategy you can use to build your subscriber list before and during Black Friday:

Pre-BFCM: Building Subscriber List for Easy Marketing

Many merchants run brand awareness ads during Black Friday to acquire new visitors. The higher demand for ads during this time (especially with more retail brands in the mix this year) is sure to increase ad costs. 

We suggest that merchants use the time leading up to Black Friday to build your subscriber list, With a subscriber list that you can directly market to, you can keep your ad budget lean and engage with your audience instantly.

For this, you need to set up better opt-in messaging, letting store visitors know why they should subscribe. Here are some copy ideas for your overlay message or custom prompt:

  • Unlock Black Friday deals before anyone else by subscribing to our notifications.
  • Get the best promotions and deals for the biggest sale of the year. Subscribe now!
  • Black Friday is coming up! Subscribe to know when our sale is live and get the best shoes at a deal. (Switch the word ‘shoes’ for the products you sell)

Further Reading: Complete Guide to Building Subscriber Lists With Web Push Notifications for Black Friday

During BFCM: Converting Black Friday visitors into subscribers 

A large percentage of your store visitors during Black Friday end up not taking any action on your Shopify store (neither shopping on your store nor subscribing to you). 

However, the fact that these store visitors showed some interest in your products means that, with the right strategy, you can later market to them and turn them into loyal shoppers. The right opt-in messaging, showing the value you aim to provide to subscribers, can help you capture these store visitors as subscribers.

Here are some copy ideas for your opt-ins (overlay or custom prompt) to successfully turn Black Friday visitors into web push subscribers:

  • Just browsing? We’re constantly adding the latest in fashion. Subscribe to stay updated! (Change fashion to whichever industry you are in)
  • We’re always brewing up exciting products just for you! ⭐️ Subscribe to know as soon as we launch! ?
  • Subscribe to explore new coffees and go on an adventure with us ☕️ (Switch out coffees with the products you sell.)
  • We aim to bring you sustainable fashion at affordable prices. Join the community by subscribing. (Change the mission statement to fit your brand more accurately)

Sending Web Push Campaigns

Just like email, you can send web push notifications to your subscribers to bring them to your Shopify store to shop for your Black Friday sale. 

In fact, one Shopify Plus store sent a few web push campaigns last year during their Black Friday sale using PushOwl. Just one web push campaign generated $4,000 for their store! With a well-planned web push notification strategy for your BFCM sale, you can bring back subscribers and get them to shop during your sale. 

We’ll help you set up a well-crafted web push strategy for BFCM—  from hyping the sale before it starts to building urgency as the sale comes to a close. We’ve listed the types of campaigns and automations you need to enable before, during, and after your Black Friday sale.

Pre BFCM: Set expectations

You can use the days leading up to your Black Friday sale to hype your sale and keep your subscribers engaged. You can let your subscribers know about your sale, what the discount is, and how long the sale lasts. 

Many merchants even nudge their shoppers to wishlist items they want through their pre-BFCM notifications. By getting them to wishlist, you can easily get a purchase from them when the sale begins, since they would already know what they want to get.

During BFCM: Send reminders

As soon as your sale is live, don’t forget to send web push reminders to instantly bring shoppers to your Shopify store. Here are a few ideas to help you plan the campaigns you want to send while the sale is live:

1. Sale day reminder – As soon as the sale is live

As soon as the sale starts, you can send a notification to subscribers, letting them know your deals are live and how long they have before it ends.

Here’s how Arteza announced the sale to its subscribers:

2. Set up low stock alerts (Shopify Flow)

Your customers are sure to add items to their wishlist, hoping to come back to it later. You can build on the urgency to buy these items during your Black Friday sale by setting up a workflow on Shopify Flow, letting shoppers know that an item on their wishlist is low on stock. This relevant and timely message will give shoppers a strong reason to buy.

Read how to set up this Shopify Flow workflow here.

Ensure that you’ve customized the notification to fit the urgency of the sale. Here’s an example of a notification copy that is sure to convert— “Your wishlisted item looks like it’s running out! Get it now at 30% off on our big Black Friday deal!

3. Use segmentation to make customers feel special (Enterprise)

Personalized campaigns are a hit, seeing higher conversions than campaigns that are more generic. You can send more targeted campaigns to your subscribers by using segmentation. 

Here are some campaign ideas for different customer segments:

  • Send a “double offer” campaign to past shoppers (or even just loyal and VIP shoppers), giving them an exclusive offer that is available just for them. Such a campaign can help you retain past shoppers better.

  • If you provide faster shipping or have specific shipping rates for shoppers in specific areas, you can create a segment to target shoppers in these locations and send them a campaign during the sale. So, if you sell worldwide but don’t charge for shipping only for Australia, you can send subscribers in Australia a campaign letting them know that their orders have free shipping!
  • Drive more purchases by cross-selling a new collection or new product to shoppers who bought items that would pair well with the collection or product featured. So, for instance, if you sell clothes, you can send a loungewear collection promotion to shoppers who bought workwear from you earlier. 

4. Send a last chance notification – 6 hours before the sale ends

Send your last Black Friday reminder 6 hours before the sale ends. You can give your subscribers a “last chance” to finish their last-minute shopping. 

Here’s a web push notification that builds on the urgency to shop before the Black Friday sale ends:

Black Friday marketing

You can also take inspiration from Ecigwizard’s Black Friday campaign that they sent out last year:

As you can see, these “last chance” notifications, reinforce the discount amount being offered, let shoppers know when the sale ends, and sometimes, even describe what products they can get their hands on.

5. Update your abandoned cart and browse abandonment messages (automation)

With the large influx of visitors hunting for deals online, you’re likely to have many shoppers abandon their browse and their carts on your store. Combat this with a smart recovery sequence that aims to bring back these shoppers and nudges them to checkout. You can enable abandoned cart and/or browse abandonment sequences to bring shoppers back.

Here are some tips to customize your browse and cart abandonment sequences to reach your Black Friday shoppers better:

  • Include your BFCM discount within your message.
  • Add the product name within the message to remind shoppers what they left behind.
  • Use urgency tactics to remind shoppers that your sale ends soon.
  • Shorten the time interval between each reminder so that Black Friday shoppers receive the recovery messages before the sale ends.

Here’s an example of a cart abandonment reminder:

Black Friday marketing - cart recovery

Pro-tip: Don’t forget to change your abandoned cart reminder copy back to your default copy an hour before the sale is over. This can help you avoid sending BFCM-related cart reminders to shoppers who abandon their cart after your Black Friday sale ends.

Post BFCM: Give a chance to those who didn’t purchase

Many merchants run post-BFCM sale even after the sale weekend, allowing shoppers who missed out on the sale to play catch up and grab their favorite items. If you run such post-BFCM sales, you can set up your last BFCM campaign a few hours after the sale weekend.

Ensure that this campaign states how this is a special exception and let shoppers know how long they have before this “last chance” sale ends.

Black Friday marketing

Best Practices for When Writing Web Push Copy

Now that we’ve shared a strategy for your web push campaigns, here are some best practices to keep in mind when crafting your campaign.

1. Keep your copy short

Your web push notifications needs to be crisp, long enough to inform shoppers about the sale but not so long that shoppers get distracted. Many eCommerce brands just stick to the two details they need to convey— 

  • How much discount is being given
  • When the sale ends

To be safe, keep your notification’s keep your title less than 34 characters and messages less than 39 characters each. This way, shoppers on all devices will be able to view your notification. Read our blog about best practices for notification lengths. 

2. Include your discount and discount code

Always let shoppers know how much discount you are providing and mention the discount in the notification clearly. This can help you hype your sale better and even set expectations for customers.

If your shoppers need to manually enter the coupon within the discount code field, display this coupon code within the notification. You can also simplify this for them by enabling shareable discount links within your campaign’s primary link. When you add the shareable discount links to your campaign, shoppers who click on the campaign will have the discount automatically applied to their cart.

Read the step by step guide on adding shareable discount links to your campaigns.

3. Use urgency words within your copy

Urgency is a common tactic used by many merchants to build an importance over their time-sensitive sale and illicit swift action from shoppers. You can use urgency words within your notification copy to drive more action.

Here are some urgency copy ideas. These can be used within your button or within your main title or message:

  • Buy Now!
  • Don’t miss the sale.
  • Unlock deals!
  • Shop before it expires!

4. Always use buttons to drive action

You can add buttons to your web push notifications to get shoppers to take action. Buttons provide more direction to shoppers, letting them know what they should do next after reading your notification. So, once your notification informs shoppers about your Black Friday sale, the button would then tell them to “start shopping” or “check out bestsellers’.

Here are some button copy ideas for your Black Friday notifications:

  • Shop Black Friday 
  • Show me your deals!
  • View Bestsellers
  • Shop Men’s (For this, you can add two buttons, one for men’s and one for women’s)
  • Start shopping

5. Schedule your campaigns in advance

You’re sure to be swamped with other tasks during the Black Friday sale. This is why we recommend planning and scheduling all your campaigns beforehand. This way, you can use your time during the sale responding to customers and prioritizing other such tasks that need immediate attention during the big sale.

You can schedule your campaigns through the PushOwl dashboard and view them within the ‘Campaigns’ page on your dashboard.

6. Use the flash sale feature (Enterprise)

Since Black Friday is a short-lived sale, you don’t want your web push campaigns to be sent after the sale is over. Avoid negative experiences by enabling flash sale, a PushOwl feature that lets you add an expiry time to your web push notifications.

This way, your campaigns won’t be sent after the BFCM sale is over.

Note: Flash sale is a PushOwl feature that is available on the Enterprise plan. The alternative to this is to pause the campaign through your dashboard an hour before the sale ends. 

7. Avoid Smart Delivery (Enterprise)

Smart Delivery is a great feature, allowing you to send campaigns to subscribers during their peak active hours, helping you maximize every notification and bringing in higher clicks. However, during a time-sensitive sale, the ‘Smart Delivery’ feature is not efficient. 

Since it only sends campaigns during your subscriber’s active hours, Smart Delivery may stop your notification from being sent to specific subscribers. Instead, the system might detect that these certain subscribers are not active while your sale is running or less active as compared to weekdays. Due to this, you would end up not reaching these subscribers at all, losing out on potential sales.

The short answer: Don’t enable Smart Delivery for your Black Friday notifications.

Use web push notifications for your Black Friday marketing and sell more!

We hope this guide helps you plan your Black Friday sale better. Web push notifications are an underutilized marketing channel for eCommerce but have been successfully adopted by top eCommerce brands like Planet of the Vapes, 1Up Nutrition, and TenTree. 

Further Reading: 15 Examples of Brilliant Web Push Notification Campaigns

Good luck for your Black Friday sale! If you need any help with your web push notifications during the sale, our support team is always available to give you a hand.

Special thanks to our friends at PushOwl for their insights on this topic.
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