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Your winning SMS Strategy this BFCM

Winning SMS Strategy, BFCM

For most people fall means long picturesque walks, cozy sweaters, the scent of cinnamon rolls and pumpkin spice lattes. For eCommerce brands this time of year means long working hours, “cozy” nights in front of the monitors and the scent of too-much-caffeine drinks. 

Acknowledging the fact that the most hectic period in retail is upon us, we have prepared the ultimate Black Friday/Cyber Monday playbook – full of best practices and tips on how to maximize your revenue this holiday season with text marketing. We have everything set up for you – from the planning calendar all the way through the SMS templates and the targeting. 

So sit back, relax and let us walk you through our winning SMS BFCM game plan…

October: 1 Month before BFCM

Starting early should be the #1 priority for every business when it comes to BFCM planning. This is the biggest eCommerce event of the year and you want to make sure it goes smoothly. 

Here is how to plan a winning SMS Marketing strategy which will ultimately drive results your competitors can only be jealous about.

Step 1: Supercharge your subscriber collection

The first and most important step at this point is to make the most out of the time ahead and grow your list of subscribers. It is quite simple: the more people opt in for your text marketing services, the bigger audience you’ll have. That way, when the time for sweet deals and discounts comes, you’ll have higher chances of increasing sales and maximizing profits.

With the help of our innovative subscriber collection tools there are countless opportunities to grow your audience: whether through your website at checkout or via pop-up or through a mass email blast. You can leverage your social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to give your list a boost, too! Learn more with the help of our thorough guide on how to gain subscribers everywhere

Pro tip: For best results, try to create an exclusive experience for those who sign up for your Black Friday/Cyber Monday SMS updates. A small incentive will do the trick: a sneak peek into your latest collection or exclusive gift guide, limited time free shipping or a small discount for their next purchase. Your new subscribers will greatly appreciate the extra care and will come to your store at the right time, ready to buy!

Step 2: Create a customer journey that maximizes success

Now that you have taken care of growing your lists of subscribers, it is time to move on to the next step of the process and create an engaging customer journey.

Your game plan at this point is to use the power of SMS marketing and start meaningful interactions with your audience, well before BFCM: get to know their preferences, collect valuable information about their habits, and position your brand as their go-to place when the time for holiday shopping comes. How? Send a hearth-warming welcome message to your new subscribers, or recover abandoned carts with our automated Flows. They will work in the background of your online store, taking care of customers even when you are not looking. Use those first touchpoints and ask your audience some questions. Answers will help you collect valuable information about your customers and at the same time – extend relevant offers. 

Excited to learn more? Explore our top engaging strategies on how to maximize sales this BFCM.

Step 3: Create a content schedule

The next thing on your “to-do” list in October is to draft a clear action plan for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period. They say that “excellence is in the details: give attention to the details and excellence will come”. 

And this is exactly what we’re going to do: we will help you come up with a full-on action plan, covering all the things you should do during Cyber week, the exact timing, and even the audience you should aim to reach.

Sounds good? Read on to find detailed recommendations for each part of this plan.

Complete these 3 steps as early as October and you’ll soon reap the benefits of your excellent preparation for the most important retail period of the year.

November: 2-3 weeks before BFCM

Time to focus!

The upcoming weeks will be the ultimate test for everyone involved in the eCommerce industry. Have you planned your marketing campaigns properly? Have your secured deliveries? Do you have enough stock to meet the demand? 

So many questions, so little time to act. But worry not, here is a list of everything you need to do SMS-wise to score an A+ when it comes to BFCM.

Step 1: Create your BFCM Segments 

Good segmentation is a key element for every successful text marketing strategy, which allows you to send the right message to the right people at the right time! 

Remember how we told collecting valuable information about your customer habits, preferences and previous behavior will come in handy soon? Well now is the time to put all that knowledge into action by building narrow segments that will help you send relevant and tailored offers. 

With the wide variety of SMSBump’s descriptive and behavioral filters you can build sophisticated segments, such as:

Top active customers: consists of those shoppers who purchase frequently from your store. Inform them about your latest sales campaign.

VIP customers: customers who are part of the high loyalty tiers. Offer them exclusive discounts.

Last year’s BFCM shoppers: customers who purchased from your BFCM sales last year. Give them early access to this year's sales.

Frequent holiday shoppers: people who often respond to your seasonal promotions and discounts. Thank them for being loyal customers with an exclusive discount.

Inactive customers: shoppers who haven’t recently interacted with your brand. Launch a winback flow with a small incentive to make them come back and make a purchase.

Engaged, but haven’t purchased: create a segment for those who engaged with some of your campaigns, but haven’t made a purchase yet.

Buyers with certain passion: people who have bought from specific products, or specific categories. Use this segment to inform them about your latest product/collection from their favorite category.

It is important to plan separate campaigns for the different segments of customers. This will allow you to send them tailored offers, making their experience with your brand engaging and personalized and ultimately – lead  to increase in conversions and ROI.

Check out our Segments eBook for more detailed information and best practices.

Step 2: Build copy for each and every campaign

The BFCM period is super noisy when it comes to offers coming from every virtual corner, so having a catchy copy for each and every one of your planned campaigns and audiences is of major importance.

Here are some useful tips on how to build the perfect SMS: 

  • Make a valuable offer
  • Add a suitable visual or GIF
  • Keep it brief and clear
  • Personalize your message
  • Use F.O.M.O. (Fear of Missing out) to give the message а sense of urgency
  • Avoid cliches and add a pinch of humor
  • Use a strong Call-to-Action

Follow these few expert advice when drafting your next text marketing campaign and you will soon see an increase in engagement and interaction with your audience.

Step 3: Create & schedule your campaigns

Our best advice for you at this point is to create and schedule your campaigns now to relieve last-minute jitters and unnecessary stress. This will help you plan better, avoid possible mistakes and clear some of your time around Black Friday, if you need to deal with unexpected issues.

As promised, here is our detailed winning BFCM SMS Campaign schedule:

Thanksgiving: Thursday, Nov 26

Goal: Get your customers ready for BFCM! Let them know what to expect from your brand,  what time does the sale start, what is your special offer. Adding a countdown would be a nice touch at this point, it will create buzz and excitement among customers. 

Target audience: VIP customers

Timing: Midday – Thursday, November 26.

Pro tip: Set your VIP customers with an early access and offer exclusive discounts. This is a great way to open up your holiday sales, targeting your most engaged group of customers. You can go one step further and offer a unique discount for every VIP tier in your loyalty program, or create more exclusivity by setting promotions to start at different times for each tier.

Template 1: {SiteName}: Hey {FirstName}, being a Gold member has its perks: be the first to check out our Black Friday Glam sale and get 45% OFF everything: {DiscountCodeUrl} Text STOP to opt out.

Template 2:  {SiteName}: Hey {FirstName}, get exclusive access to our BF Grand Sale and enjoy a limited time VIP discount of up to 70%! Available at: {DiscountCodeUrl} Text STOP to opt out. 

It’s Black Friday: Friday, Nov 27

SMS #1: “It is ON”

Goal: Let shoppers know that your sale has started! You can divide your audience and send tailored messages to nudge different groups of shoppers to make a purchase.

Target audience: Everyone!

Timing: Morning – Friday, November 27

Pro tip: For best results use our A/B testing feature that will allow you to send up to 5 test messages to a portion of your target audience, determine which one of them performed the best and send that top-performing message to the rest of your audience, ensuring optimal results. A/B testing is currently available only for our Powerhouse or annual customers.

Template 1: {SiteName}: Hey {FirstName}, our Black Friday 48-hour flash sale is ON! Use {DiscountCode} to get exclusive discounts of up to 70% on selected items: {DiscountCodeUrl} Text STOP to opt out. 

Template 2:  {SiteName}: {FirstName}, our Black Friday Grand Sale is here! Grab up to 60% discount on ALL shoewear – for a limited time only! {DiscountCodeUrl} Text STOP to opt out. 

SMS #2: Reminder

Goal: Remind certain groups of shoppers about your offer.

Target audience: Group 1: People who have engaged, but haven’t made a purchase, Group 2: Inactive customers.

Timing: Midday – Friday, November 27.

Pro tip: Send 2 different text messages for the two separate groups of people. Use personalization, add a sense of urgency and a small incentive, if they make a purchase. Check out this blog post for more ideas on how to get lapsed customers back for Black Friday.

Template 1: {SiteName}: Hey {FirstName}, just a quick reminder of our flash sale! Don’t forget to finish your order and use your discount while it lasts at: {DiscountCodeUrl} Text STOP to opt out. 

Template 2: Hey {FirstName}, it’s been a while since your last order at {SiteName}. Treat yourself with a limited-time-only 60% Black Friday discount at: {DiscountCodeUrl} Text STOP to opt out. 

SMS #3: Last Chance

Goal: Final push

Target audience: Everyone!

Timing: Afternoon – Friday, November 27.

Pro tip: Use strong F.O.M.O. Don’t forget to use shortcodes to make the text messages as personalized as possible.

Template 1: {SiteName}: {FirstName}, you have only a few hours left to stock up on some amazing make-up kits AND benefit from your huge BF discounts: {DiscountCodeUrl} Text STOP to opt out. 

Template 2: {SiteName}: Hey {FirstName}, last chance to grab a pair of designer sneakers with our crazy BF discounts of up to 60%. Limited quantities at: {DiscountCodeUrl} Text STOP to opt out. 

Saturday Nov, 28 & Sunday Nov, 29 

Goal: Score additional sales by focusing on procrastinators and last-minute shoppers

Target audience: only people who haven’t made a purchase yet

Timing: Saturday, November 28 & Sunday, November 29

Pro tip: Show some extra care. Use wording such as “We got you covered”, “Psst, our sale is still active” etc.

Template 1: Hey {FirstName}, did you forget about our flash sale? We got you covered! Use code {DiscountCode} to get some last-minute discounts: {DiscountCodeUrl} Text STOP to opt out. 

Template 2: {SiteName}: Psst, our sale is still active, {FirstName}! Go through our shoewear collection and use your 60% discount, while it still lasts: {DiscountCodeUrl} Text STOP to opt out. 

Cyber Monday is here, Nov 30

SMS #1: Start Cyber Monday

Goal: Announce your Cyber Monday offer

Target audience: Everyone!

Timing: Morning – Monday, November 30.

Pro tip: Craft an appealing offer and copy that will attract your customers’ attention even after all the “noise” surrounding Black Friday. Include the name of your store, so shoppers know where this offer is coming from.

Template 1: Hey {FirstName}, it’s {SiteName} here! Enjoy this $10 gift voucher for our Cyber Monday Glam sale – available in the next 24 hours only! Shop at: {DiscountCodeUrl} Text STOP to opt out. 

Template 2: {SiteName}: {FirstName}, treat yourself with a brand new pair of sneakers with up to 70% discount as part of our limited Cyber Monday sale: {DiscountCodeUrl} Text STOP to opt out. 

SMS #2: Last Chance

Goal: Remind about the last and final campaign

Target audience: Everyone!

Timing: Afternoon – Monday, November 30.

Pro tip: Again, use strong F.O.M.O., such as “sale ends in a few hours”

Template 1: {FirstName}, our Glam Cyber Monday sale ends in just a few hours! Become the Queen of Make Up with our brand new color palettes: {DiscountCodeUrl} Text STOP to opt out. 

Template 2: {SiteName}: Last chance to get those gorgeous pink boots, {FirstName}! Our exclusive Cyber Monday discounts end at midnight: {DiscountCodeUrl} Text STOP to opt out. 

Need more inspiration? Head over to our SMS Strategies hub and learn more best practices when it comes to text marketing.

Step 4: Smart planning

When planning your BFCM campaigns there are few more things you need to consider: 

The Smart Sending option in your SMSBump Settings helps you avoid spamming your customers with too frequent messages. Usually we recommend setting this feature to 16-20 hours, but regular rules don’t apply when it comes to Black Friday. Simply uncheck it as an option when sending your campaigns to make sure the audience receives your messages.

And another important thing: some places like the U.S.and Canada have obligatory quiet hours that are set by mobile providers. So if you plan to send out a campaign at 12 in the middle of the night (as you might be used with emails), this won’t be possible.

Especially around Black Friday/Cyber Monday – try and schedule your campaigns well in advance to make sure your messages will be sent on time. 

And now… let’s get ready to Rumble!

The Week of Black Friday/Cyber Monday

This is it: the moment of truth. For most brands these few days will be the turning point when it comes to sales and profits and will provide opportunities to maximize success throughout the year. 

The good news is that you’ve done most of your job (SMS marketing-wise) in the previous weeks already, so now you’ll have the time for some last-minute tweaks and details. 

But, anyway, do you want some last minute tips from us? 

First and foremost – enable your Chat option. This will help you maintain a quick and seamless connection to your customers. Maybe they have some questions about their order? Or want to change their delivery address? With the help of our chat functionality, you’ll have a direct line of communication to your shoppers and will be able to provide them with some exceptional customer service even in the busiest time of the year.

And second, but also important – enable your Auto-Recharge option, to make sure you’ll always have some funds in your SMSBump account and your scheduled campaigns won’t get blocked when the time for sending comes.

That’s all BFolks!

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the most challenging period of the year! But before you take your well deserved rest (for a day or two before you start your Christmas promotions and campaigns), here are some final tips for you to maximize results.

Tip 1: Don’t forget to track and analyze data. You can do all this within your SMSBump app – check your top performing campaigns and automations: was it the copy or the engaging visual? This will help you use this knowledge and amplify the success of your campaigns in the future.

Tip 2: Invest some effort into post-purchase care. Check out our blog post on how to turn Black Friday customers into repeat shoppers with 3 simple tricks.

This was our detailed gameplan for the upcoming BFCM. Start NOW and you’ll thank us later! 🙂

This article originally appeared by our friends at SMSbump.

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