Last year we explored some of the trends identified during the last Black Friday and have put together some handy tips to use in your strategy to gain the most ROI from this peak season opportunity.

Black Friday performance trends vary but continue to grow year on year. During our regular strategy meetings with our clients, we have seen that this is a very important part of their marketing calendar to help drive sales and is clearly a topic that is currently at the top of their agenda.

During the weeks leading up to GDPR, on back to back days we saw that traffic exceeded that of Black Friday 2017 and we’re expecting similar traffic through the whole week leading up to Black Friday.

In 2016 we saw a 50% increase in sends compared to the preceding Black Friday but with a reasonable increase in traffic on the Wednesday and Thursday leading up to Black Friday itself.

Black Friday

However, in 2017 the traffic on Thursday nearly matched that of the send volume on Black Friday.

Black Friday
We know competition is tough in any marketplace but even more so on Black Friday, inboxes are filled with bargains galore and insuring your emails are delivered and engaged with successfully is key, hence the higher send volumes on Thursday.

Talking to some clients we are seeing a split in strategies, some are presenting teaser campaigns to identify their engaged customer base and then sending an email to those subscribers that have successfully engaged.

However another approach is that some clients are sending deals during the whole week.  That way they are keeping an engaged customer base and nullify sales troughs as people wait for deals.

Look at your sales last November, do you see a dip in your sales activities during November?  If so could you adopt this deal drip feed approach?

Whatever method you choose to adopt the same preparation tactics as advised last year are applicable.

1. Engagement

Between ten and twenty days in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you need to start identifying engaged customers. This is crucial to a successful delivery on the day.

By sending out to engaged recipients first, you can get your Black Friday and Cyber Monday party started quickly and easily with minimal fuss.

How to engage customers? Easy, start with a teaser campaign. Send out a teaser campaign in the run up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, give a hint on your offer and maybe include a link to a webpage with teaser details. Using this data can help you identify who to send your campaigns to first. Identify your engaged audience, segment your lists to reward your most engaged client base.

2. Creative

Between five and ten days in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you need to make sure your creative messages are all in place and good to go for the big day.

Test sends can show you the creative layout, but the best way to test click through behaviour is sending a mini campaign. Upload a test list which consists of your email address and that of a handful of colleagues and run a baby campaign.

Test each and every link. You want to spend the big day processing orders (and maybe even checking out some deals for yourself) rather than sorting out misdirected traffic.

3. List management

Between one and five days in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you need to get on top of list management. Not only do you need to upload your list, but you need to segment it down into a number of groups, recently engaged, Hotmail/Outlook based domains, and not engaged.

So why do you want to segment based on domains such as Hotmail, Outlook and AOL? Microsoft is one of—if not the—largest email provider. As a result their mail servers will be under tremendous load handling traffic—they will instruct senders to throttle back on sending speed so they can process all the deliveries. By including these domains in your sends straight away you can positively impact the total delivery time of your campaign.

Segment your lists down into clicked in the last 20 days, opened in the last 30 days, then build additional segments based on the email domains and long term unengaged.

Finally, schedule your campaigns using various lists—but don’t forget to disable ITS (intelligent time sending) due to the delays encountered on the mail servers during this busy period.

For help on segmenting advice please contact us to arrange a strategy call.