With the tumultuous economic climate and shifting consumer behaviour this Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) is going to be particularly stressful for merchants. 

During this BFCM, Velstar is here to help your ecommerce business achieve the best results possible and maximise the opportunity. So we’re hosting a BFCM blog series with our technology partners. Next up, we interview Partnership Manager of Klaviyo, Phil Greenwood to discuss how merchants can drive conversions through email marketing.

 

With Black Friday, on average, generating 3.6 higher ecommerce sales than the average day in November and Cyber Monday on record for being the largest online sale day in history, when should ecommerce businesses start planning and sending out their email campaigns?

We’re predicting this year’s Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend will eclipse last year’s, surpass next year’s, and that ecommerce will hit a staggering $1.1 trillion for the first time in history by the end of the year.

More and more people started shopping online during lockdown restrictions earlier this year, which means there’s now a larger total addressable market who are prepared to do their holiday shopping online this year. Ideally, merchants will have already started working on their initial plans by now—but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to start if you haven’t been!

Our data from 2019’s BFCM weekend shows that 60 percent of Cyber Weekend sales were driven by consumers who had engaged with a brand via email before Q3 that same year. This is great news if you’ve been engaging with your email list already, but there’s still time to catch up if needed! If you’re not sure where to start, check out our Holiday Marketing Guide, which is packed full of tips to help you prepare for this year’s ultra-busy holiday season.

As for sending emails, listen to your customers and watch their spending habits—especially this year when everything is probably a little different. In the run-up to BFCM, test different send times to see what works best for your audience. You can do this manually or automate your tests if your email platform allows it.

 

How do merchants add a sense of urgency to their emails during BFCM?

There are lots of ways you can use email to create a sense of urgency; here are my top tips.

  1. Highlight scarcity and fear of missing out (FOMO)

Telling your subscribers that an item will sell out if they don’t act quickly enough is a surefire way of tapping into FOMO (fear of missing out) and adds a real sense of urgency to your emails. 

Example phrases you could use include:

  • While stocks last
  • While supplies last
  • Only XX left in stock
  • Limited product release (this could be a limited edition product or you can use this if you don’t expect to get the item back into stock if you sell out)

Also, if you sold out of a product last BFCM, mention this in your emails this year to encourage your subscribers to act quickly!

Of course, only say this if it’s truthful—or you run the risk of your subscribers finding out later and becoming suspicious of future emails.

  1. Include discount expiration dates in your subject lines

Including an expiration date alongside your Black Friday offers puts a concrete time limit on your deal and gets your subscribers to act now!

Here are some example phrases to use:

  • Offer ends on DD/MM/YYYY at TIME
  • Offer ends in 48 hours
  • Offer expires in 1 week
  • You have 2 days to redeem this offer

You could even use a countdown timer in your emails to show the time physically ticking away!

  1. Offer daily deals and steals

Give shoppers a compelling reason to return to your website by revealing a new deal each day across the Cyber Weekend. Your subscribers won’t want to miss out on the deals, which also helps to drive purchase frequency.

Send email reminders to your subscribers so they don’t miss out and promote the deals across your social channels to further add to the anticipation.

 

Major challenges for merchants when it comes to email marketing during BFCM include inbox invisibility and competition, what are your top tips for perfecting a great subject line and pre-header?

Beyond some of the urgency tactics mentioned above, the best advice I can give is to really know who your customers are and what motivates them to buy.

Firstly, do you know what your customers have bought from you in the past? Use this data to personalize your subject lines and offers by only showing products in emails that your customers are genuinely interested in.

Next, do you have customers who only shop with you at this time of year? Are they deal hunters? Or “gifters” in search of something for that special someone? And who are your most valuable VIP customers who are loyal to your brand year-round?

Each group is motivated to buy from you in different ways, so drive your open rates up by reflecting this in your emails—and especially within your subject lines.

You might want to be a little blunter with your deal hunters and call out your offers clearly in your subject lines, such as: “£5 Leggings + 30% OFF EVERYTHING ONLINE (you’re welcome!)”

Your gifters will probably appreciate knowing if they place an order in your BFCM sale then they’ll get it in time for Christmas, so clearly communicate that in your subject line. Perhaps try something like: “Save 30% + grab a gift in time for Christmas! 🎁”

As for your VIP segment, why not make them feel extra special by giving them access to some deals first? Something like: “Hey VIP, get 30% off everything NOW!” could work well. You could also try using curiosity in your subject lines to pique interest even more. Something like: “This deal will BLOW YOUR MIND! 🤯” perhaps? Just make sure your offer lives up to the hype!

Final tip: last year across the Cyber Weekend, we saw more brands using percentage-off discounts, but those that used dollars-off discounts tended to see more success. Why not try both in an A/B test to see what works for you?

 

What should ecommerce business owners consider when crafting a powerful CTA?

If you haven’t already done so, try A/B testing your CTAs in the run-up to the Cyber Weekend to see which ones perform better. Should you use plain text buttons or images? What colours work better? What about the size of the text and fonts?  You can test each of these easily—just remember to test one thing at a time so you can see what makes the most difference.

When writing your CTA, keep it clear, simple, and to the point. CTA buttons like: “Shop now”, “Get 30% off”, “Save 20%”, etc. are some of the most commonly used—and are usually the best-performing. As for CTA placement, most say your CTA should be included within the first half of the email (i.e. above the fold), but I say it depends on the copy. If your subscribers can quickly see what an email is about, then placing the CTA above the fold might make the most sense. If your offer needs a little more context, put the CTA at the end of the email. And if you’re looking to run a test, why not try both?

Final tip: avoid using too many CTAs in one email. CTAs are meant to stand out and direct readers to one desired course of action. If there are too many buttons, then nothing stands out, leaving your subscribers confused about what to do next. If in doubt, go for one strong CTA per email and no more than two or three.

 

With 14% average email open rate during BFCM how do merchants improve engagement rates? And should merchants be focusing on alternative metrics when measuring the success of their email campaigns?

One of the best ways to improve email engagement rates is through personalization and highly segmented emails, which have the power to drive up to three times more revenueI don’t mean just using subscribers’ names in emails though; we’re way beyond that now.

If you’re using smart marketing automation platforms, then you already have a lot of customer and subscriber data at your fingertips, like:

  • Subscriber demographics (age, gender, location, etc)
  • Products viewed on your website
  • Links clicked in your emails
  • Average order values
  • Purchase frequency
  • Acquisition source

And these are all things you can use to segment your BFCM emails—and future ones—to improve engagement. Say you own a women’s fashion brand and you have a group of customers who only ever buy accessories from you. You might want to call out offers that reflect that rather than trying to drive them towards offers on knitwear or dresses that they’re less likely to be interested in.

With the right email provider, this is easier to achieve than you might think. Dynamic content blocks in emails help you to show different products to different subscriber groups, while integrations with platforms like Nosto help you to tie your product recommendations in with website activity.

Finally, to truly understand how well your campaigns are performing, keep an eye on how much revenue your campaigns and automated emails are driving—as a whole and individually—so you can quickly see which emails are giving you a better return on investment.

 

Which brands’ email campaigns caught your eye during last years BFCM and what can merchants learn from them?  

We saw so many fantastic campaigns last year, which makes narrowing it down quite difficult! But if I had to pick just three brands that stood out to me for different reasons, they would be:

Here’s why…

Last year, Skinnydip London sent a “Get ready for Black Friday” email ten days before the big day to encourage subscribers to make wishlists. This email also included a 30 percent discount off party wear, which is ideal for this time of year and helps to snap up some early holiday sales!

Chubbies Shorts is proof that humour goes a long way when it reflects your brand! Instead of Cyber Monday, Chubbies called it “Thighber Monday”, which is a unique spin on the holiday and fits in perfectly with their clothing brand. 

I also loved another campaign they ran last year, which offered a 25 percent sitewide discount. The emails were all written as if they were confidential and just for Chubbies employees. Such an interesting way to stand out in the inbox!

And finally, Evolve Beauty used email to thank customers for their support throughout the year, which adds a personal touch and establishes a genuine connection with customers.

Evolve also took this opportunity to offer a sitewide 20 percent discount, while promoting products that would be ideal buys for this time of year, such as stocking fillers, gift sets, and party prep beauty products. They also added a note at the end to remind subscribers about their half-price outlet store to help drive even more sales.

If you want to find out more about how to push your brand to the next level this Black Friday Cyber Monday or simply want to hear more about integrating Klaviyo to your Shopify store, then get in touch with our team of email marketing experts today

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About Klaviyo: 

Klaviyo enables modern communication between companies and consumers. We’re committed to pushing the boundaries of what’s technically possible and making it truly accessible to any online business, from entrepreneurs to leading enterprise brands. Our platform processes billions of consumer activities, or data events, every month — and then makes them available in real-time to fuel better targeting, deeper analysis, and more effective marketing. That means our customers can create incredibly personal email and advertising experiences without wasting their time or money. And it works: we’re proud that our customers grow 29% faster on average after making the switch to Klaviyo. That’s why over 20,000 of the most innovative brands like Brooklinen, Bonobos, Untuckit, and Taylor Stitch power their marketing through Klaviyo.