Share article:

Your BFCM/Black Friday Cyber Monday SMS marketing checklist

2021, like 2020, has remained unpredictable but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) sale success!

There are many sales channels to chose from but as many ecommerce and retail players like Vinomofo or Athlete’s Foot have seen, nothing quite stands out like SMS marketing.

We’ve put together a definitive Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing checklist (PLUS a step-by-step SMS marketing drip campaign) to help you harness the power of SMS in reaching (and converting) customers.

What is Black Friday Cyber Monday (aka BFCM)

Historically, it began as a day that workers took off following Thanksgiving. With nothing to do, and stores open, customers would flock to retailers to get ahead on holiday shopping. 

Black Friday rush!

Over time, and due to increasing shopping activity, retailers jumped on board, adding deep discounts and special sales to bring more and more customers in. Black Friday’s focus used to be physical, in-store sales but this has changed due to convenience and COVID.

Cyber Monday, in contrast, rose to help smaller online retailers compete thanks to a consistent rise in ecommerce over the last two decades. Now, the two sale days have been locked together into a larger ‘weekend’ or extended week sale altogether. 

While a US-born sales event, many other countries are joining in including Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia. 

BFCM 2020 recap: best insights and takeaways

  • Black Friday 2020 global revenue reached at $188.2 billion.
  • Black Friday sales were up 139% compared to rest of October.
  • Ecommerce traffic increased 29% compared to Black Friday 2019. 
  • Less people visited retail stores – traffic was down 42.3% in 2020.
  • Majority of people (61%) bought on their laptops and other devices while 39% bought from mobile phones.
  • Staggering increase in people using curbside pick-up, 30% growth over 2019.
  • Shopping cart abandonment for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sitting higher at 77%, than usual 71% average.

Marketing Black Friday vs Cyber Monday

As we can see from our insights above, there is an enormous shift towards online shopping on our mobile devices. Interestingly, physical retailers can also still come ahead by offering online sales but curbside pick-up (BOPUS, Click and Collect).

Here are a few tips to help you discern your strategies for marketing Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals: 

  • Generational preferences. Older buyers are just now pivoting online while younger buyers are consummate professionals when it comes to their digital habitat. Are you catering to both needs with educations and communications that suit both through customer segmentation?
  • Blurred lines. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now considered more of a joined event, with the sale starting early (the week of) and extending out throughout November to cash in on holiday sales.
  • Timing. While some customers will rush in for specific big-ticket deals, other consumers are happy to wait it out for site-wide discounts on Monday. Create a tailored campaign that leverages both kinds of shoppers. For example, offer huge discounts on your most popular items on Friday, but drop hints of an even bigger sale to bring customers back. Leverage this drawn-out timing with a lengthier text-drip campaign!

11 items to check off your BFCM mobile marketing strategy

1. Amp excitement early

Start in October, yes – even before Halloween. Annual Black Friday Cyber Monday retrospectives demonstrate that shoppers are seeking BFCM deals earlier and earlier every year.  

SMS phone template to amp excitement for BFCM

Build a drip-feed campaign of promotional SMS messages that ramp up in frequency, deals and discounts as BFCM nears. Not sure how to do it? Download our full campaign example below.


Want to build your own BFCM SMS marketing strategy?

Get our 6 step text drip campaign – it’s ready to go!

Download it now

Make sure you test, test and test. It’s important to get this right as more and more brands vie for customer attention every year!  

2. Make it mobile

More shoppers using their phones to purchase but conversion is still lagging at just 3.31%! It’s extremely important to create a customer journey that is mobile-first.

By adding text messaging to your BFCM marketing, you are doing just this! While our email inboxes and app notifications are inundated with alerts, your text inbox is still relatively free from an influx of business prompts and messaging. Add the 98% open rates for SMS, and you’ve got a powerful secret weapon in your hands.

Make the most of this time by claiming the space before others do! 

3. Know best practises for your tools

From your website, mobile strategy to your various marketing channels and tools, are you on top of best practices to maximise sales?

Even in the lead-up to BFCM, it’s likely you will see increased traffic, queries and even purchases. You want to make sure that every touchpoint is primed and ready, and that there is no downtime to discourage sales or put off potential customers. 

Ensure you are across any new developments and innovations for your tools too! For example, while most marketers use SMS marketing campaigns, they’re often unaware of how text reminders can drive a 20% recovery rate for abandoned carts.

RELATED: Get SMS marketing best practice for ecommerce from our Shopify research report.

4. Chart a new journey

Customer journeys change every year, but this year, like last, has been unlike any other. It’s imperative that you consider new offerings or ways to get goods to customers in case of changing restrictions and conditions.

As we’ve seen from the stats, curbside pick-up has increased in use during BFCM massively. It offers an easy way for customers to pick up orders at their leisure, rather than waiting a week or so for delivery.  

RELATED: Read our in-depth guide to whether Click and Collect is right for you

Consider where text messaging could support these efforts and journeys. Contactless delivery uses text notifications to keep customers alerted and updated as to their packages’ progress.

SMS phone template for delivery confirmations and tracking

We’re firm believers in combining your communications tool to create the best omnichannel customer experience for consumers. Used in isolation, text messaging can be incredibly effective but when blended with app notifications, email or phone calls; it can truly deliver for you in ways no one tool could alone. 

When working with leading online wine retailer Vinomofo, we helped them to integrate text messaging into their HubSpot workflows via our app SMS for HubSpot. Adding SMS not only helped them cull customer defection, it also recouped their initial investment by 120x. 

RELATED: Find out how Vinomofo combined text and email to recoup 50% of churning customers with one powerful workflow. 

5. Optimise for trust

Build relationships, not OTPs (one-time-purchases). With the abundance of new brands and businesses jumping onto the ecommerce bandwagon, customers are becoming wary of online scams.

RELATED: Find out the 5 simple ways to build customer confidence and trust with text. 

  • Be personal – use their name and preferences in SMS campaigns to give your messaging a human touch. 
  • Comply – Ensure you add an opt-out to meet compliance but also also to help build trust that you are doing the right thing. 
  • Ask them – Unlock two-way messaging so customers can ask text back questions if they are unsure of your reputability and want to check.

RELATED: Find out how two-way messaging can help take customer relationships from mediocre to trusted. 

6. Consider emerging trends

Due to last year’s COVID, a few trends have emerged from the sales that are likely still applicable this year. Customers are looking for:

  • Being local – With so many businesses effected by COVID, the ramifications are still being felt across the world. This has caused a spike in supporting local, small businesses. If you are one, make sure your customers know and are aware of WHO they are supporting too whether it’s a family business, a small ecommerce upstart. Make sure to share your story with your customers!
  • Consumer reviews – Trust has never been more important, as we stated above, and customers aren’t relying on third-parties to tell them what to get. They’re relying on reviews from other consumers! Consider putting this up-front, using testimonials to draw customers in or combining the best of to create compelling text marketing copy.
  • Recommendations – Being busier than ever, and with ever-more competitors out there, customers want short-cuts to the items they seek. Consider building out collections, guides and tailored recommendations you can segment and share with certain customers on your list. Not only will this shorten the pathway to purchase, it will help create a positive, lasting relationship with customers.

7. Curate gift guides or collections

As we mentioned above, not every customer will want to do in-depth research on the best deals or the best options. In fact, there’s a large segment of lazy BFCM shoppers who prefer to shop last-minute and look specifically for collections that tell them what is best. 

SMS Phone template linking to a gift guide or collection for BFCM

Curate specific gift guides or collections depending on your audience segmentations. Let’s say you sell handmade, minimally designed leather dog collars. If your audience is primarily dog owners, families and young bachelors – you might create gift collection pages for each, and use SMS to promote them to your dedicated subscriber list. 

8. Create urgency and time limits

A powerful capability of SMS is its ability to get customers acting and purchasing because of its amazing cut-through and responsiveness. Within seconds or minutes, a customer is very likely to open any text campaign you send them. 

When one of your bricks and mortar customers moved online, adding text promotions to their ecommerce sales saw an immediate uplift in purchases within 10-15 minutes of a broadcast. 

That’s why you should make full use of business text’s urgency with time limits.  

  • Promotions 

Adding a time limit to any text promotions will get customers moving then and now. Whether it’s the 24-hour pre-sale prior to the start of BFCM, or an extra 20% off during BFCM within an hour of their last purchase. 

SMS Phone template using time limit to create buying urgency
  • Cart abandonment 

We’ll talk a little bit more about this in the next section but recouping customers who’ve lost interest in a cart is often difficult because you need to recapture them fast. Adding a time limit to a cart abandonment text campaign further encourages them to purchase right then and there.  

Remember you’re often playing into their mindset about getting the best Black Friday deals!

9. Recapture their carts

Compared to 2019’s 71%, the average rate of cart abandonment rose to a whopping 77% in 2020. If that continues, businesses are likely to miss almost 8/10 potential sales with increased competitors and distractions. It’s important therefore to leverage the best abandoned cart recovery tools out there so you don’t miss out!

 The speediness of text in recapturing the attention (and interest) of customers isn’t easily emulated by other tools. As a rule, we’ve found that businesses have great success if they set their text reminders to go out 1 hour after a customer has abandoned their cart.

  • Send a follow-up text
SMS phone template to capture carts
  • If that still hasn’t captured them, add an additional discount with a time limit as we showed you above. 

RELATED: Get more top abandoned cart text message best practices and insights now.

10. Humanise your comms

This is personal and it’s business.  

Set yourself apart from the competitors in your category by getting personal with your customer. Use what you know about them to add insight to your text communications and marketing. This shows customers you care about creating the right relationship with them. 

SMS phone template to humanise your comms messaging

Adding personalisation to SMS is easy to do. When using your chosen provider’s platform or MessageMedia’s, you can easily add in custom fields such as first name, locations, product preferences – any sort you like! If set out in a database with corresponding data for each customer, this can be bulk added to any text communication. 

RELATED: Check out our 3 handy tips for customising your SMS communications

11. Boost loyalty with exclusives and extensions

While Black Friday Cyber Monday is, no doubt, a huge opportunity for sales, it is just the beginning of the holiday season. We still have Christmas, Boxing Day, Free Shipping Day and a wealth of others to draw customers in and keep them buying. 

Encourage customers to join your member’s list or VIP club to get more deals throughout the season including a sales extension of BFCM until the end of the current week. Getting them subscribed and consenting to text notifications (or at the very least, on your mailing list) will mean a direct pathway of communication and interest for the long term. 

RELATED: Get the 7 text features that can help you boost loyalty


Make Black Friday Cyber Sales easy this year…

with our 6-step text marketing drip campaign!

Download it now

Final thoughts, further reading

Text marketing can really help your business get more out of Black Friday Cyber Monday sales, as well as the rest of your seasonal campaigning. Consider using many of the same tactics suggested here for other sales dates throughout the year including Christmas, Amazon Prime or Singles Day.  

For more useful reading, check out: