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Your BFCM/Black Friday Cyber Monday SMS marketing checklist

2020 has been an unpredictable year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan for your 2020’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) sales and thrive.  

That’s why we’ve put together a definitive text marketing checklist (PLUS a step-by-step text marketing drip campaign) to get you started. We’re here to help you make the most of one of the year’s biggest sales dates for retail and ecommerce players across the globe and harness the power of SMS. 

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. The focus for Black Friday was physical, in-store sales although this has changed in more recent years as the interest and convenience of ecommerce has risen. 

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

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

BFCM 2019 recap: best insights and takeaways

Physical retailers 


Marketing Black Friday vs Cyber Monday

As we can see from our insights above, the shift towards online shopping is already in full swing. With COVID forcing a more prominent shift online for BFCM sales, it’s likely physical retailers will follow suit for convenience, ease and health reasons.  

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 and ways they purchase? 
  • Blurred lines. Black Friday has always had a more physical presence leaning but does advertise online-only offers, while Cyber Monday is purely online. 
  • Timing. While some customers will rush in for specific big-ticket deals on Friday, 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. 

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?

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

2. Make it mobile

With 3/4rs of shoppers using their phones on their way to purchase, creating a mobile-first strategy and ensuring your customer journey is mobile-friendly has become essential. 

By adding text messaging to your BFCM marketing, you are doing just this – and doing it smartly! 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. Get your tech up to scratch

From your website, mobile strategy to your various marketing channels and tools, are you on top of what they can do and are you using them wisely? 

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 down-time on any platform to discourage sales or put off potential customers. 

Ensure you are across any new developments across your tools as well. For example, while most marketers use SMS marketing campaigns, they’re often unaware that sending SMS a few minutes after a customer has abandoned their cart will effectively drive a customer back to purchase. 

RELATED: Check out the 4 proven ways SMS can improve your online marketing today. 

4. Chart a new journey

Customer journeys change every year, but this year has been unlike any other. It’s imperative that you consider new offerings or ways to get goods to customers to help ease current restrictions and meet obligations for contact tracing. 

For example, Click and Collect offerings have jumped in use since the beginning of COVID. They offer 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’ whereabouts. Click and Collect offerings use text to schedule timings for pick-up and to remind or confirm customers about their orders. 

SMS phone template for delivery confirmations and tracking

We’re firm believers in combining the best of 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, but it also recouped their initial investment into SMS 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 more and more wary of internet scams. As we’ve seen from the retrospective, customers are buying from brands they know over new ones. How can you overcome this? 

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. 
  • Reward them – acknowledge their purchase and experience by gifting them with a future discount to entice them back. 
  • Invite them in – unlock 2-way messaging to enhance communications with customers. You could use SMS chat for customer concerns or technical support, or even to ask for feedback and reiew sso that other customers will feel more assured that you are a reputable seller.  

RELATED: Find out how 2-way messaging can help take customer relationships from mediocre to trusted. 

6. Consider COVID trends

In our most recent ecommerce webinar series, we examined COVID’s effect on the retail sector. A few COVID trends kept emerging: 

Infographic of COVID ecommerce trends
  • Diversified product ranges – businesses are branching out to meet new consumer needs around essential items, protective equipment such as masks and hand sanitiser and digital experiences and products.  
  • Buy locally – Buyers are motivated to source from local stores because they’re unable to get fulfilment from overseas brands, and they’re emotionally invested to support locals around them. 
  • DIY – Customers are opting to do it themselves out of sheer boredom and a lack of freedom. From house renovations, virtually taught haircuts to setting up home gyms. 
  • New demos – Older buyers who once shunned buying online are now seeing the benefit and convenience of modern ecommerce.  
  • Blended retail – Given the lack of choice and control we’ve had in our personal lives over the course of 2020, customers are seeking it out wherever they can, including how they receive their purchases.  

While we’re not suggesting that you uproot your business to meet any or all trends, it’s important to acknowledge and consider how you could meet these with your current products and services in the lead up to Black Friday. For example, could a Click and Collect offering right for you as an exclusive offering to locals in your area? 

7. Curate gift guides or collections

In the lead up to Black Friday, 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 text promote these out to your customers. 

8. Create urgency and time limits

The most potent and powerful capability of SMS is its ability to get customers moving and purchasing because of its amazing cut-through and responsiveness. Within seconds or minutes, a customer is very likely to open any text broadcast 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 current mindset that they want the best Black Friday deals, and here one is! 

9. Recapture their carts

According to Barillance, the average rate of cart abandonment during 2019’s BFCM was 71.36%. With the surge in ecommerce this year, most sellers will likely be missing more than 7/10 potential sales with increased competitors and distractions. It’s important therefore that you aim to recapture as many of them – as fast as possible! 

 The speediness of text in recapturing the attention (and interest) of customers isn’t easily emulated by other tools. As a rule, the sooner you send the text, the more likely you are to capture their attention. 

  • Send a follow-up text between 10 – 15 minutes later. 
SMS phone template to capture carts
  • If that still hasn’t captured them, send another 30 minutes to 1 hour later, and add an additional discount with a time limit as we showed you above. 

Continue to test out what different timings and strategies work for your customers.   

10. Humanise your comms

This is personal and its 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 end-of-year sales 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 members 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 from their end 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: