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Your BFCM/Black Friday & Cyber Monday SMS marketing checklist

Last year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) sales broke records, and experts predict sales will continue to rise this year. Although initially a US sales event, many other countries now participate, including Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia.

According to Shopify, 69% of shoppers made Black Friday purchases on mobile phones in 2020. So if text messaging isn’t part of your BFCM marketing strategy in 2021, it should be.

Black Friday rush!

BFCM 2020 recap: best insights and takeaways

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

Marketing Black Friday vs Cyber Monday

Based on these insights, there’s an enormous shift towards online shopping on our mobile devices, but physical retailers can still come ahead by offering online sales with curbside pick-up.

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.

11 items to check off your BFCM mobile marketing strategy

1. Generate interest early

Start in October — yes, even before Halloween. Annual Black Friday and 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 complete campaign example guide below.


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

2. Make it mobile

More shoppers are using their phones to purchase but conversion is still lagging at just 3.31%! It’s vital 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. Put your tools to work

Are you on top of best practices to maximize sales from your website and mobile strategy to your various marketing channels and tools?

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. 

Stay up to date on any new developments and innovations for your technology and marketing 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 practices 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 Cubside Pickup 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 communication tools to create the best omnichannel customer experience for consumers. Used in isolation, text messaging can be incredibly effective. And, 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 integrate text messaging into their HubSpot workflows via our app SMS for HubSpot. Adding SMS not only enabled them to curb customer defection, but 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. Optimize 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 and help build trust that you are doing the right thing. 
  • Ask them – Unlock two-way messaging so customers can 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 emerged that are likely still applicable this year. Customers are looking for:

  • Being local – With so many businesses affected 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 helping, too, whether it’s a family business or a small ecommerce start-up. 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 depend on reviews from other consumers. Consider putting this upfront, 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 shortcuts to the items they seek. Consider building out collections, guides and tailored recommendations you can segment and share with specific customers on your list. Not only will this shorten the pathway to purchase, but it will also 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 top options. 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 fantastic cut-through and responsiveness. Within seconds or minutes, a customer is very likely to open any text campaign you send them. 

When one of our brick-and-mortar customers moved online, they added text promotions to their ecommerce sales and saw an immediate uplift in purchases within 10-15 minutes of a message being sent.   

  • Promotions 

Adding a time limit to any text promotions will get customers moving, whether it’s the 24-hour pre-sale before 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 more about this in the next section but recouping customers who’ve lost interest in a cart is often tricky because you need to recapture them quickly. Adding a time limit to a cart abandonment text campaign further encourages them to purchase right then and there.  

Remember, you need to remind them that they are getting the best Black Friday deals possible!

9. Recapture their carts

Compared to 2019’s 71%, the average cart abandonment rate 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. Therefore, it’s essential to leverage the best abandoned cart recovery tools out there so you don’t miss out!

Other tools don’t easily emulate the speediness of text in recapturing customers’ attention (and interest). 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. Humanize your messages

This is personal — and it’s business.  

Set yourself apart from competitors in your space 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 personalization to SMS is easy to do. You can easily add in custom fields such as first name, locations, product preferences – any custom details that you have!

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

11. Boost loyalty with exclusives and extensions

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are, no doubt, massive opportunities for sales, it is just the beginning of the holiday season. There is still Christmas, Free Shipping Day, New Year’s, 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.

From a digital marketing checklist to SMS templates you can seamlessly personalize for your broadcast, we have plenty of content to make sure you start your sale with a bang.

Download now

Final thoughts

Text marketing can 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 throughout the year, including Christmas, Amazon Prime, or Singles Day.