Last updated on November 6, 2023

Mariya Arabadzhieva-Todorova
Content Marketing Specialist @ Yotpo
October 1st, 2023 | 14 minutes read

The countdown is on. Here is every SMS and email marketing strategy you need to win Black Friday Cyber Monday and beyond.

Table Of Contents

For most people, fall means long picturesque walks, cozy sweaters, the scent of cinnamon rolls, and pumpkin spice lattes. For eCommerce brands, this time of year means long working hours, “cozy” nights in front of the monitors, and the scent of too-much-caffeine drinks.

Acknowledging the fact that the most hectic period in retail is upon us, we have prepared the ultimate Black Friday/Cyber Monday playbook — full of best practices and tips on how to maximize your revenue this holiday season.

With these winning SMS and email strategies, you can keep your customers engaged, nurture long-lasting relationships, and maintain sky-high ROI before, during, and after BFCM.

Early October: 8 weeks before BFCM

As soon as Back-to-school sales come to an end, it’s time to shift focus to the upcoming holiday season and lay the foundations of a winning BFCM strategy: grow your audience, collect valuable consumer data, and initiate engaging conversations with shoppers to put your brand top of mind.

Step 1: Supercharge your subscriber collection and capture customer intent

Seamless mobile experiences begin with opting in. Growing a solid SMS & email audience is at the core of every successful marketing strategy, as it gives you more people to market your BFCM offers to. And now is the right time to start building your lists.

First stop? Your website. Approach shoppers right at the moment of purchase by enabling SMS subscriptions at your store’s checkout section — a highly effective opt-in growth engine accounting for 60% of marketing consent.

Create a BFCM-themed pop-up to grab the attention of site visitors, excite them about upcoming deals, and convert them into dedicated SMS and email subscribers — all in a single touchpoint, in just a few clicks. And a bonus tip — this holiday season, replace your traditional pop-up with Spin-to-Win to see a 2-4x increase in subscriber collection!

SMS & Email strategies for BFCM

Maximize the results of your subscriber collection strategy this BFCM by giving customers more opportunities to opt into the things that matter most to them. Yotpo SMS & Email’s Smart Capture will help you understand shoppers’ intent in real time and collect valuable zero-party data. Leverage this powerful feature to create a dedicated list of people interested in your BFCM deals and use SMS and email to send timely and tailored messages right at their fingertips.

Onsite subscription tools are effective, but you don’t have to stop there. Brands that utilize multi-subscriber collection methods such as keywords, social media opt-in, or QR codes see over 2x more subscribers.

Step 2: Start the conversation

Now that you have a solid subscriber collection strategy, it’s time to create an engaging customer journey for your new opt-ins.

Your game plan at this point is to use Yotpo SMS & Email’s advanced conversational flows to start meaningful interactions with your audience well before BFCM. Get to know consumer preferences, collect valuable information about their habits, and position your store as their go-to place when the time for holiday shopping comes.

How? Send a heartwarming welcome message to your new subscribers and use those first touchpoints to ask some questions. Answers will help you gather more precious zero-party data that you can leverage later on to extend ultra-targeted and relevant offers.

Conversational SMS flows make for the ultimate customer engagement experience, as they are fun, personalized, and can help nurture deeper brand-shopper relationships. What’s more, they are the perfect starting point for high-converting follow-up Click-to-Buy campaigns.

Step 3: Expedite the path to purchase

Why wait until BFCM if your customers just told you what they’re looking for? Maximize the effectiveness of your conversational flows by dividing shoppers into dedicated lists based on their product preferences and approach them right off the bat with one-step Click-to-Buy campaigns.

Click to Buy

Not all brands can offer huge sitewide discounts this holiday season. Instead of launching a generic flash sale, use Click-to-Buy even in the earliest stages of the BFCM frenzy to send shoppers tailored product recommendations such as best-sellers or new product launches that they can purchase without leaving their SMS inbox. Brands that have already implemented this faster path to purchase are seeing 60x ROI or more.

Bonus step: Craft even more thoughtful engagements

Make sure to leverage the new Yotpo web pixel for the ultimate pre-BFCM site tracking and create powerful behavioral segments during BFCM for those shoppers who have viewed specific products, been active on site, and more. Use merge tags and shortcodes to add dynamic, personalized data to every message you send.

Yotpo brands using behavioral segments see 61x higher ROI from SMS and email campaigns.

Late October: 6 weeks before BFCM

Use the second half of October to set up winning SMS and email flows, engage with your customers at every touch point, generate tons of user-generated content, and pamper your most loyal shoppers with extra care and attention.

Step 1: Enable these four must-have flows

Brands that want to stand out from the noise this holiday season must find a way to catch customers’ attention with the right message at the right time. Enable some of Yotpo SMS & Email’s preset flows to ensure you provide engaging and unique experiences at every step of the shopper’s journey.

Welcome flows

SMS welcome series have an 8x higher engagement rate compared to email. A personalized welcome flow will run in the background of your store to immediately grab the attention of new subscribers and help boost conversion rates.

Greet your new opt-ins and offer an incentive to purchase, such as a gift voucher or a small discount. If you used Smart Capture to divide shoppers who showed interest in BFCM deals into separate lists, make sure to mention this in your welcome message, too.

GlamFam: Welcome to the family, Janice! We know you are interested in special BFCM deals, and we are here to deliver! As the newest member of our VIP SMS club, you get a sneak peek into our hottest offers. Happy shopping!

Abandoned checkout flows

Did you know that 7 out of 10 online consumers abandon shopping carts without making a purchase? What if we told you there’s a way to recover at least 33% of these otherwise lost sales opportunities?

Sending timely and personalized abandoned cart messages by SMS or email helps eCommerce brands bring high-intent shoppers back to their store to finish their purchase. Enable at least one abandoned cart reminder with a follow-up message in 15 minutes or an hour. Again, add a small incentive to seal the deal.

Body&Soul: Hi Kim! We noticed you left these items in your cart. Complete your order now for a 10% discount!

Winback flows

With just a few weeks left before the BFCM craze, you can focus on re-engaging with shoppers who have not been active in your store for a while. After all, it costs 5x more to acquire a brand new customer than to retain one you already have.

Enable a winback flow to approach lapsed customers with timely and personalized messages. Brands that use this approach see an 18% recovery rate.

Hey Aliza, we miss you here at Home4U. Check out our brand new winter collection and use code BFCM10 for 10% off your next purchase with us!

Back-in-Stock/Low-in-Stock flows

With higher traffic ahead of and during BFCM, make sure the customer journey is built to push customers to the finish line when products are running out or have just been replenished.

Enable Back-in-Stock and Low-in-Stock flows to create a sense of urgency and nudge shoppers to stock up on the products they’re interested in.

She’s Waisted was one of the first Yotpo brands to adopt Back-in-Stock automated messages as part of their overall SMS marketing strategy. Together with other triggered flows, the brand achieved an impressive 123x ROI.

Step 2: Double down on review requests

Throughout the busy holiday season, when online traffic is expected to rise significantly, maximizing the results of each customer interaction is crucial. As more and more consumers flock to your store for holiday shopping, why not set up an automated review request to seamlessly collect valuable user-generated content?

Sending customers a tailored message to thank them for the purchase and ask for feedback will show that you value their opinion, build brand credibility, and help generate important product and site reviews. Reviews impact purchasing decisions for over 93% of consumers, and review requests via SMS enjoy a 66% higher conversion rate than email.

And with Yotpo SMS & Email’s advanced capabilities, you can now trigger automated messages targeting shoppers who have submitted a review with personalized communication depending on the star rating of their review.

Step 3: Focus on loyalty

Having Yotpo Loyalty, SMS, and Email all under one roof enables eCommerce brands to leverage over 14 data points to send ultra-targeted texts and emails and nurture long-lasting customer relationships.

Start with a loyalty opt-in push – reach out to all non-loyalty members who are part of your SMS and email marketing club and encourage them to sign up for your rewards program. Once they do, send a sweet welcome message to congratulate them for becoming VIP members and share all the exciting perks of your program.

Next, reward holiday shoppers with double or triple loyalty points around BFCM for making a purchase or leaving a review to drive even more revenue to your store.

With customers suddenly placing tons of orders and collecting loyalty points, you’ll want to make sure that all the right flows are in place. Enable triggered texts and emails to remind subscribers to shop for more points and unlock a discount, congratulate customers for reaching a new VIP tier, inform them when they are close to losing their current tier status, or send notifications on how many points they currently have and how to redeem those for prizes.

SMS & Email strategy for BFCM

Redemptions are crucial for the success of your loyalty program – eCommerce brands see 89% more revenue from loyalty redeemers compared to non-redeemers, as well as a 164% higher repeat purchase rate on average. Through Yotpo SMS & Email’s Click-to-Redeem campaigns, shoppers can exchange their loyalty points for product discounts simply by clicking on a link in your text.

SMS & Email strategy for BFCM

November: 4 weeks before BFCM

November is here, and it’s game time! The last few weeks before the BFCM frenzy is when you need to plan your SMS and email campaigns, do one final check on your settings, and ensure the best post-purchase experiences for your customers.

Step 1: Set up a campaign schedule

Now is the time to set up and schedule your SMS and email campaigns for the following hectic weeks so that they run smoothly even amidst the chaos. Remember that most customers won’t wait for the actual Black Friday to start their holiday shopping, and most of your competitors will announce their offers and promotions much earlier.

SMS & Email strategy for BFCM

Don’t miss out on sales opportunities, and actively engage with your audience throughout the entire month of November. Leverage our built-in Campaign Planner, where you can find a list of suggested dates and campaign ideas paired with corresponding SMS and email templates.

To get you started, here is a list of suggested promotional periods and dates for BFCM campaigns in November.

BFCM Warm-up

The goal of your warm-up campaigns is to get your customers in the mood for shopping and drive some early BFCM sales your way.

Approach early birds with appealing discounts, send shoppers eye-grabbing gift guides, or use other smaller events to put your brand top of mind.

Key dates:

  • Nov 3: BFCM warm-up campaign. “Early deals for early shoppers.”
  • Nov 5: Gift guide promotion. “Who are you shopping for this BFCM?”
  • Nov 7: Thanksgiving essentials. “Time to change the wardrobe,” “Find the perfect gift for your Thanksgiving hostess.”
  • Nov 9: Thanksgiving shipping deadlines. “Purchase now to get your package before the holiday.”

Turtle Beach, one of the world’s leading gaming accessory providers, sparked customer interest ahead of time with an early-bird SMS campaign that was brief, straightforward, and effective.

BFCM Build Hype/VIP Promotions

The week before BFCM is all about your most loyal customers. Segment your top spending shoppers and treat them with early VIP access to your sizzling deals, special perks such as free expedited shipping, or bigger discounts.

Key dates:

  • Nov 13: World Kindness Day. “Our treat to you – enjoy a 20% sitewide discount.”
  • Nov 14: VIP early access to BFCM sales. “Two days only! Get early access now.”
  • Nov 15: Last-chance VIP early access. “Final hours to grab your special deal.”
  • Nov 17: Loyalty Day & perk reminders. “Enjoy VIP expedited shipping.”

Volcom is an excellent example of a brand that knows how to leverage both SMS and Loyalty to keep the audience engaged. Through their loyalty program, Volcom Stone Rewards, the brand activates their most-valued customers by giving them the opportunity to earn more points on purchases. Around BFCM, Volcom offered double VIP points for a limited time frame, creating urgency to drive customers to purchase fast.

BFCM Launch

It. Is. ON.

Now is the time to go big and bold on your discounts and let all your SMS and email subscribers know about your special Thanksgiving and BFCM deals. Spark FOMO with phrases such as “offer ends soon,” “limited time only,” and “last chance,” or start a countdown.

Key dates:

  • Nov 20: Early Thanksgiving. “Ready for Thanksgiving?”
  • Nov 21: Early Thanksgiving. “Last-minute Thanksgiving discounts.”
  • Nov 22: 48-hour BF Countdown. “The countdown to BF is ON.”
  • Nov 23: Share the BF schedule. “Our massive BFCM flash sale starts tomorrow!”
  • Nov 24: Black Friday
    • Morning: “Our BFCM deals are here!”
    • Midday: “Hey, just a quick reminder of our flash sale.”
    • Afternoon: “Last chance to get our exclusive deals!”

A brand that decided to go big and bold for BFCM? Vitality, formerly known as Balance Athletica. A personalized text message with a clear CTA and an appealing offer — a great example of a winning SMS strategy!

Weekend Sales

Black Friday might be over, but your sales opportunities are definitely not. Use the weekend to approach last-minute shoppers with extended BFCM deals, launch a dedicated Small Business Saturday campaign, or start the warm-up for Cyber Monday.

Key dates:

  • Nov 25: Small Business Saturday. “Deals are still on.”
  • Nov 26: Share Cyber Monday schedule. “Set your alarms for Cyber Monday Deals.”

Parks Project, a socially engaged brand creating national park-themed apparel and accessories, launched a BFCM campaign offering customers a 20% sitewide discount and added a pinch of FOMO to urge shoppers to hit the purchase button.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is your last chance to approach shoppers with special deals and squeeze in some last-minute sales. Extending your offers until “Giving Tuesday” will help procrastinators finish their holiday shopping on time.

Key dates:

  • Nov 27: Cyber Monday
    • Morning: “Cyber Monday Deals are finally here!”
    • Afternoon: “You have only a few hours left.”
  • Nov 28: Cyber Monday Extension/Giving Tuesday. “Our Cyber Monday flash sale ends at midnight!”

The fashion brand Show Me Your Mumu used the BFCM hype to engage with their shoppers via SMS and extend a super appealing offer: a 40% off Cyber Sale and a gift with every order.

To create captivating BFCM campaigns with ease, download our dedicated SMS calendar with over 40 actionable templates.

Step 2: Black Friday? Check!

With just a few days before BFCM, we know you have a lot on your plate. But SMS and email marketing should not be one of them.

We have prepared a complete BFCM checklist to make sure everything is set up for success for the most critical period of the year.

Step 3: Show customers some (post-purchase) love

The greatest shopping experiences don’t end at checkout — it’s where they begin. Offering excellent post-purchase care to your customers will position your brand as their go-to choice for their next purchase. And the one right after that.

Use transactional texts and post-purchase emails to keep your customers in the know about their order details, tracking numbers, and other important shipping details. Apart from being informative, these messages will strengthen the bond between your brand and your customers, help build trust, and boost retention.

Trust Yotpo SMS & Email for your best BFCM yet

By now, you should be a maestro on how to craft and orchestrate winning SMS and email strategies before, during, and after BFCM.

If you want to learn more about how Yotpo can empower your store for the upcoming holidays and beyond, book a chat with an expert today.