It’s officially crunch time for the holiday season and, not surprisingly, the actual Black Friday and Cyber Monday days get all the attention - this year REI already made headlines by not participating in either, while Macy’s announced that the start of their ‘Black Friday’ sales will be moved up to Thanksgiving. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are very important for Q4 success, it’s your brand’s campaign schedule over the next 6 ½ weeks that can make or break your year.
Much like the US presidency is a result of months of campaigning, a brand’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday success is a function of the weeks leading up to the two big days. To illustrate this point, Yesmail recently released research analyzing 2013 and 2014 Black Friday data from social media and email campaigns. A few quick highlights from the study include:
- Black Friday-themed emails had a higher than average open rate on the Monday and Tuesday leading up to the holiday.
- The Sunday before Black Friday had the highest Facebook engagement compared to the week’s daily average.
- Black Friday saw the second greatest proportion of Twitter deployments (21 percent) and the highest Facebook ones (28 percent), but was the worst day for engagement on each of these channels.
Along the same line, while retail analysis firm ShopperTrak predicts that Black Friday will take home the sales championship belt in 2015 (ahead of Super Saturday), the stats from last year illustrate a different trend:
- Double-digit growth during the holiday season will push ecommerce’s share of total US retail sales to 9.0% for the period (source: eMarketer: Holiday Ecommerce Preview 2015)
- According to a survey by Ipsos MediaCT, 48% of shoppers said they did the majority of their shopping on or before Cyber Monday (up from 40% in 2013)
- While excitement was high to shop last year, Black Friday disappointed in results
- During the 2014 holiday season, in-store sales fell 8%
There are two major implications:
First, the consensus for both email and social media campaigns is to get started EARLY in order to remain top-of-mind for consumers who are doing advanced research for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping.
Second, consumers continue to shift their purchase behavior online and marketers need the right execution plan to capitalize on this trend. And while a lot of ideas and plans are already on the calendar, there is still time to fine-tune your strategy for a successful holiday season. Here are a few easy email marketing ideas you can implement quickly:
- Update your top banner or email footer with a countdown timer - Instead of following the standard approach of sending urgent subject line after urgent subject line, stick to a playful subject line that garners opens and use a countdown timer across your promotional messages to create a sense of urgency through visuals as opposed to copy. It helps keep your customers informed and ready to purchase when the time strikes.