We are just weeks away from what is likely to be one of the biggest online shopping frenzies ever. While Black Friday represents one of the greatest revenue opportunities of the year, the massive event also presents a challenge for marketers who seek to connect with the widest possible audience and make a real impact, all without getting lost in the madness. Here are five key considerations you can’t afford to ignore when it comes to your Black Friday email strategy.
Safely Target Less Active Subscribers
With all of the very best offers available, Black Friday creates the perfect opportunity to reach out to less active audiences. However, you may feel hesitant due to any potential deliverability issues. On one hand, you want to ensure you’re achieving your maximum reach. On the other hand, targeting too many high-risk customers may negatively impact deliverability to your more frequent customers. Year after year, this remains a major concern for brands, especially around peak shopping periods.
A special offer or discount is a highly effective way to re-engage your less involved subscribers and those ‘one-time-a-year’ buyers. Some might advise against using sale activity as a reactivation strategy, nonetheles, if managed appropriately, the benefits of these sales can be quite substantial.
Reach out in the safest and most effective way possible by following these pointers:
Select your audience based on subscribers who have opened at least one email within the last 18 months, or joined your database in the last three months. Pristine spam traps are created by ISPs from email addresses that have been inactive or abandoned for two or more years.
Consider how much expanding your target audience will increase your weekly average send volumes. Generally, ISP’s will accept up to a 50% increase in volume per week.
Prior to launching your Black Friday campaigns, ensure your IP has a clear black-list status with a decent reputation score.
Finally, make sure your content aligns with safe practices. This includes avoiding words that trigger spam alerts, errors in HTML, and link issues.
A number of our customers have requested a health assessment across their IP’s in preparation for this key period. As a result, we’ve created an IP Health & Deliverability Assessment Package to help you truly understand the overall performance and health of your IP before the big day.
Implement Abandonment Strategies
Retargeting strategies have proven to be extremely fruitful in converting customers with high propensity to purchase. During the holiday season especially, we see a significant increase in online traffic from customers with a much higher intent to buy. As a result, we can expect three times as many cart and browse abandonment events, with cart abandonment emails generating four times more revenue than any other time of the year!
Last year, I worked with a retailer who tested the difference in performance between a highly targeted browse abandonment email vs a generic promotional campaign over Black Friday week. The results were astounding. The browse email that featured the last browsed product returned a 230% higher click rate when compared to untargeted promotional messages.
Implementing a highly personalised retargeting strategy for email is a terrific opportunity to mop up those lost potentials at the lower end of the funnel by reminding them of their recent interests and connecting with them on more of a one-on-one level.
Choose The Right Time To Send
When is the best time to send? This is the million-dollar question that undoubtedly crops up each year. We know timing is often a critical differentiator between being opened and being ignored, therefore we must consider the most effective day and time to send.
Here’s some food for thought…
Last year, I analyzed the performance of over 500 retailers to better understand the best performing days across Black Friday week. As expected, Black Friday itself came in with the lowest open rates, whereas the Monday before Black Friday proved to be the most successful day with the highest open rates.
According to The Business Division, 64% of Black Friday shoppers search the internet for deals ahead of the long-awaited event. For this reason, it makes perfect sense to use your email channel to generate intrigue and momentum earlier in the week, perhaps by orchestrating a few teaser emails encouraging customers to return the day of.
Furthermore, according to Picodi.com, shopping activity on Black Friday last year peaked between 5-7 pm and open rates appeared to be the strongest at 10 am and 4 pm. Given this insight, you may want to market your content on Black Friday starting mid-morning with a last-chance reminder in the afternoon when we know these activities tend to peak.
Innovate, Innovate, Innovate
Black Friday week has become an inbox battlefield and ‘ordinary’ campaigns are simply not good enough. Since 2017, we have seen a drastic rise of innovative concepts created for the sole purpose of grabbing the distracted subscriber’s attention. Some of these strategies deliver a fun and interactive experience across the entire event. A retailer I once worked alongside explored a variety of gamified concepts across the month of November, unlocking a +33% increase in revenue when compared to the previous year.
Here are three innovative Black Friday campaigns that stood out for me:
Boohoo | Six Offers, One Email
Boohoo, a high street fashion retailer used live email capabilities powered by Kickdynamic to market a series of offers throughout the day. Each offer with limited validity was featured within the same email container, one after another, every hour.
The hero of the email features the current offer with a countdown till the offer ends, creating an even greater sense of urgency. This is a very clever concept to quickly grab the reader’s attention and keep them coming back for more.
BONUS: Download Kickdynamic's Black Friday Guide to see how you can use live email to drive action throughout the sale season.
House of Fraser | An Interactive Switch
House of Fraser partnered with Movable Ink and SmartFocus to create a very sophisticated email that allowed the opener to interact directly with the content. In order to reveal their individual offer, shoppers were prompted to ‘tap’ the switch, creating a fun way to build intrigue and enhance engagement.
Loft | Not Your Regular Text
Loft created an animated gif within a campaign that mimicked the customer receiving a direct and personalised text message. The subject line reading, “NEW NOTIFICATION,” and the gif animations both work to capture the customer’s immediate attention. The email was tastefully personalised with the shopper’s name, as if they were receiving a text from a friend, rather than a retailer.
If you’re confident that your messages will be delivered, you’ve already settled on your target audience, and your inspiring content is set in stone, it may be time to consider your subject line. Here are a few subject line insights and tactics to help squeeze the most out of your open rates.
Omnisend reviewed a number of their customers’ subject lines to determine a correlation between a particular word and higher performing open rates. They discovered the three best performing words during the event are ‘Black Friday’, ‘FREE’ [delivery] and the percentage symbol ‘%’
Crafting the perfect subject-line certainly has its challenges; However, research from Marketo suggests that less is more. The analysis looked at testing the number of words ranging between four and ten to see which sparked the most opens. The results showed that shorter subject lines containing between four and seven words outperformed the longer subject lines with more than seven words. Litmus recommends that the optimum number of characters for a subject line, before it becomes truncated, should contain between 30-40 characters.
While we’re on the subject, it’s also worth considering opting for mobile first subject lines. This would be a wise decision now that retailers are experiencing up to 70-80% opens on mobile devices, with mobile transactions rising to 68% in the UK last year.
Finally, an easy way to maximise your possible reach, is to carry out a winner select test strategy on your subject lines. Do this by splitting your target audience into 90/10, carrying out an A/B test on the 10%, and sending the most successful subject-line to the remaining 90%.
Implementing New Strategies
If properly implemented into your email campaign strategy, these five helpful tips will set you apart from the thousands of brands fighting for the spotlight on Black Friday. If ever there is a time to reach out for extra marketing support, this is it. Luckily, Shaw/Scott is here if you need us. Let’s make this your best season yet.
To learn more about the IP Health & Deliverability Assessment Package, simply connect with a team member here at Shaw/Scott Europe via our online contact form. Also, please follow Shaw/Scott Europe on LinkedIn.