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Garra Swayne

By: Garra Swayne on October 27th, 2023

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Black Friday: Learning effective tactics from the retail industry

mailto:demo@example.com?Subject=HighRoad Solutions - interesting article
As consumers we’re all familiar with retailer activity around Black Friday. Since it’s just around the corner, you may have already noticed targeted ads from major retailers on upcoming promotions and early Black Friday deals. Did you know that around this time, there’s an approximate 28% increase of emails being sent to entice consumers to prepare for deals? That’s a lot of email! 
As consumers start to pre-plan where they can get the best bang for their buck and create a plan of action as the day approaches, there are opportunities to learn some lessons that can be applied to association marketing campaigns as well. In other words, Black Friday “deals” don’t just have to be for the retail / for-profit industry! 
Strategy is key, so start preparing your teams early as there is a lot that goes into planning and executing these special campaigns.
Set SMART goals and define your audience  
SMART stands for:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Based 
Goals are especially important for campaigns centered around specific calendar dates so you understand how you’re spending your time in campaign planning versus execution. Make sure that you’re thinking how best to measure the performance of your Black Friday promotions and not hoping that a drip campaign to a very large general audience will simply result in better metrics. What’s nice about following the SMART framework is that it keeps your campaign rooted in reality when it comes to defining goals.
Define your performance metrics
Tied to SMART goals, it’s really important to identify, understand and define how you’ll measure success. Is it about getting as many eyes on your message or program? Is it about getting as many members as possible to your content? Is it about actual dollars resulting from shopping cart conversions? Selecting your metrics will help everyone align to your campaign goals and keep everyone focused - be it from a segmentation, personalization or even content strategy perspective. Don’t forget to bring some agile thinking into the mix - there’s nothing wrong with course correcting and making changes along the way if you don’t see your metrics moving in the right direction. 
What makes Black Friday campaigns successful? 
Planning. Planning. Planning. And when you think you’re done with planning, there’s still some left to do. Here are some elements to plan and strategize around:
  • Make sure your offer is relevant to your audience. It is absolutely critical to use segmentation and personalization where possible to elevate your email content, especially when you are fighting for attention in an already crowded inbox.
  • Copy and visuals are important! You only have 3 seconds to entice someone to open your Black Friday email and 11 seconds to keep their attention once they have opened it. 
  • Make that content and message interesting, appealing, and relevant. Really explore opportunities to be innovative. Consider your tone of voice and explore how you can make your program messaging exclusive to cut through all that noise.
  • Don’t forget to test, test, and test some more. Be sure to have a deployment plan in place and test your campaigns to make sure it renders correctly in popular email clients and you’ve checked displays on desktop and mobile screens. You want your audience to have a seamless journey from start to finish, and since this is such a short timeframe, you won’t have many chances for a do-over.
Details matter
When it comes to email campaigns specifically, here are a few things to consider:
  • Be sure to think about how your automation sequence will unfold, especially when it comes to timing and cadence - the worst thing you can do is send too many emails too often.
  • Leverage how your previous campaigns performed to understand when you should schedule your sends. Your members don’t instantly change behavior patterns BUT remember that they might not be in the office leading up to Black Friday. So consider those send times and put yourself in the shoes of your members and other audiences. 
  • Don’t fall for clever-ish click bait techniques to get more clicks and opens! Be transparent and clear in your sender profile. 
  • Monitor your performance but don’t obsess about the results immediately. Check email performance after 3 days to give your recipients time to engage with your message. 
    • Email metrics may be lower than usual, especially if you are hyper personalizing and segmenting - don’t be alarmed by this.
    • Have a plan B just in case - change things as needed throughout your campaign, such as offers, reminders, urgency, visuals.
Lets talk Black Friday deliverability. Most organizations can expect an increase in email traffic, some legit and some not so much, but with that comes increased competition for inbox placement, visibility, and increased bounces or delivery delays if your recipient’s inbox is overwhelmed or full.
Here’s what you should consider: 
  • Practice proper list hygiene - emails need to end up in the right inboxes at the right time with engaged recipients.
  • Segment where possible so your emails are relevant to your members. Remember that you can segment based on demographics, behaviors, psychographics, lifecycle stage, geographic location, and many more data points.
  • Be transparent in your offers - don’t use bait and switch tactics that might generate spam complaints
  • Monitor your metrics - you should aim for roughly a +98% delivery rate, 1-3% bounce rate and a low complaint rate.
  • Do what you can to make the user journey as seamless as possible and accept that your members may be overwhelmed with emails hitting their inbox. While you may not like having to account for it, make it easy for them to unsubscribe if that’s what they really want to do. 
Lastly, leverage FOMO (fear of missing out) to motivate those who didn’t convert on Black Friday and see if you can catch up on Cyber Monday! 😉

About Garra Swayne

Garra Swayne is a digital marketing professional with over 12 years of experience working with a range of unique organizations. She has a background in strategic account management and prior experience in digital and direct marketing efforts for clients ranging from healthcare to B2B SaaS. Garra holds a Master of Communication degree and a Master of Business Administration degree, along with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations and Advertising from the University of Southern Indiana.