EP 39: Maximizing Your Channels To Stand Out This Black Friday

Episode Summary:

In “Maximizing Your Channels To Stand Out This Black Friday,” the Messenger Mastermind team discusses their BFCM (Black Friday-Cyber Monday) strategy and how they maximize each channel to get the most out of their biggest revenue weekend. We discuss which products you should discount, which customers you should be reaching, and how to stand out in the inbox.

To learn more about the Messenger Mastermind Team, visit: www.Messengermastermind.co

Let us know what you think below 👇👇.


Episode Highlights:

  1. 3:38 How to acquire much cheaper leads and start prepping for Black Friday early
  2. 11:24 The keys to tactical product discounting and how to avoid sale mistakes
  3. 14:22 Budget help: How to distribute your advertising budget in November
  4. 18:35 Revamping email flows and encouraging people to buy MULTIPLE times
  5. 20:08 Big Pro-Tip: How to stand out from the competition on BFCM
  6. 23:00 Big Pro-Tip 2: Add SMS to your site EARLY to reach people more easily


Resources Mentioned:

  1. Facebook Messenger Tool – Manychat
  2. Email Platform- Klaviyo
  3. SMS Platform – Postscript

Episode Transcript:

Jeremy: Welcome, welcome to another week’s episode of The Messenger Mastermind Podcast. As always, I’m your host, Jeremy Horowitz, joined by my incredible co-hosts, Mark Arruda and Ben Vandal. How y’all doing today?


Mark: What’s up? Black Friday episode. Let’s do it.


Ben: Yeah, can’t wait. We’ve been getting ready for this all year.


Jeremy: This is what we train for. Yeah, super excited. If you haven’t already made your BFCM weekend plans, as soon as you’re done listening to this episode, put everything else on pause today and get going on that, because at this point in the year, you really, really need to have all this buttoned down and make sure that everything runs smoothly so that you can actually enjoy the holidays and have a banner year. So, we just wanted to start the episode by throwing out some quick stats that we thought were super interesting and super compelling that should really inform your plans.


So, first, 51% percent of all shoppers plan to start their holiday shopping before November 1st. So, people who have been hitting your site over the last month or two are probably already doing research and they’re looking for deals, and they’re looking to buy, basically now. So, this is really your prime time, this is really when we’re in the really formative part of the year. It’s super important to make sure that everything is really well optimized.

Second thing—and just to be prepared for—is advertising costs on things like Facebook or Google are going to increase 30% over the month of November, especially during the week before and after BFCM. So, it’s really, really important to get going now to make sure that you are building up your lists to really dive into everything. So, Mark and Ben, what is the plan right now to bring in new customers and really build your lists now before ads get expensive?


Ben: Yeah, so we’ve kind of been in the works for over a month now, actually, just really getting going on—just like you said—building our list and using every opportunity we have to cross-pollinate. People from one list onto another so we can get in touch with them in several different ways over that weekend (Black Friday Cyber Monday Weekend).


And, just like Jeremy said, pricing does go up on ads over that time, but, not only that, delays in getting your ads approved, and exposure that your ads will have as far as competition in the auction—so, it’s important to use every trick you have to stand out to new customers, potential customers, old customers, and do everything you have in the tank.


Mark: Yeah. The secret sauce here to Black Friday-Cyber Monday is really just starting early and acquiring leads. So, using Facebook to bring in people and capture their email, capture their Messenger, capture their phone number. You don’t necessarily need to be capturing an actual order at this time. This is where you should be building your list, getting them familiar with you, and being able to capitalize later on when they’re actually ready to purchase. And, like Jeremy said, starting early. People are already out there checking out what’s going on—they’re planning for their gifts, they’re even planning for themselves. More people just buy for themselves this time of year because they know that things are more affordable.,


So, if they’re already browsing—if you’re able to put up some promotions right now. If they’re looking around, there’s a better chance that you’re going to get that conversion, you’re going to get that purchase. Whereas maybe you wouldn’t at a different time of the year.


Jeremy: Yeah, I think that’s a great point. I mean, people are doing the research now, where you might be even able to snag some of the early shoppers, if you can offer something that is really, really engaging. And I think that’s a really important piece to think about is that holiday promotions are really no longer restricted to the typical holiday days.


Yes, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two top spending days for consumers still. But—and I saw this a ton last year, and I’m sure we’ll see it even more this year—people are moving their promotions up earlier and earlier, they’re extending them to different time periods, and so I think something that would also be super important like Mark just said, is having a flash sale or some sort of promotion earlier in the month. I know Singles Day is not a big holiday in America, but it’s one of the largest promotional days in China. Some creative companies here have essentially been rebranding that day, November 11, which will fall on a Monday this year, as an excuse to run an early promotion.


I’ve seen other companies run Pre-Black Friday Friday Flash sales, where they run it on a Friday earlier in the month. Just an excuse to offer a promotion, get people excited, capture some of that early revenue. I believe it was actually MVMT Watches crashed their website last year because their pre-Black Friday Flash Sale was so popular. And I think it’s really important to think about that and start mapping out the month as a whole—not just that weekend, to really get ahead of the month.


The second part of that is that people are no longer just launching their promotions on Friday. Things just keep creeping earlier and earlier and earlier. Expect that your customers will get hit in their email and their ads and everywhere that they’re looking. Maybe even as Monday or Tuesday the 25th and 26th of that week. Because everyone is just trying to beat each other out. So you also really need to keep that in mind as well.


Mark: Yeah. People are ready to buy come November. Just look at Amazon, for example. They’re just doing promotions. It’s certainly not uncommon now for brands to be starting their sales, like Jeremy said, on Monday. Maybe you discount a different item on every day of the week leading up to that, and kind of put out your promotions to people who have been browsing your site for those products. That’s a good way to bring some people in, probably a little bit cheaper, going to be a little less cluttered in your inbox. So, it’s worth a shot. It’s going to bring in a percentage. It’s probably not going to compare to your Friday through Monday, but when you add it all up, it’s definitely going to make a big dent for you.


Ben: Yeah, and I mean, we talk to a lot of people going into this weekend and create a lot of strategies for a lot of different brands, and one thing that we find is that some of them want to hold particular sales up till the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend which makes a lot of sense, because there are a lot of customers ready to buy that week.


But, our number one tip, like Jeremy said, would be to start early, and don’t hold anything back.


My second tip would be to lead with your best offer. Really make sure you put your best offer out there because you might only get one chance to get in touch with this customer over that weekend (hopefully not if you keep listening to this episode). You might only get that one chance, so make your best offer and put your best foot forward.


Mark: Yeah, and if you can capture them early enough in the month or in the week, there is a really good chance that if you are strategic in your planning, you can bring them back for a second purchase some days later.


Jeremy: Yeah, I agree. I think that’s actually probably one of the biggest wins that I see most merchants are afraid of—is getting people who have already bought during the holiday period to come back and buy more.


That “Buyer’s High” really accounts for a lot more sales than people give it credit for, and even if you bring somebody in on a really great offer earlier in the month, you can segment those customers out, and send them other offers later in the month to get them to keep coming back and buying more. That could really be the difference of a couple hundred thousand dollars for you store this year. If you can really effectively keep bringing those people back and have that schedule of promotions not only throughout November, but December, leading into that shipping cutoff, keep really engaging, standing out for people.


I think the other piece is just having “stone cold simple” offers. The customer should not have to do any type of thinking to understand the type of value that they’re getting out of your promo. It should literally be like, “I already know that I want to buy this product. I want to buy it from this company, and that offer makes me want to buy it now.”


If your customer has to do math in their head to understand what your offer is, you’re going to lose a ton of sales, and I strongly recommend against doing that.


Mark: Yeah, yeah. I could definitely back that up for you, Jeremy. The clearer—this is very common. A lot of brands will muddy the waters here. The clearer this can be, the better. People oftentimes—or brands, oftentimes—try to make Black Friday their biggest thing they could ever do. So, throw a bunch of things at the wall and bring in as many people as possible. When in reality, one or two ultra-focused messages will probably convert better for you.


Jeremy: Yeah, definitely. I think an interesting thing I was also reading this week—for anyone who doesn’t want to discount down their products is to set spending thresholds, and then only give discount or gift-with-purchases above that threshold.


A really interesting exercise that we did every year and that I would recommend everyone else do is map out what your total—like, from the total revenue that you’re going to make and the total profit that you’re going to make from a promotion—and really do the math behind that. Because I think what a lot of people miss is they say “Oh, well, we can’t offer a 20% off discount, and we can’t offer anything deeper than that.”


But when you actually re-run the numbers, and you map it out over a couple of products that get you to a 50-100-150 dollar AOV, the profit actually works out really well, because even at the discount rate, you’re driving so much more revenue that the volume of the profit you’re making—the actual dollars—really helps provide a meaningful lift.


Like, just re-running that math and resetting those thresholds is going to be a big win for a lot of companies.


Mark: Yeah. One important thing that I think is worth mentioning is the point of Black Friday is to bring people in with promotions and offers for particular times, but it’s also super important to have those items that aren’t discounted or aren’t as heavily discounted, because that’s where you’re going to make your margin. So, you can trade off a little bit on some items, but just make sure to be upselling/cross-selling, having new products, making focus of putting higher margin items in front of your customer.


Because selling a bunch of stuff at liquidating is not ideal. The point of Black Friday is not just to sell a bunch of stuff. It’s to be profitable so that your company can grow. So, make sure to keep that in mind when you’re sitting down to map out how things are going to go for you.


Ben: Yeah, I mean, the dirty little secret of Black Friday is that even if you have no promotions, you’d still have increased traffic to your site. Everyone is trying to buy.


So, really make sure that when you write down your plan as Jeremy said, that it works for you, that your margins work, and that the offer is great, and simple. Because you’re going to have a lot going on, things are going to go wrong, things are going to break. As long as you have it mapped out, then you can move on to the next thing and the next promo and the next channel that you have to launch out. You’ll be in a good place as long as you plan it far enough in advance.


Jeremy: Definitely. And, I think the last piece that I want to go back to—like Mark was saying about picking your products—is figure out which products are going to be your “Loss Leaders,” and which products are going to be your “Profit Puppies.” Try to coordinate those products. What I mean by that is, your Loss leaders are your typical products that you see a company typically promote at an insane discount or promotion that is going to bring customer into your store.


So, these are things during the holidays, like, “$400 off of a phone” or a borderline free T.V. because those companies that are running them, especially consumer electronics, know that those products are going to bring people in, but then they’re going to make a ton of profit on all the accessories. People buying speaker systems, also. They don’t as heavily discount those products.


So, really also if you’re going to go down that route, really map out those products so you can try to combine those and even come up with bundles so that you know that if you’re going to bring everyone in with a really great, really exciting offer on a Loss Leader product, you’re going to have the Profit Puppies on the backend through cross-sells, upsells. And this should be built both on-site and off-site—that you know you’re going to drive those super high value profitable sales to make up for that. Because yeah, if you’re really liquidating your products at the end of the year, it’s great to have the money back, but the point really is to bring in new customers, reward existing customers, and for the brand to make money.


So, one interesting thing we were talking about offline that I would love to cover right now is the breakdown of new vs. existing customers and how you all think about that during this time window.


Ben: Yeah, so, for me, like we talked about the increase in price on ad spend or on paid advertisement goes up about 30% during the month of November like Jeremy said. So, you are going to want to target the people that are most likely to convert and that are familiar with your product. So, I like to shift the marketing budget—if you go normally a 75% prospecting (so, cold people who have never heard of your site) on the paid advertising side versus 25% retargeting, I like to shift that to about a 60-40 in October, and then hopefully get it to about a 50-50 in November because you make a majority of your money on returning customers.


So, I would be willing to bet that just about every store out there is looking at 50% on Black Friday or Cyber Monday weekend. I don’t know what you guys have seen, but we’re at about 65% last year, and we plan to be even higher this year.


Jeremy: Yeah. I would agree with that. I was listening to an Ezra Firestone podcast where he was saying that at BOOM! By Cindy Joseph, they expect to make 80% of their revenue over the holiday period from existing customers. So, yeah, that all sounds pretty on par with what I’d expect.


Ben: And those are the people who you want to buy from you, too, right? Because they’ve spent the time with you, they’ve been loyal customers throughout the year—you want them to take advantage of these great discounts. So, why don’t you shape it for them and make it available for them. And they’ll take advantage and also tell their friends, too, which is a great benefit.


Mark: Right, I mean, you’re going to of course bring in more new customers at this time than at any other time this year, so that’s certainly not something to forget about. But, when you consider the ad prices and the flooded inboxes, it’s just easier—the low-hanging fruit is those return customers. People that have, you know, purchased from you last Black Friday. You can segment them out and treat them differently. Or, just customers that have purchased from you throughout the year. They’re already familiar with your brand, they already love it. Just give them a reason, and they will come back much easier than someone new will come around.


Jeremy: Yeah, definitely, and I think the one piece that I just want to reiterate—because having this conversation previously, it sort of tripped some people up—is when mark said that you’re going to bring in the most amount of new customers, that’s like the number of people. But when Ben’s saying things like “63% of revenue came from returning customers”—so, the total pie is growing, because all of your existing customers are spending more, you’re bringing in more new customers. So, your pie is getting bigger. But, because your returning customers are so much more likely to spend money on your store, the percent of that pie is owned more by returning customers.


I think it’s a really interesting balance of thinking through everything—how do you create offers, and how do you market to people? Because you really, really want to understand that balance and have that be fine-tuned, because there’s nothing worse than pissing off your existing customers. But you also really want to be bringing in new customers as well. So, just keep that in mind also—that as you tap into your email list and your other channels, and as you really rely on those more, those are the people who already have that relationship with you.


You really want to increase their lifetime value by getting them to buy more. And so, really pushing that as far as you can will be really, really important, while balancing that out with bringing in new customers.


Ben: Yeah, that’s a perfect explanation, Jeremy. Just by the way you said it—you’re going to have more and more new customers coming in the door, like Mark said, like Jeremy just said. As far as volume goes.


So, you really want to take this time that you have remaining coming up to Black Friday to clean up your fundamentals going into—beyond Black Friday. You want to make sure your Welcome Series is up-to-date, and, as locked down as you can possibly have it: your post-purchase upsells, your cross-sells. Anything you have in the tank that you might have not looked at in a while because you might have considered it evergreen. That particular flow is going to be in front of a ton of new eyes coming up. So, you want to make sure that is iron-clad going into this Black Friday weekend.


Jeremy: Couldn’t agree more. I think it’s also just a great excuse to invest in this time of year and really revamping and touching up those flows so that those are in tip-top shape for this period and going into the next year.


I think the one hack that I’ve also heard about recently that I think will be super successful is: running a separate promotion to people who have already bought. And then, tiering that.


So, if someone bought one time, show them a promotion. If someone bought a second time, show those segments of people a different promotion. I think you can really take that as far as you want—maybe past three or four is a bit of overkill. But, really, really diving into that Buyer’s High—if someone buys, they’re most likely going to come back and buy again and again and again. And you can really see a significant lift in revenue and in profit by just getting those people to buy as much as possible during that period. So, if you have the time, if you have the resources—while you’re going back and revamping those fundamentals, I would highly recommend adding in that second layer as well.


Mark: Yeah, you shouldn’t be afraid to go for the sales here. Like, this is the time of year that you build for all year round. So, just because someone’s purchased once doesn’t mean that they’re done. Like, maybe they bought for themselves the first time, but they’re going to buy a gift the second time. Or, maybe there’s someone they forgot about, and they’re going to add it in afterwards. People are last minute shoppers. It’s certainly the case that they will come back for the next several weeks during the holiday season.


Jeremy: Definitely. So, I think we’ve really covered the promos, the calendar well. I think the last and really toughest part about this entire period is just standing out.


Everyone is going to be spending more on ads, everyone is going to be sending more emails, everyone is going to be doing everything they can. So, I guess, what are a couple of the hidden tricks, new tactics that you all are really thinking about to stand out this year for your customers?


Mark: Yeah, I’ll lead off with a random one that we didn’t discuss before this podcast—a good thing that you could try if you haven’t done this in the past is creating an event on Facebook. You can run ads to this event, you can just post it to your fan page, things like that. This is a great way to get people all in one unified place to let them know when your promotions are going to happen, what those promotions are. And, the special thing about that event is that they will receive a push notification, usually about a half hour or maybe earlier in the day before the promotion goes live as a reminder to let those people know to come back. So, that’s a good little thing to maybe separate yourself from all the clutter in the inbox.


Ben: Yeah, that’s a great tip. That kind of ties in with the one we did talk about before the podcast, and that’s creating engagement leading up to this event.


So, we talked so much about getting in touch with customers leading up to Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend. You want to put out your most engaging content during this time leading up, and just building that relationship so that you can take advantage of it that weekend. And this is starting the week off early with some engagement that way you’ll have some organic reach when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Because we’ve seen the Facebook algorithm, the Instagram algorithm. When someone interacts with your post, they’re much more likely to see it in their newsfeed the next 30 days organically. And that’ll really help you stand out and fight the Facebook paid advertisement over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend.


Mark: I can double down on that. We can take that same strategy and shift it over to email as well. So, if you’re going to send out an email, maybe a week or so before Black Friday, something that’s asking the receiver to reply back to the email. And that doesn’t mean that’s something that your customer support has to deal with. It can just be a plain poling type question where you just ask them to reply back with an answer. What that does is really increases the chance of when you go out and send your promotions through email, that your emails will actually hit their inbox rather than their promotions tab, or—god forbid—their spam folder.


Jeremy: Yeah, I think that’s super important. And, I think most companies I know are going to be sending 15-20 emails over that week-weekend period. I think the last thing in my tactic would be making sure you add SMS to your site ahead of time, as early as possible and ripple out the fundamentals that we covered in email in SMS as well. So, Abandoned Carts, Welcome Series, Post-Purchase Cross-Sells, building those flows out.


Honestly, I would just mirror what you’re sending in emails, if you just want to copy and paste key concepts and phrases from your emails into SMS. That would be such a big win, and primarily just for the reason of 90% of text messages are opened within the first 3 minutes of someone receiving them. If your mobile optimized site, it’s really to drive them back to the site, get them to make an impulse purchase.


The second thing would be to use SMS as an exclusive channel during that hype-building process, where, like Mark said, when you’re poling someone. Or, in the hype process earlier, sending an email and posting on social to get people to opt into your SMS list ahead of time. It will make everyone super engaged in those channels to get that organic reach that Ben was talking about, and then also it will build your text message list so that if it’s 8am Friday morning, or if it’s Cyber Monday, or if you want to roll out this promotion earlier than that, you have that channel where you know that 90% of the people you send that message to are going to read that message.


As long as it’s super simple, as long as you present your offer in a compelling manner and a simple manner, and they can click back to the site, you’re going to drive a ton of sales through that process, and it allows you to stand out in a channel that most other companies haven’t completely saturated yet.


Mark: Yeah. I mean, Jeremy, when you say something like, 15 emails over this week or weekend—for those of you who aren’t so veteran in the email space, that might sound like “That’s a lot of emails—but, this is the time to do that. And if you’re not a veteran when it comes to emails, this is something specific that you should get accustomed to doing especailly during this time is the follow-up email.


Usually, a good subject line, pretty standard, would be like “In case you missed it…” email. So, this is just going to, at very minimum, the people who did not open your email.


But what I usually like to do is also send it to people who in fact did open the email but did not make a purchase, because a lot of times, people will open up an email, get a little bit distracted, and not make a purchase. But, they still will if you remind them later. And, it’s just good practice for the health of your email overall.


Just because if you’re going to resend to everyone who has opened, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re sending to a lot of dead emails. That’s not going to be the most healthy thing for your email list overall.


Ben: Yeah, for 95% of the companies out there, this is your Super Bowl. So, you won’t have another chance like this for another year. So, you might as well leave it all out there. Every channel you have, and every avenue you have to get in touch with your customers, I would use as aggressively as you see fit over this weekend.


Jeremy: Definitely. I think that’s a great point. I think this is the time of year—if you haven’t made the plans yet—start making the plans. If you have the plans, take this as an opportunity just to revamp them and take a look through them one last time—are there any additional wins that you can push out of your program? And, best of luck to you.