As a retailer, Black Friday is one of your busiest sales events of the year. It’s your chance to make up for lost revenue and to grow your customer base. In preparation for the big event, many retailers use tactics such as email marketing, in-store promotions, and social media posts to advertise and to get customers excited about what’s to come.
While these tactics work for some retailers, they don’t guarantee you’ll stand out. What you need are Black Friday SMS campaigns. Unlike emails, which can sit unopened for days or weeks, or in-store ads, which rely on people physically going into stores, SMS—also called short message service—show up in text-message inboxes and are convenient. Plus, since text messages often are opened within seconds of being received, you have more access to customers than any other communication channel.
A well-thought-out SMS marketing campaign gets your products and promos in front of a lot of people. Add in compelling content and you improve your chances of staying top of mind with customers leading up to and during Black Friday.
As Black Friday approaches and you look for ways to engage your customers, here’s a look at how to use SMS marketing to get noticed and experience a successful sales event.
1. Experiment with Delivery Times.
The time of day and the time of year that you send Black Friday SMS messages influence customers’ decision-making process. If you send messages at the wrong time of day, follow-through from customers might be low even if they see your messages. They don’t have time to take action. If you send promotional messages too close to Black Friday, there’s a chance customers have already decided on which products they will buy and so will ignore your offers.
To help maximize your sales potential, there are two types of delivery times to consider and test:
- Time of day. Send messages when customers are most likely to follow through.
- Initial intro to promotional content. Send messages before the sales event to get ahead of the competition.
Time of day
Figuring out the right time of day to send SMS messages depends on your audience. What works for one retailer won’t work for you, so test different windows. For example, send messages between 12 p.m. -and 3 p.m. on weekdays and between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on weekends to see which times have the highest open and follow-through rates. People spend hours on their mobile devices every day, but you want to be sure you’re sending messages when customers have time to act on your calls to action (CTAs) and not just read the text.
Initial intro Black Friday SMS
In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, customers are bombarded with messages. To stand out, consider starting your Black Friday SMS campaign earlier than your competitors. When you start your promotional campaign early, focus on sharing the benefits of online shopping — like not having to battle crowds to find deals. In 2018, online sales increased 46% over 2017, whereas in-store sales dropped by 5.4%. Plus, since £1.49 billion was spent online last year, encouraging online shopping improves your chances of boosting sales.
When you figure out timing, use your SMS campaign to tease upcoming sales. This helps you pique customer interest and build anticipation.
2. Use a Drip Campaign.
One of the best ways to keep your message top of mind is to send Black Friday SMS messages before and during the sales event. Instead of manually creating and sending each SMS message, design an automated campaign that delivers messages at specific times.
For example, with VoiceSage, you can create a campaign, add custom messages, and set when each SMS message will be sent. For each Black Friday SMS message you send, make sure each text has one main message. This ensures that each text is simple and gives customers clear direction on what you expect them to do.
Here’s a sample Black Friday SMS campaign:
- Message #1: Introduce the offer.
- Message #2: Share examples of products that will be on sale. Best-selling products during Black Friday include clothes, office supplies, and mobile phones.
- Message #3: Share a reminder that sales are ending soon.
- Message #4: Share customer testimonials as social proof.
- Message #5: Offer additional saving incentives.
Tip: Since SMS messages are text-based, expand your campaign to include Rich Media Messages—also known as multimedia messaging service. Share product images or a custom coupon graphic.
Learn more about how to consistently communicate with customers: 5 Factors That Stunt the Growth of Your Ecommerce Business (and How to Fix Them!)
3. Send Customized Messages.
Seventy-two percent of customers say they’re more likely to only engage with personalized marketing messages. To increase your chances of attracting traffic to your online product pages or to your brick-and-mortar store, segment your customer list. This makes it easier to send SMS messages that include customer names and recent purchase details.
Keep in mind that 50.4% of Black Friday shoppers are women and 53% of shoppers are millennials. To improve your chances of closing more sales, cater your messages to the preferences of this audience. For example, if you sell electronic devices, share the latest phones and gadgets to cater to millennials — a very tech-savvy generation.
Also, consider sharing special offers with loyal customers. Offer an additional percentage off if they enter a code before a deadline. This gets them to act quickly and increases your sales.
VoiceSage helps you manage customized campaigns by giving you the option to create multiple customer lists and messages. You can even use analytics to understand which customer segments are more engaged and what types of messages they respond to.
4. Create a Sense of Urgency.
One of the reasons SMS marketing is so successful is its open rate. On average, text messages are opened within 90 seconds of being received. This is 5X higher than open rates for emails. This is important considering the best way to reach 35% of global mobile phone users is through text. Since customers are willing to read text messages — 75% of customers don’t mind receiving promotional text messages from you when they opt in — use your Black Friday SMS campaign to get customers to take action as soon as possible instead of waiting until the last day of the sale. You have a few options available to you:
- Include a deadline for when customers have to use an offer code.
- Explain that there’s limited availability of products.
- Offer the first 100 customers a bonus gift.
If you’re running a drip campaign, incorporate rich media messaging (RMM) by including messages that display a countdown. This visual indicator that the sale is coming to an end reminds customers to take action before the countdown ends.
The other benefit of using rich media messages is the option to link customers directly to your product pages. If you’re promoting specific products during your Black Friday sale, include links to those product pages. This removes barriers that might prevent customers from following through. Customers don’t have to leave your text message, search the web to find your website, and then search the site for the product you advertised. With one click within your RMM, they’re at the right product page.
5. Include Offer Details.
Customers like to research before they make a purchase but don’t have them work too hard to find information. When you introduce your Black Friday deals, include details like whether the sale applies online or in-store, whether there’s a purchase minimum, what products are excluded, and how the sales promo works.
When you share offer details, decide how you’ll display the savings. For example, if you sell clothes and accessories, you can offer:
- $100 off of the original price
- 25% off the regular price
It’s a lot harder for customers to calculate a 25% discount compared than to subtract $100. Plus, since $100 is a larger number, customers perceive it to have a higher value — even if the 25% deal is better. To close more sales, include a dollar off discount instead of a percentage.
Tip: If you decide to use a percentage off for your sales promo, show customers the price differ:
- For brick-and-mortar customers, post signs that show the original cost and the new cost with savings applied. This makes it easier for customers to see how much money they’re saving.
- For ecommerce customers, strike out the original price, and add in the new price, in red, so it’s easy for them to see the difference.
Don’t let figuring out the sales price become a bottleneck that prevents customers from buying something.
6. Incorporate Other Types of Mobile Messaging.
SMS messages are an effective way to communicate with customers but use creativity to enhance your Black Friday SMS campaign. In addition to SMS, send interactive voice messages (IVMs) as part of your drip campaign. Instead of sending only text-based messages and images via MMS, IVM lets you record messages to send to customers.
These messages are unexpected yet memorable, and they add a personal touch to the interaction. Encourage engagement by getting customers to complete specific actions, like click a link in the message to learn more about a new product on sale.
You can also use IVM to cross-sell or upsell customers. Let’s say a customer bought a new laptop in the weeks leading up to Black Friday — use IVM to remind them about the accessories you sell for that laptop. Mention laptop bags, chargers, and your wireless mouse collection to encourage them to buy something during Black Friday.
7. Send Surveys After the Sale Period.
Once your Black Friday sale ends, send a survey to help you learn more about customers who participated and about their experience. Use RMM to simplify the look and feel of the survey and make it more user-friendly. The benefit of using RMM is that customers don’t have to leave the message to participate. When they open the message, they can click on the available responses and submit. You don’t have to redirect them to another page and risk losing them in the process.
Use the information you learn from customers to update your strategy going forward. For example, you might choose to:
- Extend the sales period. Many Black Friday sales last a week instead of a weekend. In fact, in 2018, 67% of sales were offered the four days leading up to Black Friday.
- Change the offer structure. Instead of letting customers wait until the last minute to buy something, in anticipation in lower prices, start with your best offer. Chances are, your prices will be lower than the competition and will attract more sales.
- Improve your marketing message. If sales were low, check whether the offer was clear and did a good job of educating customers about what was available.
- Incorporate other forms of mobile messaging. You don’t have to use just SMS in your mobile messaging campaign. Include RMM, and link directly to the online store page to encourage customers to participate in the sale.
Learn more about how to improve the ecommerce customer journey: How to Fix Gaps in Your Ecommerce Customer Journey Map and Improve CX
Grow Your Business with Black Friday SMS
Black Friday SMS is a great way to learn about your customers and improve your business. Depending on the types of messages you decide to send and the customer segments you engage with, you have a considerable amount of flexibility with mobile messaging. This ability to adapt helps you grow and evolve your messaging campaigns as customer needs change. Rely on your analytics for insights and you’ll improve the Black Friday customer experience year over year.
Published on: 1st October 2019