Black Friday and Cyber Monday provide great opportunities for businesses to connect with consumers and drive incremental sales leading up to the end of the year. When you’re sending email marketing campaigns to business-to-business (B2B) audiences, like cannabis license holders, there are some unique things to consider, which can increase your chances of success.
However, one thing that doesn’t change when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday email marketing is the process that leads to success:
- Build anticipation
- Create a sense of urgency
- Prove the value of your messages and offers
Your holiday campaigns must do the three things listed above, or they’ll fail. Building excitement, tapping into the fear of missing out (FOMO), establishing a finite timeframe to act within, and proving that by acting, your audience will get something that is truly worthwhile are all critical to generating engagement and conversions in Black Friday and Cyber Monday email marketing initiatives.
Key Steps to Get the Best Black Friday and Cyber Monday Email Marketing Results
Before you start writing and sending email campaigns for Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you need to do some prep work and planning. Specifically, there are several key steps you should follow to ensure your campaigns are optimized to deliver the best results. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Warm up Your Domain
If you’re using your own domain to send your email marketing messages and you plan to increase the frequency or volume of campaigns you send during the holidays, then you should definitely warm up your domain first.
The reason to do a domain warmup is simple. Email service providers (ESPs) – like Google, Outlook, Apple, and so on – use your sending history to determine whether or not you’re sending messages people actually want or you’re sending spammy, unwanted messages. If you’ve been consistently sending a certain number of messages on a consistent schedule for months and suddenly, you send a bunch of messages to larger lists or on an erratic schedule, that unusual behavior could be misinterpreted by ESPs as spam.
With that in mind, start building up your sending frequency and volume (depending on your holiday email marketing plans) so your ramped up sending patterns don’t look out of character for you. For example, you could increase your volume and frequency every week or every few days leading up to your holiday email push.
You don’t want your holiday messages to go to spam folders simply because you didn’t warm up your domain and “warn” ESPs that you’ll be sending more often and to larger lists.
It’s important to note here that some email experts believe it might make sense to send fewer messages during the 2020 holiday season in order to protect your domain reputation. In a recent webinar, the email experts at Mailgun warned that with pandemic-related quarantines and more people working and shopping from home this year, the number of email marketing messages sent during the last two months of the year is expected to skyrocket well above other years.
As a result, there may be too many messages for recipients to open and engage with. As you know, ESPs view a lack of recipient engagement with your messages as a sign that you’re not sending content people want, and it could hurt the future deliverability of your email campaigns. With that in mind, monitor recipient engagement with your holiday messages closely and adjust your mailing schedule as needed.
Define Your Target Audiences
Who do you want to connect with, and who is most likely to be interested in your Black Friday and Cyber Monday messages and offers? It’s imperative that you create buyer personas and segment your lists effectively to get the best results for your campaigns (and stay out of the spam folder).
The key to email marketing success at any time during the year is to send the most relevant messages possible to the right audiences, and to do it, you need to create small, segmented lists.
Keep in mind, email inboxes are bombarded with messages during the holidays, so to stand out from the clutter, you need to send messages and offers that deliver more value than any other time of year. People expect more value, big discounts, and so on during the holidays, so be strategic and make sure your messages and offers excite your recipients rather than bore them.
Plan Your Schedule in Four Phases
It’s important to consider your recipients’ schedules when you’re mailing to B2B audiences during the holidays. For example, if you’re sending messages to cannabis license holders through the email marketing tool in the Cannabiz Media License Database, will they be working and actively checking their email inboxes on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
If not, you need to get creative with your email campaigns. Consider promoting Black Friday Week and Cyber Monday Week to ensure you have a chance to connect with people when they’re working and are more likely to see your messages. With this strategy, you’ll need to spread out your email marketing schedule throughout the month of November rather than focus your mailing schedule on just a few days or a single week during the month.
No matter how many days or weeks you schedule messages, you need to include content in your messages that follows four phases in order for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday email marketing to be successful. Those four phases are:
- Early Teaser (e.g., Black Friday is Coming or Cyber Monday is Coming)
- Coming Soon / Sneak Peak (e.g., Here’s a Sneak Peak at Black Friday Deals)
- Now / Hurry (e.g., Black Friday Discounts Start Right Now)
- Last Chance / Time is Running Out (e.g., Only 2 Hours Left to Get Your Black Friday Sale Prices)
Specifically, you need to tease your special Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers early to start building anticipation and continue to build excitement in your coming soon messages. When Black Friday or Cyber Monday arrive, you create a sense of urgency with now/hurry and last chance messages.
Send Your Campaigns at the Best Times
Considering when B2B recipients will be working and looking at their business email messages is just one part of determining when to send your holiday campaigns. You also need to consider your full mailing schedule and the optimal days of the week and time of day to send each campaign.
To choose the best days and times to send your messages, use the Best Time of Day heat map in the Cannabiz Media License Database to find the day and time when the campaigns you’ve sent in the past have gotten the most engagement. As shown in the image below, the best times and days to send messages for this sender are displayed in dark blue.
Cannabiz Media’s client-specific heat map tool is extremely useful to ensure your messages have the highest chance of being seen, opened, and read.
Key Takeaways about Black Friday and Cyber Monday B2B Email Marketing
If you use the tips introduced in this article, follow the four schedule phases to increase anticipation and urgency, and send relevant messages that recipients believe are valuable to them, you should get high engagement and results from your Black Friday and Cyber Monday email marketing campaigns.
Susan Gunelius, Director of Email Marketing Strategy for Cannabiz Media, is also President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company offering, copywriting, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and strategic branding services. She spent the first half of her nearly 30-year career directing marketing programs for AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more as well as small businesses around the world. She has been working with clients in the cannabis industry since 2015. Susan has written 11 marketing-related books, including the highly popular Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Business, Content Marketing for Dummies, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, and she is a popular marketing and branding keynote speaker. She is also a Certified Career Coach and Founder and Editor in Chief of Women on Business, an award-winning blog for business women. Susan holds a B.S. in marketing and an M.B.A in management and strategy.