Ignoring the mistakes made in previous years and failing to learn the right lessons are the main ‘sins’ of marketers preparing campaigns for Black Friday – a day considered the start of the pre-Christmas shopping frenzy, celebration of promotions and exceptional discounts. Every year, new guides appear on various marketing blogs – so one would assume that, with their advice, we would avoid problems with getting another sales record. However, it’s worth noting that most of them only focus on the latest trends, modern sales techniques and ways to increase profits. To succeed, it is important to first analyze what strategies used in previous years have failed to attempt the expected results. Or maybe it is your first season and you want to perform at your best? Find out the most common mistakes and try to avoid them.
Common Mistakes To Avoid during Black Friday – things that you can take care of right now
The common mailing-related mistake during Black Friday, which (in theory) could easily be avoided, is delivering your messages too late. Want to make a great offer with a discount code valid only until midnight? If the e-mail isn’t delivered on the same day, it’s bound to leave you with an unpleasant feeling. What we repeatedly say is extremely important on Black Friday:
Ensure that the servers handling your mailings have sufficient throughput.
Are you using shared IPs? These may be sufficient on a day-to-day basis but bear in mind that your ‘neighbours’ may not only schedule large campaigns at the same time, straining its throughput, but also hurting its reputation. It’s important to separate transactional traffic – so that promotional e-mails don’t block important e-mails such as order confirmations, invoices etc. Opt for a dedicated IP whose reputation depends only on your mailings. Remember, that adding a dedicated infrastructure the day before a scheduled campaign is not a good idea. It needs to be properly ‘warmed up’ starting with a smaller number so ISPs will get to know you. Proper optimization should also not omit your website, linked in the e-mail. We have encountered more than one situation where customers have raised the alarm that a campaign needs to be stopped immediately because the website crashed after having too many visitors at the same time.
Do not send e-mails when others. The launch of a campaign is usually scheduled for a full hour – so instead of 10 a.m., start a quarter of an hour earlier. This is not about getting ahead of your competitors, but about reducing the chance of e-mail throttling (when sending e-mails above the acceptable threshold).
Despite the addition of extra IPs and the appropriate timing of sends, your e-mails may end up in the queue anyway. Keep in mind that although EmailLabs‘ infrastructure is scalable, there are technological limitations on the receiving server side – even among the larger mailbox providers. So instead of one huge campaign, it’s worth setting up two-three smaller parts and keeping an eye on whether we are temporarily blocked anywhere.
It would seem that since we have been more or less successfully sending e-mails to our customers all year round, nothing should surprise us. Noticing after some time that e-mails have been rejected by the receiving server because the domain does not have an up-to-date SPF record is a real nightmare for any marketer, and unfortunately, it happens extremely often. Some mailbox providers may reject the message outright, redirect it to the SPAM folder, or display a “Be careful with this message” warning box. There is nothing worse than a customer considering your brand unreliable and sharing this online. After all, that’s not necessarily the kind of publicity you want. Use the Mailchecker.net tool in advance and check that you are properly authenticated as a sender.
Visit our blog to learn more about security protocols such as SPF, DKIM and DMARC.
While in theory sending a Black Friday campaign to your entire distribution list is a significant maximization of sales opportunities, nothing could be further from the truth. The expected result will come when you understand who your audience is and what they care about. Properly segmenting your contact groups and preparing a dedicated, personalized offer specifically for them is the key to success. Focus on the wants and needs of your customers – throughout the year you should be profiling them and collecting as much information as possible so that you can target (i.e. select a specific audience) in an effective way. This is not a good time to carry out reactivation campaigns – firstly, there is little chance of the e-mail being noticed in the jungle of other promotional offers, and secondly, during this period recipients are more likely to use the Unsubscribe link to cancel the subscription. Moreover, sending to entire (often not up-to-date) contact bases can increase the chance of hitting Spam Traps and damaging your reputation as a sender – which you will need to repair throughout the following year.
It is a mistake to base entire marketing campaigns and mailing schedules solely on one day – Black Friday. It is now stretched out to the whole weekend of promotions – ending on Cyber Monday. Remember, that this is only a prelude to subsequent can’t-miss dates such as Saint Nicholas Day (Europe), Hanukkah, Christmas, Boxing Day (UK) or New Year’s Eve. Draw up a schedule for the forthcoming campaigns so that you can visualize your strategically-planned mailing and avoid repetition. Flooding mailboxes of the same audience may result in your brand being remembered, but not necessarily in a good way. Everyone wants to be noticed, but if you decide to remind recipients every day about the great offer you have prepared – at best this will lead to unsubscribing, at worst the e-mail will be marked as SPAM. Make sure that (through proper segmentation) the same recipients don’t get messages from you over and over again. Don’t forget to include possible reactivation mailings in your schedule. The end of September and the beginning of October are good times to check who is interested in receiving e-mails from you – and to exclude those contacts who have not read your e-mails for a long time (or have not ordered anything) from the active subscribers’ list prepared for Black Friday. A new, reactivated group, can be gradually included in mailings designed to warm up the extra IPs that will be added to your account to increase their throughput during this busiest period.
Opt for an out-of-the-box approach – don’t let your message get lost among the other e-mails with the subject line ‘Save Up to X % on Black Friday’, which, unread, mostly ends up in the bin straight away. With catchy subject lines (avoid clickbait!) and well-balanced use of emojis, you need to grab your customer’s attention enough to open the e-mail straight away. Remember that haste makes waste. If you want your campaign to outperform the competition, your team should prepare it well ahead of time. Choose personalized content that will surprise the recipient. Use restraint when designing your message – overloaded, interactive e-mails can not only be an eyesore but can also take a long time to load. Large, CAPS-LOCK typed messages may be considered too flashy. Ensure that your HTML code is properly optimized and well tested – not only on different clients but also on the web and mobile app and in Dark-mode. Marketers still seem to skip this step, or worse, they carry it out incorrectly by sending out a test to a final group. Make sure that links are not broken and direct to the correct page, that the discount code works and only covers the products included in the promotion, and that you have included the expiry date and any restrictions – such as quantity. Implementing BIMI is another thing that can help you stand out in the inbox.
Studies show that displaying the sender’s logo in an e-mail increases recipient engagement. This autumn, Apple joins the ISPs supporting BIMI standard, which coincides perfectly with Black Friday and the upcoming holiday season. This is the last call to get VMC certification and implementation in time. Not sure how to do it? Check out our FAQ or contact our Support Team directly.
While mailing is one of the most effective and therefore most popular channels for driving sales – don’t focus solely on it. Sending an e-mail message is a good start. However, opt for multichannel – also include other forms of customer interaction in your communications – social media and SMS or PUSH notification. The latter are great channels for follow-up – i.e. re-contact to a specific group – e.g. recipients who have not responded to an e-mail, or who have visited a website and left a shopping cart abandoned. Well-planned and optimized mailings will not only reduce costs but also influence positive brand perception by keeping communication flowing. Visit REDLINK – a service that is part of VERCOM – for solutions that will be the perfect support for your e-mail campaigns.
During this exciting and intensified time, it is easy to make mistakes that will not only make your Black Friday mailing a failure, but ones that could damage the sender’s reputation and, consequently, future e-mail campaigns. It’s easy to be wise after the event so thoroughly analyze every element of your upcoming campaign – from the e-mail design, server throughput, website performance and the entire backend of your e-commerce (warehouses, suppliers, etc.). Thoroughly testing each of these is the key to success.
Good luck! ☘
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