It’s officially November, which means three things: fireworks, heating and Christmas. Yes, although the big day is over a month away, shoppers and retailers are already preparing for the biggest Christmas shopping days of the year. This week, we’re helping you to prepare, with our SMS guide to Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019. 

What is Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are two American-born retail holidays that fall immediately following Thanksgiving. They are characterised by deals, sales and overall mayhem in the lead up to Christmas. 

Traditionally, Black Friday was celebrated by bricks and mortar stores, whereas cyber Monday took place online. Today, they have become a whole weekend (and, in some cases, an entire month) of sales, and it’s no longer only America who takes part. 

95% of British people now know about Black Friday, leading to a 1708% increase in sales last year. This year, Brits are budgeting an average of £315 for this year’s event - making it one you certainly don’t want to miss out on. 

When are Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019

This year, Black Friday takes place on Friday 29th November 2019, and Cyber Monday takes place on Monday 2nd December 2019. 

Why is SMS marketing important for BFCM?

In 2018, a record 7.6 billion emails were sent over Black Friday and Cyber Monday - making emails inboxes just as busy as shopping trolleys. With businesses all scrambling to inform customers about their own BFCM deals and discounts, it can be nearly impossible to stand out using email alone. 

By supplementing your email marketing with a Black Friday and Cyber Monday SMS marketing campaign, you can boost your BFCM success through the benefits of SMS marketing, including an average 90% open rate within three minutes.

Preparing your Black Friday and Cyber Monday SMS campaign

So, with limited time left, let’s prepare your 160-character BFCM campaign. 

1. Grow your SMS audience

With bulk SMS being the easiest and most cost-effective way to communicate your BFCM offers, you want to ensure that your SMS audience is as large as it can be. Boost your text message opt-in numbers now by advertising your opt-in keyword and shortcode using:

- Website popups

- Social media ads

- Email marketing

- In-store signups.

You can even create a specific BFCM keyword to create a segmented audience specifically for the event. 

2. Create a buzz

If the first message of your campaign goes out on 29th November, you’ve arrived at the party too late. While BFCM takes place at the end of the month, you should be building excitement and creating awareness now. 

- Week four: Let your audience know you’ll be taking part in the weekend and, if you’re using a dedicated shortcode, get them to sign up. 

- Week three: Send your audience a countdown reminder and run a poll asking if they’ll be taking part. 

- Week two: Text some offer hints and sneak-previews to build up anticipation.

 - Week one: Send out invitation codes for any early-bird sales or offers. 

3. Send out your offers

Last year, BFCM mobile transactions soared by 29% and 55.6% respectively, making SMS your best communication channel for the days themselves. Use an SMS communication platform to schedule messages throughout the day announcing your offers, updating stock levels, and offering a quick channel for customer service. 

Our top tips for the weekend are:

- Personalised SMS stands out so don’t forget to use custom fields to add personal information such as names, and to use your segmented audience lists to send personalised offers. 

- SMS psychology tactics work exceptionally well on BFCM, where impulse buys and subconscious decisions are frequent. 

- Urgency and excitement drive clicks, so don’t forget to include time- and customer-limited deals, such as “The first 20 customers through our checkout today get an extra 10% off of Black Friday deals. 3, 2, 1, go!”

4. Don’t sit back

After the buzz and excitement of the weekend, it can be tempting to sit back and relax with a mince pie. But your work isn’t over yet. Follow up your BFCM success by using SMS to:

- Offer customer service about any problems, advice or questions. 

- Continue marketing to your new audience to drive repeat purchases.

- Ask customers for product reviews and service feedback. 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday - final thoughts

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday being the busiest shopping days of the year, you want a marketing method that’s easy, affordable and effective. SMS offers it all in just 160-characters - all you need to do is come up with the offers. 

Good luck!