Q3 can make or break your Q4.
You might not want to hear this… But I'm going to argue that you need to start planning for Black Friday in June/July at the latest.
Every year, sales start sooner, the discounts get higher, and small brands are eagerly looking for ways to get through while making a profit.
Well, planning ahead will enable you to stop relying on steep discounts, and instead trust in your great content and strategies to meet your conversion goals this year.
Let's see how you can set yourself up for a successful Q4, by starting in Q3.
Collect data—and do it early
Every online store is fighting equally for the attention of consumers during BF/CM, so inboxes get flooded and consumer attention gets divided. One way to stand out is by personalizing your content, and to do this you need customer data. We recommend zero-party and first-party data.
But the key is to collect this data early on, and not just a couple of weeks before BF/CM. If you start collecting customer data now, you’ll have more insights to work with when the holiday season actually approaches, giving you confidence that your campaigns will be effective.
Gathering key customer insights in the months leading up to BF/CM means you can personalize your campaigns with dynamic product recommendations and messaging that resonates to each buyer.
“Personalization tools are good at nearly every stage of business… They universally increase conversion rate and average order value. Not having one is already a mistake, not having one for BF/CM is lighting money on fire.”
- Derric Haynie
To get inspiration, check out how Tomlinson’s Feed uses a pop-up to learn if a customer is a dog person or cat person (read the full case study here). With this info, they can recommend only relevant products via email after the customer opts-in.
Key takeaway: Collect customer data to personalize your campaigns and stand out, drive higher engagement, and increase conversions.
Grow your marketing lists in advance
Haven’t seen a ton of email list growth lately? Is your engagement starting to get cold? In every business, it’s natural to see customers come and go, and the average eight-week retention rate for most industries is actually below 20%, according to Mixpanel.
In the months leading up to BF/CM, prioritize growing your email list in addition to collecting customer data. But the key isn’t just to grow your list, you want a list of engaged subscribers who will be excited to hear from you during the pique holiday season.
Get customers excited and engaged early because once BF/CM is here, their attention will be pulled all over the place.
To keep consumer attention focused on your brand, start collecting email and SMS sign ups through interactive and engaging content like targeted pop-ups, quizzes, loyalty programs, and spin-to-wins. This will give you a warm list to work with during BF/CM, and keep you top-of-mind for customers who are expecting to hear from you.
Check out these examples from Premama. One captures attention by using an interactive gif pop-up. While the other asks a very relevant question about subscribers' pregnancy status.
Key takeaway: Think outside the box to better collect emails. Explore new opportunities that you're not tapping into yet, and make sure to grab customers' attention by presenting thoughtful offers.
Don't forget SMS!
Growing your email list is key, but we all know inboxes will be out of control during Black Friday. SMS can get you in front of many more potential customers if you plan ahead.
Building an SMS list is extremely valuable. During Q3, send campaigns asking email subscribers to join your SMS club. You could offer added value to your SMS list, such as early access to your sale or exclusive offers.
Another great strategy is to show a phone collection pop up to anybody who's already given you an email. These profiles shouldn't be seeing your standard welcome pop up, leaving room for you to ask them for something else.
Key takeaway: Once someone is on your email list and already trusts your brand, they're more likely to opt in to your SMS list. So make sure to give them different opportunities to do so.
Start analyzing your list, now
In addition to growing your subscribers, you don’t want to forget about the contacts you already have—that’s a recipe for killing your hard earned list.
Start by analyzing your subscribers.
- What content pillars and voice best resonate with readers?
- Who is most engaged and when?
- How can you segment your list to best address different audiences?
Another key concern is whether your list is healthy. If not, you still have time to fix this, if you start now.
Use Q3 to understand if particular inboxes are sending you to spam, switch to a dedicated sending domain, and gradually improve deliverability. But this takes time!
Key takeaway: It's not enough to collect contact information and send emails/sms. You also have to review results and use these learnings to improve your sends. Doing this in Q3 could drastically influence and improve your Q4 strategy.
Be extra nurturing to customers
Even if your list is in good health, you'll still want to take action now to have the best possible deliverability for Q4 when you'll be blasting most of your list with more emails than usual.
Leading up to the holidays, engage with your customers and nurture relationships with them.
There are various ways to nurture customer relationships from now until BF/CM in your emails, including sharing social proof, educating customers on how to use your products, writing about your brand story, or adding trust builders like blog articles.
Maybe try to reconnect with some newly churned buyers to bring them back. Also remember shoppers from last Black Friday. Segment these customers and create communication to drive interest for them to purchase again this year.
Key takeaway: Nurturing your Customers is a must! You spend some good money to get them to buy once, now that they're here turn them into loyal brand advocates with your stellar email and sms marketing!
Wrapping up and TL;DR
I hope this list of strategies sounds simple enough. But, of course, you have limited time between now and the Q4 holiday season, and you’re doing everything you can to stay on top of your weekly tasks.
So if this seems daunting, I’d love to help you with your email and SMS strategy leading up to Q4 and throughout the holidays.
Brands that hire us see an average 6x return on their investment within a year and generate a 2x higher Klaviyo ROI than average. Do you have 30 minutes to chat so I can show you how?