While shoppers may not yet be thinking of Black Friday deals, your business should already be well into the process of setting up a promotional strategy for the upcoming shopping holiday. OK, or at least thinking about what you plan to do.
Being active with marketing emails and social media channels is a given, but don’t dismiss the simple text message. With a business-texting platform in place, your retail store can keep organized during the hectic holiday season using intuitive, time-saving features that help produce strong sales.
Ahead, we explain why texting is crucial to a successful Black Friday campaign along with SMS examples you can use to drive customer purchases.
Black Friday is a mobile-dominant holiday
There’s no shortage of shopping events around the holiday season. We have Cyber Monday, Green Friday, Cyber Week and Small Business Saturday, but none compare to the popularity or revenue that Black Friday generates year after year.
Mobile shopping on Black Friday is on the rise, too. According to the Black Friday Holiday Shopping Flash Report by Salesforce, 2018 reaffirmed that mobile shopping is stronger than ever and the trend for early retailer promotion is still prevalent. The report found that:
- mobile devices lead 67% of all digital traffic
- nearly 50% of Black Friday orders were placed on mobile
- mobile text notifications from brands increased by 29% between 2017 and 2018 for Black Friday and 159% for Thanksgiving
- overall SMS and push notifications increased by 57% from 2017
Offer better customer service with two-way texting
During this busy shopping holiday, your business should also determine how customer service factors into your retail SMS campaign strategy.
True engagement from customers comes with two-way text messaging using your existing 10-digit phone number.
While the alternative short code texting is popular among businesses because of its effectiveness for sending blast messages, like alerts and announcements, short codes don’t usually offer the ability to text back and forth with customers.
Sure, you’ll be using text message marketing to alert customers of upcoming deals this Black Friday, so short codes may seem like the best option. But consider the type of customer service you want to provide. If a customer replies to your Black Friday texts with questions about the offer or your product or service, you wouldn’t be able to answer in the same text exchange. Inconveniencing your customer is not a great way to make a sale.
Last year, customer service agents saw a 10% increase in service cases on Cyber Monday, but these inquiries weren’t via phone calls. Thanks to the breadth of available digital channel options (including texting), call centers were slightly less busy on Cyber Monday 2018. While the stat speaks to activity on Cyber Monday, it’s still something to keep in mind for your Black Friday mobile marketing strategy: Customers will need assistance, so make sure you’re offering them the best channels to reach you.
Gather an opt-in list ahead of Black Friday
With a two-way texting system in place, gathering a list of customer phone numbers is your next priority. This can be done in various ways, but one of the easiest methods is by placing advertisements across your communication channels with keywords, letting customers know they can get Black Friday deals sent directly to their phones.
Keywords are created with texting software and are tied to an auto-response. Customers text the keyword, like BLACKFRIDAY, to your business phone number, and they’ll immediately receive an automated response that confirms their opt-in. Common ad placements include:
- In-store. If you have a physical location, post ads throughout your store and at checkout.
- On your website via an eye-catching banner
- In your marketing emails. Dedicate an entire email or add a banner to highlight the message.
- On social media. Pin a post to your page for every visitor to see.
Text campaign examples for Black FridayManaging a Black Friday SMS campaign without using business-texting software will be overwhelming. When looking for a texting tool, look out for features that make planning and customer engagement easier to manage.
- Scheduling. A scheduling feature will be your best friend this Black Friday. Set up your campaign by scheduling texts in advance. You won’t have to keep track of sending sale reminders to your contact list; texting software automates the process.
- Keywords. As mentioned above, keywords can be used to gather an opt-in list, but there’s so much more your business can do with them.
- Auto-replies. Just like keywords, auto-replies have many uses. In terms of customer service, it comes in handy in situations like when your business receives a text after hours. Set up an auto-reply that says something like, “Thanks for your message! We’re currently closed, but someone will reply to your text tomorrow morning when we’re back in the shop. Talk soon!” The recipient isn’t left hanging and has an expectation for when they’ll be helped.
- Group texting. Send texts to everyone on your list with a BCC group text. Customers won’t be able to see anyone’s replies but their own.
- Dynamic fields. Customers love personalized texts. Use dynamic fields to include their name in every text, even when sending to groups.