Black Friday / Cyber Monday Preparedness Guide

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While the holiday season is months away, now is the best time to start planning your Black Friday / Cyber Monday (BFCM) marketing to ensure that you’re prepared when the busy season rolls around. To help you prepare, this guide will walk you through key segments to build, highlight important flows, and run through best practices for developing a content strategy that reaches beyond the BFCM season.

BFCM Preparedness Checklist

  1. Create a content calendar from Halloween to New Year's Day.
  2. Check on your welcome series, abandoned cart, post-purchase, and back in stock flows to ensure they are up-to-date and performing well.
  3. Create key segments (Engaged, Unengaged, VIPs, Lear Year’s BFCM shoppers, Local Customers). Send personalized content to engaged, VIPs, Last Year’s BFCM shoppers.
  4. Use other marketing platforms and signup forms to target your Unengaged and Last Year’s BFCM Shoppers segments.
  5. Turn on Smart Send Time, A/B test your next campaigns, your key flows, and signup forms.
  6. If you host your store on Magento or Woocommerce, make sure your site can handle increased traffic in November. 


Segmentation allows you to easily create key groups of your contacts, making email personalization a breeze. Create the key segments highlighted below.

Engaged Segment

Your engaged segment should be the group that you’re primarily emailing. They should be receiving your newsletters, product, and sale announcements. These customers want to hear from you. As you prepare for BFCM, you should be clueing these customers into the weekend's promotion, but also making sure to email them regularly to improve your sender reputation.


The exact time frame for open and click will vary depending on how often you are sending. For more information, check out our article on creating a highly engaged segment.

Unengaged Segment

Your unengaged segment is an important group to create so you can exclude them from your sends and get them to re-engage through other marketing channels.


Again, your received emails threshold will depend on your sending cadence. Sending to unengaged people not only affects the number of sales you make but can also impact your deliverability. For more information on creating an unengaged segment, check out our article on list cleaning.

While you should think twice before emailing these customers, you can target them in different ways.

First, if some of your customers have not engaged with your emails in a while, their inbox provider may be putting your emails in their spam folder because of their lack of engagement. To get back into the inbox, you can target these customers with a signup form on site. This form would trigger based on someone being in your unengaged segment and coming to your homepage. When they submit their email, you can trigger a welcome back flow, giving them the promised offer and displaying your newest collection.


If you are in their spam folder, they can go and retrieve the offer from their spam folder and move you back into the inbox.

Additionally, if you've integrated your Facebook account with Klaviyo, you can upload the segment as a Facebook custom audience and target them with an ad, trying to get them to re-engage before BFCM rolls around.


Your VIPs are your most important customers. Inform them of product sneak peeks, welcome them to a rewards/loyalty program, send gifts to thank them, encourage them to tag you on social media and tell their friends, and set loyalty milestones to keep them coming back.


You want to make sure this group is well aware of the upcoming BFCM sales and highly engaged with your brand. Additionally, this is a great group to use to create a Facebook lookalike audience to acquire more potential VIPs before BFCM. For more information, head to our Guide to Running a VIP Program.

Potential VIPs

Your potential VIPs are those that are right on the threshold, but not quite VIPs yet. This a good group to target with signup forms and emails in advance of BFCM so that they can reach the VIP threshold and reap the associated benefits. 


The associated numbers for CLV when building out your segment will be different for each business. For a detailed run-through of how to use Customer Lifetime Value to determine engagement tiers, check out our article on Best Practices for Using Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) Data.


Previous Year BFCM Purchasers

Our data from previous BFCM sales indicates that existing customers and prospects have proven to be more valuable during BFCM than customers who make their first purchase during Q4. While customer acquisition is crucial for any ecommerce business, targeting your previous BFCM purchasers before Q4 rolls around is essential.


Send this segment communication about new arrivals or items they might have missed. Since these customers may have only purchased from you in the past because of a BFCM discount, throwing in a discount or highlighting a sale could drive them from being one time purchasers to loyal brand enthusiasts.

Local Customers

If you have brick-and-mortar locations, it’s important to keep them updated on if your store will be open during the Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend.


If your plans for in-person shopping is up in the air, clue your local customers in so they can be prepared with social distancing and safety guidelines you may have in place.


Leading up to BFCM, check your flows and ensure your automated communication is up-to-date and relevant. This is also a good opportunity to review the discounts you have in any of your active flows. If you're offering a site-wide discount during BFCM, you may want to temporarily remove any discounts from your flows to prevent people from stacking discounts.

Welcome Series

As you will have new subscribers to your email list, it’s important to make sure that you start your relationship with them on the right foot. Go through each email to make sure the content reflects your brand well. For more information, check our Guide to Creating a Welcome Series.

VIP Welcome Series

Additionally, as your customers are spending more with you during the BFCM weekend and over the holidays, you should consider setting up a welcome series for customers who become VIPs. These emails will further nurture your relationship with your VIPs, cluing them into exclusive VIP perks, and encouraging them to continue purchasing from you. Head to the Guide to Running a VIP Program for more information. 


Post Purchase

Want your customers to write a review or thank them for their order? Setting up a post purchase flow is crucial to continue building a relationship with your customers. For more information, check out our Guide to Creating a Post Purchase Flow.

Back in Stock

Over the holiday season, items may run out of stock. If you're using Shopify or BigCommerce, turn on a back in stock flow to recoup some of those potentially lost sales. For more information, check out our article on creating a back in stock flow.

Best Practices

In building a content strategy around BFCM, there a few important tips you’ll want to heed to get the most from the holiday season.

Develop a Content Calendar That Extends Beyond BFCM

Most likely, you know the BFCM deals that you’ll provide over the weekend. It’s important that your customers are clued in as well and know what to expect. Starting your BFCM promotion shortly after Halloween is important. You don’t want to leave money on the table because your customers weren’t adequately prepared for a sale or knew about it too late. Additionally, be thinking about your email cadence around both the BFCM weekend, as well as the weekends between BFCM, the holidays, and beyond.

Check out these resources for a step-by-step deep dive into developing your exact sending strategy:

Optimize Your Marketing Channels

Consistency across all of your marketing channels is crucial. Optimize your different channels — search, social, offline, and more — so you’ll be front of mind for your customers.

Test New Ideas Before BFCM

The lead up to BFCM (especially the late summer months) is a good time to implement testing. It’s important for you to understand what your customers respond well to. Take a look at your last 5 campaigns, come up with a hypothesis, and test it out. Figure out how many emails you should be sending in your welcome series and abandoned cart flows. Find out the timing, content, and offers that have the highest conversions for your signup forms. This will ensure the copy and creative work you’re including in your emails are perfected for your different audiences. Additionally, test the best time to send to your customers to increase open rates and conversions

Check out these resources for a step-by-step deep-dive into testing:

Don't Underestimate Site Traffic

Your site can see a huge influx of traffic during the BFCM weekend. Make sure that you’ve checked that your site can handle the projected traffic so that no sales are lost. If you're on Magento or WooCommerce, with your added functionality and flexibility that comes with hosting your site, you'll need to ensure that your site can handle the increased traffic during the BFCM holiday. Make sure to test the load that your site can handle with plenty of time to adjust in advance.

Check out these resources for information on how you can make your site faster in preparation for BFCM:

Don’t Blast Emails to Your Whole List

While creating different messaging for the different segments may seem tedious, it’s important that you’re personalizing your BFCM content so that each audience gets the information that they are most interested in. Personalized messages will not only increase your conversions but also increase open rates, giving you a better chance of hitting the inbox every time.

Check out these resources for a step-by-step deep-dive into segmentation:

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