So you've had it!
You're bored at your job. You wake up dreading your commute. You don't want to do this any more. You want to be like those people who post selfies at the airport on their way to another getaway in some cobble-stoned town in Europe, or a tropical beach in South-East Asia. You want in on that freedom. You want a lifestyle on your terms.
E-Commerce To The Rescue
You've decided you're going to sell something online. You've got a name. You've sourced a product, or maybe you're making something yourself. But there's that missing piece: the actual store to sell it on. There's a lot you need to figure out: setting up products, managing inventory, doing fulfillment, shipping fees, order tracking. How do people even pay you online? Credit cards? That seems hectic...
That's Where Tonic Comes In
We've setup dozens of stores. We've done it so many times that we've managed to streamline the process. So much so that we can give you a predictable outcome at a fixed price, with a fast turnaround. You can consider it handled, and focus on the other parts of your business, like marketing your product and getting customers to your door!
Let's Get Real for a Second
We're not going to lie to you and tell you you're going to be an overnight success. This isn't a get-rich-quick scheme. It's not going to be all sitting on the beach sipping cocktails while the money rolls in. It's going to be tough sometimes and you're going to feel frustrated. Maybe you'll even feel like giving up. But working on your own business is liberating - it's a feeling you can't describe. When you have complete control over how you spend your day, it's more responsibility for sure, but it's also so much more rewarding!
What We Are Promising...
What we are promising to do is take away the headache that so many people just starting out sink hours of time and bags of money into when starting an e-commerce business. Don't! There's a formula to this and we've got it down. We've made the mistakes ourselves and seen dozens of customers go through it too. Now you don't have to.
If you aren’t selling online, now may be the best time to start. Better hurry though, the longer you take, the pricier your ads and database growth will be. Take advantage of the SELCT. Black Friday special and have an online store built within 48-72 hours! Or just get some help on a really effective strategy. Enquire here.
Working on a website can be complicated...
Working with Tonic isn't!
BOOK A FREE CONSULTATION
We set up a time to chat and we can ask each other questions. At the end we'll figure out if we're meant to be and if we're gonna do this thing!
GIVE US EVERYTHING YOU HAVE
We'll give you a short profile to fill out and give you a cloud folder to put all your product info and marketing images and few other bits and pieces.
WE SET UP YOUR STORE
We use our know-how to set up your store quickly with everything you need to get selling online. We handle all the tricky bits and tie up the loose ends!
Tell your friends, family, customers, and strangers on the street about your brand new online store. Start making money while you sleep!
These consumers are ‘desperate’ in the sense that with their reduced, or lack of, income they will be targeting BFCM with the cash they do have to try and pick up as many value for money sensible items that they wouldn’t be able to secure at full price or minor sales.
Products being targeted: Sensible household items.
These consumers don’t necessarily have money to splurge, but they will participate in and browse BFCM on the off chance they can pick up a deal for a ‘life-improving’ item.
Products being targeted: Simple luxury pleasures and household items.
These consumers are sitting with cash in their pockets and they’re ready for it to start burning a hole. With life and enjoyable experiences essentially coming to a halt during lockdown, these individuals have had nothing to spend their money on. And as a result they have been able to save surplus cash at the end of each month. They’re ready to spend big and treat themselves as a way to bring some joy through ‘retail therapy’ and reward themselves.
Products being targeted: High-end luxury goods and tech items.
Now that you know who will be coming to your store, I’ll ask again, what are you doing about it?
While some brands decide to start the BFCM deals as early as 1 November and gradually build up to Friday 27 November, you’re ultimately going to be competing directly with every brand taking part in BFCM for about 4-6 days.
Thursday 26 Nov - Tuesday 1 December.
The reason you’ll be competing with EVERY BRAND offering deals during BFCM and not just your product category competitors, is because you’re all going to be fighting for a finite amount of consumer spend. You’ll have to convince consumers that buying your TV is better than that new set of golf clubs, that your fridge is a better deal and a smarter buy than a new gas braai, that your deal for return flights to London is better than the new iPhone, and so on and so on…
Because you’re going to be competing with ‘the rest’ over this period, it means that ad space will be more expensive to achieve your results, email marketing is going to be more difficult to get your message across, and as for the chalkboard in front of your physical store 🤦♂️.
So, what is the best way to reach people who are more likely to shop online and buy from you?
The answer is simple: Online advertising. (Read on to find out what the most profitable channel is).
It is important to note, however, that Black Friday is more than just one day as mentioned above.
Research by Google shows that for shoppers, Black Friday is a 10-week period of research, reviews, and purchasing – and starts in October.
“It is essential for brands to capture this broad spectrum of interaction and influence by maintaining a presence across the consumer’s purchase journey,” said Google.
Google’s research broke down the “3 stages of Black Friday” for shoppers, as follows:
Black Friday research starts weeks before in early October ahead of the actual day in November.
During this phase, shoppers will be looking for potential deals and will be open to suggestions.
In the two weeks leading up to Black Friday – and the week of Black Friday – people will be looking for specific products, brands, and deals that they’ve had their eyes on.
This phase includes research, and reading reviews and features on the products or services that they want to buy.
During this final phase, shoppers will continue to look for deals even up to two weeks after Black Friday is complete – including on Cyber Monday.
“Consumers [will be]… hoping to take advantage of steeper Black Friday discounts and prepare for the upcoming holiday season,” stated Google.
3 Stages of Black Friday Graph – Google
While making sales and generating profits will be the most important goal this BFCM, it is important to remember that you are going to have a lot of customers browning and buying products from your store (online or in-store).
This increased level of traffic will bring with it its own form of mayhem, which is why you need to control the controllables. What exactly does this mean?
Simply put, you need to manage your customers’ expectations and overall experience.
1. Shipping and Delivery
Let your customers know that delivery for their products will take longer than usual (actually update your shipping and delivery policy). There is nothing more off-putting than purchasing something online with an expected delivery date in mind, only to be told after you’ve made your purchase that it’s now going to take 2 weeks longer. By alerting your customers to this element ahead of them pulling the trigger will manage their expectations and give you some breathing room to under-promise and over-deliver.
2. Streamline Your Store Experience
This can apply to online and in-store (to a degree).Streamline your store for traffic and make it easier for your customers to checkout with no unnecessary hurdles and distractions. Be sure your online store is optimised for mobile experiences to ensure you take advantage of increased user traffic.
And be ready at 12:00 on Friday 27 November. I.e. as soon as the clock ticks over from 23:59 Thursday 26 November, be ready to start receiving store traffic (online speaking). If you want to offer early access to VIPs ahead of this time that’s also great.
To recap so far -
Now, while this channel may be a personal favourite of mine and I may come across a little biased, the stats and profits don’t lie. This channel is heavily favoured and suited to eComm brands, but can still drive profits and in-store sales for brick and mortar stores.
Drum roll please… 🥁
The most profitable online marketing channel for Black Friday // Cyber Monday is...EMAIL MARKETING!
Let’s break it down a little more and discuss some ways that you can:
Email is a critical channel for ecommerce brands as you end up spending a lot of money driving traffic to your site in the hope of converting potential customers. And, in a perfect world, you would convert 100% of your site’s visitors to buyers. HA! Don’t worry, that’s the last joke I’ll tell today. Unfortunately, in the real world, the average conversion rate is only about 4%. 🌍🤯
That basically means that 96% of the people you’ve invested in to drive to your site are just wandering off without buying anything.
So, how do you get a better return on those visitors and increase your conversion rate?You might hate me for saying this...but trust me, I’m only saying this because they work!
Pop-ups. Pop-ups. Pop-ups.
Programs like OptiMonk and others (some pre-built with your ecommerce platform, others available through your email platform and others are apps/plugins) make it easy to install pop-ups that can offer your site visitors incentives for signing up to your newsletter/database. This will then shoot them straight into your email database - one of the most prized places!
And that, for those who have read this far, is when the magic begins!
By creating an email “welcome series” that triggers a sequence of emails (min. 3 emails) when a user subscribes, you’re able to nurture them through the buying cycle and ultimately convert them into customers.
A basic email welcome series could look something like this:
Not sure what delays to set between mails? To get started take a look at this sequence.
We all know that the money is in your email list (insert my bias)…however, if your emails are literally just a myriad of weekly and daily sales and promotions you’re going to have a big problem.
Without a variety in your email content you are going to run into some serious issues down the line, starting with:
You know, that thing when your subscribers only expect sales content from you, so they stop opening your emails…(goodbye healthy open and click rate).
When your users are so used to sales - they only buy when there’s a discount (goodbye regular sales and profit).
The real drama, though: Deciding whether to raise your prices (and risk losing sales) so you can keep discounting...Or keep killing your margins (and running your business into the ground). It’s better if you can just avoid this situation altogether.
And as your deliverability score continues to drop, fewer emails land in your subscribers’ inboxes…Sales slow down, revenue drops…etc. etc. It will be a slow and painful death to your email marketing as you know it.
Unfortunately, email can’t be all sales all the time.
So, if you ain’t sending a variety of emails to your list - why aren’t you? Is it content ideas? Pressure to create sales on every email? Or something else?
To help get you started and rejig your content strategy, here are 4 main categories of content to help you create a sustainable email program - focused on more than one-time revenue.
If your products have clear and unique value propositions: TALK ABOUT IT. Explore all the ways your product helps solve a genuine problem and let your customers know about it. At the end of the day if your clients really believe in this and your brand, they will spread the word and do some of the heavy lifting for you.
Surely this would be way more valuable than a one-time email sale? (It is by the way). And, you'll be reinforcing your most loyal customers why it’s worth sticking around for the long-term.
If you're struggling to generate new content or don’t have the budget to put together a whole big shoot, why don’t you make use of the *free content you already have?
Hello customers! Share your customers’ stories and product/brand experiences (positive, of course).
Whatever your brand is, you’ve got customers who stand out. Celebrate them! This is the kind of content and messaging that will build a community around what you're doing and transform your impression from “selling” to “telling” which sounds much better than trying to shove product and sales down customers’ throats.
As you continue to progress as a brand in your vertical, you'll need to innovate or create new products to remain relevant and retain customers and attract new ones. This is an amazing opportunity to change up the content of your emails and is really exciting.
Let your list know what is coming and why they should care.
This is the perfect time to “breadcrumb” your new arrival by sending a pre-release email to excite your list and then one more email to let them know when the new product drops.
💡 Pro tip: Use this chance to generate a micro-commitment - like getting on the waiting list!
For those who do not abuse this aspect of email marketing, sales can be an insanely successful strategy, specifically for pushing old inventory to make way for the new and shaking up your database.
I highly recommend against using this strategy to try and push constant traffic to your store (read above why hardcore sales can be bad all the time), but as a rare occurrence - sales can be used strategically to better your business.
To shift inactive subscribers into your active category you will first have to define what an inactive subscriber looks like in order to understand how to best "re-engage" them or whether to kick them out.
Most of how you'll define that is based around how often you email your current subscriber base, but here is a very safe definition that you can find as a Klaviyo preset suggestion (all major email and CRM platforms will come with this functionality):
Once you've defined this segment, you'll then want to create a few tactical initiatives that tackle these people before they are officially "lost" and should be removed from your lists for good.
There are two approaches you can use to increase your amount of re-engaged subscribers - starting with a few Facebook Ads.
You might be wondering: If I already have their email, why would I use Facebook?
Because your users have been ignoring your emails and it’s now time to get their attention another way.
Here’s how you can do it:
Create a custom audience with your inactive subscribers so you can run remarketing ads just to them on Facebook. Remember though - you’re trying to rekindle the love here, so make it good. Remind them who you are & why they loved your brand the first time.
Show them your new arrivals. Offer them a discount. Follow your heart.
AND THEN - Once they’ve seen you around...
This little workflow sequence of 1-2 emails should grab their attention and allow you to capitalise on the re-engagement you captured through Facebook with an offer they can’t refuse.
A.K.A. Time of Death.
In an ideal world, your email list would continue to grow and you’d never lose a subscriber. Unfortunately though, this is not an ideal world.
Realistically, you’ve got to rip off the bandaid and start pruning that email list.
Inactive subscribers do more harm than good to your list (and your pocket)… and if you don’t prune that list from time to time you’re going to take a hit on two important metrics:
ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) look at the number of emails opened before marking as spam, and unsubscribes once opened. And, even though your big list looks pretty, if it’s full of people who aren’t engaging with your emails.. It’s going to take a toll on your deliverability.
(Which means less of your ACTIVE subscribers, buyers, & customers have the opportunity to buy 😭💸)
Moral of the story?
The health of your sender reputation > the size of your list.
Often you can get caught up in your own excitement of launching new products and just assume that your database will be as excited as you are. Wrong. The big question often is, how to increase engagement on new product releases?
Instead of just blurting your new product arrivals to everyone, why not curate a small workflow to engage with interested users? Below is an example of what you could try:
Sticking to the same example, the above segment generated 90% of the email revenue, even though they made up only 15% of the total subscriber base. 😱
A lot of this has to do with compliance psychology. If you can persuade potential customers to take a low-threat first commitment in the buying cycle, they’re much more likely to complete the higher-level commitment (purchase).
Because BFCM is going to look a hell of a lot different this year thanks to COVID-19 causing a massive shift in traditional brick and mortar retail sales. You will have to separate yourself from the pack, digitally speaking.
Most importantly, via email.
Now is the time to start planning ASAP (if you haven't already).
Looking at historical flows that have worked well, here is a quick email sequence to get you started:
✉️ Email 1 - Teaser 1 Week before BFCM
✉️ Email 2 - Reminder 1 Day before BFCM
✉️ Email 3 - On Black Friday
✉️ Email 4 - On Cyber Monday
💡 Pro Tip: To reach more of those “non-opens”:
Your offer has to be good enough to get your audience’s attention, but you also need to consider your profitability (especially after the year we’ve had so far).
Will your sales volume make up for the smaller margin? And could you “get away” with a smaller discount and still hit your targets?
If you’re still unsure about what type/style of offer you should be offering, consider the below 3 scenarios and whether any of them apply to you and your store:
Obviously there’s a spectrum here. But hopefully these considerations and guidelines help to get you started.
There’s no doubt that at least 80% of your email database belongs to a whole host of other email databases and as such will be receiving copious amounts of emails over the intense sales period.
Once you’ve finished pruning your database you can still start segmenting your users to the general “cold”, “medium”, and “hot” lists. Ranging from your least to most valuable customers/users. Bear in mind, this “value” can take many forms and many segments:
Start monitoring your abandoned carts and product/collection views in the build up to the big event. Being able to target your customers with items that they have previously shown an interest in, at the right time, and now at a reduced price will elevate your emails above competitors and assist in driving more traffic and sales.
As a final recap:
Once you have the above set up and in place you can sit back and watch your sales go from average to amazing!
*Disclaimer - please don’t actually “sit back”. This is going to be an extremely busy period for sales and customers are going to demand your full attention and your best customer service. Get stuck in!
Keen to hear more? Interested in the BFCM online store special? Want a free coffee? Or you would like some help with your BFCM 2020 strategy and execution?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, reach out via any of the below:
Best of luck for the BFCM and Festive sales period. Go forth and recoup your profits!