2022 Holiday shopping trends and how to prepare
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TL;DR Did you know the holidays are one of the busiest sales seasons of the year? Learn how to have your best-ever sales season with these proven strategies you can use right now!
When I think of the holiday season, I often think about time with family and friends, gift-giving, comfort food, and cozy clothes. But Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the entire holiday sales season is also top of mind. When should I start offering deals? Do I need an email sequence, or can I send one the day before Black Friday?
The holiday sales season can be a lot to figure out, but if you do it right, it can also propel your business into its best-ever sales season. And that’s why we’re writing this blog post. So, let’s dive into some of your most pressing questions and start planning for all those sales!
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How early should I start offering discounts and deals?
Do you remember the days when Black Friday was a single day where people would camp out in front of major retailers to claw for the best deals? It’s not quite as common these days, but months-long sales are. Instead of a single frenzied day of shopping, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday have become just a few days in an entire month of holiday shopping.
While some businesses have started sales as early as late October, others are extending deals through the December shopping season. So, how do you know when to start promoting your sales?
A survey from RetailMeNot reports that 45% of respondents plan to shop before November 1. With many big box retailers already offering deals, this trend is one to consider when planning holiday sales. These deals entice shoppers to buy earlier, and to compete, you’ll want to offer your discounts earlier in November, too.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a set date or formula for knowing when to start your sale. But based on the trend of starting earlier each year, we suggest you do the same. When thinking about when you want to launch your sale:
- Don’t wait until Thanksgiving to promote and activate your offers (start sooner rather than later)
- Don’t neglect Small Business Saturday (this is your time to shine!)
- Think about a small sale that leads into the big sale (so customers get a deal whenever they shop in November)
What should a Black Friday nurture sequence look like?
Figuring out the perfect cadence of when to send an email and how many to send can be overwhelming. But balancing promotional and educational emails, especially during the holiday season, can be even more of a challenge.
We’ve done the research for you and can point you in the right direction for:
- What to do when you can’t offer large discounts or start your sale early
- How many emails you should send for Black Friday
- At what frequency you should send your Black Friday emails
What if I can’t offer mega discounts?
Sure, retailers offer crazy deals that, as a small business (SMB), you can’t offer. But before you get defeated, remember that you have an entire day, Small Business Saturday 2022, dedicated to awesome SMBs like yours. And you can get creative on your offerings to drive sales even the big brands will envy.
And there’s even more reason for hope! More than 70% of consumers said they came out in 2020 specifically to support Small Business Saturday. Still not convinced? How about this:
- SMBs saw over a 500% boost in sales on Cyber Monday compared to a regular day in October
- Nearly 80% of consumers consider free shipping as their top influence in their Black Friday buying decisions
So, if all else fails, play into your small business roots and offer free shipping. But you can also offer free gift wrapping on purchases, small gifts (like a sample size product) with purchase, or bundles that give slight discounts but put more money in your pocket than if they bought one product alone.
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How many emails should I send for Black Friday?
It seems like the number of emails you should send changes every year. If you send too few, your audience may not see them. But if you send too many, you risk spamming your audience. So how do you know how many emails to send?
We suggest between three and five, and here’s why:
- Multiple emails up the chances of your subscribers seeing them during one of the busiest times of year for their inboxes
- Five emails, neatly spaced out, over a week or so isn’t spamming subscribers
The more you space out your emails, the more you can send. If you want to start your email sends in early November, you can include a few more emails in your sequence. Check out this sample sequence that is right in the middle of too little and too many emails:
- First email: A teaser that previews upcoming deals or offers early-bird pricing. And if your target audience takes pride in supporting small businesses, you can share a bit of your story here, too!
- Second email: A reminder email that the big sale is coming. Think of this as a hype email that has subscribers watching the clock until they can get those deals.
- Third email: Your main Black Friday email that shares the discount code, shares product photos, and lets subscribers know your sale is live.
- Fourth email: If you extend your sale or want to create urgency by telling subscribers to get the deals in the final hours of your sales, this is the email to do so. If your sale is over, send them a thank you email.
- Fifth email: A heartfelt and genuine thank you email that expresses gratitude and emphasizes how much their support matters for SMBs like yours.
Pro tip: Design your emails ahead of time in Flodesk Email and add them to your workflow, so all you have to do is set it and forget it.
How often should I send my Black Friday emails?
You know you should send more than one email but not enough to spam your subscribers. So, what’s the perfect number? Well, there isn’t one. In an ideal world, you’d send multiple emails spaced out over a few weeks before Black Friday, leading into the holiday weekend. But the exact number you send depends on which strategy you use. Here are two holiday email strategies we love:
- A longer send period. Because the send period is so long, you can send a few emails every week without overwhelming subscribers.
This strategy involves sending emails from early November through early December to cover all major holidays within that timeframe. The goal is to build anticipation for your sales, engage your audience, and nurture your subscribers.
Early emails hype up your subscribers for the big sales day by sending teaser emails. You get subscribers anxious to buy for the entire month, so come Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they’re excitedly anticipating your sales email and can’t wait to shop.
- A very short send period. The second strategy relies on packing a powerful punch in a very short time span—from a day or two before Black Friday through a few days after Cyber Monday. Because it’s so short, you should send two emails a day, but they need to be value-packed.
Your emails should stress urgency and emphasize that the sale ends soon. You want to drive subscribers to action, so leverage design to draw the eye towards your CTA or use bold fonts and colors that highlight your sale.
Whichever strategy you choose, customize each message based on when you send them. Emails that arrive closer to the holiday weekend could emphasize urgency, while your early emails could get subscribers excited about what’s coming or offer sneak peeks.
Pro tip: Segment your list based on subscribers who have purchased from you in the past and create an email sequence that includes a free gift email, rewarding their loyalty.
How do I nurture customers after the sales are over?
You got the sale, congratulations! But now what? You can let your customers be one-and-done shoppers, or you can nurture them into repeat customers and even brand advocates. And if you prioritize nurturing your subscribers, you can create a steady stream of repeat customers. Here’s how:
Ask for a product review
Typically, you’d want to ask for a product review shortly after your customers received your product. But the holiday season is busy and often dedicated to family time, so give it a little time before you send a product review email. When you send it, ask for an honest review and be genuine. Let customers know you take feedback seriously and want to provide the best products, services, and experiences possible.
Entice one-time customers to purchase from you in the future with compelling reviews or results your clients achieved. People want to see that your products or services worked for someone else. A social proof email shows off your results without directly bragging.
Show customers how to use your products
What better way to create a stellar customer experience than giving your customers everything they need to use your product? Create engaging videos or guides that walk your customers through how to use your product.
Tell your brand story
Customers want to foster relationships with brands on a more personal level. They want to feel connected to your mission. Create a thoughtful founders video or note to include in an email. This seemingly direct access to the company can build lasting relationships with your subscribers.
Build trust by sharing valuable content
Outside of the holiday season, subscribers join your list because you offer something of value. Whether it’s weekly tips on how to grow their Instagram following, top vacation deals, or industry tips, you offer something your subscribers want.
Keep this mindset after your holiday sales and send emails that provide valuable content. Here are a few ideas:
- Guides. Think style, gift, and how-tos.
- Video tutorials. How should subscribers use your product or get the most from your service?
- Educational content. Think of infographics, blogs, or videos that inform subscribers.
Welcome new subscribers
Before the holidays, set up a segment for customers who opt-in during the checkout process. You can create a welcome sequence specifically for these customers that thanks them for their purchase and sends a warm welcome to your list. It starts your relationship off on the right foot and encourages them to stay on your list.
Create an exceptional experience
Your subscribers and your customers expect a great experience. Don’t drop the ball by neglecting customers after they make a purchase. Create a welcome sequence that introduces your brand and your story, previews what to expect, and thanks them for joining your list.
Keep your promises. Did you tell them to expect monthly emails, but you send them daily? Did you promise educational content but instead spam them with promo emails? Create a beautiful experience by delivering on what you promised instead.
When are the best times to send my holiday emails?
Whether it’s the holiday season or any other time of the year, one of the most popular questions about email marketing is knowing when to send emails. But unlike the rest of the year, your subscribers’ inboxes are flooded with promotional emails.
Emails get buried or lost, and open and clickthrough rates drop. But there is good news: you can view your data to see when your subscribers typically open and click on your emails. And you can use industry data to plan your email sends.
- What time do your subscribers typically open and click on the links in your emails?
- Are there certain days that perform better?
Research shows that emails receive the highest open rates at 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. And for clickthrough? Four o’clock garners the highest rates. Studies also show that more than half of people open their emails first thing in the morning. Sending your emails early in the day can ensure your subscribers see them.
What are the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday email subject lines?
There are general subject lines for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season that perform well, which we’ll share below. But when you’re writing your subject lines, keep your audience and your brand in mind:
- Do the subject lines match the vibe of your brand?
- Will your audience respond to direct, no-fluff subject lines or do they prefer a more subtle approach?
Keeping that in mind, here are a few subject lines we suggest for the holiday season:
- Early Black Friday sale starts tomorrow. Save up to 70%
- First turkey, then great deals
- Rise and shine…Black Friday deals are here!
- Give thanks (and get an extra 50% off!)
- 40% off. Free shipping. It must be Black Friday
- It’s finally here! Black Friday sale starts now
We also recommend looking at your holiday emails from last year. What worked? What didn’t? Look at what subject lines garnered the most opens. Exploring the data can help you come up with great subject lines specific to your audience.
The holiday season is a chaotic, exciting, and opportune time for your small business to grow your list, increase revenue, and nurture subscribers into repeat customers. If you take time to plan your holiday sequence, keep your subscribers top of mind, and follow guidance from this blog, you can have your best sales season yet.
And if you want more information on how to have the best sales season ever, check out our masterclass!
We can’t wait to see what you create!
Have the best holiday season ever with Flodesk Checkout
Build beautiful sales pages, add holiday discounts, and create a seamless checkout experience for your customers.