For most eCommerce businesses, the most important events of the year are Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Well, guess what? We have the perfect session for you to refresh your knowledge about the upcoming period to make sure you stay on top of your game when Black Friday and Cyber Monday arrive.

Brace yourself! This is a short, but incredibly insightful conversation. Check out the transcript below as well, to catch a glimpse of this packed episode.

Who is Kunle Campbell?

Kunle Campbell is an outsourced eCommerce CMO and advisor. He is visually creative oriented, yet pragmatically guided by data and testing. He coaches ambitious retail teams focused on unlocking growth through acquisition, CLV and UX optimization.

He is the host of the 2X eCommerce podcast and has interviewed over 250 DTC eCommerce leaders.

Key takeaways from this episode

Building seed audiences – what are they?

A seed audience is the core, it eyeballs the people that have your attention, essentially. They could have your attention for multiple channels, but when you look at an audience – who are we speaking to? – it could be email lists, it can be as simple as an email list or an SMS list or it could be a Facebook audience, so it could be website visitors.

Back in the days, we just used to see traffic in Analytics and there was no real tangible way to speak to the traffic. But what platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat offer is a conversation, it’s not like broadcast channels essentially. Those audiences are people, they no longer look at eCommerce from traffic on a conversion standpoint per se. I’m looking at people and into different kinds of segments and different kinds of ways I talk to people.

Let’s say I’m in a school and you have the over 12-year-olds, you have the under 7-year-olds, you have the in-between 7 to 12. The way I speak to the under 7-year-olds will be different from the way I speak to the over 12-year-olds.

An audience is people, essentially. A seed audience is the people you have direct access to as a direct-to-consumer e-commerce business. 

Activating channels – the perfect fit for an eCommerce

Selecting a channel depends on the kind of business you’re in. In today’s B2C world, when you’re talking business-to-consumer and you’re an eCommerce, there’s no doubt that the Facebook-Instagram platform is one platform to be at.

But you have to look at it from an earned, owned and bought perspective, in terms of the media you’re buying, because the end goal of media is to generate audiences. From an owned perspective, every kind of business regardless should have an email list to date, an SMS list and probably a push notification list. 

Standing out from the competition for BFCYM

Product launch

There are two ways to improve conversions in general. One is to amplify motivation levels from your customers and then have them just suit up in a way that no matter what barriers in their way, they’re just going to run and overcome those barriers. The other is conversion rate optimization where you reduce the friction.

With a product launch, you’re working on the motivation bits. A company that does product launches excellently –  they’re the gold standard, but it doesn’t mean that every other retailer cannot do it – is Apple. What Apple does is have a September event. I know we’re in Q4 now, but moving forward before your Black Friday, in Q3 release a product, a new product or product improvements that gets people, your audience, super excited to gain their attention about your product, about your brand. Do that, so that in Q4, you’re prepping them up for gifting. 

One of the biggest gifts in terms of items in the last five years has been the Airpods and they surprisingly were released in September. That in itself is getting people prepped up. So even if they’re not ready to purchase in Q3 and in Q4 you’re priming them out that this is the gift season, just seize this opportunity, we have a reason for you to come back to us.

Audience building

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Cyber Week, they are pretty much a retargeting event. You’re going to find that 80 to 90 percent of all sales are going to come from people that already know your brand and another 10 to 20 percent will come from people who are making that impulse purchase.

So you need to start to take what I called benchmarks. You need to start benchmarking your email lists. It doesn’t really stop there. You have an entire email list. You need to start to benchmark: who are my VIP? At this point in time, last October, on the 1st of October 2019, what was the size of my email list? How many VIP customers did we have? How many engaged subscribers did we have? How many engaged customers did we have? How many inactive customers did we have? How many inactive leads did we have? How many low spenders did we have?

You need to benchmark those numbers and then set a target, monetary targets, on it. Do we want to double sales in Q4, this Q4 as compared to last year? If your list is pretty much the same size or has not so grown., if you’re not going to your VIP customer list, your engaged customers list, if it’s static, if it’s regressing I can guarantee you that your Q4 of 2020 is just going to come to nada, it’s going to either regress or it’s the incremental you expect. It’s just not there. Numbers don’t lie.

The only way you could potentially hack this is if you get your existing customer base really excited with new products or the products you sell – like gifting products because you know that on a regular basis people buy your products to gift others – your message in this respect from now should be prepping them up towards that gifting mentality.

In regards to your VIP customer list, what should you be looking at? You should be looking at recency. Most times, your recency will not go beyond 180 days but it all depends on the kind of products you’re selling. You look at frequency: over this particular cohort which I think customers might lapse, how many times do we expect them to buy from us? Then finally the monetary value: how much have they spent with us in the last 180 days?

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You need to get that nice 20 percent, look at the median and then look at the 20 that’s your top five percent, for instance. If those numbers are significant, then you know you’ll have your VIP list, your engaged subscribers basically, people who have opened or clicked on your emails regularly. They’re not necessarily customers.

Your engaged customers are people who purchase from you within a certain cohort, within a certain course of time.and they still click or open your e-mails. Those guys, you could either think about moving them to VIP customers or you could think about actually getting them to purchase because they are already customers and they’re engaging with your emails

The challenge for many eCommerce managers at the moment would be who are our inactive leads or subscribers and our lost customers. Those guys, you need to probably generate a strong enough incentive or lower the bar for them to at least activate them to become customers again. For low spenders, what your major objective is to make them purchase a bit more.

Once you’ve established this, look at where you are now in October. If your email list has grown by 10 percent and you’re trying to grow YOY to 50 percent, 60 percent, then you have a lot of work to do now. Look at your email collection strategy, start to drive traffic, cold traffic through to your website, focus on your email collection, on Facebook lead campaigns, whether you’re getting emails or still pre-qualifying, and put them on a welcome series email. 

These people are warming up, you’re bringing people in, you’re controlling your media, you’re controlling your audience. You need control of that audience. It’s almost like the harvest- you seed. When you collect emails, you’re more or less putting seeds in the ground. And then when they grow, which is BFCYM, it’s pretty much the harvest time. You need a really mature audience size to do that.

It doesn’t stop at just email. There’s your mobile phone list which is becoming really effective. There’s your push notification list. There’s your Facebook Messenger list and then you look at your audiences on Facebook. With your Facebook audiences, you have website visitors, which is the broadest, you have view content, you have add to cart, you have initiate check out, you have purchases. But the most important thing for Black Friday is your website visitors – you need to grow that – which is essentially traffic. There are your Google AdWords, your marketing lists, you have your Snapchat custom audience list and many other channels like Pinterest and even Twitter with these pixels on there.

Black Friday is a retargeting campaign, a retargeting event and also an opportunity for you to test multiple channels because you’re not talking to cold audiences now. If these pixels are on your site now, you could just throw in like 20 percent of your budgets into other channels and then 80 percent into Facebook to retarget them and then to focus on your email list. 

The more touchpoints over that Black Friday and Cyber Monday event that people see your brand in, the more likely you are to convince them that you matter. 

What happens after BFCYM?

I’ll just say this from a more philosophical standpoint: in order to master something, you need to understand it yourself. As a retailer, you have to understand that’s okay, you’re going to peak out. Besides black swan events such as COVID, your busiest points will be the end of November and probably the start of December. Now things will inevitably slow down. Now, what do you do? 

Let’s say, hypothetically, you do a site-wide sale of 25 percent on your site for Black Friday. You’re going to find some people who missed the boat. You’re going to find some people who still want to purchase from you. Obviously, you also have to ensure that your biggest ever discounts are over that Black Friday. It’s kind of what Amazon Prime is doing with Prime Day. That way you condition people, so for the next event, they don’t want to miss it.

After that, I would suggest that, depending on how big your catalog is, you start to do either category forecast, discounts or offers or multi-buy, just offers basically, particular categories. You sort of stem it down. So 25% turns to 20%, 20% turns to 15%. Then, closer to the actual Christmas holidays, it might just be 10%, because those people who are the last-minute shoppers, they need it. There’s that desperation.

Now, come January. You need to look back. I think January is an analysis period. Look back at the performance, the audience, the year on year audience growth, the year on year average order value off the back of all the offers, all your campaign performance and see what we need to do to the run-up against the next Black Friday.

I know there are other events such as Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, Labor Day. But, for most retailers, the biggest point for the year is the Black Friday event, so you start to set your target: how big we want our list to grow this year based on the performance of the growth, how many people we want to have on our Facebook Audiences, what traffic looks like when you start to map it out.

Then you start to take action and allocate the necessary budget to what’s hitting those targets. Many brands, unfortunately, are scratching their heads right now and they don’t know for sure if this Black Friday or this Cyber Week event is going to be successful or not. I can guarantee that if your list is double what it was last year, they will be successful.

Right now I’m seeing a lot of lead email sign-up campaigns through Facebook and people are panicking. Why are they panicking? Because they know the size of their lists. They need to grow the size, they need to talk to more people. Marketing is about talking to people, influencing people to take action, to arouse their desire to want to take action – AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action/Advocacy). This is late right now to be running it. It could work, but why take that risk when you could pre-plan since January?