[Chapter 5] The Countdown to Black Friday: Ecommerce CRM Strategies to Start 3 Weeks Out

Hey! This post is part of a larger series geared toward helping ecommerce sellers understand, engage with, and love more customers this holiday season. After all, that’s exactly what the holidays are about, right?

Just tuning in? Don’t sweat it! Get your own free copy of our entire 70-page holiday ebook, Rethinking Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

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You have a lot going on in your world before the holiday season comes crashing in. Your personal life might be stuffed with your own gift buying, late-night wrapping sessions, and festive decorating frenzies. And if you’re running an online store, your to-do list runs the gamut from ordering inventory to site maintenance to, well, what we’re doing right here at Drip.

(We get it. Despite all this tech mumbo-jumbo, we’re just people, too. Keep your chin up, keep the eggnog close, and keep these tips in mind.)

The more you can plan for the impending onslaught of holly jolly, the better. An easy way for your store to be forgotten during (and after) Black Friday is to toss out a hurried and impersonal email at the last second to everyone you can get your hands on. 

To avoid having to work right through this year’s Thanksgiving meal in order to get some message out your digital door in the final hours, give yourself some more time. Check out which segments to make, workflows to build, and emails to send in the 3 weeks leading up to the official start of the Cyber Five. 

Hashing out Your Ecommerce Holiday Plans with Drip ECRM

This ecommerce holiday series has slowly building up to this point—digging into Drip and building the moving pieces to your strategy. Up until this very moment, we’ve covered:

By understanding what online shoppers want to get out of their ecommerce experience (besides getting the product they want to buy) and how to provide them with it, you’ll have a better idea of what to make. Workflows, segments, and automations all make more sense in context of why you’re doing all of this: To provide a better experience for your customers. 

With a fine foundation laid and some ideas already fired up in your mind, let’s start building in Drip. Instead of dragging through a marathon Drip session, we’ve broken down this next part into bite-size pieces. Plus, smaller goals will give you big wins along the way (but the biggest win is not panicking on Black Friday, amiright?)


Black Friday Planning Calendar


Black Friday Planning Calendar December

Finding Your People: Must-have Segments in Drip for Black Friday

The word “segment” sounds a little cold and sterile (or like you’ve somehow wandered back into your geometry class of yore), but segments in Drip are far from it. By our own definition:

“A segment is a filtered list of people that have something in common, such as the same Tag, Custom Field, or some other criteria. When a segment is created, it dynamically includes and excludes people based on the specified filter criteria.”  Drip

Segments are what make personalization possible. Personalized journeys, personalized emails, personalized ads—a segment is the information that dictates who sees what. You can filter people by a ton of stuff. Choose from any of your tags, the date they were added to your list, the brands they buy, the sizes they search for, their purchase frequency, and more. 




The list of segments you can create is pretty unending, but there’s no need to get overwhelmed by it all. At Drip, we suggest a few tried-and-true segments for people just getting started with segmentation. These include:

  • Purchaser People who have bought something, anything from your store at any point.

  • Non-purchaser People who have given you info but have never purchased. For example, a shopper who signed up for your newsletter, but hasn’t been through the checkout.

  • 1x Purchaser People who have bought from you one time.

  • 2x Purchaser People who have bought from you two times. 

  • 3x+ Purchaser People who have bought from you three or more times.

  • Disengaged (30, 60, 90 days) People who haven’t engaged with your store—visited the site, opened an email, etc.—in 30-day increments. 

Heads up! These are just our suggestions. The criteria can always be adjusted, so the important thing to remember is to adopt and adapt what’s best for your store. Also, if you’re just setting up your online store, some of these might be tough to find people for right now, e.g., 3x customer, disengaged 90 days, etc. And that’s ok! You can still create these segments so that when the time comes to talk to your VIP customers, you’ll be ready!

To stay calm and collected during a stressful season, set goals to make one or two segments at a time. Setting aside a little bit of time each day during the weeks preceding Black Friday means you can sleep easy instead of stressing through the night.

Create Automated Workflows That Speak to Each Segment 

Workflows were mentioned earlier in this series (in Chapter 2!) when talking about lead nurture and product abandonment campaigns. Those are workflows you should always have humming in the background of your store, regardless of the season. However, when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s a good idea to set up seasonal workflows that run during these promotions instead of year-round.

With your segments in mind, it’s time to weave them into workflows. There are a couple ways you can trigger workflows specific to segments of people, but for now, we’re going to focus on building specific Black Friday workflows that are triggered when corresponding tags are applied to people.

Step 1: Apply tags that trigger a workflow.

Tags are essential when it comes to segmenting, targeting, and understanding people at a glance. They’re labels applied to people based on differentiating factors, e.g., “Downloaded Ebook” or “Promo User.”

If you’re brand new Drip, read this manual in our learning hub, MyDrip, that explains exactly how to apply a tag to all people in a segment using a Bulk Operation. It’s only a few steps, and the on-screen instructions are pretty clear, but it never hurts to learn a little more!

To keep things clean and as simple as possible, I’m going to start creating tags specific to segments I want to engage with during Black Friday / Cyber Monday.

These tags will follow a format similar to BFCM 2019 2x Purchaser so that I can keep organized and rest-assured that I’ll always be able to find these people. Decide how many segments you want to reach this season and start tagging them appropriately.

Once your segments are tagged, let’s start making workflows that are personalized to them.

Step 2: Build your workflows.

Workflows can go in any direction you choose. You establish what the triggers are, the experiences people will have, and the goals of each workflow.

Here are some rules to follow while building your BFCM 2019 workflows:

  • If making a purchase is a goal in your workflows, make sure to include the extra action of adding a tag like “BFCM 2019 Customer.” That way, if someone does make a purchase in these holiday workflows, you’ll be able to identify them and create an experience just for them for next year’s BFCM campaign.

  • Take a multichannel approach. Earlier in this series, we talked about taking inventory of your marketing channels. By assessing which channels are having the most impact with your audience, you’ll have a better idea of which to include in these holiday workflows from email to social media and beyond.

  • Consider split-testing inside a workflow. If this is the first year you’re running full-color BFCM marketing campaigns in Drip, you might not know what resonates more with which segments. For example, people who have disengaged might respond better to receiving three emails versus two emails and a Facebook ad.

By setting up workflow split tests, you’ll have wrapped up this season with some rock-solid data that will directly help you decide what to do next BFCM.



  • Create your workflows so that they send out a steady stream of communication to the segments you’re engaging with. For at least two weeks before Black Friday (since it’s the first major shopping day for the holiday season), keep in touch with your segments.

    For 1x Purchasers, consider showing them your top-selling products, since they may not be as familiar as your more frequent customers. Or for your 3x+ Purchasers. Consider sending them VIP offers or sneak peeks at what’s ahead to further drive their loyalty to your brand.

    With a steady cadence of emails, ads, texts, or other channels you integrate with Drip and include in this strategy, your online store will build up trust and anticipation with people. Then, when Black Friday finally arrives, they’ll know exactly where to head.

Pace yourself. In the calendars earlier in this chapter, you’ll notice that days are marked for when to start building your segments if you were using the six we recommend. However, the calendar may shift if your BFCM strategy is to reach out to more or fewer segments. 

Steady Planning Makes for a Calm Black Friday

The goal is to stop thinking about Black Friday as an overwhelming task and start thinking about it in small steps that can be accomplished well within a day. By focusing on part of your audience in the days leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you'll be able to build workflows focused all around them and their experience.

Remember, as you create your workflows, you're also going to have to devote time to building out personalized assets. For example, your 3X+ Purchasers should receive different emails that speak to their loyalty than the Non-purchasers will receive.

As daunting as that seems, tackling the task at hand with one segment, one day at a time, your ecommerce store is going to stand out from the competition that's providing generic, annoying, batch-and-blast emails all season long. By taking some time before Black Friday, your customers will remember you for many seasons to come.

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