[Chapter 8] Make This BFCM the Gift That Keeps on Giving: How to Guarantee Repeat Customers for Next Year

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?

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Your pre-holiday strategies are rock-solid. Black Friday and Cyber Monday plans will hum along without a hitch. And your post-BFCM campaigns are cued up and ready to go. This year’s holiday marketing is bound to be good. 

In the past seven chapters, we’ve explored how critical a personalized, nurturing customer experience is when it comes to differentiating your online brand. Recognizing, remembering, and treating customers to tailored experiences before, during, and after Black Friday and Cyber Monday will show that you’re committed to them as people (and not just as a fast sale).

With your strategies in mind, it’s time to consider the final piece to your ecommerce holiday puzzle: Your store’s next Black Friday and Cyber Monday strategies.

BFCM Post-Mortem: Identify Your Best-Performing Emails and Workflows from This Season

Did a few of your emails show standout metrics this year? Did one of your workflows garner more engagement and revenue than the others? Notice anything else that was particularly hot with your customers? Make sure to jot all of that down.

Create a BFCM post-mortem document and pick apart the workflows and campaigns you were running this season. Whether you’re holding a post-mortem with a team of marketers or having a solo retrospective, make sure to answer at least these questions in your documentation:

  1. What made your final strategies great? 
    Pick out the things that went well. From images in ads to email personalization to the number of clicks you saw on your notification bars, let's take a moment to celebrate the best bits of this season's strategies.

  2. What are the results you were expecting? Did you hit those goals?
    Did you get to subscribe as many people as you had hoped to your email list? Were you opens and clicks what you wanted? Was your revenue earned with Drip where you wanted it to be? Did everyone make it through your day-of Black Friday workflow? Take a look at the numbers and write them down.

  3. Which strategies worked well, had high engagement, etc.?
    Sift through everything you did this season—from ad campaigns to workflows to emails—and add your best-performing ones to this doc. You'll want to know which strategies resonated the most when it comes to planning next year.

  4. Which strategies didn’t perform well?
    Now that you've ID'd the good, let's take a look at the not-so-good. If some emails or a workflow didn't work like you had hoped, that's OK. The strategies you think of for this response are the ones you're going to learn and grow the most from.

  5. What would you do differently next year?
    If you could go back in time, what would you change? Write those notes down for next season, and try to make some of those changes. 

The purpose of a post-mortem is to reflect on and better understand your strategies. If something didn’t quite go your way, this is the time to pinpoint what happened and grow from there. It’s also another opportunity to sit down and focus on your customers. Put yourself in their shoes and see if you get a different view of why something resonated (or not) with people. 

Include as much information in each answer as you can dig up. Don’t forget to spell out the metrics you mention, slip in a screenshot of your dashboards, or even add a link to the email or workflow you’re referencing. The more details you include in this document, the easier it will be to understand what went well and where you can make improvements for next year.

Plus, measuring and recording the results from your marketing strategies this year will help you plan and set goals for next year. Over time, you’ll be able to better predict how much growth in both people and revenue you could be able to see over the holidays.

Make Small-scale Improvements for Big-time Customer Love

Even if all of your emails and workflows blow right past your expectations, there’s always room for growth and improvement. After all, your customers aren’t going to stop evolving until next year, and neither should your ecommerce strategies.

But improving on an already-pretty-good-thing doesn’t mean reinventing the mouse trap. Don’t feel like you have to tear down these strategies to create something bigger and better next year, especially if you saw even mild success. 

Consider small changes like these:

Play with your subject lines.
What were the subject lines for your most successful emails? Each subject line you make for the holidays is facing huge competition for attention in the inbox. With so many batch-and-blast emails landing in people’s inboxes, see if you can catch more attention with some personalization. Try inserting their first name somewhere in the subject.

Personalize your email copy.
Similar to subject lines, try your hand at more email copy personalization. Did you take full advantage of the powers of Liquid Language? How about Drip’s dynamic content? Adding personalized content will boost clicks and drive purchases.

Write genuine, meaningful body copy.
Pay attention to the body copy of the emails that are getting the most engagement. Is there a lot or a little of it? Is it feature- or benefit-focused? Try a customer-focused approach for the emails you write next season. Even if the announcement is about a big sale, take the focus off the price of the item and point it on how much the product could benefit the customer.

When it comes to your workflows, no need to rip them down to the studs. If you’re thinking of making changes—adding Facebook Custom Audiences, adjusting a time delay, sending more or fewer emails—consider split testing next Black Friday / Cyber Monday. 

Whatever adjustments you plan on making for an even better BFCM next year, though, make sure your improvements don’t stray from the most important focus: the people.

Remember: Use Your Tags

Does the term “Tag” ring a bell? In Chapter 6, we talked about different ways to apply tags like BFCM2019 to people who engage with your store over the holidays. Being able to identify people and segment them based on their participation in your holiday campaigns is huge. 

Tags help you remember who these customers are so you can recognize and appreciate them all year long—a gesture they won’t forget. Appropriately adding tags to people as they engage with you is also a good starting point for follow-up workflows.

Want to let people know that you have a lot in store next BFCM? Want to announce a new product? Thanks to tagging, you’ll be able to pick out groups of people who will be most interested in hearing that news in a flash. 

Pay Attention to Trends in Online Shopping

As mentioned earlier, even though the next holiday shopping season isn't far away, people are constantly evolving. People—as in, your very customers! Just as people are shifting from being price-focused to being experience-focused when shopping online, they're going to continue shifting in what they want from brands. 

Think of all the trends that have emerged in just the past year or two. From chat bots to augmented reality to comprehensive ECRM platforms (Hey! That's us!), ecommerce is becoming less about free two-day shipping and more about the genuine relationships online stores can build with shoppers. 

Pay attention to trends that emerge throughout the year, and consider weaving more customer-centric tactics into your BFCM strategies when you notice them emerge. Ecommerce brands that pay attention to what real people are craving are the ones that are going to be noticed, earn loyalty, and see great success on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and beyond.

Understand Your Strategies, Understand Your Customers

From dissecting your Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing strategies with a post-mortem teardown to thinking about trends that customers like all year long, you're taking more steps to having a deeper understanding of your customers.

The more you pay attention to what they actually want (and less on what was "the thing" years ago), the more united you'll be with them. All people, from casual browsers to frequent buyers, will notice your commitment to their experience. And that is exactly how your store will be gifted more loyal customers this season, next season, and forever more. 

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