The Ultimate Black Friday SMS Marketing Guide (with Examples)

Black Friday is massive. In 2021 Shopify merchants online made $2.9 billion in sales, an increase of 21% from 2020

This makes Black Friday one of the biggest days for sales during the year.

And it’s not just Black Friday. The 4-day weekend from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, which also includes Small Business Saturday, is arguably the most important sales period of the year. 

That’s why you need to pull out all the stops to make the most of the sales opportunity and stand out from other merchants. Which is why you can’t go without setting up an SMS marketing campaign. 

The importance of SMS marketing during Black Friday

With an astronomical open rate of 98% and more than 60% of customers reading an SMS message within 5 minutes, SMS is a powerful marketing channel all year round. 

But during the BFCM weekend, SMS becomes a must-have for any merchant running a sale.

Why? Because no other channel cuts through the noise and reaches your customers better than SMS. Which is essential when it’s not just crowds of shoppers clamoring for the best deal that makes BFCM incredibly busy, but also the number of marketing messages vying to capture their attention. 

Mobile commerce is also on the rise. In 2021, just under half of all online sales (43%) were made from mobile devices during the holiday season. It’s not surprising then that Black Friday SMS messages have generated up to a 20x return

So while you should still send Black Friday emails, it’s important to also ensure your marketing messages reach people where they’re doing their browsing and shopping–their mobiles.

Tips create a stellar SMS marketing campaign

Success with SMS is far from guaranteed. 

While it can generate seriously impressive results for your store, SMS marketing also requires a decent amount of care and consideration. 

Chances are you may have firsthand experience of how annoying a poorly executed SMS campaign can be. Multiply this experience with everyone on a business’ subscriber list receiving the SMS and you can imagine the damage this can do to a brand.

So before jumping into some SMS tips and best practices for BFCM, it’s best to check out our guide on SMS marketing if you haven’t already. 

Already understand the basics of SMS? Let’s look at how you can go that extra step for Black Friday.

Update your sign-up forms

Ideally, you’ll already have a healthy subscriber list with phone numbers that you can target with your BFCM campaigns. 

That said, the lead-up to the holiday season is the perfect time to ramp up your efforts to grow your subscriber list. As this is the time of the year shoppers are looking for a great deal, it’s the perfect time to entice them with a powerful offer. 

Such as in the example below.

sign up and get 20% off sms sign up pop up

As Black Friday gets closer, you can be more explicit and position your SMS sign-up form as a way to get early access to your Black Friday deals. 

If you want to go one step further, once Black Friday is done and dusted, you could quickly swap out your form for a new one advertising your Cyber Monday deals. 

Start sending SMS messages before your customers start shopping

One of the most common pitfalls merchants fall into with their BFCM SMS campaign is leaving it until Black Friday to send their first message. 

By this time, shoppers will already have a good idea of what they want to buy and where they want to buy it from. 

In other words, you’ll lose out to merchants that captured the attention of shoppers by sending their messages out earlier. 

One idea is to send a ‘sneak peek’ of your Black Friday deals to people a week in advance. Just like in the example below.

sneak peak sms example black friday

Doing this can help build excitement and anticipation for your sale while also giving you enough of a buffer between your first message and follow-up messages that you’ll avoid overwhelming subscribers with too many messages.

And the perfect follow-up to this is a message on Thanksgiving where you could potentially grant customers early access to your sale. 

thanksgiving sms example black friday

This type of message can help make your customers feel like they’re getting an exclusive deal and gets them to your sale before your competitors start messaging them. 

If you want to amplify the exclusivity feeling, you could also consider including a unique promo code that’s personalized to your subscriber. Such as BFCM20-darcy-428.

Consider how many messages you’re sending

We’ve already talked about sending an SMS a week in advance and another one on Thanksgiving right before Black Friday. 

If you’re not careful, you can easily end up sending too many messages and run the risk of annoying your customers. 

Generally, you don’t want to be messaging your customers more than once a week. If there’s one exception to this though, it’s the Black Friday weekend. 

By getting your first message out a week in advance, you’ve built yourself a nice buffer to ease customers into your campaign. Once the weekend hits though, customers will be anticipating an avalanche of sale offers and messages. 

So it’s okay to follow up your Thanksgiving message with an SMS on Black Friday. (It makes little sense not to send one on Black Friday when it’s the most important day of the holiday shopping season!)

black friday sms example

Some merchants will send a message every day of the 4-day weekend with new offers and incentives. Before deciding to opt for this strategy, carefully consider how your customer would respond to such a high sending frequency. 

Unless you’re especially targeting Small Business Saturday, you might want to instead give your customers a break until Cyber Monday rolls around when you can give your campaign one final push. 

In the meantime, you can use the softer touch of email marketing to keep your customers informed and the sales coming in.

Consider when you send your messages

In addition to how many messages you send, it’s just as important to consider when you’re sending them. 

Just because your sale starts at the stroke of midnight on Black Friday, it doesn’t mean your customers when to be woken up with a new text message on their mobiles. 

To comply with the TCPA, you should not send messages between 9 pm and 8 am. These are generally considered ‘quiet hours.’  

Instead, we recommend sending a message on the mornings of Black Friday and Cyber Monday around 10 am. Your early access message on Thanksgiving could be sent around 3pm in the afternoon. 

Don’t forget about general SMS best practices

When creating the individual text messages to form your Black Friday campaign, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Include your store name so people know who you are
  • Personalize your messages by including your subscriber’s name 
  • Make your messages more engaging and interesting by incorporating emojis or even using MMS 
  • Only ever send marketing messages to subscribers who have given their consent 
  • Always include a way for subscribers to opt out of your SMS marketing at the end of the message

Time to make the most of this Black Friday weekend

Now that you know how to go about your BFCM SMS marketing, it’s time to create your own campaign! 

With SmartrMail, it’s easy to set up an SMS campaign for Black Friday (or any other event for that matter) and also combine it with your email marketing strategy. 

If you’re already a SmartrMail user, you can learn how to do this right here. Otherwise, you can install SmartrMail for free right here.

All the best this Black Friday! 

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