Here’s How To Optimize Your SMS Campaign Sending Strategy for Black Friday

This isn’t a surprise, but more and more customers will do their shopping online this Black Friday. Shopify tells us that 97% of BFCM shoppers in the U.S. plan to shop online.

Last year, Shopify merchants made $2.9+ billion in BFCM sales, with 69% of them coming from mobile.

It’s never been more important to meet customers where they are. With the smartphone fully engrained into how we live our lives, a mobile strategy is crucial to engage customers and maximize your sales.

This is where SMS comes into play.

The average person checks their texts 150 times a day.

Your customers live on their phones, and SMS is a vital tool to help you reach more of them this BFCM.

The best examples of SMS are direct, personal, and most importantly — provide a lightning-fast, human-driven experience compared to other channels such as email.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into best practices for sending SMS campaigns that will get you optimal results on Black Friday.

Let’s get started…

1. Text Your List At The Right Time

Campaign send times can make or break your success.

People get bombarded by marketing messages during BFCM. If you’re texting your customers too late, they’ll just ignore you, no matter how compelling your offer might be. 😟

Here are some basic guidelines to help you schedule your campaign for success:

  • 8:00 am – 10:00 am: The morning is a good time to text customers since they’re typically getting ready for the day. By going early, you’ll get your offer in front of your audience before the competition.
  • 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm: This is a solid shopping time, since it’s after work hours but not too late at night. You want to avoid sending campaigns around 08:00 pm – 10:00 pm, as they might be going to bed around these hours.

Whatever you do – do NOT send text messages too early in the morning or too late at night. This will come off as intrusive, and it’s probably the least HUMAN way to text your customers.

Pro tip: Start teasing your Black Friday deal with SMS campaigns a couple of days before you launch. At this stage, people are already researching what products to buy.

2. Segment Your SMS Subscriber List


Don’t burn out your SMS. Just don’t do it! Nobody wants to receive text after text from your brand.

If you’re trying to drive sales volume from your SMS list, use segmentation. By segmenting out your subscribers, you can send targeted messages that are tailored to each customer’s preferences. This strategy will keep them engaged (and subscribed). 

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to SMS campaigns.

Each customer is different: some buy your products regularly, while others haven’t engaged with your marketing in months. 

Here’s what to think about as you break down your list for BFCM campaigns:

Demographics & Geography

Do you have products that reach different age groups? Or customers who live in different regions, which dictate their preferences? 

Use segmentation to send more targeted campaigns. Here are some basic examples of segments that you can build using demographic or geographic data:

  • Customers who live on the East Coast

  • Customers who live on the West Coast

  • Male Customers 18-35 y/o

  • Female Customers 36-55 y/o

Let’s say you sell premium shorts, which only really have value in the warmer months. If you’re running a Black Friday offer for your shorts, you don’t want to blast it out to any customer that lives in New York. But you do want to get that offer in front of any customer who lives in Southern California. 

Without segmentation, you’d be stuck with one of two bad options:

  • Send your offer hyping up your new shorts to everyone, and risk losing the New York customer

  • Don’t send anything, and miss out on revenue from your SoCal customer

Segmentation solves this issue.

VIP Customers

Are there people on your list that frequently order from your store? If so, think about how you can give them the VIP treatment once the big day arrives. 👑

These are your most valuable customers. 41% of a business’s revenue comes from only 8% of its customers.

VIP means something different to everyone, so here are some things to think about when creating your VIP list:

  • Frequency of purchases: How often do customers repeat orders? If you’re an apparel brand that sells dozens of different SKU’s, your VIPs may order 10x times a year. If you only sell a handful of expensive products, your VIP’s may only order 2x times a year. 

  • Order value: What does a big spender 🤑 look like for your store? Include these contacts in your VIP list as well.

By separating your VIP’s into a unique segment, you can make them feel special and drive much higher conversion compared to your main list. 

Purchase History

Need a clue on what personalized offers will work the best for your customer? Simple: segment your list based on their purchase history. Take a look at these ideas:

  • Product size: segment out your list by customers who’ve ordered a size small, medium, large, etc. If you have a lot of inventory of one size, you can target those who have ordered that size in the past.

  • Repeat purchases: Take a look at customers who have bought the same thing over and over again. If you have a new, similar product, you can target people who have shown you they will be interested first.

Past Engagement

Lastly, your focus this Black Friday should be on subscribers that are most likely to convert. Take a look at your current subscribers and divide them based on how they engage with your brand:

  • Opens: how many times has a contact opened a text or email and in what time period? Segment out the most engaged from the least engaged.

  • Customers vs. Contacts: Segment out prospects from repeat customers. Prospects may need more education on your brand, while previous customers can be heavily targeted with your best offer.

ROI is what matters the most on Black Friday. Don’t be afraid to leave out subscribers that barely engage with your messages.

Pro tip: By segmenting your subscribers, you can anticipate what questions they might come back with. Through two-way SMS with Tone, our team can help you answer shopper questions through lightning-fast, human-driven text conversations.

3. Create Your BFCM Offers

Now that we’ve covered WHEN to send your SMS campaigns and WHO to send to, it’s time to talk about WHAT offer you should be pushing for Black Friday.

It’s all about perceived value. 

Here are some proven Black Friday SMS offers you can lift and shift for your strategy:

Offer Loyal Customers An Extra Deal

Think back to when we talked about the importance of segmenting your list based on customer loyalty. One way you can reward your best customers is to give them access to special deals not available to your standard audience. 

Here’s a great example from The Wakaya GroupIn the example below, VIP members get an early discount for Black Friday. 

An offer like this typically gets an insane conversion rate because it combines a high perceived value with a loyal audience that’s already very likely to buy.

Promote Your Sitewide Deals

A classic tactic during Black Friday is to run a sitewide deal on your entire store. It typically converts extremely well because it’s so simple for the customer to claim the offer. 

You can use SMS campaigns to promote your sitewide discount to customers, just like Alpha Lion does here:

Include a Free Gift With Each Purchase

Nothing gets people to take action better than free stuff. 😍

A good way to drive action during Black Friday while not sacrificing AOV is with a free gift with purchase

Here’s how NativePath uses free gifts to promote their BFCM offer to SMS subscribers:

In the example above, they’re promoting one of their Hardcore Bundles, which consists of a core sheet, duvet cover, and two pillowcases. When the customer buys their bundle, they get to save an extra 20% on the usual 25% off Black Friday sale.

Who can say no to that? 🤷

Pro tip: In addition to your breakthrough offer, use a two-way SMS strategy in which you end the text with a question, like:

“Got any questions I can help with?”

Small questions about code redemptions, shipping timelines, and product specs can be conversion killers.

By ending your SMS campaign with a question, you open the door for your team to eliminate these final objections and close the sale.

This two-way strategy is where we (Tone), come in. We respond via text when your customers have questions. And we do it FAST, because speed matters when it comes to brand-to-customer SMS communication.

Learn more about lightning-fast, human-driven SMS conversations with Tone. 

Check out this example from Apolis, one of our favorite customers:

4. Use Copywriting That Drives Action

OK. We’ve covered when to send your BFCM SMS campaigns, who to send them to, and what offer you should be presenting. It’s now time for us to talk about the last pillar of your SMS campaign strategy: the copy.

The biggest mistake that brands make is that they treat SMS like email. It’s not. SMS is a different channel, and it requires a slightly different copywriting strategy.

Here are some best practices for writing engaging SMS copy that will grab attention this Black Friday.

Make Your Messaging Clear & Straightforward

With text, you get fewer words to work with. This means that every word carries more value. 

As a result, you need to make sure that your copy is short and gets straight to the point. Customers should be able to understand how AMAZING your offer is within a second of reading your text. 

Personalize Your Black Friday Messages

Effective SMS marketing is all about being human. Texting is different than email. People expect an incredibly fast and human-driven experience when texting with a brand.

The best way to do this is through personalization.

What’s a simple place to start? Try including the customer’s name in your text. 

This will make the message feel like it’s just for them, which will increase the chances they engage. You can also personalize by promoting a product you know the customer interested in based on previous purchases (segmenting!). Here’s an example:

“Hi Erin, noticed that you love our joggers! We just launched our Black Friday sale for 3 brand new colors, and we thought of you. Use your special code JOGFRIDAY to save an extra 10%, now through the weekend.”

Use Images to Support Your Message

By adding a beautiful image to your SMS campaign, you can increase open and click rates. The rules for imagery are they it needs to:

  • Immediately capture the reader’s attention

  • Enhance and support the messaging in the copy

  • If possible, show the specific product that you’re promoting

In this example from Brooklinen, they feature their product while also promoting their deal. If the subscriber is interested all they have to do is click the link and they are ready to buy. 

Drive Urgency With Power Words

During BFCM, time is your biggest ally. You need to take advantage of the expiring nature of this period, and drive home the fact that your offer is expiring soon. ⏰

Here are examples of power words you can use in your text to inspire urgency and drive massive conversion:

  • Limited-time only
  • Last chance
  • Never again
  • Expires soon
  • Hurry

Below, you can see how Tone customer Biohm uses power words to drive action from their SMS subscribers. 

Final Thoughts

Black Friday is a time of insane consumer noise! Your primary challenge is to earn the attention of your customer. Email inboxes are flooded, so that’s why SMS is such an important channel during this time.

However, it’s not good enough to just blast your entire list with a subpar SMS campaign.

You need the right strategy in order to drive sales. And you need to tread carefully. Consumer expectations are higher for SMS vs. email.

People expect brand emails to be impersonal and slow. And brands ruined consumer perception of Black Friday emails a long time ago. 😂

But people expect texting to be human and FAST.

A killer BFCM SMS strategy has the right mix of:

  1. Perfect Timing

  2. Careful Segmentation

  3. The Perfect Offer

  4. Human-Focused Copy

By nailing all of the above, you’ll set up your e-commerce store for a massively successful BFCM campaign, powered by SMS. 📈

And if you’re looking for a way to run two-way SMS campaigns this Black Friday to maximize revenue and deliver the fastest, most human experience for your shoppers – we’ve got you. Check us out here.

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