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Choosing your BFCM email calendar

Choosing your BFCM email calendar

In this article, let's talk through how you can plan your BFCM sending schedule. We always want to give you solid and concrete ideas that you can put into practice right away. However, you always have the freedom to modify as you see fit. I encourage you to customize your email marketing calendar based on the needs of your business and the expectations of your subscribers. 

One of the biggest concerns we hear from Shopify Merchants is sending 'too much' during this time of year. What we have found over the years is that all brands send more during this time of year, so to ensure that you stand out, you will need to send more frequently. Otherwise, you run the risk of not being noticed at all. We expect open rates to dip slightly during this season, but click, and conversion rates should increase. 

Let's dive into four different email marketing calendar options we recommend for Shopify Merchants this Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

The Basics: 3-4 newsletters

Good for people who don't have a lot of time but want to see an ROI from BFCM. Also, for audiences that do not hear from you regularly or consistently or that you're struggling to get open and click your messages. 

You'll notice on this calendar I've set up the Monday before Black Friday as my first day of sending. That means the week before you would do your regular sending cadence. I'm specifically pointing out that it's a good idea to call out your BFCM promotions early in the week. You could either make that Monday message an announcement stating that something 'big' is coming on Friday. Set yourself up for success later that week. OR you could give your audience "early access" to Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals and truly start your sale early. The Monday send date is flexible, and you could make that Sunday or Tuesday. I like Monday. The Friday and Monday dates are more concrete.

BFCM Calendar: The Basics 3-4 Newsletters
The Basics

Need some inspiration for what this should look like? Take a look at our BFCM Lookbook for message ideas. 

Whatever It Takes: 7-10 messages

Good if you have some time you right now and can immediately get to work. This calendar works well for audiences you already send to consistently, and you've got stable open and click rates. This is an assertive calendar but typical for sending cadence for the time of year. Rest assured that many other companies are sending quite a bit more during these weeks. 

As I mentioned, you have flexibility on the exact days you want to send though I would make sure to stick close to the suggested dates for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

Pro tip: You CAN reuse content. You can tweak your content with minor changes and send it out again. You do NOT need to create 100% new newsletters for every date you send. Take a look at how Madewell approached their BFCM campaign in our Lookbook for inspiration. They used the same basic layout and images but swapped out photos/copy and changed colors around. 

BFCM Calendar: Whatever It Takes
Whatever It Takes

The two calendars above are great options for many Shopify Merchants. You could easily blend them and create a hybrid calendar as well. However, if you are looking for a little more sophistication in your sending plan, here are two more options. 

Early Access

The whole idea with this calendar is that you're giving people access to your sale early. You'll start at nearly the beginning of November and run through Cyber Monday. If you're going to run a calendar like this, make sure that you offer plenty of variety in your Newsletters to keep subscribers interested. You could run a different promotion each week or run the same promotion but feature different products. 

You can check out how Brooklinen managed this approach in our BFCM Lookbook. This calendar type appeals to the 'early birds' who like to get a sale before others and are potentially suitable for high-priced items. 

BFCM Calendar: Early Access
Early Access

Cyber Week

This calendar shifts the BFCM promotion towards the week of Cyber Monday. I'd suggest running a different deal each day to generate excitement and urgency. This type of calendar could appeal to an audience that is more 'last minute' and doesn't take advantage of other deals. 

BFCM Calendar: Cyber Week
Cyber Week

Review these calendars and think about what works for you and your brand. Feel free to customize and make something that specifically works for you. At the end of the day, build a plan that you can put into place and reap the rewards.

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