By Maxine Hess
Writer | WhatsApp marketer | Creative
Updated on September 29, 2023
💥BLACK FRIDAY!!!!💥 It's exciting but how do you keep customers hot after the deals have died down? Slot WhatsApp into your BFCM strategy this year. Here's a complete strategy for you.
There's no doubt that Black Friday is a huge date in the calendar of eCommerce brands – and it's growing bigger every year in Europe and DACH. Even the brands who "don't do" Black Friday like Patagonia still manage to create some kind of buzz around themselves on this day.
As such an important sales event (it's November 24 this year by the way, you're welcome), it's likely that you've been given a decent-sized budget to make a big splash.
We're here to tell you that a splash is not enough. When you invest so much in raising awareness of your brand, why not add a little extra to that budget to keep customers with you in the long-term?
After all, eCommerce brands in 2023 are all painfully aware that it's cheaper to keep existing customers than to attract new ones.
Our strong recommendation is that you do what our clients do: make WhatsApp central to your BFCM (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) strategy in 2023.
By using a fun, personal WhatsApp channel, you can retain customers more easily in the long term. So rather than focusing more likes, follows or email addresses (though these are useful), this year, use the hype around BFCM (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) to start and build your WhatsApp channel.
After all, your competitors probably are, so why not get there first?
This way, the fun relationships you start Black Friday will turn into committed ones far into the future, to earn you more stable revenue and reduce the hefty costs of customer acquisition.
What is Black Friday?
First, the basics: Black Friday is a discount shopping day that originated in the US. On this day, brands offer special deals on many products. Originally focused on technology, it has spread to fashion, food and every industry imaginable. The event marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season
Black Friday is now very popular with eCommerce brands (and consumers) in the DACH region, the UK and other European countries.
At the same time, there is some growing cynicism around the day, with some questioning whether the deals are as good as they're made out to be. Some brands now choose not to do Black Friday at all, with some (particularly independent retailers) doing charity actions instead.
How one of our clients did Black Friday more gently on WhatsApp last year
When is Black Friday 2023?
Black Friday 2023 is on November 24. Cyber Monday is November 26. Black Week runs the week from Black Friday.
In the last few years it's been evolving into Black Month, with discounts and deals starting weeks before the main event – to avoid the rush and get there before competitors – and carrying on for weeks afterwards.
Why WhatsApp marketing for Black Friday 2023?
- Beat (or join) your competitors: WhatsApp Business may be a relatively new marketing channel in the EU (compared to countries like Brazil and India), but many innovative brands have already been using it for 3 years. You need to make sure you have a presence there too as we can see a critical mass being reached. And if your competition isn't in WhatsApp yet, you have an easy, affordable edge over them.
- Test WhatsApp Business before the holidays: . You'll want to be proficient with it by then as more and more companies will be already be experienced WhatsApp, and so will customers. Singles Day is the perfect day for this.
- Consumers want to talk to you in WhatsApp. Your customers are getting used to the ease of chatting with brands they love in the apps they love and will soon expect this from you, too.
70 per cent of people feel more connected to businesses they can message
Our WhatsApp Black Friday strategy 2023
This strategy is designed to help you approach Black Friday as an opportunity to build your WhatsApp channel, get to know customer preferences and attract customers for the long-term, and not as a fast money-making event.
- The more people you have in your WhatsApp channel
- The more you know about them
- And the more strategic you are in your retention strategy
...the more revenue you will make in the long term.
So we've split our strategy into before, during and after Black Week. Feel free to use this comprehensive plan for your WhatsApp marketing channel:
How to prepare for long-term success
- Before Black Friday 2023: grow your WhatsApp audience
- During Black Week 2023: run a winning WhatsApp campaign
- After Black Week 2023: roll out your WhatsApp retention strategy
Don't have a WhatsApp marketing platform yet? You'll need one to start using the WhatsApp Business API and start messaging your customers. Don't worry, there's still enough time. But make sure you get in touch with us now.
1. Before Black Friday: build your WhatsApp channel
The groundwork you do now will set you up for future success.
Your main focus from now until Black Friday should be to get as many people as you can opted in to receiving WhatsApp communications from you. This is your biggest chance of the year to entice people into your marketing channels, so make it count :)
(If you already have WhatsApp marketing software, skip to number 2.)
1. Choose a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider
If you're a small business, sending WhatsApp messages to fewer than 256 people, it's easiest (and cheapest) to use the free WhatsApp Business app. If you're a medium to large to enterprise eCommerce business, you'll need the scalability, automation and analytics of the WhatsApp API (WhatsApp Business Platform).
To use the API, you'll need a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP) like charles.
We're a Meta Partner that has taken the WhatsApp API and built a user-friendly, collaborative user interface on top of the WhatsApp API. We've tailored it towards the WhatsApp marketing use case and our focus is on helping business generate revenue from the platform (in particular because WhatsApp comes with additional costs to email so ROI really matters in WhatsApp).
When choosing a WhatsApp BSP, make sure your provier offers:
- A WhatsApp marketing focus, as well as sales and support functionality
- Advanced audience segmentation
- GDPR compliance (best to be based in the EU)
- Automation with deep analytics
- Comprehensive integrations (Shopify, Klaviyo and more)
- Easy-to-add website popups leading people to WhatsApp
- Intuitive user interface
- Extensive training and ongoing, proactive support
The charles WhatsApp marketing platform is easy-to-use, GDPR compliant and focused on generating revenue – and onboarding is a matter of hours.
See more on How to choose a WhatsApp BSP here.
2. Get customers opted in to WhatsApp
This is where to focus most of your time. The more people you have to talk to on Black Friday, the better.
There are many ways to bring people into your WhatsApp chat, including:
- Website popups
- Social posts
- Thank you page opt-ins
- Email newsletters
- Friend referrals
We call them "Chat-ins" and it's important that they're GDPR compliant (double opt-in, option to unsubscribe...). Your software provider should offer a GPDR-compliant platform and advise you on how to set up compliant flows.
See 6 ways to get people opted in into your WhatsApp channel and grow your WhatsApp audience.
4. Create an engaging campaign
The best approach is to create an overarching concept for all your Black Friday communications. Even if you're leading with WhatsApp, it's likely you'll need assets for social media, website, email, maybe even in-store posters.
Whether you do a competition, event, interactive quiz or simple call it a fun name or add a catchy visual… have fun and stay true to your brand and keep your design and messaging consistent across all channels.
Here's a Black Friday quiz idea we made. See 5 campaign ideas for Black Friday here.
You can get as creative as you like on WhatsApp. With so many interaction possibilities, automated with Journeys, you can surprise your customers with a truly fun and enjoyable campaign.
So that's how to lay the foundations for a success Black Friday campaign on WhatsApp. See more tips on getting ready for Black Friday here.
2. During Black Week: run a winning WhatsApp marketing campaign
Now you've got 10,000s or 100,000s of people in your WhatsApp channel, what should you send on Black Friday? How can you do it in a friendly, personal way but still in a way that converts as many customers as possible.
1. Set a clear business objective
Campaign goals are usually either “create revenue” or “build brand.” Make sure you know how you’ll measure success.
|Revenue generating||Brand building|
|Goals||Push products, reactivate customers, reward VIPs||Learn more about customers, build trust, boost engagement|
|Campaigns||Discounts, offers, exclusive early access campaigns, let customers create a WhatsApp wishlist and send discounts on Black Friday||Informational campaign, “Black Friday blackout,” event, quiz, competition, product finder|
|Results||Purchases, total revenue, return on campaign spend (ROCS)||Clicks, website visits over time – but results are not always tangible|
2. Warm customers up before Black Friday
Once someone has joined your channel, get back to them quickly so you stay top of mind. You'll find that most eCommerce brands plan in an early message a week or two before Black Friday either announcing the campaign or deals that are coming up.
That way, people know what's coming and will be more engaged (and less annoyed) when your Black Friday campaign pings into their WhatsApp messages.
It's also a chance to let them build a wishlist so you can send highly targeted campaigns based on their real product wishes on Black Friday (and avoid being seen as marketing).
Bear in mind that your first message after an opt-in shouldn’t be too sales focused at this point, as it’s more about building long-term relationships.
If you just gather an audience, wait 4 weeks, then drop in with a Black Friday deal, you're likely to be ignored. It's better to give them a good brand feeling first.
Blessing Osadolor, Success Manager
3. Have extra resource on hand
WhatsApp automation takes away a lot of the hassle of answering customer questions. However, when you send a campaign, you can expect a rise in personal messages that come in. To maintain the feeling that your WhatsApp channel is responsive and personal, have agents on hand when the campaign is first sent out.
Boost your team between November 24-27. Make sure you have agents on hand to answer any extra WhatsApp messages that come in.
4. Optimize quickly for Cyber Monday
Be lightning fast in response to Black Friday campaigns for even greater success. Analyze results and tweak for Cyber Monday for greater success.
Yes this will mean a small amount of over the weekend (which we don't usually advise) but the tweaks you make could make a big difference to your revenue. It's a great chance to use live results to make your future campaigns even better converting.
Our Conversations feature makes it easy for chat agents to reply to WhatsApp messages instantly, share the work, drag and drop products and even create links leading to prefilled shopping carts.
3. After Black Week: how to retain customers in WhatsApp
Once you have people in WhatsApp, treat them right, and they’ll stay forever.
This means sending low frequency, high relevance, campaigns. If they’re genuinely useful to your customers, even better.
Check out these 7 examples of campaigns you can plan in to your CRM strategy to keep customers engaged.
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But don't annoy your new audience! You've now stuck to your WhatsApp Black Friday strategy build a rich, receptive subscriber base for the future.
Take things slow and build relationships beyond flash sales. Customers want more from brands than money off. They want to feel a connection with you.
We always recommend no more than 1-2 campaigns per month: one with an offer, one to build your brand.
Make your WhatsApp Black Friday strategy a guaranteed success in 2023
Partner with charles for your WhatsApp solution and you'll be in good hands. We're a Meta Partner and WhatsApp approved Business Solution provider that specializes in WhatsApp marketing, revenue generation and the regions of DACH and Italy.
Black Friday 2023 is approaching fast (November 24). If you're thinking about using a WhatsApp marketing channel this year, we recommend you start with WhatsApp as early as possible.
Talk to charles to find out how to get started and learn how to use this opportunity to build your WhatsApp audience – and retain them for ongoing revenue.