3 Cyber Monday Mistakes to Avoid

Unlike Black Friday, which now takes over most of November, Cyber Monday has maintained a stronger one-day shopping event concept. Yes, Cyber Week sales give consumers more days to save after Cyber Monday has passed and many retailers will launch Cyber Monday sales the weekend prior to the actual day, but these bleeding edges have not spilled over as much as Black Friday and Thanksgiving have in past years.

For marketers, this means you still have a limited time to compete for the shopper’s attention and dollars when it comes to Cyber Monday. Many will mail the hell out of their lists and hope for the best. Others will be overconfident and think one email is enough to bring in the sales.

Last year, 48 percent of retailers sent only one email on Cyber Monday, 39 percent sent two emails, and 13 percent sent three or more messages. While the percentage of retailers sending only one email may seem high, the rate dropped 14 percent compared to Cyber Monday 2012 and a whopping 23 percent compared to 2011! Clearly, many retailers are getting more comfortable with a multi-send Cyber Monday.

How do you find the balance between desperately mailing like a mad man and the bold bravado of sending only one email and expecting record-breaking sales?

Unfortunately there’s no magical number of messages to send on Cyber Monday that will make all of your subscribers happy and shatter sales goals. There are, however, lessons to be learned from common mistakes that happen when marketers decide to send more on Cyber Monday.

Mistake #1: Confusing the Content

With fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many retailers will start sales early and/or extend them beyond the actual event. This can result in some really confusing emails for your subscribers. For example, last year on Cyber Monday, I received a one-day “Thanksgiving Sale” email. At first I thought the email was sent by mistake, but after checking the availability of the sale, I confirmed that the retailer was actually sending a Thanksgiving-themed one-day sale on Cyber Monday! While this example may be extreme, you need to consider the blizzard of emails your subscribers will receive and the variation of promotional messages that have been used during these peak shopping days. You need to make a plan and stick with it. Be timely and be consistent. For example, if you plan to boost Thanksgiving Day, down-play Black Friday, and start Cyber Monday early, be aware of how these promotions, copy, and imagery may overlap and potentially confuse your customer.

Mistake #2: Same Story, Same Email

Sending the same email multiple times throughout the day with a different subject line not only seems like a bit of a bait-and-switch to me, but it also takes some of the fun out of one of the most exciting days of the year to shop. If the recipient did not open, click, or buy in the first message, will sending that exact email again and again really move the needle? Introducing some design variation, including special offers for early birds, showcasing various product categories, or revealing extra savings throughout the day will help to build some excitement and anticipation with your subscribers. Having a core design theme, color palette, and central promotional offering will help your message to not seem scattershot.

Mistake #3: Underwhelmingly Urgent

Considering Cyber Monday still retains more of a one-day concept compared to some of the other shopping events, reinforcing the expiration of your offers can help to nudge the shopper down the path to purchase in a timely manner. But using urgency as a central strategy for your Cyber Monday message can be tricky if you only plan to send one or two emails throughout the day. I see several emails each year on Cyber Monday telling me, usually in ALL CAPS, to HURRY because there are “only 12 hours left to shop.” Really, only 12 hours? That doesn’t exactly make me feel like I need to HURRY. In fact, it makes me think that I can just visit the site later. In the meantime, there are several mid-day deals ending in one hour that I should probably check out! Urgency can be an effective theme to use on Cyber Monday – just make sure you are timing the message so that it evokes an actual feeling of urgency.

While your focus on Cyber Monday will likely be on your sales stats, it’s important to not lose sight of how your marketing will define your customer’s shopping experience on one of the busiest days of the year. Consumers will rely on their inboxes to help them navigate through all the ways to save. Striking this balance between content and frequency will help ensure your messages aren’t lost in the shuffle and that your customers are excited about shopping on your site.

Image via Shutterstock.

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