In this article:
- Principles for using SMS during Black Friday
- Working with your SMS provider to achieve Black Friday success
- Sinch helps drive Black Friday success
The countdown has begun – Black Friday, the most anticipated day in retail, is almost here.
During Cyber Week 2022, we saw just how important SMS is for retail communications. In fact, at Sinch we saw a 30% increase in SMS traffic from brands during this crucial period, with the number of SMS sent doubling in over 50 countries.
As we get closer to Black Friday 2023, our expectations for increased SMS traffic during this period keep rising. Clearly, shoppers want to hear from businesses via text messages, with 53% of shoppers saying they want these messages to be conversational!
Cyber Week 2022 was like no other, with record-breaking increases in SMS traffic between retailers and their customers.
Understanding your audience and building a Black Friday messaging strategy that resonates with them is key to achieving success during such a competitive period, but it’s not the only aspect to consider.
One of the most important parts of Black Friday campaigns doesn’t have to do with creative subject lines or deals – it has to do with the messages actually being delivered to enterprise customers. A marketing team can create amazing copy options for promotional SMS messages, but if those messages fail to deliver, what’s the point?
Fortunately, SMS delivery hurdles aren’t common for reputable providers, but that’s because of all the behind-the-scenes work done by people to keep the intricate network of SMS finely tuned and resilient. This work – and the relationships between each party involved – ensures that messages reach their intended recipients promptly and reliably.
For enterprises, that perfect mix of developing a winning strategy and choosing the right provider around Black Friday is crucial. It’s not just about campaign success but it’s also about creating trusting, lasting customer relationships and safeguarding brand reputation. Let’s break down these two critical components.
Principles for using SMS during Black Friday
There are a few essential points to consider for any retail enterprise looking to successfully use messaging to communicate with their customers around Black Friday. Here are a few things we recommend for planning a great holiday marketing campaign.
Know your audience
Truly knowing your audience involves not only spelling their names right and sending timezone-sensitive messages, but also recognizing that different holidays have different significance for people. Whether you're offering “Christmas” or “holiday” promotions, always take a moment to consider the diverse backgrounds and beliefs of your audience. Understanding these differences shows a genuine respect for your customers and will help them form a deeper connection to your brand.
Knowing your audience is also about aligning your content with their behaviors and demographics – for example, a younger demographic may respond better to short, emoji-rich messages, while an older audience might appreciate a more informative tone. Whatever the case, it's up to you to show that you know and understand your audience’s preferences in order to truly build a great customer experience for them.
Consider message frequency
Finding the right message frequency around Black Friday is crucial for maintaining good relationships with your customers. Bombarding customers with an excessive number of messages can quickly lead to annoyance and unsubscribe requests. That’s why we recommend sending a maximum of one to three messages a week to keep people engaged without overwhelming them.
If you’re ever in doubt about whether or not to send an SMS, put yourself in your audience’s shoes and answer these questions:
Does the message genuinely add value?
Does the message need to be communicated now?
If you answered, “yes,” to both questions, craft your message by considering what would grab your attention and enhance your overall brand experience.
It’s important to proactively seek opt-in before sending people text messages, whether they be promotional or transactional messages. While some customers may eagerly anticipate updates about their orders (i.e., transactional messages), this doesn’t automatically give you permission to send them advertisements (i.e., promotional messages).
Respecting your customers’ preferences and obtaining their consent not only complies with regulations but also demonstrates your commitment to providing them with good service.
Automate messages to keep costs down
There are key transactional messages that need to be sent from e-commerce retailers during Black Friday, like order confirmations, inventory alerts, payment confirmations, and post-purchase feedback requests.
SMS is a powerful tool for these purposes – and automating these messages (rather than relying on manual triggers) will save time and ensure that your customers receive the right information when they need it.
Automation of routine messages sent to subscribers along their customer journey will help keep them informed and enhance their overall customer experience with your brand during the critical Black Friday period.
SMS is incredibly effective for certain types of Black Friday marketing campaigns, like flash sales, limited-time deals, and exclusive promotions. And there’s no doubting why retailers use SMS messages: They’re delivered immediately, read by 98% of people in the first three minutes, and have an average response rate of just 90 seconds.
But realistically, the retailers that get ahead are the ones who have started to focus on expanding their reach from just one messaging channel to multiple.
This is where other messaging channels can come into play. Rich messaging channels like RCS and WhatsApp allow for rich, interactive content like images, videos, or GIFs so you can stand out from the crowd and boost conversion rates. Email can help you provide product previews, forms, and more. And of course, when the situation requires it, people want to talk to people, which makes voice services more relevant than ever.
The ideal omnichannel experience is seamless and tailored to meet each customer’s unique needs and preferences.
Working with your SMS provider to achieve Black Friday success
Leading up to and around Black Friday, SMS providers play a key role in enabling effective communication. At Sinch, we recognize the importance of building lasting business-customer relationships during the busiest shopping week of the year.
When you’re searching for a messaging partner, it’s critical to find one who offers a few essentials to meet your specific Black Friday needs.
Black Friday necessitates timely, efficient communications. That’s why businesses need to look for a messaging provider offering exceptional message deliverability and guaranteed throughput, especially for time-sensitive and critical messages.
To avoid unexpected issues during peak sending times, enterprises should look for a provider with a strong history of successfully managing high-volume message sends, smart routing capabilities, and direct connections to mobile operators worldwide.
At Sinch, our 600+ direct relationships to global network operators are at the core of our business, ensuring there’s no middleman aggregating traffic. We know how important Black Friday is for businesses, so we focus on eliminating unnecessary layers in the process to offer brands the unmatched quality, pricing, and stability they need throughout the year.
For a retail enterprise, having a customizable SMS API in place is one of the most beneficial steps to take to get ready for Black Friday. It means that businesses can tailor their messaging campaigns to the unique demands of the day, offering a level of flexibility and control that’s crucial in the frenzy.
With a customizable API, businesses can create highly relevant SMS messages that align with individual customer preferences and shopping behavior, enhancing the likelihood of meaningful engagement. Additionally, an SMS API allows a business to send thousands of SMS messages automatically. It helps a business work smarter and ensures time-sensitive communications at the right time, every single time.
Enterprises should look for an SMS provider with comprehensive APIs, including REST & SMPP. These providers should also offer fully developed documentation and personalized support to assist you during set-up and through any technical hiccups that might occur in the lead up to Black Friday.
This developer-first mentality is key for technical teams in the lead up to the holiday season. Partnering with a provider like Sinch helps ensure your campaigns are correctly synced with other communication efforts, optimizing overall campaign effectiveness and guaranteeing maximum reliability for your critical sends.
Want to learn more? You can try Sinch SMS API for free here – in just a few quick steps, you'll be ready to start sending large volumes of messages automatically.
Optimized service quality
When we talk about service optimization for SMS and other messaging channels, we’re referring to the configuring and managing of connections and routing in a network. This process is critical to ensure the infrastructure can handle the volume and demands of increased message traffic.
As you prepare for Black Friday and other high-demand events, you should be looking for SMS infrastructure equipped to handle your anticipated message volume. Look for a provider that adheres to industry best practices, which includes avoiding grey routes or SIM farms. Doing so contributes to a cleaner messaging ecosystem while defending your business against SMS fraud.
At Sinch, our standard for direct links to operators globally means we’re constantly providing a messaging service that meets and exceeds industry standards.
Security and compliance
Black Friday is a time when businesses interact with an influx of customers, making it essential to prioritize customer data security. You need to make sure that your SMS are being sent securely to protect customer data and ensure legal compliance with GDPR and CCPA. Security and compliance are non-negotiable, as any mishandling of customer data or failure to comply with regulations can lead to severe legal consequences and reputational damage.
Equally important is the trust of your customers. McKinsey reports that 87% of people wouldn’t do business with a company if they had concerns about its security practices. That’s why, when it comes to Black Friday messaging, you need to look for a partner that upholds the highest security and compliance standards.
Choose a messaging provider who prioritizes compliance with local laws and regulations, maintains a network of data centers in various locations, and upholds GDPR and CCPA standards. Their distinct certifications will not only enhance data security but instill confidence in your customers, reinforcing your commitment to protecting their sensitive information.
Security and compliance are paramount to us at Sinch. We’re GDPR and CCPA compliant, MEF Code of Conduct approved, and proudly hold PCI and ISO27001 certifications. Those aren’t just acronyms to us – they represent our unwavering commitment to the highest standards of security and compliance.
Sinch helps drive Black Friday success
With Black Friday and Cyber Week right around the corner, the partnership between messaging providers and enterprises will take center stage to truly unlock a new era of customer engagement. Together, we’re positioned to create experiences that will resonate with customers worldwide, building stronger connections and trust between businesses and their customers.
To learn more about how Sinch can help your business drive Black Friday success, check out our guide on how to choose the right SMS provider. Or, if you're ready to speak all things messaging, let’s chat. We’re ready to help you take your Black Friday messaging strategy to the next level!