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EPISODE 316 53 mins

Email and SMS Readiness for BFCM / Q4 – Expert Panel at Commerce Accel Conference

About the guests

Will Laurenson

Kunle Campbell

Will is a Customer Experience Optimisation consultant, helping ecommerce brands optimise their customer journeys for conversion and customer values. If you’re looking for a better ROI on your marketing spend, and higher customer lifetime values, get connected with him on LinkedIn or Twitter. Will is also the host of the Customers Who Click podcast, a weekly interview with leading marketers from every aspect of the industry.

Chase Dimond

Kunle Campbell

Chase is currently a Partner at Structured — a top ecommerce marketing agency, where he runs the email team. Since June of 2018, we’ve helped our clients send over a billion emails resulting in over $75 million in email attributable revenue. A few of our previous and current clients include: Orgain, The Chive, Original Grain, and CrossNet.

Rytis Lauris

Kunle Campbell

Rytis is the Founder and CEO of Omnisend, ecommerce-tailored email & SMS marketing automation platform built to help nimble teams drive more revenue without increasing their workload.More than 70,000 ecommerce brands use Omnisend to grow their businesses on autopilot, converting their customers with quick-to-build, highly relevant emails & texts

Jessica Totillo Coster

Kunle Campbell

Jessica is an eCommerce & Email Marketing Strategist for boutique owners & product-based business owners. She supports scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale their eCommerce businesses. After 20+ years in retail, owning her own multi 6-figure brick & mortar boutique, and 3 years as the ONLY employee of a 7-figure eCommerce store - now she’s sharing everything she learned the hard way so you don’t have to.

Today’s episode is an expert panel discussion from the Commerce Accel Conference. The session was hosted by Will Laurenson, with Chase Dimond, Rytis Lauris and Jessica Totillo Coster among the expert panel.


Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are almost upon us. And the competition this year is going to be intense. While there are many more online shoppers than ever before, there are more than ever stores competing for those shoppers. You’ll be competing against old and new eCom stores and also brick and mortar stores who’ve gone online during the pandemic. The hows, whats and whens of your communication could make or break your business during this BFCM.


In this episode, you’ll get the scoop on how to get your Email and SMS marketing ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You will get tips, hacks and best practices from three leading experts. This is a great episode for marketers and business owners preparing for the upcoming sales!


This event was sponsored by our good friends at:
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Emarsys – The omnichannel customer engagement platform of choice for more than 1,500 companies worldwide.


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Here is a summary of some of the most important points made,

    • Customer behavior is changing during Q4 because we’re not only shopping for ourselves
    • Make sure that you’re testing your offers, really getting creative with deliverability
    • Clean up your list now while you still have your opens data
    • Start collecting more first party data
    • Conversion rates on automated emails are on average around
    • 4X higher in comparison to campaign
    • Avoid over-segmenting
    • 90% of text messages have been read in the first 3 minutes


Covered Topics:

On today’s episode, the expert panel discuss,

  • Fine Tuning Your Messaging this Q4
  • Building up to BFCM
  • Should You Start Your Promotions Early this Year?
  • Impact of COVID on BFCM
  • Preparing for BFCM Post iOS Updates
  • Favourite Method To Capture Emails
  • Should You Use Flows or Campaigns?
  • Best Practices for Segmentation
  • Importance of SMS this Q4
  • Measuring Email Campaigns without Open Rates
  • Final Advice about Email for Q4


  • 12:40 – Fine Tuning Your Messaging this Q4:
    • Jessica:
      • Our customer behavior is changing during Q4 because we’re not only shopping for ourselves though.
      • They don’t buy products, they buy solutions or status or joy or confidence. So remember that there’s a human on the other side of that email and try to connect with them on a more personal level through storytelling.
      • Don’t just show up trying to sell your product all the time, build that relationship and sell to them through what they are looking for.
  • 14:20 – Building up to BFCM:
    • Chase:
      • Setting yourself up for success early really is the key
      • Q4 is really when you focus on increasing your segment size, making sure that you’re testing your offers, really getting creative with deliverability.
      • We want people to kind of white list us and we’re offering them some kind of special incentive or offer to actually do such. So, by getting them to Star our emails or move us from like the promotions to the primary, or even getting them to click or reply,
      • Get creative with deliverability ahead of time. We’re also really focused on determining the kind of incentives right now.
      • So in the months leading up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, we want to test different offers, whether it’s $10 versus 10%, whether it’s running some kind of tiered discounts where the more people spend with us, the more of a discount they get.
  • 17:40 – Should You Start Your Promotions Early this Year?
    • Chase:
      • Yeah, absolutely. So, we’re starting to prepare obviously for everything right now. And in most cases we’re going to actually launch the first sale and the first offer around that Monday before Black Friday.
      • Actual sales are going to typically run from a Monday to a Monday or a Monday to a Tuesday, depending on if people extend and kind of prolong their cyber Monday sales. So I think last year we did around the same timeframe and time period as well. And we saw a lot of success doing it one week early.
  • 18:30 – Impact of COVID on BFCM:
    • Rytis:
      • There was and there is still an impact of COVID for e-commerce.
      • Traffic of emails, text messages has increased way earlier, not even one week before black Friday, but the entire month of November was extremely active,
      • We saw the drop in July and August in comparison to July and August, 2020, almost by 20 to 25% in the total conversions among our customer base.
  • 22:30 – Preparing for BFCM Post iOS Updates:
    • Rytis:
      • The main thing, which I would advise us really to clean up your list now as you still have your opens data.
      • And the second thing is really to start thinking more on the RFM model, Recency Frequency, Monetary Value Model
      • Opens data will not be reliable anymore. And another potential issue: no geo-location available.
      • But email will remain as one of the most effective channels during the holiday season. I have no doubts.
    • Jessica:
      • Make sure to start collecting more first party data. So if geolocation is important to you, then you need to start getting people to tell you where they are. Whatever you were kind of using that data for. You just need to get it attached to your customer’s profiles now.
    • Rytis:
      • The holiday season means that traffic to a website to your online store will be increased highly. So use it as an opportunity to grow your subscriber list, email, SMS subscriber list, because the traffic will be increased.
      • So use tactics to convert them, pop ups incentives, et cetera, because usually what happens around like 2-3% of your traffic is converting to a transaction. And you can double this another 3% could subscribe to your newsletters.
  • 26:25 – Favourite Method To Capture Emails:
    • Rytis:
      • Pop up is the most effective. Pop up with incentive or just, my advice would be that incentive has to be related to the business you do. Cause I still sometimes see that, you know, I’m selling shoes, but then I’m making a lottery with an iPad. So people are subscribing not because you like my shoes, but to win the iPad.
  • 27:10 – Should You Use Flows or Campaigns?:
    • Chase:
      • I don’t think it’s an OR, I think it’s an AND. I think you have to leverage both.
      • Most brands are probably sending in the ballpark of like 1-3 times per week in a typical month and a typical quarter, you know, I think people should go to daily if not, almost every single day. So you definitely get more aggressive on campaigns.
      • Update some of the language and the offers to be relevant to whatever is happening during that period of time.
      • Be more aggressive with the timing and the delay on your abandonment sequence, cut those time periods in half, if not more.
    • Rytis:
      • If you don’t use a lot of automations, it’s a very good time to start using more because you will be super busy.
      • 2.4% of traffic generates 32% of conversions. And this 2.4% is all automated email traffic. So we see that the conversion rates on automated emails are on average around four times higher in comparison to campaign.
    • Jessica:
      • Make sure everyone pays attention to increase your frequency, because if you don’t, you’ll get completely buried in the inbox and nobody will see your emails because everyone else is going to be increasing their frequency.
  • 34:30 – Best Practices for Segmentation:
    • Jessica:
      • Segmentation is a huge buzzword. But I caution you from over segmenting and getting too micro with those, because then you are potentially missing out opportunities
      • Instead of getting really granular with the type of product they buy and that sort of thing, instead focus on where they’re at in their journey with you. So are they a VIP customer who shops with you and often spends a lot of money? What can you do special for them?
      • Think about where they are in the journey with you as a business versus what it is that they usually buy. And if you lean into, you know, what do they need to hear right now at that point in time to make that conversion? Remember, it’s a human on the other side of that email. Right. And you’ll be a lot more successful that way. And then you’re not, you know, closing off the opportunity for them to buy stuff. You never expected them to buy.
    • Rytis:
      • RFM could be a potential methodology. Which is that best customer spending the most, which are returning customers, which are first time buyers and you approach them a little bit differently
    • Chase:
      • Segment to scrub and clean your list,
      • VIP’s are super important, looking at people that are engaged or purchased over a certain period of window, looking at people that bought from you last Black Friday, Cyber Monday, figuring out ways to kind of reignite those folks
  • 40:00 – Importance of SMS this Q4:
    • Rytis:
      • The average store is sending about three times more text messages than they used to send for all 2020.
      • 90% of text messages have been read in the first 3 minutes.
      • SMS has 11% click-through rates and 2.4% conversion rates.
      • Don’t look at SMS just as something standalone, but really look at different channels in combination.
    • Will:
      • I would probably add to that is I think it’s really good to, to kind of warm it up a bit and maybe get some of the SMS campaigns out a bit earlier, because what I found is if, if you are sending out large volumes and, you know, in, in this case it was millions. It creates a bit of a backlog with SMS. So actually the SMS providers centers struggled to send them out.
    • Jessica:
      • One of the questions that I get all the time is “should I be doing SMS in my business?” And the answer is, it depends.
      • The only way you’re going to know for sure is if you put up a sign up form and test it out.
      • You’re not really building a relationship with people through SMS because you can’t send long messages.
  • 46:45 – Measuring Email Campaigns without Open Rates:
    • Rytis:
      • Clicks are becoming the primary metric.
      • while you still have your opens and clicks data, to create a proxy metric For example: Let’s say my average open rate was 15%. My average click rate was 5% from that email sent. So I know it’s the ratio one to three. So it’s kind of a proxy metric, which before you really fully get used to relying on clicks and then, and then, and transactions as if a primary metric, it will help you to, to navigate him to understand how your campaign is doing. Just, I know that the ratio is 1:3 because it historically was. So if I’m not changing anything too much, I can assume that it’s more or less the same. So that’s a piece of advice which will help you in upcoming months to navigate the change.
  • Final Advice about Email for Q4:
    • Chase:
      • BFCM is really the season of acquisition.
      • Your goal really needs to be to nurture and kind of educate these folks in the aftermath.
      • Acquire as many people as you can, as close to break even, or a little bit of loss, but you know, your numbers to back out later you know, it might not be a bad thing to kind of just double down and try to get as many people through the door.
    • Rytis:
      • Grow your subscribers list
      • if you use only one automation or no automation, it’s a very good period to start using way more automation.
    • Jessica:
      • Don’t forget to lean into email. Right. I find in a lot of cases, email is often like the last thing that we think about. So I just encourage you to shift your thinking and really spend the time to plan it out and put the effort in and keep your eyes on the metrics so that you can pivot as you go throughout the season.


  • SMS has 11% click-through rates and 2.4% conversion rates
  • Your goal really needs to be to nurture and kind of educate these folks in the aftermath
  • You’re not really building a relationship with people through SMS because you can’t send long messages

Tweetable Quotes:

“Shoppers don’t just buy products, they buy solutions or status or joy or confidence.”

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This episode is brought to you by:

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About the host:

Kunle Campbell

An ecommerce advisor to ambitious, agile online retailers and funded ecommerce startups seeking exponentially sales growth through scalable customer acquisition, retention, conversion optimisation, product/market fit optimisation and customer referrals.

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