In 2021, consumers spent around $200+ billion over the holiday season in the United States. If 2022 follows a similar trend, there’s a lot of money to make this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday help SaaS companies win over first-time customers, clean up their inventory and boost their revenue. And with both dates creeping up, if you haven’t prepared your business for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, now is the time to do so.
Today, we’ll review some Black Friday and Cyber Monday strategies for SaaS companies and offer a few examples of successful campaigns from our own SaaS portfolio companies to help give you ideas this year!
Table of Contents:
- Why Black Friday and Cyber Monday are important for SaaS companies
- Black Friday Marketing Ideas for B2B and B2C SaaS Companies
- Black Friday Marketing Ideas Examples
Why Black Friday and Cyber Monday are important for SaaS companies
Historically, Black Friday was reserved for brick-and-mortar stores: retailers would open their doors to frenzied customers at 5 am to kickstart the holiday shopping season. In recent years, these crazed sales moved online to ecommerce retailers, with Black Friday online shopping sales hitting $8.9 billion in 2021 and Cyber Monday hitting $10.7 billion. With more customers choosing to bargain hunt online, SaaS companies should capitalize on this unprecedented opportunity to increase traffic and sales to their stores.
And these sales aren’t limited to the B2C SaaS sector. Most B2B companies write Black Friday and Cyber Monday off, but all businesses can take advantage of this multi-billion dollar holiday.
Here are a few reasons why both B2C and B2B SaaS companies can benefit from our Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing ideas:
- You can beat out the competition. Other B2B companies may not participate in Black Friday sales, so doing so can set you apart.
- You can inspire faster purchase decisions. Sales can move slower in the B2B space, but offering discounts on your products can motivate customers to buy from you quickly.
- You can increase traffic to your website. Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t the most profitable day of the year, it increases store traffic the most of any other day of the year.
One of the companies in our portfolio, MeetEdgar, a social media management tool helping users create, schedule, and automate social posts, saw remarkable results from their 2020 Black Friday campaign. They had 627 new trials, 1,750 email addresses added to their newsletter list in November, and 45 new signups.
They did this by segmenting their audience and sending tailored emails and offers to each group:
- Blog visitors and social followers: Get on our email list now to find out about the best deals we’ll offer all year!
- Goal: New leads
- Leads who’ve never been customers but signed up for email: Sign up for a free trial any time in November to get early access to our best deals of the year!
- Goal: New trials
- All new and existing customers: Swag with every sign-up
- Existing paid plan customers: Received $ off their plan
- Existing annual customers: Pre-pay for another year and get $ off
All their deals were non-recurring and were for a single pay period only. For example, if a customer signed up for a monthly plan, the discount would only apply for that month. If a customer signed up for an annual plan, the discount would apply for that year but reset on the next billing cycle.
Every year MeetEdgar held a Black Friday sale, they found new insights to inform their next year’s strategy. For example, after tracking sales from 2017-2020, they found:
- Month-long deals don’t work well for them as customers wait to see what offers await them on Black Friday anyway.
- Email works the best for their audience.
- Landing pages teasing the sale and paid ads work best to capture new email addresses.
- All of their content in the month leading up allowed them to tease the promotion early and grab as many leads as possible.
MeetEdgar saw great success with these insights, but what works for MeetEdgar may not work for your business. You must develop a strategy and tweak it from year to year until you find the one that works the best for your company and industry.
So, let’s review a few Black Friday strategies to use before the holiday traffic strikes.
Black Friday Marketing Ideas for B2B and B2C SaaS Companies
Businesses of all sizes and types (even B2B companies!) can participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so instituting a marketing strategy is necessary to win over potential customers and compete with major retailers.
Here are the best Black Friday marketing strategies to help you out:
1. Build a strong email list
Your email subscribers spend 138% more on average than your non-subscribers, and with 4 billion daily email users, it’s a reliable way to advertise your sale. A larger email list means greater reach, driving traffic to your and increasing incremental revenue over Black Friday.
Capture emails in various ways, like in a sign-up form in the header or footer of your site or as a pop-up when visitors first land on your homepage.
You can also offer incentives like 15% off a customer’s first purchase in exchange for an email address.
Some businesses capture emails upon checkout as a part of the purchase process. If you do this, you must offer an option for them to opt-in, but only if you have customers outside of the United States, as you can face legal trouble.
Once you capture customer emails, you need to segment your customers. Tools like Google Analytics allow you to segment customers based on their purchase history. From there, you can decide how to entice them with your emails. For example, you might want to send emails to:
- Current Trials: Target anyone currently on trial right now.
- Past cancels: Win back past customers!
- Upgrades: Perfect for current plan members.
You can also decide if you want to extend the discount to existing customers, especially if their software is up for renewal.
Next, we recommend personalizing the email. Personalized email content may lead to six times higher transaction rates and a 122% return on investment. Adding a recipient’s name in the email subject line has a 22% higher open rate than average.
More than adding a name to the subject line, add other personalized touches to the email, like sending them an email with additional software features they might want to try out.
If you need help writing emails, here’s a video on crafting the perfect marketing email:
We recommend sending out your emails in blasts at different intervals like this:
- Email 1: 3-5 days before the event
- Email 2: 1 day before the event
- Email 3: Morning of the event
- Email 4: Afternoon of the event
- Email 5: Day after the event
Here’s a sample email to send out 1-2 days before the event:
Subject: Our Big Cyber Monday Offer!
Body: Hi, everyone!
Cyber Monday is almost here! To celebrate, we’ve decided to give you the biggest discount we’ve done all year! Maybe you’ve been thinking about signing up with us, or maybe you’re a past customer planning to sign up again. Either way you won’t find a better deal than you will on Cyber Monday!
Our Cyber Monday offer: X% off every month “until you cancel” or “for an entire year”.
- Normal Price: $29/month
- Cyber Monday Price: $19/month
Click here to accept the offer!
Offer not available to current members
When done right, Black Friday email campaigns work. MySiteAuditor, a lead generation and sales tool for SEO service providers gets 1+ or 2+ new paid subscribers on a given day. On Cyber Monday, they saw 20x more paid subscribers than the average day.
2. Use your social presence
Social media can influence customer purchase decisions by 71%. For SaaS companies, social media can help with customer engagement, product promotion, and brand awareness.
Other than raising awareness for Black Friday sales, use your social media to listen to customer needs and engage with them during the sale.
In the lead-up to Black Friday, here are some tips to prepare your social media channels:
Optimize your accounts
Social media is a great way to connect with people, build your brand, and reach out to new audiences. However, you must create a compelling profile that will engage people and encourage them to follow you. There are several ways to optimize your social media profile.
Here are some tips:
- Set a sharp and striking profile picture with your brand’s logo.
- Include your website and notable details about your company in your bio. This is where you need to add any relevant keywords. For example, if you’re a bootstrapped entrepreneur, you might want to put that in your bio or words like “SaaS Founder.”
- Keep consistent brand fonts throughout your social posts. A customer should be able to look at a feed post and random and know it’s yours based on the style of the image and font.
- Provide a CTA in your bio for customers to shop at your store. For example, if you’re offering 50%, write that in your bio with an arrow to your website, motivating customers to shop.
Laura Roeder, MeetEdgar’s Founder’s Instagram, is a perfect example of an optimized profile. She has a high-quality image as her profile image, her name for her Insta handle, and her bio perfectly summarizes her job title and links to the companies she founded.
If you haven’t conducted a full audit of your social media profiles, now is the time to give it the refresh it needs.
Schedule Black Friday promotional posts
Black Friday takes effort to plan and execute properly, so the last thing on your mind should be scheduling your social media posts. A social media management tool like MeetEdgar can take the strain off your marketing team because you can create your posts and schedule them for Black Friday weeks in advance.
Work with micro-influencers
All influencers connect with their audience and can increase brand awareness through collabs, but micro-influencers (influencers with 10,000 to 1000,000 followers) tend to have higher engagement. Although their following is smaller than that of macro-influencers, their followers tend to be loyal and engage more. Micro-influencers quickly respond to their followers with personalized responses, and, in turn, their audience trusts their recommendations.
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3. Create a sense of urgency
In addition, Black Friday is a day when people are on-the-go. They don’t have time to research prices and may not have time to wait for shipping. So they may make quick decisions and buy right away. Use this to your advantage by creating a sense of urgency with your Black Friday promotion.
Although SaaS companies don’t offer physical products, you can still create a sense of urgency through marketing efforts. For example, you can offer a special discount for the first 100 people to reply to an email or add countdowns on your website and social media profiles.
Meal delivery service HelloFresh used their chatbot to send Black Friday promo codes to users who commented with the right answer to a riddle posted on Facebook. Their campaign had a 68% conversion rate, and over half of the recipients used the promotional code to place their orders.
You can also offer Black Friday pre-sale opportunities to ensure customers stay with you and don’t spend their money on another business.
Use time-sensitive language in your email marketing campaigns, like “one day only” or “last chance.” Adding these to your email subject lines can also increase your email open rate.
4. Encourage add-ons or upgrades
This upselling strategy persuades shoppers to spend more and increases your average order value for Black Friday. It’s also another way to increase revenue without acquiring additional customers.
For example, if your SaaS company offers three pricing tiers, consider offering incentives for customers to upgrade to the more expensive plan. Or, if your business offers additional service add-ons, discount or make those add-ons free.
You can also partner with other companies to promote their sales. Our portfolio company, Back in Stock did this in 2021 to encourage additional sales on partner apps like GrowthHero, Cross Sell, Plug in SEO, and more.
Also, consider pairing a webinar or eBook with a customer’s purchase. For example, chatbot and marketing automation platform MobileMonkey promoted their Instagram verification guide in the same email that offered free access to their InstaChamp Instagram DM automation tool. This cross-sell works perfectly as the guide and product both relate.
5. Reduce cart abandonment
Across all industries, cart abandonment is around 69.57%. This means roughly seven of every ten shoppers won’t complete their transaction with you. And even SaaS companies aren’t immune to this sobering cart reality. Any lost customer is a missed subscription opportunity.
Online stores experience the highest rates in October and November, especially around Black Friday campaigns, possibly because users want to hold out until they find the best deal possible at the peak of Black Friday.
Consider implementing these tips to prevent shoppers from abandoning their carts and leaving for a competitor:
- Reduce cart friction. Allow leads to purchase without an account or checkout as a guest until they purchase the service. Lengthy checkout times and forms intimidate customers, so your job is to hasten that purchase process.
- Send abandoned cart reminders using email. In the subject line, remind customers they left something behind in their cart. You can also include an additional discount code to entice them further.
- Send abandoned cart reminders using SMS. For customers who opted into receiving SMS communications, send texts reminding them of what they left behind in their cart. You can also use a company like Cartloop to send texts to customers to find out why they abandoned their cart and encourage them to fulfill the purchase.
- Audit your shopping cart experience. Are there any bugs preventing customers from fulfilling their purchases? Read this article for more information on how to conduct an audit.
Reduce the number of abandoned carts by removing the confusion and making it easier for customers to purchase. Continuously testing your SaaS company’s checkout experience will help you hang onto customers and ultimately increase sales.
6. Don’t offer a discount at all
Some SaaS companies like Ahrefs don’t offer any one-off discounts or seasonal specials for Black Friday. Our own company, Docparser, tried Black Friday discounts in the past but didn’t see much of an uptick in sales, so they no longer participate.
Other major companies like Netflix don’t offer Black Friday discounts because these discounts can attract disloyal customers who make purchases based on the deals the brands offer but not on the differentiating factors. Also, current customers might feel like they want the discount, so they’ll either cancel and re-subscribe under another email, or your sales team will be bombarded by hundreds of tickets and calls begging for that Black Friday discount.
Sometimes the best Black Friday strategy is none at all.
Inspiring Black Friday Marketing Campaign Examples
Whether you’re planning a traditional Black Friday campaign or need new ways to market your products in-store, these inspiring Black Friday marketing campaign examples will help you get started.
MeetEdgar is a social media management tool that helps users create and schedule social posts and track their social media accounts. In 2020, they offered $140 off their Edgar plan and $20 for their Edgar Lite plan.
With a Black Friday landing page saying, “Get on our list to find out what Edgar’s got in store this year,” they captured 50+ new emails after spending only $40 on ads.
Plug in Useful
Plug in Useful is a Shopify SaaS company with two products: Plug in Speed and Plug in SEO. For this Black Friday, they’re offering a 40% off discount to new customers.
Offering a steep discount like this works because customers are conditioned to expect great steals for the holiday season, so discounting products 30-50% off is common. If your business cannot afford to discount your product, opt for a smaller percentage off.
This year, Jasper.ai, a copywriting AI tool, is offering a discount plus free credits. Jasper.ai offers multiple pricing tiers based on the number of words a user might generate in a month.
The discount plus account credits is a nice twist on the traditional percentage-off discount because customers feel like they’re getting a little extra with their purchase. Like a free gift with purchase. If your SaaS service has a credit-based plan, this might be the way to go.
Hypage is a link-sharing tool allowing users to build multiple links from a single “link in bio” on Instagram and TikTok. Businesses use Hypage to direct Instagram or TikTok users to important links like new blog posts, product landing pages, and more.
For Black Friday in 2021, they offered a steep 50% off their product plus an unlock of their Viral Brand Build Course.
In 2020, Gymshark, a fitness wear company, collaborated with YouTube influencers KSI, Behzinga, and Calfreezy to gain viral recognition. Their campaign video teaches how to attract Gen Z and Millenial customers.
To highlight Gymshark’s products, the video also illustrates the positive aspects of wearing its clothing but presented in a satirical absurdist style to appear to its younger target audience. It also features elements from the 1980s-90s to cater to the younger generation’s preferences.
Codegrip is an automated code review tool giving users total quality reports for every commit and pull request performed by any developer. Users can see all the code’s bugs, vulnerabilities, and duplications in their code reports.
Following a non-traditional path, Codegrip offered a one-month all-access free trial instead of a discounted percentage. This works because users get a taste of the full-access plans, and once they use them, they may not want to return to the lower-tiered plans.
Kickstart your Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) campaign
Black Friday is no longer just a brick-and-mortar holiday—it’s now an online shopping phenomenon for SaaS businesses of all sizes. If you want to take advantage of the spending frenzy, consider offering exclusive deals, building up your email list, leveraging social media to your advantage, and using additional creative marketing strategies to bring customers to your website.
Get ahead of the competition by planning your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales strategies now!