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#44: BFCM Case Study: How to Plan an 80% Revenue Increase Promotion!

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#44: BFCM Case Study: How to Plan an 80% Revenue Increase Promotion!

We’re diving into the exciting world of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. ūüéČ With Q3 just around the corner, it’s time to gear up and start mapping out your holiday promotions to end the year on a high note.

In this episode, we’ll be taking a look back at last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaign we executed for a skincare client. In this BFCM case study episode, we’ll review how we planned, executed, and analyzed the biggest sales event for D2C CPG of the year! And how we secured this client an impressive 80% increase in revenue year over year.

By the end of this episode, you’ll be armed with valuable insights to help you plan your very own killer Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or holiday sale. Get ready to take your sales to new heights! ūüöÄ


Let Us Break It Down For You…

[0:59 – 2:12] Introduction to our Black Friday, Cyber Monday (BFCM) Case Study
[2:13 Р6:52] Set Your Goals and Debrief
[6:53 Р8:17] Prioritize Value and Education Before Launch
[8:18 Р10:14] Master Testing and Optimize
[10:15 Р11:38] Audit Your Channels
[11:39 Р15:17] Organize, Plan, and Create Assets
[15:18- 18:00] Create an Early Bird Phase
[18:01 Р22:31] Execute Your Launch via Email, Ads, Organic Social, and Web!
[22:32 Р30:36] Recap: Analyze Your Goals and Determine Where You Succeeded or Missed the Mark
[30:37 Р31:47] Closing

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#44: BFCM Case Study: How to Plan an 80% Revenue Increase Promotion!


Alison Smith: [0:17]
Howdy, listeners. We’re Alison.
Karin Samelson: [0:18]
And I’m Karin.
Alison Smith: [0:19]
And we love growing CPG brands.
Karin Samelson: [0:22]
We’re the founders of a digital and social media marketing agency, UMAI Marketing and creators of the Consumer Goods Growth Course, where we’ve helped grow dozens of brands to six and seven figures.
Alison Smith: [0:32]
We’re former in-house marketers turned consumer goods marketing educators, who’ve set off on a mission to provide CPG founders and marketers with actionable strategies that drive community and sales. We’re talking real results.
Karin Samelson: [0:46]
If you’re wanting to learn simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies needed to drive real brand growth without breaking the bank or sacrificing your social life, then this is the podcast for you. Let’s get into today’s episode.
Alison Smith: [0:59]
Hello everyone and welcome to today’s episode. Allison here. Today, it is just me and we are talking Black Friday, Cyber Monday. As we all know, we’re heading in into Q3. We know what that means. It’s time to start planning your holiday and Black Friday, Cyber Monday promos to close out your year strong.
In today’s episode, we’re going to look back at our Black Friday, Cyber Monday promo from last year for a client in the skincare space. This client is a small, two-person team who created a super strong brand using social media alone, and we were brought in in 2022 to execute their emails and social ads to really capitalize on all the organic hard work that they’ve been putting into their business. We’ll talk about what worked for this CPG brand’s BFCM, Black Friday, Cyber Monday promotion that garnered an exciting 80% increase in revenue from the previous year so that you can also plan a killer Black Friday, Cyber Monday or holiday sell yourself.
All right, let’s get into it. The first step that we did and that you should also do before starting to execute your promotion is setting your goals and also debriefing from last year’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or holiday promo. You’re going to want to review what worked and what didn’t from your previous promos. So if you don’t already have all that data, pull it into a sheet or a document and add the timeline, what offers you use, what channels you use, and really understand what worked, what didn’t, what channels you didn’t even need to execute. Really think about what you’re capable of executing for this year and try this time to just focus on a few of the highest ROI channels for promotions rather than too many low-return, high-effort channels. That’s something we see a lot for smaller or medium-sized brands even. They make promotions too messy with too many moving parts and it ends up flopping.
Obviously, our goal for everyone is to get them omnichannel, but it’s better to execute really well on a few strong channels than execute and flop on too many channels and stress yourself out. So something to consider. When we did this for this brand, we looked back at top performing promos in the past and we identified four different offers that worked really well and had high revenue from our customers. The first one was a tiered promo. A tiered promo is usually there’s three different cart values with different percents attached to them. For example, save 10% when you order $50 or more, save 15% when you order $75 or more, and then save 20% when you order 100 or more. That’s what we call a tiered promo. We also saw that bundles worked really well. So bundling skews that are alike or products that people generally buy together, bundle them together. Usually when you do this, you’re going to be able to offer a more significant discount that’s really attractive.
And then the third offer that worked really well for this brand was a free gift with purchase. Usually, the free gift is after they purchase a certain tiered amount or if they purchase a certain bundle or skew, they get a free awesome gift as a reward. And then finally, seasonal or small batch or limited edition products did really well for this particular brand.
So we were identifying these four different offers and analyzing them to see what we wanted to run with for this year’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday. After we did some of that offer and promo analysis, we went ahead and started setting our goals. We set a primary goal of increasing our revenue by 20% when compared to the previous period last year. 20% is pretty much a standard increase for a lot of brands. We didn’t have a lot of historical data to go off of, hence using a pretty standard 20% here.
And so after you set your primary goal, which generally is going to be sales or revenue, then it’s important to set your secondary and tertiary KPI goals. These are the KPIs that are going to help you measure along the way as your promo unfolds and are more of the actions that get you to that end goal, that end primary goal. For us, they were increasing our average order value for ads by 20%, another 20% standard increase. We wanted to hit a combined ROAS, return on ad spend of 400%. We wanted to make $17,000 in our email promo campaigns alone, and we wanted to hit a 2% click-through rate with our email promo campaigns. So you can see that the secondary and tertiary KPI goals are specifically different channel goals that will help us get that end primary KPI of a revenue increase.
After you have set your goals and done some analysis and debriefing of your previous promos to understand what resonates with your customers, the next step in the process is to ensure that you’re currently or have plans to give value and education before your pre-launch or pre-promo starts. Really the quarters before Q2, Q3 should really be about giving value to your leads, to your followers, establishing that trust and then giving them the best pre-purchase and post-purchase experience possible to really establish that know, like and trust. So your emails and your social media and even your ads at this point should not be super salesy. Your goal is still to gain sales, but you’re not really running promos or big discounts or anything like that. You’re really speaking about the value of your product, your brand’s mission, using social proof like that to make the sale. You’re not going headfirst into promos at this point. Again, you’re giving a lot of education throughout your ad creatives and your email and your posts as well. At this time, before your pre-promo launch, focus on giving value and education.
Okay, and then next we get into the test and perfect stage. After we’re ensuring that we are set up to give value in the months and weeks before we start the actual promo campaigns, we do need to ensure that all things are functioning across all the channels that we use. We need to ensure that our website conversion rate was optimized and it was fast. For this client, we ran a speed test, which you can also do for free with Google PageSpeed. We also installed an app called Lucky Orange. It’s like a heatmap that you can install on your website. I believe they have a free version as well. You can watch people actually go through your website, go through your checkout flows, everything and see if there’s any issues on your site that people are getting stuck on or that are bringing your conversion rate down.
We then tested our different offers that we talked about just before those four different offers that we identified and we tested them two small segments of our top engaged leads. We didn’t use our bigger promos and bigger discounts because we reserved those for Black Friday, Cyber Monday maybe one other time a year. We don’t want our audience to expect that kind of discount. We tested those different types of offers with a smaller level or smaller discounts, lesser valued gifts. So highly encourage you if you’ve planned earlier enough to test out different offers to your top engaged email leads, see what they’re going to like best. You can even survey your list and ask them what they want this Black Friday, Cyber Monday.
After we did the testing, we also audited our email automations. We audited our ad campaigns and our social media channels to ensure that everything was firing correctly and deliverability was good. We wanted to make sure our ads were optimized, there was no issues with any of the pages that we are linking to and that our social channel’s bio was… the bio description was optimized for search. And then finally we researched and decided on our web stack or the web apps that we’d need for the promo. That does take some time to, if you’re using Shopify, to sort through all the different apps that they have and find the right one that actually connects with everything that you needed to connect to. So get started on that early, but look for apps like if you need an announcement bar that talks about the sale sitewide, if you need a cart upsell app to help people hit certain thresholds, if you’re doing like a free gift with purchase, if you need a sales page builder for this particular promo. So think about all the things that you could use over this promo period that would really help increase your conversion rate and then go ahead and install them and just make sure that they actually do what you need them to do because we’ve run into that a few times.
After the test and perfect phase, then we get into the organizing, the planning, and the actual creation of the assets in these campaigns. We decided on which offer we wanted to move forward with, which was, for this brand, we went with the free gift with purchase. If they purchased over $100 with a product, they got a free really awesome $25 gift. The gift we chose, we even put some thought into that as well. The gift we chose was a great stocking stuffer or it was something that anyone would want as their free gift. So it was kind of a universal great gift. We decided on that offer, then we made a what we call a promo brief.
A promo brief is it’s really great if you’re working with a team, an agency, or even riding solo. It’s just a quick one-page document or a quick Google Sheet that outlines the promo start and end dates, the URLs that you’re going to send all traffic to, the links to all of your asset folders, like your email assets, your social assets, your ad assets, and then any other important notes about the promo. It’s really your and your team’s one-stop doc to get a full rundown of everything that you need to know to execute so that you’re not stressing on promo day, wondering where files are or where you’re sending traffic or anything like that. And then you can also use this sheet or document that you created to come back to to make notes on when you’re debriefing on what worked and what didn’t.
And then as part as the organization and planning process, we then added all of the assets we needed into our content calendar. We just filled in the different days on our calendar on when these assets would go live on email, ads and social media so that we had a visual representation as well on the timeline of this promo. We decided we were going to need four emails, four ads and four social media posts that we were going to repost to stories as well. And then the messaging and creatives that we made for this promo really spoke about hyping the promo. We talked about the value of the product and the free gift and the benefits it would provide to the customer. And then of course we talked about the scarcity and urgency, that this is limited time, we often run out of stock, things like that.
If you’re wanting our assets for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday promos, we actually will be launching our Black Friday, Cyber Monday kit very soon. It’s going to have Canva templates for emails, Canva templates for ads, Canva templates for social media. It’s going to have a sheet for all of your KPI and goal tracking, a place to do your promo briefs and debriefs, and then also a pre and post promo checklist and a few other things too. It’s basically everything you need to have a successful promo. If you do want access to the Black Friday, Cyber Monday kit when it comes out, send us a DM on Instagram now, @umaimarketing with the letters BFCM and we can tell you more about it. Moving on though.
After the organized plan and create phase, now we get into the pre-launch phase. We call this our early bird phase, and this is really about asking people to raise their hand and tell you that they want to buy your product. Our strategy for this promo was to gain existing and new leads about two weeks before the promotion started to get a super engaged list ready to send the promo to first. As we knew, getting these people on an early bird list was going to help increase deliverability of our emails and likely lead to an increase in earnings per recipient. With ads, email and social, what we did is we announced that folks could go sign up to our early bird list and get first dibs on accessing the sale. All we did was make a super simple landing page to capture and tag these leads with Klaviyo. The copy was made to get the lead excited for this sale and it was like coming soon and dramatic. Also, show them love by giving them an exclusive first peak at the promo, first dibs on the promo.
So it had both of those elements for the copy. And then to do a pre-launch early bird strategy, simply just send one, maybe two emails to your list and do the coming soon hype that they would be getting exclusive first access to this offer. Send that email to your entire list and direct them to that landing page where they can opt in and get tagged with the early bird segment. And then for ads, run prospecting and retargeting ads to that same landing page. Getting people to pre-opt in. The cost per lead on ads should be, if you’re sending to a landing page, around $3 for totally new cold audiences. Retargeting, it should be even less. Or you can run an on Meta lead form type of ad where they just opt in straight on Facebook and Instagram. Those cost per leads are $1 to $2. They’re super-duper cheap. So you’re not spending a lot of money gaining these leads. And then on social, you’ll just post just like similar to your email or your ad that your followers can go to the link in your bio and sign up to your early bird landing page to get first access to your sale. That’s the early bird strategy.¬†
Now, we’re going to get into the actual launch. We created three emails total announcing the promo. They spoke on the value of the products, the scarcity of this promo, and then finally hyping on the urgency that the promo was ending soon. We sent the promo announcement and all other promo emails first to our early bird segment. So the early birds were in their own segment then to our top engaged leads. Your top engaged leads are generally people who have interacted with the last three to six of the last emails that you’ve sent. And then finally, our third segment that got the email was the rest of the list. But you want to keep them separated because they’re going to have different levels of deliverability and you want to ensure that as many people as possible actually get the email in their primary inbox. That’s why we practice this type of segmentation for promos.
We also practice resends. Instead of creating more emails, which you absolutely can do, we won’t hold you back, but if you don’t have time to create six emails versus three, what we do a lot of times is we just resend the same email at a later date with a different, hopefully juicier subject line to people who didn’t open the initial email. Because if they didn’t open that initial email within three to six days, they’d probably already archived it. They’re probably not going to read it. So try getting their attention again with just a new subject line and it’s going to be a brand new email body for them. They likely have not seen it.
And then with ads, we created three ads for the actual promo. They were UGC style ads. We are really a UGC native first agency. That’s just what works and converts for CPG brands on Meta. These ads introduced the promo and the free gift, the benefits of the free gift. We also added testimonials, showed how to use the products, and it had a really strong call to action and we were sending the promo emails and the ads straight to our collections page with more details about purchasing $100 worth of product to get that free gift. And then for organic social, we use the same messaging as above in different high-performing formats like using reels and carousel posts. For social, you can add that link in your bio and use that call to action to tell them to go to the link to shop.
Again, for web, since this was a cart threshold offer of $100, like I mentioned earlier, we created a collection for this offer with the details just at the very top of that collection. And again, we sent all traffic here and then we also used an announcement bar to highlight the promo if someone landed on any page organically on the website so that they could just click that announcement bar, gets taken straight to the collection where they got some information and were able to directly shop. The reason we didn’t use a sales page for this is because it was an order threshold product. If you are doing something like just a bundle or something a bit more specific, absolutely test using a sales page if that’s something within your wheelhouse. Sales pages generally are higher converting than your original regular website because a lot of times you’ll remove a lot of the clutter, like menus and extra things like that, and it’s just a very focused way to get someone to buy.
We also used a cart upsell app. If you just search that in Shopify app store, you should find plenty. But that helped customers reach the threshold. So every time they added a product to their cart, a little sidebar popped up and it said, “You are $55 away from getting your free $25 in value gift.” That really helped people understand where they were at in getting that free gift and help them increase their cart value. That was a pretty broad recap of the strategy that we used for this client’s 2022 Black Friday, Cyber Monday.¬†
We talked about our goals in the beginning, so let’s recap and see how we did. With revenue, we ended up knocking our revenue goal out of the park. We had a goal of a 20% increase, but we were able to secure an 80% increase in revenue when compared to the previous period. Our biggest revenue driver was actually attributed to our ad campaigns. We made over 50% of our revenue from ads alone. We had a really great cost per acquisition before our promo started. So our evergreen ad campaigns had a really good cost to acquire a purchase. We knew our audiences really well. We had tested our audiences a lot. We had tested our best messaging and creative types months beforehand and leading up to the sale. So our ad account was very much optimized at this point. I want to make that clear. We had a very optimized ad account.
We also started our promo ads earlier than any of our other channels. Ads started before we announced on email and social media. A lot of people start their Black Friday, Cyber Monday promos either on that Friday or like the Thursday before. We started a lot earlier to ensure that we had better deliverability with our ads in the auction. Because with the ad auction over this time period, it gets slammed and there is no room for any player, costs start to rise. We started only ads earlier because we knew this was going to happen, and that allowed us to really secure more touch points to drive people to purchase. It allowed us to slowly optimize these promo campaigns versus just dumping a ton of money per day for four days. We got to kind of spread out the budget and increase it slowly as we saw profitability.
If you’re planning on running ads for a Black Friday, Cyber Monday or holiday promo, really in the post iOS 14 world, it does take a bit longer to optimize your campaign. So we would recommend, if possible, trying to launch those campaigns earlier than any other channels where you’re going to announce the promo. And then our secondary and tertiary goals. First up is average order value. We were able to hit over a 30% increase in average order value month over month versus our 20% goal, which is awesome. That was huge for us, and that was a huge reason for our revenue being so successful. Also, our ROAS goal, return on ad spend goal, we set it for a 400% return on ad spend. We were able to hit 450%. So we were 50% more than our goal. Let’s kind of break that ROAS down. We generated 345% returns on our completely cold prospecting audiences and attracted tons of new customers via this promo for even higher lifetime value down the road. So really great returns on brand new people, especially for a promo and for the first time hearing about this brand. And then our retargeting campaign had a return of ad spend of 5.5 or 550%, which is right in the range that we wanted it to be, which is awesome.
I will say a note on prospecting during promos, that means like going out and targeting cold people who don’t know about your brand. These types of campaigns generally need a minimum about $100 a day for them to work. So if your budget is a lot lower than those requirements, we would recommend just focusing your efforts on retargeting your list during a Black Friday or other promo at this time until you’re able to spend around the $100 a day mark. And then another one of our goals was our cost per acquisition goal. Because we launched our ad campaigns early, we were able to optimize the campaigns throughout the month, which was something that I think we’ll likely do again if the budget is there. We actually saw a $2 cost per acquisition reduction month over month. Our goal here was just keep cost per acquisition the same because we do know that it rises during this time. So a reduction was a fantastic bonus. I think a big reason on how we did this is of course we retargeted with I think around 20% of our ad budget. The remainder of our budget went to prospecting for this promo, and we actually used a completely open audience. We didn’t use any lookalikes or interest groups. It’s because we knew that our pixel was well seasoned, our account was well optimized. With that open audience, that was the biggest driver for our reduction in cost per acquisition. It was really important though that we had enough budget to actually optimize and drive down cost per acquisition. So remember that note that if you’re not around the $100 a day mark, you’re not able to spend that much on your ad campaigns, focus on retargeting for now.¬†
And then finally, our email revenue and click-through rate goals. We just nearly missed our click-through rate goal. I think our goal was a 2% click-through rate for our promo emails. We hit 1.7, but we did exceed our email promo sales goal by over $3,000, which is great. Overall, the email promo campaigns generated $20,000 in extra revenue for the promo alone, which we considered a win even though we didn’t hit the click-through rate goal.
With our emails, we really got straight to the point with these emails. Email promos generally just, you can highlight the sale. The copy can speak about value and things like that, but it should be really clear when someone opens a promo email, what the offer is and where to click. That’s really your main goal here. We also tested all of our subject lines to get the highest opens and used our client’s top send times too. So even if you’ve done all the subject line and send time testing beforehand, I would still recommend creating at least two different subject lines, testing send times at the time of sending these promos and allowing your email platform like Klaviyo to test this. What we do generally is we test the subject lines and after 20% of the list has been sent, Klaviyo will choose the winner and send the remainder 80% of the list with the winning subject line.
And then going back to missing our click-through rate goal for our promo emails. What we think happened here was our resends did drive down this metric. Remember, we would resend to non openers, but these resends also did help us exceed our revenue goals. So it was kind of a win-lose there. After looking at the data, we think we could have increased our click-through rate and actually hit our goal and maintained our revenue on our resends if we didn’t resend the entire non opener list, but instead resent to people who didn’t open and are more engaged. So something to consider if you’re going to test resending your email this promo or holiday season.
That’s a wrap up our Black Friday, Cyber Monday case study. We hope you enjoyed this case study episode and hopefully got some fresh ideas. If you’re ready to make this year your most profitable yet, we are now taking on Q4 clients and would love the chance to work with you. We are here to reach your ideal customers, help you optimize, strategize, and create high performing social email and advertising campaigns for your brand. Let’s make your Q4 the most profitable yet. Book a call with us at and we would love to chat. Thanks for listening y’all.
Karin Samelson: [31:24]
Thanks for listening to the UMAI Social Circle, y’all. We’re here to support you in your CPG journey, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any new podcast episodes. While you’re at it, please leave us a review on your listening platform of choice. Shoot us a DM at UMAI Marketing on Instagram if you have any topics you want us to cover on new podcast episodes.
Alison Smith: [31:34]
And don’t forget to access our free masterclass where we’re showing you how to create a solid marketing strategy. You can access that at and we’ll meet you back here for the next episode.