I've never been a big Black Friday shopper. I'm not one who loves going to the mall anyway, so browsing around on the busiest shopping day of the year certainly doesn't appeal to me. That being said, I have made a few Black Friday purchases here and there over the years, and even managed a 7 month old in a stroller for an hour or at the nearest outlet this year. I hate to admit that I was a small part of the almost 17% increase in Black Friday spending from last year.
So, when Cyber Monday appeared back in 2005, it seemed to be just my thing. Shopping from my couch was glorious. Add in Amazon Prime, with two-day free shipping, and I never again had to leave the house to shop.
Fast forward 12 years to Cyber Monday 2017. Leading up to this mementos day was email after email in my inbox about Black Friday weekend deals and Cyber Monday sales for the record books. There were a few gifts on my list I wanted to make sure I bought, so when I logged onto my computer at 5pm, I had my credit card ready.
I had planned to spend a good amount of money and get almost all of my holiday shopping finished. What happened was just the opposite. I bought three gifts and stopped. Why? Because what used to be an enjoyable shopping experience turned into nothing but a frustrating journey to save five percent more, while my inbox was being flooded with messages like, "You can't miss this once in a lifetime deal" and "Only 4 hours left to save 25%".
I couldn't keep it all straight. And, what it made me do is turn off my computer. It just wasn't worth the few bucks I would save. I threw my credit card back in my wallet and called it a night. I'm sure my husband was delighted by my lack of Cyber Monday spending, but all it did for me was make me irritable. It turns out, I'm not the only one who reacted this way. According to Shopify, "a depressing 0.14% of emails convert on Cyber Weekend."
I woke up this morning ready for a new day and glad to have Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind me, and guess what happened. I opened my email and found about 100 more messages that told me "Cyber Monday has been extended!!!!". I'm not sure why I'm surprised, as I know this happens every year. For me, though, this year was different. I was more aware of the endless messaging and promotions vying for my attention.
I put my marketing hat on, hit the light bulb switch and realized why I was so bothered by Cyber Monday 2017:
NONE of the hundreds of Cyber Monday emails that I arrived in my inbox really struck me. They all sounded just about the same. I'm well aware that hours upon hours were spent developing, writing and executing these campaigns. However, in the end, it was all the same old message.
This made me think about marketing for my own clients.
Are the messages they are putting out there really any different than the competition?
Are they landing in an inbox somewhere around the world and being deleted immediately?
How can we be truly unique and tell a story?
There are millions of ways to get a message to stand out from the crowd. The important thing is to really take the time to brainstorm new ideas and be honest with yourself on whether or not you're really pushing the creative envelope.
Here are a few ways to bust out of the pack and up your messaging game:
Just sit there. Yep, you heard me right. Take 30 minutes and find a comfy place to sit. Grab some coffee or tea and a notebook. Then, do nothing. Don't force yourself to think about anything in particular or work your brain to come up with the most creative idea you've ever had. Let your mind wonder. Let it rest. What you'll find is, throughout those 30 minutes, some of your most creative ideas will suddenly come to you. You're giving your mind a break and not forcing it to think one way or another, so it's able to do some of it's best work. Write down ideas as they come and go and then set the notebook back down and get ready for the next wave of creativity to come your way.
Ask and you shall receive. How often do you go directly to your customers and ask them what messages they want to hear from you? So many times we assume we know what the consumer wants because we're the marketing and sales pros. We never stop and just ask what will make them click the ad or hit the purchase button. Depending on your business, there are a plethora of ways to engage current customers to understand why they love your brand and what will keep them happy. Use surveys, social media, the phone, etc. to figure out what the customer wants.
Put on your consumer hat. Do you ever stop and think about what makes you open your wallet? Is it an email you've received that tells a story or a message that delivers value in just one sentence? Don't underestimate your buying habits. Analyze and use them to your advantage. Browse the internet and your email inbox and pick out a few messages that made you take a second look. What stands out to you? Can you do something similar in your own marketing?
Cyber Monday has come and gone, and Cyber Tuesday is here for the next few hours. Who knows what Cyber Wednesday will bring. Take this opportunity to make a shift in your own marketing and come up with some ideas for the remainder of 2017 that will delight your customers and lead you into 2018 on a positive note.
What did you think about Cyber Monday this year? Send me your thoughts!
Kelli Anderson is the owner of Kelli Anderson Communications (KAC), where she helps businesses with content strategy, creation and management. She's a big believer that communicating your story effectively will have a positive impact on your revenue. Kelli lives in sunny Phoenix, AZ with her husband and son. She has an eye for refinishing old furniture and enjoys giving old pieces new life. She can be reached here.