We’ve been running Black Friday sales in the internet marketing space since before there was ever a “Cyber Monday”. Our first one was in November of 2008, so we’ve got quite a bit of experience under our belt with these campaigns. No one in the MMO space used to do this back when we started, but now it seems that every marketer and their mother has caught on. The market is much more saturated, so it is even more important than ever for you to stand out.
Over the years, we’ve tried A LOT of clever things for Black Friday sales, and some of them worked great while some fell flat on their faces. We now have the process down to a science, and this article breaks it down into the individual pieces that we focus on. I’m going to explain those pieces to you here in this article, and then at the end, I’ll show you one of OUR campaigns, and I’ll even invite you to promote it. Here we go…
Quite simply, this is: what they pay… for what they get. This just has to be an absolute no-brainer for THEM. I’ve learned that if it doesn’t pain you to give it away, you should add more to it. We typically create a BUNDLE of our most popular products. By “popular,” I mean the ones that affiliates have seen the most. The ones that I can point to in JVZoo and say, “Look there! See how well this converts.”
We take our MUA membership which is $37 per month or $297 for life product and combine it with some of our high ticket stuff that sells by webinar for 2k. We make sure the REAL retail value is in the thousands, at least $2k. (and by real, I mean they can go on waybackmachine.net and see the price has ALWAYS been what you say it is)
We then slash that by 90%, so we always end up with something between $200 and $300 for the front end. We do this so that on the early bird webinar (Thanksgiving Thursday), there is still wiggle room for an enticing coupon of $50 to $100.
We start prepping for this bad boy in October. I almost always screw up here because I convince myself that things are quicker for me to do than they actually are. (I’m stupid sometimes) Don’t make that mistake. Just because you already have sales pages for these products does not really make it much easier to create a black Friday page and a JV page and custom swipes (because remember, the product combo is a NEW product in itself). You’ve gotta treat this as a launch.
We start notifying affiliates on Nov 1st, which means October is prep month to get the pages up and the marketing material ready. I’ll get into specifics about how I market to the affiliates and what I use under the marketing section. But right now, I want to cover the dates because setting up the schedule allows you to reverse engineer your plan.
It’s all about buzz. Period. People have to know about your sale WAAAY before your sale. That’s how Apple gets a line outside the door before releasing a new product. That’s how Walmart has a stabbing every year on Black Friday, and someone always gets trampled. Marketing does that. And when I say “people” have to know about your sale BEFORE the sale, I mean MARKETERS. Affiliates. They have to know.
Tell the little voice in your head to shut up for a second. Yeah, I know that the customers have to know too, but it’s more important that the AFFILIATES KNOW. I create four swipe files, each with at least a dozen emails. Yeah, 48 freakin black Friday emails, so tell that little voice to shut up again. You’ll learn why in the marketing section, but for now, let’s talk about WHEN. As I refer to dates, please keep in mind that the exact dates change each year but what is more important is the DAY of the week in question that each action takes place.
→ November 1 – start mailing affiliates – queue the whole sequence all the way through the launch (even daily launch reminders inside the launch week). Queue them all in advance; you can add stats later when live.
→ November 16 – get your top guys their 2 tier links and swipes so they can start mailing THEIR affiliates.
→ Monday, November 25th – start emailing your list about the early bird webinar on Thanksgiving night using your black Friday affiliate link.
→ Tuesday, November 26 through Thanksgiving – keep emailing your list daily about the webinar.
→ Thursday, November 28th – (Thanksgiving Day) early bird webinar is at 9:00 PM, and attendees get a $100 coupon to save even MORE money on the Black Friday sale.
→ Friday, November 29th – make sure affiliate links automatically point to the black Friday sales page at 10:00 AM and mail them about the time-sensitive sale. (mail a “Going Crazy” email at about 3:00 PM)
→ Saturday, November 30th, and Sunday, Dec. 1st, mail them to build urgency. FOLLOW THE CRUSH CAMPAIGN… use impulse factors. (Fear of loss, indifference, greed, and sense of urgency)
→ Monday, December 2nd – sales end at midnight on Cyber Monday (PRICE INCREASES). Mail hard today, and you will make BANK between 6 PM and Midnight!
This is what the schedule image looks like for one of our Black Friday offers…
Keep in mind that each year the dates may vary but the promotion still runs from Monday to Monday.
The affiliate Jedi. These are my homeboys. My posse. The dudes I talk to every day. They get word of my launches before anyone, and I shoot them my ideas so they can mold how I’m going to develop things. These guys will be my top affiliates. They will send me most of my customers, so it makes sense that they have input on the offer and the pages so that it converts well.
The head hunter list. We create a list of 30 people we REALLY want to promote for us, and we draw it out on the whiteboard… Melinda likes Google docs, but that’s too easy to close and file away. I like this shit to stare me in the face every time I walk in the room, so I remember that I still have to call Filsaime and I still haven’t heard back from Liz Tomey. This list is made of people we like, trust, and have worked with more than once. In an ideal world, they will all promote for us without us even having to ask, but that’s not the world we live in. Our board has dates, contact methods, and other pertinent headhunter info.
The postcards. We maintain a spreadsheet of thousands of mailing addresses for affiliates. POSTAL mailing addresses. This is one of the reasons we require it when signing up to promote our launch. We get Stevie (from GFX-1) to make us a nice front/back postcard image, and we upload it with our address spreadsheet to PSprint.com
The recruitment gifts. Ten of the head hunters need an extra push to wake the heck up, so we send them something with a little girth in a jiffy envelope. A keychain, a shirt, a pen, a toenail clipper, whatever … just something with our branding on it. Then we follow up with them to make sure they got it.
The skype threads. These are useful because I can paste my whole team in there and just check back once in a while or when someone tags me. I go to all the threads we communicated on about THEIR launch that we promoted, and now I tell them about ours. Some people will be excited, and others will just ghost you. Don’t worry about that; it’s gonna happen. Just move on and focus on the people that are EXCITED about your launch and the opportunity to work with you. Those people are worth 100 ghosts.
The PHONE. Yes, you lazy git, pick up the phone and call the affiliates you know personally. Call them and shoot the shit for a few minutes so you don’t sound like a needy selfish vendor. There is a reason we go to lots of live events and meet people. It’s so we can make a personal connection with people and exchange phone numbers. Call them and be cool. Don’t be pushy, and don’t make it weird. Sometimes I don’t even talk about business at all, I just let them ask me what I’m up to, then I be like “Welllll…. Since you asked!” LOL
The Facebook groups. This starts with our student groups like MUA and Inner Circle. Then, our partner groups like John’s Partnership To Success and Ken’s Warrior JV group. Ultimately, in like a dozen or so of those miscellaneous affiliate groups (can’t hurt), I usually create a skyscraper image (476×714) and write a 50-100 word post for these groups.
The Calendar sites. Over the years, this has dwindled to only two that are worth the trouble, and that would be Chris Munch’s Muncheye and Mike Merz’s JVnotify Pro. Melinda handles this personally, she’s the one that posts the launch announcements. We’ve had mixed results with paid and bumped ads here.
The Ads. Okay, the ROI on this is hard to measure, so I just don’t try. Frankly, I don’t care, I just throw some money at ads for exposure. I run hot topic ads in JVZoo, and I’ve even paid for them to blast their affiliate list for me (that has worked really well, but it’s expensive). I also run some FB ads to a specific audience, I upload my affiliate list to a custom audience and just target them with an ad that looks like the postcard they’re getting.
The Voxer App. I love the voxer app. I know there are others like WhatsApp, but voxer is the one I like, and it’s the one most of my friends are on so I use that one. I make a voice shot about the Black Friday sale, and I forward it to the people I think would be interested… This is usually like 20-25 people. Some are affiliates; some are students that I know have a list. voxer is a great way to communicate with affiliates via voice and you can even create a group for your top ten to instigate a competition.
Okay, 48 freakin emails. Here’s why…
→ 12 are my JV swipes (that’s emails from me to my affiliates getting them excited to promote and explaining the process to them)
→ 12 are my 2 Tier swipes (that’s emails from my affiliates to THEIR affiliates, similar to the first set BUT written in a third-party voice so that my affiliates can email them to THEIR affiliates with a 2 tier link)
→ 12 are my affiliate swipes and CRUSH CAMPAIGN for my affiliates to mail their customers; these will include the early bird webinar registration swipes as well as the 6 crush campaign weekend emails.
→ 12 are my INTERNAL swipes and CRUSH CAMPAIGN for my team to send our own lists. These will include the early bird webinar registration swipes as well as the 6 crush campaign weekend emails.
THE JV PAGE
The video. Don’t ever make a JV page without a video, and don’t ever talk to a JV as if he’s a customer. He’s not. My JV video has to be concise because most of my affiliates are primadonnas, and they have no time to watch a peasant like me drone on about my launch. Get right to the point, and cover the product, the schedule, and the funnel in the video. You can add a demo below if you have to for the product but make sure you cover the basics for them right up top. Make sure the dates are all covered, start AND END date. Explain what happens AFTER the launch.
Product descriptions and demos. Don’t sleep on this, no matter how “fantabulous” you think your product is. Take the time to write up a really good description of each product in the package. Shoot a demo for each or link to the sales page for each. Affiliates ain’t stupid, and they want to know what you’re pushing on their people. Show them BEFORE they ask, so they don’t even have to.
The doc. This is a recent trend. I think it’s stupid, but it makes many affiliates feel special. It makes them feel less “marketed to” (I guess) because it’s the same stuff you put on the JV page, but since it’s in a google doc, it feels more “behind the scenes” for them. Who cares? It’s the info they need, and I’m happy to give it to them however they want it. I’ll pee their affiliate link into the snow if that’s what’ll get them to promote.
The swipe files. Ok, there is a metric ton of emails to write, and it’s important that you give them the time they are due. Don’t just rush through the swipe creation cause this is how MOST (like almost all) of your customers and affiliates will learn about your black Friday sale) The easiest thing to do here is to put them in a separate doc so you can link to them from various places. Sometimes I want to quickly give someone just the swipes they need without having to send them looking for it on a JV Page.
The contest. ALWAYS run a contest because affiliates are super competitive. If you are running a contest, make a big deal about the winners. Post a TOP 10 update on Facebook at least once per day, but that’s not just it… YOU HAVE TO CONTACT THEM PERSONALLY… This is a must. You gotta tell #1 that #2 is creeping up on him and the same for #2, #3, and so on. That’s what keeps them mailing. Never assume that people will just keep mailing for you no matter how well you are converting. Follow up, call them, text them, vox them, and SAY THANK YOU. And ask what you can do to make them more money.
THE THANKSGIVING WEBINAR
Yeah, a webinar on one of the biggest American holidays of the year. Who woulda thunk it? The bottom line is we tested it and it works for us. We do it at 9 PM (we tried doing two webinars one year but only the 9 PM one was worth it).
This webinar is a “pre-launch webinar” for people to get an early-bird discount. Prelaunch webinars work REALLY well because they pump up your EPC stats for affiliates to see before you ever even open the doors on Black Friday.
Don’t overcomplicate it. This webinar is pretty simple to do. We run it in a very friendly and informal style. No big, long, drawn-out slide presentation. There may only be an introduction slide to tell them a bit about who we are and then three or four slides to discuss the pressure points that our product bundle will solve for them.
I am very forthcoming about the fact that there will be a “behind the scenes” look at “tomorrow’s black Friday launch,” and I tell them right up front that if they stick to the end of the webinar, they’ll get a discount code to use ON TOP of the already discounted Black Friday sale price. They know very well coming into this webinar that it’s about our black Friday sale and that we will pitch them on it.
The bulk of this webinar comprises a tour of the main products in the bundle. I start by showing them what the sales page will look like when we open, and then I give them a tour of the products. I share my screen in real-time and log in to the member’s area so they can get a “behind the scenes” look.
At the end of the webinar, I send them to the sales page using a raw link (so affiliate cookies will track). We use a cloaked link or a custom page on our Black Friday domain (BestBlackFridaySale.com). Every time we do this, we get a massive rush of sales on the webinar; we keep it short, maybe an hour or so.
THE CRUSH CAMPAIGN
In crush we trust baby! This email sequence has made us more money than anything else we’ve ever done online. We had to slightly modify it to work well for Black Friday because a Crush Campaign“typically” ends on Sunday at midnight eastern. Sunday at midnight is by far, the most profitable day and time of the week to end an affiliate campaign, with one exception… Black Friday weekend.
Because of CYBER MONDAY, we created what has been referred to by others as a hyper crush, but I don’t call it that cause it sounds lame. It’s still a Crush Campaign, just that it ends on a Monday instead of a Sunday. The way I look at it is that the Crush starts on Saturday now instead of Friday. The important thing is that the sequence remains 1 Email on day one, 2 emails on day two, and 3 emails on the last day. The email subjects, content, and TIMES of the emails are also important (obviously), but what I want to drive home is that your sale ends at midnight on Cyber Monday, so THAT’S the day they get three emails.
No two crush campaigns are exactly alike, but they all have to contain the same basic structure, and you have to have the same amount of emails. (1 day on 1 – 2 day on 2 – 3 on day 3) The close is always at midnight on day 3, and there should be a countdown timer on the page AND IN THE EMAILS. Yes… you need to embed a countdown timer in your day two and day three crush emails. I use the free one at countdownmail.com because it’s good but mostly because it’s free, and I like free stuff.
THE CYBER CLOSE
We used to close our Black Friday sales on Sunday because that’s when the crush campaigns were designed to end. Cyber Monday didn’t even exist when we started making these black Friday sales, BUT now it does, and we’ve gotta change with the times, so for the last several years, we’ve done a cyber close. (midnight eastern on cyber Monday) and it ROCKS.
Stay on top of your help desk because there will be a bottleneck at the order button between 6:00 PM and midnight on Cyber Monday. We usually see at least one sale per minute all the way through midnight. And guess what, even AFTER midnight. I’ve learned something after making these timed sales for so many years…
DO NOT EVER CLOSE AT THE END OF A SALE. Don’t be stupid. There is a money faucet pouring cash into your account right now, so don’t close it. Raise the price instead
You’ll make A LOT of sales on Tuesday even at the new higher price. People are looking at your page from all different time zones on the planet. Your midnight ain’t necessarily their midnight so keep that in mind. DON’T EVER LIE ABOUT YOUR SALE. If you said, you’re raising the price and removing the bonus at midnight, get your lazy butt out of bed and do it… OR do what we do and make one of your staff do it.
We usually do six figures on Black Friday weekend, and 30% – 40% of that comes from a backend webinar. Do this smartly. We always promote something of our own or something that we know really, really well from one of our trusted partners. This promo happens on WEDNESDAY during the cyber week (two days after you closed). Email your people about the new member training webinar and BE ON IT YOURSELF.
We talk for the first 10-20 minutes about the bundle products and then introduce the guest speaker (if not me) that’s going to teach and sell. The sweet spot for us on this back-end webby has been $997 to $1297. After the webinar, hit that replay page with another crush campaign that ends on the following weekend.
The week after that backend webinar promo (2 weeks after the black Friday special), we’ve learned that the best thing to promote here is our high ticket coaching (Inner Circle) by webinar. This works great for our fresh new list of buyers from Black Friday because, remember, these are mid-ticket buyers that grabbed a bundle. We typically bring in from $60k to $100k in the 2 weeks that FOLLOW the sale.
Have a really good lineup of December promos to mail your new Black Friday list because they LOVE to buy. And hey… if you don’t try to sell them something, I guarantee you that JVZoo will, so you may as well mail them daily. We typically end the year by promoting Thornhills boxing day special, which converts really well for us.
We could probably break down every piece of this further because they are all interesting topics. I’m sure you realize there are so many little details and intricacies that we’ve tested throughout the years to get this right. Now the formula is in your hands, but will you follow it or will you shoot yourself in the foot by trying to shortcut the shortcut?
If you want to see one of these Black Friday campaigns up close and personal for yourself, I invite you to look at ours and consider promoting it this year if you’d like. Here’s our last Black Friday JV page link; watch the video and feel free to bite our style 🙂 By the way, if you end up deciding that putting one of these sales together is just too much work for you, then we invite you to promote ours. We’ve got it down to a science and it converts like gangbusters.