Black Friday sale strategy deathmatch (part 2)

This year I tried an experiment with my traditional post-Thanksgiving book sale.

For the last couple of years I’ve done Cyber Monday sales for my Sublime Text book that went like this:

  • Announce “the deal” with an email on Cyber Monday morning. Usually it’s a steep 50-60% discount that expires at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday.

  • Send an “ends soon” email on Tuesday afternoon.

  • Send a “last chance” email Tuesday evening.

The usual pattern I see is that the first email triggers a huge spike of sales.

The second email brings in a handful…

And then the final email CLEANS UP—often bringing in as many sales as the first and second emails combined.

This year I decided to try a different approach.

Instead of waiting for Monday, opened the sale with an email on Black Friday.

Then sent follow-up emails on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

On Tuesday I did my standard “ends soon” and “last chance” emails.

Before the sale I asked you to vote on which strategy would “win,” and the longer sale won the voting with 57%.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Stretching the sale out gives people more time to make up their minds.

My gut was telling me that the tighter 36-hour window would be more effective because it cranks up the urgency.

When I looked at the final sales numbers, though, I have to admit I was pretty surprised.

Here’s how the sales broke down:

Black Friday (first 3 emails): 31.6%
Cyber Monday (second 3 emails): 68.4%

The Cyber Monday sales slaughtered the Black Friday numbers.

Of course, the (thousand-dollar) question is this:

Did we end up making more sales by having the cart open longer?

Or did we end up sacrificing sales by decreasing the urgency to “buy now”?

It’s impossible to know for sure. (Although one day I’m going to find a good way to test both approaches side by side.)

But the opening-day email only accounted for an anemic 11% of total sales (despite a solid open rate).

My conclusion:

I’d have been better off to keep my powder dry until Monday morning.

That’s because SCARCITY and the fear of missing out are some of the most effective tools in the marketer’s tool chest.

And speaking of scarcity…

The December slots in my new coaching program filled up before I even had a chance to officially announce the details.

I’ll be opening up a couple more slots soon.

If you’d like to grab one, contact me and I’ll send you the details when they’re ready.