I used to absolutely resent Black Friday launches. The discounting, the materialism, the hype… I always wondered… was it really all necessary?
But then, I flipped the script and started seeing what positive things could come out of a Black Friday Launch.
What would happen if I went all out on a Black Friday launch? How many people could we help, that otherwise couldn’t afford our courses?
After all, isn’t it better that they invest in world-class education, rather than just another gadget?
Let’s find out.
Today, I’ll break down a product launch that we did for our parenting platform where we sell online courses on different parenting topics.
We generated over $600,000 in revenue with this brand over the past year and a half, built an e-mail list of 42,000 e-mail subscribers, 12,000 of which are our paying customers.
With this launch, we decided to go all out and see what we were capable of doing.
Our Black Friday launch strategy
Our game plan for this launch was to advertise only by email marketing. We had a sizeable list so we decided to focus on profitability, not revenue – because at the end of the day, I’d rather earn $50k with zero advertising spend than $100k with $50k spend.
At our brand, we have 13 different parenting products. For Black Friday, we decided to focus on selling our best-selling products. Our hypothesis was that the best-selling products would drive the most sales during the launch.
We sold a different best-selling product every day from Monday to Thursday at 50% off, with a one-day sale period.
On Friday, we did a larger sale at 70% off (this was a $113 product, so we could justify a larger discount).
Over the weekend, we extended our sale due to technical server issues early on in the launch, and offered 40% off all products, including a bundle that we would typically only offer as an upsell.
With this launch, we didn’t run any ads. We only relied on our email list of 42,000 e-mail subscribers.
Our Black Friday marketing plan
We decided to send 2 emails every day of the launch: The announcement email and the reminder e-mail.
We sent the announcement e-mail each morning (around 8-9am).
The structure of this email was essentially a summary of the sales page. It was a simple offer email where we explained:
- What today’s offer is (meaning which product they can buy and the price) + reminder that this offer is only available today
- Primary promise of the product (some sort of the headline)
- The problem(s) they can solve with this product (pain points)
- The unique methodology our product uses to solve the problems in a unique way
- What the offer includes (all the modules of the course, with benefits for each module, in bullet point format)
- Who should join this course (quotes of customers who joined this program with reasons why they joined / testimonials)
- Mention the 30-day money-back guarantee
- Reminder – this offer is only available tonight, until midnight
The purpose of the announcement e-mail was to introduce the offer, explain who it’s best for, and use a problem/solution lead (make it very clear what problem this product solves and what the result of using this product will be).
The reminder e-mail was sent every evening (between 5-7pm).
This was a 1-page reminder email, designed to gently remind our readers that the offer is only available for a few more hours and increase urgency.
- We reiterated the primary promise again and used future pacing (tomorrow, you can already solve this problem), which creates additional urgency.
- The email was relatively short, with a handful of bullet points summarizing what they will get in the product and how it will help them.
- In the end, we reiterated the 30-day money-back guarantee
These e-mails generated the second wave of sales in the evening, accounting for roughly 50% of the launch revenue.
All of the emails linked to our sales pages. Each of the sales pages had a “hello bar” with a countdown timer on top, counting down to midnight (creating additional urgency and scarcity).
Our Black Friday upsells
Each of the products we sold had 3 one-click upsells that were triggered as soon as the customer bought the product, to increase AOV (average order value).
- Offer #1: A bundle of our best-selling products
- Offer #2: A 28-day e-mail parenting challenge
- Offer #3: A vault of 220 answers to the most common parenting questions
These upsells increased our AOV (average order value) by 30.83%.
The day-by-day breakdown of our Black Friday launch
Here’s the breakdown of how our launch went:
- Monday: $19,847 revenue, 628 sales of a $21 product (50% off from $43)
- Tuesday: $10,790 revenue, 313 sales of a $27 product (50% off from $55)
- Wednesday: $5,062 revenue, 132 sales of a $39 product (50% off from $78)
- Thursday: $5,775 revenue, 152 sales of a $27 product (50% off from $55)
- Friday: $11,832 revenue, 304 sales of a $34 product (70% off from $113)
- Saturday-Sunday: $7,286 revenue, 129 sales of various products, including a $169 bundle (40% off all products)
Overall, this was an amazing launch.
We projected about $15k for this launch (which is our typical “good launch”), and we didn’t have high hopes for generating a ton of revenue since the price points of our products were so low.
However, it seemed like the mass buying craze made a big impact, and helped us 4x our launch goal.
The great thing was that about 50% of our customers from this launch were brand new customers who never bought from us before, which helped us serve a new segment of our audience that we didn’t reach with our offers before.
Here are the overall numbers of the launch:
- Overall revenue: $60,594
- Base product revenue: $46,221
- Upsell revenue: $14,250
- Upsell AOV increase: 30.83%
- Sales: 1658
- Percentage of new customers: 50%
- AOV: $35
In retrospect, I’m glad we went all out on this launch, as it became our biggest and most profitable launch of the year.
The 10 major takeaways from our Black Friday Launch
Takeaway #1: Start Early
Starting on Monday was a great decision, as we avoided some of the Black Friday craze.
If you’re doing a Black Friday sale next year, make sure you start earlier than on the actual Black Friday, as you’ll beat a lot of your competition and get more undivided attention from your customers.
Case in point: With nearly $20k in revenue, Monday was actually the biggest day of our launch.
Takeaway #2: Don’t let upsells be an afterthought
The second key takeaway were the upsells. Many online entrepreneurs aren’t aware of the power of upsells, which is a real shame. We made the same mistake in our business.
Last year, we had no active upsells, despite the $170,000 in revenue that we generated in the first 6 months of our business.
In Q1 of 2021, our upsells generated 10% additional revenue – better, but not great.
Then, over the summer, we made it a point to optimize our upsell strategy and copy, ran a bunch of tests, and ended up with a strategy that reliably increased our launch revenue by 27-72%.
During the Black Friday launch, the upsells alone generated $14,250 and brought in 30% additional revenue.
This takeaway goes for all the launches, not just the Black Friday launch.
Over the past 5 months, we generated $43,683 upsell revenue on top of $117,499 launch revenue – that’s an average AOV increase of 37% over the course of 5 months.
I’ll write another post shortly that will go in-depth into our upsell strategy and lessons.
Takeaway #3: One-day sales windows perform extremely well
On a typical launch with an open-cart window of 3-7 days, we’ve found that we consistently generate at least 50% of the sales on the last day, when we send 2 reminder e-mails.
By having one-day sales windows, we essentially made every day the last day of the launch and drove a ton of sales day in and day out. In some cases, this meant that we generated more revenue in a single day than we would with a typical 1-week launch of the product.
This approach also kept our subscribers on their toes, as they weren’t bombarded with the same offer every day – there was always something new and exciting waiting for them as they opened their e-mails.
Takeaway #4: Double-check your hosting before a big launch
Hosting is one of the things that continues to be the Achilles heel of our company. Over the past year and a half, our servers often failed to keep up with the demand of our buyers – especially when we had a big launch or drove a lot of paid traffic to our website.
We’ve tried all the major hosting providers, from local to worldwide ones, from bigger to smaller providers… And for the most part, we thought we had solved that issue.
That was until we sent out the first Black Friday e-mail: Our server was down within 20 minutes, and our customer support team was flooded with e-mails and phone calls from our readers, asking what’s going on.
After doing some digging, we noticed that we’ve had some issues with our hosting reliability for the past few months, but since it didn’t seem as urgent as other things on our to-do list, we kept putting it off.
Well, this ended up costing us a few thousand dollars and 10+ hours of customer support time during the launch, so it’s a mistake we won’t repeat again.
Now we have a protocol in place that ensures that our hosting is bulletproof before a big launch – so that everything runs as smoothly as possible.
Takeaway #5: Send those reminder e-mails!
Before the launch, we decided to send two daily e-mails (announcement and reminder e-mails).
At first, we were worried that this would be too aggressive and that we would receive a ton of lash back. Our backup plan was to stop sending reminder e-mails in case that happened and the e-mails didn’t perform well.
However, that didn’t seem to be the case. Yes, we got a handful of angry e-mails and a bunch of unsubscribes, but you’ll get that in any case if you have an e-mail list of 40,000+ subscribers.
When we saw how many sales the reminder e-mails consistently drove, it was easy to keep sending them. Had we not sent them, we’d likely hurt our launch revenue by 30% or so.
NOTE: I would only use the two e-mails a day strategy on a launch like this where we had a different offer every day – so that your subscribers don’t feel like you’re bombarding them by saying the same thing over and over again.
Takeaway #6: Extend the cart during big launches
I used to have a rule that a deadline that we put in our e-mails is a hard deadline and to make no exceptions when people miss the deadline to join.
However, once you have a business that gets over a thousand orders every month, that quickly becomes a logistical customer support nightmare – AND it doesn’t feel great.
When you receive tens of e-mails from young moms telling you they were busy at work and didn’t see the e-mails the previous day begging you to join your programs, you come off as a bit of an asshole for saying “no, you should check your e-mail every day”.
That’s why, on big launches, we tend to extend the cart by 1-2 days, so the late purchasers can still join our programs. Sometimes we announce this via e-mail, sometimes we just leave the cart open for a day or two on our website.
We’ve found that this saves us a ton of customer support time and brings in many new customers, while we haven’t found that it would decrease the effectiveness of our deadlines.
For this launch, we knew that a lot of people would be writing to us, which is why we decided to reinstate a (slightly smaller) 40% discount over the weekend, which brought in over $7k of additional revenue.
Takeaway #7: You can reach a new segment of your audience with discounts
With this launch, we got over 50% of new customers that never bought from us before. Therefore, it seems like we were able to serve a new audience that we weren’t reaching with our offers before.
These didn’t seem to be low-quality customers as we received no immediate refunds out of 1600+ orders, and the new customers happily bought our upsells, so it didn’t seem like they were “cheap” or “low quality”.
A month later, we still haven’t encountered any problematic customers or a mass of refunds – so the concern of attracting a low quality customer base was largely unfounded.
Takeaway #8: The more products you have, the easier you can have a successful Black Friday Launch
I always say that creating more products is one of the key growth levers you can pull in your business.
What I’ve found is that having a large suite of products can set you up for a really successful Black Friday launch.
If we only had 1 or 2 products available, we wouldn’t be able to put together a launch like this (we tried it last year, and only generated $12k with a 20% offer off the 3 products that we offered).
If you have a large suite of products, you’ll cannibalize your sales less (because you can rotate the products and offer new products after the Black Friday sale, and repeat selling the same product too many times one after the other).
For example, just one week after our Black Friday launch, we released a brand new product. The new launch generated $11,464 in revenue, which was a solid launch, and we didn’t notice any red flags on any of our launch metrics.
Takeaway #9: Don’t be afraid to experiment
On Friday, we did an experiment with a $110 product that we discounted by 70%.
We weren’t sure how this would go, but we thought that a really good deal would be the best fit for Friday, and we wanted to put out an accessible product ($55 didn’t feel like a great price for Friday).
This turned out great, as it ended up being the second biggest day of the launch.
Takeaway #10: We’re definitely doing this again
This launch turned out far beyond our expectations – we beat the projected $15k launch revenue by 4x.
So next year, we’ll be putting a lot more thought into the Black Friday launch.
We’ll reorganize our launch calendar to make sure we’re setting up this launch for success, and we’ll think about how we can further improve the numbers.
Who knows, perhaps we’ll make it a $100k launch next year.
However, we won’t be doing big sales like this outside the Black Friday promotion, as we do want to make it the one big event of the year that nobody should miss.
Well, that’s it for now. Hopefully, you’ve found this report as insightful as we have, and you’ll implement some of these insights in your next (Black Friday) launch.
Have questions about our launch? Leave a comment below, and I’ll do my best to answer them.
P.S. Need help with scaling your online business to 7 figures and beyond? Click here to work with me.