And, despite all my doubts ("will this hurt the brand? cause massive unsubscribes? will people stop buying throughout the rest of the year? ..."), I've consistently averaged around $80k in sales during a 4 day window.
For the last 5 years.
For a solo, one-man business I've been thrilled to see how successful these promotions have been for me. Because I'm usually in Florida visiting family for Thanksgiving during that time, I have to admit I love seeing all my hard work and automations doing their job and generating sales... all the while I'm away from my home office.
I like to think I've learned quite a bit over the years about the pros and cons of BFCM. And while I know this is usually seen as an "e-commerce holiday", creators can definitely take advantage of BFCM.
Today I'd like to share my thoughts on whether or not you should be considering promoting your products for BFCM, and provide a few insights into what's been working for me.
I'll also tell you a bit more about a brand new mini-course I'm releasing in a few weeks.
Do you have what it takes?
Every successful BFCM promotion needs to have something compelling to offer.
The default (and frankly, most powerful) thing you can do is to offer a discount. It's what people expect.
But if you have a premium product... should you discount it?
I honestly wouldn't worry all that much. While there are a few products of mine that I dogmatically refuse to ever discount (like Mastering ConvertKit), I've successfully knocked 20-30% off $500-$1000 programs with very little backlash from customers.
What's absolutely helped, which I only started doing over the last few years, was to exclude buyers from seeing that I was promoting something they already own. There's no nefarious reason to do this, outside of the simple truth that people don't like seeing that they missed out on something they feel they shouldn't have.
(Ever buy something like a TV, and then go back to the store shortly after and see it on sale? Yeah, that.)
You can also come up with a unique product that you make available just for BFCM.
Last year, I extracted a bonus that I bundle in my email marketing courses (a 2-day workshop I hosted for Pat Flynn & Smart Passive Income) and sold it as a one-off product that was only available then. I didn't discount anything else – that was it.
Truthfully, it didn't do nearly as well (by a factor of lots) as when I discount a bunch of my products, but it was something I wanted to test and I'm glad I did... even though revenue was significantly less than the previous years.
BFCM is a great opportunity to create new customers.
I was really concerned that if I got my list in the habit of knowing that something big was coming for BFCM that they wouldn't buy otherwise.
This is probably true for some people, but I've overwhelmingly found the opposite to be the case.
Digging into the numbers, the average first sale value of a new customer who bought first during a BFCM promotion – excluding last year's comparative flop – is about $110. The average first sale value otherwise is significantly higher: $257.
You'd be right to question why I'd want to miss out on $147 of missed opportunity. I know I did when I first started running comparison reports.
Fortunately, I have feedback loops in place that survey data after they buy.
And what became evident was that there were a lot of people who were reluctant to drop hundreds of dollars on an online course by this Brennan guy, but 1) they were already spending money elsewhere for BFCM and 2) why not now take a chance? 🤷♀️
But where things get really interesting is when I start looking into the overall customer lifetime value (cLTV) of those who become customers during BFCM and compared that to "normal" customers.
Check this out:
People who buy in November (BFCM) consistently have a higher lifetime value than everyone else.
Take 2018, for example.
The average LTV for that cohort is $672.22. And the LTV for everywhere else is about $541!
I've helped other creators over the years set up BFCM promotions for their digital products, and one thing is abundantly clear: BFCM is a great way to "create" new customers.
The first sale is the hardest. If you have something great to offer, lots of people buy, and lots of lives are transformed, don't be surprised when people come back and buy more.
Because you've now overcome the #1 sales objection that we face as creators: can this guy or gal actually help me?
If you have a lot to offer, tell people what to buy
I only started doing this in 2017, but this is something that I think more of us need to be doing.
About a week or so before BFCM I start including link triggers that capture what someone's #1 focus is going to be for the upcoming year.
By segmenting subscribers based on their business' New Year's resolution, I can recommend exactly what someone should buy.
Here's the thing...
If you have a handful of things on offer, decision paralysis can easily kick in.
Yes, in a perfect world everyone would read through all your sales pages and make informed decisions during the biggest pitch-fest of the year.
But we don't live in that world. Many of your subscribers are prepared to buy, so make it easy for them.
To do this, I push all of my subscribers through a specialised "Offer Funnel" (an automation that looks at what someone's bought already + what I know about them) and calculate what ONE product they should buy.
So when people start getting my BFCM promotional emails, highlighted at the top is a product or bundle that I recommend for them. And I tell them why ("because you're a marketer and looking to get better clients in 2018, here's what I recommend for you....")
It's the next best thing to you looking over their shoulder and pointing at the thing they should invest in.