If there’s one date that both consumers and retailers love simultaneously, it’s Black Friday.
Black Friday is the date when consumers go hunting (sometimes, literally 😰) for the best offers out there while retailers can let go of their old inventory and boost their sales.
Last year, Adobe found that in the US, Black Friday sales increased 2.3%, hitting a record $9.12 billion. The National Retail Federation also found that a record 196.7 million Americans shopped during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
As inflation recedes for most high-income countries, it's likely that consumers will spend even more on November 24, the date for Black Friday 2023.
As the saying goes, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
So if you want to be prepared, here are seven powerful Black Friday marketing ideas you can use to boost your sales:
- Start your Black Friday marketing campaign early
- Prepare a gift guide
- Run a VIP sale
- Launch an SMS marketing campaign
- Leverage partnerships
- Adjust your website design
- Launch a cart abandonment email campaign
Without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Start your Black Friday marketing campaign on social media early
Your customers know Black Friday is coming. They know your prices will drop. If they really like your brand, they will likely visit your store to find out about your offers on November 24.
But let’s be honest: most of your customers aren’t die-hard fans. And they don’t have an unlimited budget.
The earlier you get on top of mind, the more your business will thrive on Black Friday.
So here's the first campaign idea:
Build anticipation weeks before Black Friday comes.
You want to let your customers know in advance that your store has many great offers coming for that date.
Consider at least 2 weeks before the date. That means you should start promoting your Black Friday offers by November 10, ideally sooner.
According to a Criteo report, first-time buyers on Black Friday weekend visit a site for the first time an average of 43 days before the date. That’s over six weeks they have to search, evaluate, and prepare a Black Friday purchase.
Since 56.5% of Black Friday shoppers are 44 years old or younger, you should consider using a marketing channel they like.
Among the many options available, social media is ideal. You could use different channels for different age groups, such as:
- TikTok for 18 to 24-year-olds
- Instagram and Twitter for 25 to 34-year-olds
- Facebook and Pinterest for 35 to 44-year-olds
For example, an underwear brand targeting a younger audience, launched the following campaign on TikTok a week before Black Friday:
We have 6 days of deals so good, you can only shop ‘em for 24 hours. Check back every day this week to see what deal is coming next. 👀♬ original sound — MeUndies
Here's a sample social media calendar structure you can use to plan and promote your Black Friday offers in advance:
- Four weeks earlier, publish one post that reminds your followers about the coming date — e.g., “Mark your calendar: November 24!”
- Three weeks earlier, publish 2-3 times per week about Black Friday. Share some products you plan to discount.
- Two weeks earlier, share details on the discounts you plan to give—e.g., “Up to 50% discounts on selected products!”
- One week earlier, ask your followers to share and tag friends who should check out your products. Add a link to your email sign-up form to get more email subscribers.
Some brands even choose to “move” Black Friday and start the sale days or even weeks earlier. For example, Coach started their Black Friday marketing campaign November first. And Monica Vinader, a jewelry brand, ran daily flash sales during several days preceding Black Friday. Both brands promoted their offers via Instagram Stories:
2. Prepare a gift guide
Consumers use Black Friday not only as a date to take advantage of the biggest discounts of the year but also to take care of their holiday shopping, as it's less than a month away from Christmas Eve.
The National Retail Federation found that more than half of holiday shoppers start to research and plan their gifts in October or earlier.
Deloitte also found that in 2022, American shoppers would spend an average of $500 using a mix of credit cards (48%) and pay-now-buy-later services (37%).
You can cater to gift buyers by using a gift guide – one of the most popular marketing ideas for Black Friday.
A gift guide highlights a list of curated products perfect for different occasions and segments, depending on the products your business sells and the audiences it serves.
Gift guides also improve the buying experience and lower your customers’ anxiety over all of the options available.
As you can see in the image above, people search for “guide guides” during the months before Black Friday and Christmas, proving they are perfect for these dates.
Gift guides should be segmented based on different attributes, such as:
- Target audience: That includes gender, age, occasions, specific product uses, or any other persona you have.
- Interest: If you sell a wide range of products, you can offer segments based on hobbies, professions, or personality traits.
- Price: Categorize products by price—expensive, mid-priced, or cheap.
To set up a gift guide, you want to create a specific category page—or even a landing page—and show visually the different segments you have decided to create based on your chosen attributes.
Once a visitor clicks on one of these segments (like “For Him” in the image above), you will show all the products you have curated. You can even explain why you have selected the products for each category, something that can ease the purchase decision.
If you are pressed for time or don’t have enough skills to create new store pages, you can make do with a pop-up product filter like this one 👇
To add it to your store, all you need to do is create relevant product collections and assign their URLs to the buttons on the popup.
3. Run a VIP sale
Black Friday is the embodiment of mass consumption, a day where everybody can enjoy the benefits of discounts.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t offer even better discounts to your VIP customers. The truth is consumers like being rewarded; they want to feel special.
That's why loyalty programs exist — to nurture a bond between a brand and its customers.
The more loyal customers are to a brand, the more profitable they become.
Bain & Company’s research found that companies with strong loyalty programs grow revenues 2.5 times faster than their competitors and generate 100-400% higher returns.
However, when we talk about VIP customers, we're not talking about developing and promoting a loyalty program (although it would be ideal if your business had one). The goal is to send special offers to your existing customers.
There are different ways you can reward your VIP customers, including:
- Giving away steeper discounts: If your average Black Friday discount is 20%, give your VIPs a special 30% discount code.
- Discount special products: Offer discounts for products that aren’t discounted in the site-wide Black Friday campaign.
- Bundle products: Pack a group of products together and discount them.
💡 Getting access to secret sales or bigger discounts is a great incentive for people to sign up for your email newsletter or SMS notifications. Make sure to add this tactic to your list of Black Friday marketing ideas.
Speaking of SMS marketing and VIP sales…
4. Launch an SMS campaign
If you’ve been thinking about including SMS marketing into your strategy, there’s no time like present.
While this channel is clearly making a comeback, it is still less “cluttered” compared to email, and many brands take advantage of it – particularly during Black Friday.
Take COS, for instance, which proactively texted its subscribers two days before BF to inquire about their shopping preferences and assist them in navigating the store:
Throughout the BFCM weekend, COS continued sending messages, serving as reminders of the enticing deals and urging customers to take action.
SMS is among the top 3 revenue-driving channels, according to Attentive. It also has a higher open rate and might work better than email to re-engage relapsed customers. So, if you're up for it, don't hold back.
The catch? People tend to be more cautious about sharing their phone numbers, unlike their emails. Therefore, a compelling incentive — like an extra discount or exclusive access to an early-bird VIP sale — is crucial.
If you want to include SMS into your Black Friday marketing strategy for this year, start collecting phone numbers in addition to emails today. Just add a second field to your opt-in form and make it mandatory or optional – depending on the incentive you’re offering.
5. Leverage partnerships
Whether you realize it or not, your business has partners. These can be influencers, affiliates, suppliers, and other brands in your niche who aren’t direct competitors.
These partners have audiences of their own you can tap into to extend your marketing reach. The price you pay to access your partner’s audience is to let them access yours (assuming both have similar audiences).
Ecommerce businesses leverage partnerships all the time, you just may not realize it. For example, back in 2017, Walmart and Tasty, a food publication owned by Buzzfeed, developed a partnership in which the latter would create shoppable videos that would redirect to the former’s site.
With a partnership, you develop a “win-win” situation: both parties benefit equally from the extended reach. You need to be creative and find potential partners in your existing network, such as:
- Your suppliers
- Your retailers (if you sell wholesale)
- Your followers (particularly those with substantial followings)
- Your affiliates
- Other businesses in your industry or niche that aren't direct competitors
It doesn't take more than two or three partners to see the benefits of this tactic. Once you find those partners, you can use any of the following ideas before and during Black Friday:
- Joint marketing: Share media contacts, promotional campaigns, and content to promote each other's businesses.
- Social media cross-promotion: Share each other’s content on social media.
- Email cross-promotions: Mention your partner and/or promote their discounts in your email newsletters.
- Giveaways: You can set up giveaways with your partner’s products and vice-versa.
6. Adjust your website design
During Black Friday, time is your enemy. You need to get people to take action fast; they are only a click away from a competitor. If your store design confuses them, you may end up losing them.
How do you get them to visit your discounted product pages quickly?
By using pop ups.
If you have already visited Getsitecontrol before, you know we love popups. They are a great way to generate leads, offer coupons, promote special offers, gather customer feedback, and so much more.
But guess what? You can also use popups to direct people to any page of your store, including your product pages, and share your Black Friday discount codes.
Another option is to use floating bars, which work exactly like popups, except that instead of interrupting the visitor’s experience, they appear at the top or bottom of the page 👇
If you want to feature special deals or categories with deep discounts, you can add a holiday-themed banner to your home page to bring shoppers to your sale, like John Lewis did last year.
Finally, it’s a good practice to create site-wide banners that will appear on all pages, so your non-Black Friday shoppers won’t miss out on your offers.
7. Launch a cart abandonment email campaign
No matter how steep your Black Friday discounts are, you will get some people to abandon their carts. here are many reasons why your store visitors will do so. According to the Baymard research, some of the most common being shipping, tax, unexpected fees, slow delivery, and complicated checkout.
There are many ways to lower your cart abandonment rate (including offering coupons right before your customers abandon their cart), but one that we have found to be particularly effective is to set up a cart abandonment email campaign.
Cart abandonment email campaigns are particularly effective, as multiple studies found that:
- 45% of abandoned cart emails get opened by the recipients
- 21% of those who open a cart abandonment email, click through
- 50% of these clicks generate purchases
To set up a cart abandonment campaign, start by connecting your ecommerce platform with your email marketing tool. Then, you need to figure out the right timing and messaging, which you can do by surveying your audience to see what causes them to leave.
With that information, you may figure out that, for example, your audience doesn't like your shipping costs.
Consequently, your email could be sent two days after they abandon the cart with a coupon that discounts the shipping costs. You should send up to three emails, as more will annoy them.
Your email should be simple: it should tell them what product they left in the cart, what the price is, and, if possible, it should include an incentive (e.g., a coupon).
An abandoned cart recovery campaign will help you get some lost customers back. As a matter of fact, many of them will be thrilled to see they can still get an item they want for a discounted price! It’s a handy marketing tactic for a Black Friday email strategy, but you should consider including it in your main email marketing strategy as well.
When done right, Black Friday can be the biggest day of the year for your ecommerce store. You will increase your sales, attract new customers, and, if you use some of our Black Friday marketing ideas, foster a deeper sense of loyalty with your existing ones.
The question is, will you make the most sales, or will your store cruise along? Start your Black Friday campaign early using social media — but don’t forget all the other channels available if you can. Target gift shoppers who are often ignored and represent a big portion of the Black Friday crowd.
Finally, leverage partnerships that extend your campaign’s reach. Once you get people to visit your store, lead them to your offers so they can take action fast. And whenever someone leaves a product in their cart, bring them back using a cart abandonment email campaign.
Ivan Kreimer is a freelance content writer for hire who creates educational content for SaaS businesses like Leadfeeder and Campaign Monitor. In his pastime, he likes to help people become freelance writers. Besides writing for smart people who read sites like Getsitecontrol, Ivan has also written in sites like Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, TheNextWeb, and many other influential websites.
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