If there’s one date that both consumers and retailers love simultaneously, it’s Black Friday.
Black Friday is the date where 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, online spending on Black Friday surged 21.6% to hit a new record $9 billion, according to data from Adobe Analytics. Considering that most companies were forced to turn to online selling after the Covid-19 pandemic started, it’s likely those numbers will increase on November 26, the date for Black Friday 2021.
As the saying goes, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” If you want to be prepared for the unique opportunity this date represents, here are 6 Black Friday marketing ideas you can use to boost your sales.
And who knows? Perhaps luck will come your way this year. 😉
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 26.
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.
You need to 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.
As a matter of fact, a report by Criteo found that first-time buyers during 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.
You can use any earned media channel for this purpose, including your email list and your blog readers. However, your social media channels are a much better alternative as you can communicate to your customers and your followers who haven’t purchased yet but are considering it.
Here's a sample social media calendar structure you can use to plan and promote your Black Friday sales in advance:
- Four weeks earlier, publish one post that reminds your followers about the coming date — e.g., “Mark your calendar: November 26!”
- 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.
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. They also found that the average Black Friday shopper spends $313.29 on sale items, 69% of which goes toward gifts.
You can cater to this significant audience by using a gift guide.
A gift guide is one of the most popular marketing ideas for Black Friday, and it works well for small businesses as well as large retailers.
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 that 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 their 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. If you happen to be on Shopify, read a more detailed guide to creating product filters.
3. VIP sale
Black Friday is the embodiment of mass consumption, a day where everybody can enjoy the benefits of discounts.
Well, sure, 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 join your email newsletter. Make sure to add this tactic to your list of Black Friday marketing ideas.
4. 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 who 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 Black Friday marketing ideas before or during the big sale:
- 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.
5. 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 popups
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 👇
Similarly, you can create a category page specifically made for Black Friday and feature the best deals, so customers can find the right offers for their needs. You can also add site-wide banners to bring non-Black Friday shoppers to your discount pages, like John Lewis did last year.
Besides popups and floating bars, you can add fullscreen banners to your homepage that take visitors to your Black Friday sale page. There are plenty of options to advertise your BF deals on the website — at the end of the day, it all comes down to the design of your store and your marketing resources.
6. Launch a cart abandonment email campaign
No matter how steep your Black Friday discounts are, you will get some people to abandon their carts. There 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.
A study by SalesCycle found that:
- 46.1% of abandoned cart emails get opened by the recipients
- 13.3% of cart abandonment emails get clicks
- 35.3% of clicks generate purchases
- Every cart abandonment email sent generates $5.64 in revenue
So yes, setting up a cart abandonment campaign to prepare for Black Friday is clearly worth the effort!
To get started, connect 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 abandoning customers 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 can 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's the price, 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 an especially handy marketing tactic for Black Friday, 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 too, 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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You're reading Getsitecontrol blog where marketing experts share proven tactics to grow your online business. This article is a part of Ecommerce marketing section.