NOVEMBER – the most anticipated month of the year for shoppers’ worldwide. Being the biggest retail sales day in the United States, Black Friday is now regarded as the official unofficial start of the holiday shopping season – Read our guide on how to tackle it head on.
Having a profitable Black Friday is essential for many retailers, the holiday season amounts to almost 20% or more of annual sales for many retailers. [National Retail Federation]
Black Friday is now needing to share the spotlight with Cyber Monday – what once was a shopping event consisting of one day and one day only, has now expanded and become a period of several days, also known as ‘Cyber Week’. The sales opportunities throughout this period are endless, check out our recommendations for how you can maximise the potential that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have, and let’s make Cyber week 2021 one for the history books!
Team work makes the dream work – in order to enhance your planning, get in contact with your Account Manager and PPC provider to discuss your plans and strategies for the upcoming Cyber Week and Holiday season.
“Plans are nothing, planning is everything”
In order to have a successful campaign, it is essential that planning is in place for before and during the event, as well as after.
Let’s break down the two key parts that will be crucial for your e-commerce strategy.
Pre & During Black Friday — fundamentals for website
1. Data, Data, Data
Before making any crucial decisions as part of your planning, remember to review your data.
- What trends can you identify across the years?
- Was last year’s performance successful? What can you learn from it and apply to this year?
- How did this performance compare to your competitors that same year?
Google Analytics will be your best friend – During the week of Black Friday, Google Analytics will be extremely useful in helping with your decision making. Being able to analyse your performance around the world will mean that you can make the most of your opportunities in other countries.
2. Keep your customers close but your competitors closer
Watch your competitors like a hawk – Subscribe to their email lists and follow whatever social media accounts they have. Keeping up to date with this will allow you to compare and make any necessary enhancements to your own campaign.
A useful tool you could use is VisualPing – this will update you with any new changes that have been made to your competitors website.
3. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Without preparation ahead of time, your campaign will not be successful. Use Excel or another programme to create your sales plan.
Don’t put it off until a later time, or else later will become TOO late!
4. Everyone loves a discount!
Where there’s a will, there’s a way – your customers won’t settle for a full price product, they will shop around until they find the best deal they can get, and won’t stop until they do.
Now or Never – If you are giving out special offers or discounts, make sure that your customers are aware that these sales are only lasting for a certain period of time – make the most of the increased traffic by stressing the importance of purchasing NOW before it’s too late.
Offer Intimate Experiences – Make use of different phrases such as ‘From us to you’ and ‘Exclusive Offer’ to give the offer a personalised feel for the customer. Special Offer emails that include their name such as ‘An offer just for you, Jane!’ are also helpful in exploiting the emotional relationship that has been created between brand and customer.
Happiness is… free shipping
When considering providing free shipping for your customers, consider the following:
Once you have established your shipping methods and prices, make sure you also highlight your Click & Collect service to take pressure off of delivery services.
6. “Please sir, may I have some more”
20% off deals and free shipping when you spend over £30 is great, but why not stand out from the crowd and offer MORE for your customers?
Offering something like a free gift with your purchase or free first class delivery when you spend over a certain amount could be the catalyst in encouraging your customers to spend more.
7. ‘I need help!’
When it comes to having queries/problems, Live chat has become the leading digital contact method for online customers, as a staggering 46% of customers prefer live chat compared to just 29% for email, and 16% for social media. [SuperOffice, 2021]
It isn’t uncommon for customers to have queries about your product or service. Instead of making them wait for a response, Live Support is a great way for customers to contact you quickly and it means that you can deal with their query in real time.
8. Creativity is KEY
Get creative with your desktop and mobile websites:
Home Page Banners: Pre-Black Friday week
- Build up anticipation – Include teasers and countdown banners.
- Promote your mailing list and encourage your customers to sign up to receive any Black Friday deals you have.
Home Page Banners: During Black Friday week
- Update banners across brand, category and the top section
Specific banners used for the day of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to mark the sale period.
- Create HTML Banners to update your country-specific sales messaging and USPs.
Translation of Banners
- Ensure all banners are translated accordingly for country specific sites.
Stay up to date
- Ensure all sale products are labelled correctly with the ‘sale’ icon and their RRP and web price are up to date.
Black Friday Pages
- Consider creating Black Friday landing pages – these must be translated accordingly for country specific sites.
- Create deals that only last for a short amount of time – daily or hourly. Including a countdown clock on your landing page and basket page will encourage immediate spending and increase your AOV.
- Your SEO is important – you should include search terms so that you will show up in organic search.
Landing Page SEO
- Instead of creating a new landing page for Black Friday/ Cyber Monday every year, consider keeping the same landing page all year round and just altering it to a stay tuned/ coming soon type message throughout the rest of the year. This will prevent your SEO from reverting to a clean slate each time and therefore will help to boost the website’s organic search ranking.
- Ensure your store’s Black Friday opening hours are up to date to prevent any misunderstanding / confusion.
Build up the hype!
- Don’t let your customers forget about Black Friday. Make it the topic of conversation on your posts, emails and website. Prepare well in advance and include countdowns for the beginning of a sale as well as the end to build suspense and excitement.
Prioritise your existing customers
- Existing customers who have had positive experiences with you and trust you will be more likely to engage with your Black Friday/ Cyber Monday sales. Prioritise them and consider offering them discounts to make them aware of their importance to you – build on your customer and brand relationship.
Don’t forget about Christmas!
- Don’t leave it too late, start your Christmas preparation NOW! Customers won’t wait until after Black Friday to start their Christmas shopping, get on the ball and make a start on creating your Christmas content.
- Ensure all your information regarding Delivery and Returns around the Christmas period is up to date. It is also recommended that you update your Returns Information Page to prevent customer disappointment.
Custom Mobile Menu Links
- Create a custom mobile link for Black Friday and prioritize it to the top of the menu to increase its visibility.
‘Enable Add To Basket Direct From Mobile Listings’
- Enable this setting to allow Customers to add an item to their baskets directly from a listing page
‘Enable Ajax Add To Basket’
- After selecting ‘Buy now’, enabling this setting will mean that customers will be asked whether they wish to view their basket and check out, or to continue shopping.
Pre & during Black Friday week – Marketing
1. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great way for you to build relationships with new customers, and re – engage with existing and inactive customers. It is the perfect opportunity to speak directly to them in their inbox, at a time that is convenient for them. Along with right messaging, email can become one of your most impactful marketing channels.
Because of this, it is crucial that emails are carefully prepared and scheduled well in advance. Stand out from the crowd – don’t let your email drown in a sea of hundreds of similar BF emails also in their inbox.
Something to think about:
When are your audience engagement levels at their highest? How will this impact the time you choose to send your emails?
Are your emails relevant to your target audience?
Types of emails:
- Build anticipation – Consistently remind customers of the time remaining until Black Friday
- Make sure your customers don’t miss out – send out reminders before sale ends/if stocks are low to prompt urgent action.
- Special treatment for top customers – Consider giving sneak previews or exclusive offers to your existing customers.
- Increase AOV: In an attempt to upsell, make sure to include product recommendations in your emails
Keep your business and product at the top of your audience’s mind – having multiple places where you can remarket to your customer gives you a better chance at conversion – don’t miss out on the opportunity.
During Black Friday, basket abandonment rates can increase to almost 70%! It isn’t uncommon for shoppers to be jumping from tab to tab, comparing prices and bargain hunting to the extreme, so it is essential that you have a strategy in place in an attempt to recover this lost revenue. [Pure360, 2018]
Try to tailor your ‘Black Friday’ themed dropped basket emails so that they are targeting specific customers according to their basket.
3. The Power of social media
Social media plays a huge part in driving visitors to online stores for Black Friday, and therefore it is important that you have a killer strategy in place.
Keep up to date with the social media conversation leading up to the big day and get the hype around your campaign going as soon as possible!
It’s all about the hashtags – using relevant hashtags will create great visibility for your campaign, and help you reach your target audience – #BlackFriday #BlackFriday[year] #BlackFridaySale #BlackFridayShopping #BlackFridayDeals #CyberMonday #CyberMonday[year] #CyberWeek #ShoppingDay
Consider creating a custom hashtag for your business, which you can include in your email campaigns and on social media, so consumers know to also include it. This will help you to engage with customers more easily.
With Black Friday Weekend only being a short period of time, it is vital that you have a clear strategy in place, so you can make the absolute most out of that time. With the right preparation, the right ad, the right bid, you can reap the rewards of the biggest e-commerce opportunity of the year.
Preparation is key
Consider potential scenarios and plan for them to help you to stay one step ahead of the game when planning out your strategy.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is our budget? How much are we prepared to spend throughout the Black Friday period?
- If we spend all of the budget but the campaign is delivering revenue at a good ROI, would we be able to stretch the budget?
- Do we have sufficient stock?
- What are the offers/promotions/discounts we will run?
- Is our site capable of handling large volumes of traffic?
Once all of these questions have all been taken into consideration and answered, it is important to ad copy to your PPC provider to ensure your ads will be approved before they are required to go live.
5. Don’t forget about Facebook Paid Advertising!
Facebook Advertising is an important piece that will complete your marketing schedule puzzle. In order to get the most out of this years campaign, ask yourself the following:
- Re visit your ads from previous years and analyse, which ads generated the highest levels of engagement? Which didn’t, and why? What changes can be made this year in order to prevent them from underperforming again this year?
- Make sure your purse is on hand – with such a diverse and hyper-targeted platform, it can be easy to overspend when trying to get to the top advertising spot, so make sure your targeting strategy is correct.
- Smart targeting: Use the custom audience and lookalike audience tool to target your existing customers.
- Have all creative and copy for ads created in advance to ensure they will be approved by Facebook prior to the day they are required to go live – this is especially important during busy periods like Black Friday/Cyber Week.
6. Affiliate Marketing
Optimise your affiliate marketing activities and capitalise on your Black Friday efforts this year:
- Re visit your own/competitors Black Friday Affiliate marketing Campaigns from years previous and evaluate your performance, is there anything that needs to be altered to this year’s campaign?
- Get everyone hyped! Your Service Provider should communicate your planned sales/discounts/promotions to your Publishers and network well in advance in an attempt to build up some excitement for the big week.
- The world is your oyster – with Black Friday being a global event, it is the perfect opportunity to expand your reach.
- Customers are priority – Don’t forget to review your product listings and checkout to guarantee your customers a positive Black Friday shopping experience with you.
Post Black Friday
1. “The more reflective you are, the more effective you are”
Take time yourself to reflect on previous campaigns and their performances. Evaluate what went well and what could have been improved upon and what changes can be made this time around.
‘Good feedback is the key to improvement’
Customer feedback is your secret to success. Requesting feedback from your customers surrounding your Black Friday campaign can guide and inform your decision making and influence changes which will improve your campaigns performance.
Consider sending out a survey to your customers and enquire about aspects such as:
- How did our Black Friday campaign compare with other companies that you are familiar with? What could we have done better?
- How would you rate our Social Media & Email marketing? Could we have done more/less?
- Was our website straightforward to navigate?
- How would you rate our customer service? Did you have any issues that were not rectified?
Give customers an opportunity to share anything else they think that you did/didn’t do well regarding your campaign.
2. Please don’t go!
Don’t let the end of your Black Friday campaign be the end of your customer and brand relationship. Try to re-engage with your customers new and old and them send them exclusive offers or product recommendation emails relating to their Black Friday orders in an attempt to upsell.
3. Affiliate Marketing
Reflect on your Affiliate Marketing campaigns and evaluate their performance during this period. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure you are well prepared for your Christmas campaigns.
4. Facebook & PPC
It is important to not only internally reflect but also would be worth meeting with your Facebook and PPC providers to evaluate your campaigns and analyse what went well, what needs improvement, and HOW it can be improved. This analysis will be important for building on your knowledge just in time for Christmas, to guarantee a successful campaign.
As you can recognise from reading through this blog post, the sales opportunities throughout the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period are never ending. With a well prepared, extensive marketing strategy, anything is achievable.
Let’s make this year’s Black Friday the most successful one to date!
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