Black Friday is upon us again and the phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down. With more and more businesses getting involved in the sale each year it’s a vital part of the calendar and overall marketing strategy for companies across all sectors.
Studies have shown that around 61% of all shoppers who participate in Black Friday sales start doing so in the week leading up to the main event, doing their research into what they’re looking for and who is running sales, and also registering to receive email updates from the provider in order to capitalise on the discounts as soon as they become available.
Effective Black Friday sales can make a huge difference to your end-of-year results, but you can’t just go out and launch a sale with the hope of making thousands of sales and turning your annual performance around in the space of a week. Instead, you need to put months of research and planning into a Black Friday campaign to ensure that you stand out from the crowd and reach your target audience in time for the annual shopping showpiece.
A well-thought out, thoroughly researched and developed strategy is the only way to succeed on Black Friday, so here we’re going to take you through a few of the key ingredients for a killer Black Friday campaign that will help you not only reach your target audience, but develop the best possible sale and results.
Building a Black Friday sale: step-by-step
Your Black Friday sale represents the opportunity to not only increase revenue, but build brand awareness and engagement, too. So, it’s vital that you put a detailed, data-led plan in place so you can reach out to your target audience and engage them prior to and, importantly, after your sale.
So, with that in mind, here’s how to build your Black Friday campaign:
- Create a great range of sale items
It sounds simple, but brands often put already-discounted items into their Black Friday sales and that doesn’t represent much value for customers or you as a seller. By thinking about what your customers actually want and the opportunities to generate the best possible revenue from your sale, you need to create a great range of Black Friday sale items from across your collection.
If you offer products that don’t tend to do that well in previous sales it might be best to leave those out unless you significantly discount them to clear space in the stock room. However, if you know that products or services are going to sell - it’s just how many - then you can include them in your sale with an attractive, limited-time discount to entice as many potential customers as possible in and get them to part with their cash.
- Develop a landing page (and keep it live all year round)
Once you have your Black Friday sale items sorted you need to make people aware online. An engaging, well-optimised landing page will enable you to drive web traffic to your site and you can monitor their activity through Google Analytics and Search Console.
Now, what many do is remove their landing page after the sale so that people can’t try and take advantage of the offer all year round, and so it doesn’t affect bounce rates. Don’t do this! If you leave the page live all year round but remove it from your site navigation then you can build authority for the page and across your site ready for next year’s campaign, when you’ll already have a good reputation and, potentially, excellent organic visibility when it comes to next year’s sale, helping you to steal a march on your competitors and giving users what they want.
- Provide a discount code for customer to use at the checkout
Discount codes are great and easy to access. Most e-commerce sites allow users to enter discount codes to make savings at the checkout rather than changing their pricing across the site, and still capturing some customers who pay full price rather than the reduced fees.
If you have an email subscription database then a quick promotional email will enable them to capitalise on your generosity, or a banner in an eye-catching location on the site will allow new visitors to sign-up or buy at the reduced price, too.
- Build an email list
If you don’t have an email list, building one is vitally important as this will help you to promote your Black Friday sale to previous customers and visitors to your webpage. Reaching out to them in the weeks and days ahead of your sale will put you in the forefront of their minds so that when sale time comes along they’re ready to buy and have done their research based on your email and, potentially, the discount code you’ve provided. Adding a subscription option to your site and encouraging users to share their details will help them to stay updated and gives you an additional, engaged customer to reach out to on Black Friday and across your year-round marketing campaigns. An effective CRM solution like EngageBay is great for helping you to build out and automate these lists, saving you a wealth of time and ensuring that your contacts receive relevant messages, and follow-ups too.
- Promote, promote, promote
Once you’ve done the background work it’s time to promote, promote, promote. Get messages out across your social media channels, your email lists and don’t forget your website, too!
Just because you’ve built a specific Black Friday landing page it doesn’t mean your work is done, you need to promote the sale across your homepage and product pages too, so have your developers think about how they can get creative with the site layout and design.
- Start the sale early
Black Friday is a chaotic time for many buyers and sellers, and it’s also a working day in countries like the UK, so starting your sale a few days early will allow you to reach as many potential customers as possible.
- Allow loyal customers to cash-in early
An email subscription list of existing customers is a great thing to have, but at Black Friday it’s an opportunity to thank them for their loyal custom over the year(s). Providing them with early access or an additional discount is a great way of thanking them, and building up even more of a bond with customers who are more likely to keep coming back if they feel they’re getting something for doing so.
- Cross and up-sell
Your customers are visiting your brand because of the products and/or services you provide, and the chances are that at Black Friday they’re there for one specific product or service. Getting them to part with their cash for that is great, but being able to promote an additional range of products or services might just be the icing on the Christmas cake.
If you’re known for a particular range it might be that your customers aren’t aware of what else you do, so be sure to cross-sell and even up-sell your product range so that you aren’t just selling your lowest-priced products or most well-known range. It’s an extra opportunity to build some revenue and to build awareness right across your collection.
- Offer a promotional bundle
Promotional bundles are an excellent way of not only clearing the stockroom, but also enabling customers to invest in a wider range of products and services. It might be that they are aware of your range, but aren’t interested in buying individually; but bundling them together in one promotion could help you to convince them that investing is the right decision so that they can try things out without paying full price. They get an extra product or service, you get additional revenue, it’s a win-win!
- Create a sense of urgency
Finally, make sure that your customers are aware that this offer won’t be around forever! If you run sales throughout the year they might think this is just another sale and they will be able to buy in a few months’ time at the same or a similar price, but if you create a sense of urgency by ensuring that this offer has never been run before and won’t be available for long, you increase your opportunity to convert potential customers over the duration of your Black Friday campaign.