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In 2018, Black Friday sales attracted more than $6 billion in online sales alone, up from 2017 Black Friday sales of over $5 billion. Adobe Analytics says that the annual shopping weekend saw a 23 percent increase in sales compared to the previous year.
The trend is only getting stronger. People from other countries, not just from Europe and North America, are buying into the Black Friday shopping tradition.
As a small business, you might wonder what Black Friday marketing ideas you can implement to drive sales. What’s worked or working? How do you implement them, and when?
Without further ado, let’s get straight to the answers, shall we?
4 crucial Black Friday marketing preparations to make
How do you get ready for your Black Friday sales?
The truth is, there are a million and one things to work out, and you can’t do them all. For example, technical website issues, product descriptions, email and site content copy, SEO, marketing and promotion plans, pricing — which ones should you prioritize?
Here are the four most important things to do:
Preparation #1: Prepare & test your site
Site speed is probably the most potent traffic killer. More than 50 percent of your site visitors will leave if pages don’t load under three seconds! So let’s start from there.
Fix your PageSpeed issues with Google’s PageSpeed Insights
A slow website will cost you sales - and fast loading will help you sell more. . Walmart increased conversion by 2% for every second they reduced page load times. In a study, 88% of site visitors say that they won’t return to a site if they had a bad experience.
Test your site for speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights or GTMetrix. And then implement the recommendations you get from these tools. For each tool, you’d just enter your pages’ URLs and have them analyzed for speed and other optimization factors.
PageSpeed Insights highlights issues and opportunities with your page and gives you an astute report on how to fix it.
GTMetrix gives you a similar breakdown of your page’s performance and what needs fixing.
It's also important to make sure your page works as well as on Mobile.
Preparation #2: Update your product descriptions
If you want to sell more, product descriptions go a long way towards making your product irresistible. We covered the eight easy rules of effective product descriptions here, but here are three to get you started.
1. Use Power Words That Sell
So you know your audience. Now, what words mean something to them?
Those are the “power words that sell.” They arouse emotions, provoke action, and make your products irresistible.
If you know your audience and what they want, you can use these words to establish a connection with them and your product. And there are literally hundreds of these words for you to use.
2. Optimize for Search Engines
Make the search engines aware, so they can help share your message. Or what’s the point with putting your stuff online if you’ll let it die in obscurity?
3. Use Good Product Images
I sell on Amazon. And we say, “Image is EVERYTHING.” Successful Black Friday marketing campaigns run on great product images.
In summary, write a product description that focuses on the buyer and her pain. One that touches her emotions, and moves her to buy. Describe your product in ways that connect with her. Say words she cares to hear. And mean them.
Preparation #3: Plan out your marketing content calendar
These planned assets should be ready weeks to launching your Black Friday marketing campaigns. Luckily, you can leverage HubSpot’s content template for free here, and there are plenty of resources online.
Hubspot's Content Calendar
Use content to capture both human and search engine attention. Create a content calendar that details what content assets you want to share, and when you want to share them. Specifically, you want to develop your
- Images and graphics
- Black Friday social media posts
- Ad, email, and website copies
- Giveaways and special discounts plans
Be sure also to include and schedule posts for social media and use catchy Black Friday phrases in your post.
Preparation #4: Prepare for discounts and sales
Figure out which items you can discount, which items you cannot; figure out which items you want to sell more of, and which you want to sell less of.
Remember, I said you don’t need everything in perfect order to launch your creative Black Friday campaigns? That advice works for discounts and sales. You don’t have to discount all your products.
You want to reduce prices on products that your customers will perceive as valuable to them. But not on everything you sell.
The goal of a discount is to encourage more sales. So you want to be strategic. What products, if discounted, will encourage your customers to buy more items?
Black Friday marketing ideas
59 percent of female and 48 percent of male buyers will start their shopping just before Back Friday. The earlier your marketing gets into place, the better it will perform. Here are some easy marketing ideas for Black Friday:
1. Prepare and publish a Black Friday gift guide your audience will use
Gift guides solve a problem for your buyers: they quickly find the right gifts to buy without fussing about them. And for influencers, they find something valuable to share with their audiences that they’d love.
Read how Wellness Mama created a gift guide she updates yearly - on our Black Friday SEO Guide
Publishing your gift guides on websites is part of getting the word out about your business and also a way of building an audience.
So you want to contact and arrange to share your gift guides with influencers to take advantage of their audience and following. You want to start your influencer outreach as early as possible.
2. Set up referral rewards
Referral programs help you to retain customers even after the Black Friday marketing campaigns have ceased. Instead of having a one-time bump in sales, you'll be able to use the audience you captured to find more audiences.
Leverage the boost in customer attention and sales to introduce a referral rewards program. In addition to getting amazing deals and discounts, buyers get the benefits of profiting from telling their friends and family about your business.
So when your customers buy, send them an email following their purchase. Use catchy Black Friday email subject lines to get them to open your emails. You can use something like, “Want even MORE Black Friday deals that last beyond a weekend?” Or a variant of that subject line.
And then introduce them to your referral program and how they can benefit from it.
3. Try to increase Average Order Value
To make the best of sales, you can also try to increase Average Order Value, for example, by encouraging your buyers to save more by buying more. This is a pretty solid tactic for your business. Instead of offering discounts across all products on your site, you can offer “buy Y number of products get X% off.” So, for example, you can offer customers a 35 percent discount for every two items or more they buy.
Retailers have seen boosts in their profit per sale using the average order value technique because customers get to buy more products per time. And it drives higher revenues, because it's easier -- the customer is already on your website and shopping. Adding one more item to the cart is less difficult
Black Friday sale ideas
Let’s examine some Black Friday sales ideas you can explore profitably.
4. Hourly or daily flash sales
Running frequent flash sales ensures customers keep coming back.
Flash sales have been proven to boost transaction rates by 35 percent. More so, businesses experience better results when using email to drive their flash sales. The best converting flash sales are three-hourly flash sales at a transaction to open rate of 59 percent.
According to recent research, the best time to send your Black Friday email when running a flash sale is in the evening.
Emails sent during the evenings had 30 percent higher revenues than emails sent by mid-day or launch-time. These evening flash sale messages converted 23 percent higher too.
5. Offer to donate a percentage of sales to charity
You can make your buyers feel better about their purchases by letting them know that a percentage of their purchases goes to charity. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money, even a percent of your profits going to charity is worth it. For example, Charlie's Project leggings donate a percentage to charities, and even offers
Don’t make empty promises here. Donate the money and let customers know who received their donations. You may even get the charity where you donate money to send a thank you message to your buyers and also post this message on your website.
6. Offer rewards for a minimum spend
You can also encourage your customers to spend a set amount of money by incentivizing them. The benefit of this Black Friday marketing strategy is that you can plan and predict your revenue based on the minimum spend you expect from customers.
If this strategy is something you’d want to try, you can also make the rewards in tiers. So customers who buy more things get even more rewards. Just make sure you remain profitable.
7. Offer product bundles or a mystery box
Bundle items that your customers would usually buy together and offer them at a discount. You can also explore this tactic by bundling all your best products into one unit and selling them together. Alternatively, a popular tactic has been to offer mystery boxes or 'Loot boxes' (see left).
Mystery boxes contain several product items (with combined retail value higher than the offer price). The customer doesn't know what he's going to get -- maybe a juicy price worth more than the price of the box (like the iPad Pro) or a bunch of small useful products. Either way, they get value for money.
This is one of the best Black Friday ideas for small businesses as you can spread your profits across multiple products. Plus, thanks to the 'gambling' nature of the mystery box, certain customers may buy one or more boxes on impulse.
Another idea to give the bundled products a “mystery box” effect: keep some of the items in the bundle a secret. And every day during the sale, you’d reveal one “mystery” item to your audience targeting a segment of your market.
8. Can’t offer cash discounts? Offer free shipping
If you can’t offer cash discounts, see if you can offer free shipping. Free shipping is one of the most powerful Black Friday promotion ideas you can use.
In one study, 48 percent of participants would add items to their shopping carts to qualify for free shipping. In another study, 90 percent of participants said free shipping was their number one incentive for buying.
Black Friday campaigns are pretty powerful when you combine free shipping with same-day delivery. Almost 50 percent of shoppers said same-day shipping would encourage them to buy, and about 85 percent have used two-day shipping.
9. Offer gift cards or VIP discounts
Gift cards are pretty popular, more so during the holiday season. It’s also one of the smartest Black Friday ideas for small businesses. You’d encourage your customers and visitors to buy gift cards for their friends and loved ones, especially customers who are undecided about the gifts to buy.
You can also offer special discounts to your loyalty program members during your Black Friday campaigns. Keep this discount exclusively to that VIP group. As loyal customers, they are more likely to see the benefits of your discounts and buy more from you beyond the Black Friday sale.
Black Friday promotion ideas: Creative Black Friday campaigns to inspire You.
Now that you’ve designed your offers, set your Black Friday email subject lines, and made your Black Friday Facebook posts, it’s time to promote these offers and content. Let’s look at some of the best performing examples of email, website, and Black Friday social media campaigns and lessons you can take from them.
10. Patagonia’s $10 Million to Charity
By tapping into the conscience of its customers, Patagonia exceeded its Black Friday sales expectation of $2 million by 500 percent, to generate over $10 million. They teamed up with One Percent of the Planet for their 2016 Black Friday marketing promotions.
Charity is powerful. You can donate as little as one percent, and it’ll still be worth it.
11. Work hard on your Black Friday email subject lines
People decide whether to read your email or not just by looking at the subject lines. So take them seriously. Or steal the best subject lines. Campaign Monitor provides a list of Black Friday email subject lines you can explore, grab them here.
12. Give a mystery offer in your email
Another way to make your emails more potent is to include a mystery offer code or discount in your emails. 22 Days Nutrition offered a combination of mystery offers and coupon codes here. The subject line was: "What will your mystery offer be?"
A CycleBar Studio Manager reveals her favourite emails. Via MyEmma.com
13. Go live on Facebook
Amazon’s live videos, for example, generate thousands of views and engagement for them. As dominant as Amazon is on Black Friday, if Live videos & broadcasts works for Amazon, it could work for you too.
Yes, brands that use live Facebook videos get 300 percent more engagement than those that don’t use live videos.
14. Offer something that's not cash or a discount - A unique experience
Barns & Noble, for example, offered half-a-million autographed books from successful authors for their Black Friday marketing campaign. If you like books and buy books, you might really enjoy having your books autographed - and it's a great deal, even for the price. This campaign has been so successful that the book store will run it again.
Luxury brands who may not want to dilute their branding ethos with a discount may opt to offer something else in place of discounts. Similarly, you may choose to offer something that's not related to
15. Recapture Black Friday sales
Blenders Eyewear ran a post-Black Friday abandoned cart campaign targeting customers who abandoned their carts during their Black Friday marketing campaigns. For this abandoned cart campaign, the company used the Facebook Messenger tool from ShopManager.
They gained $30,000 in extra income after the Black Friday sales were long past.
16. Use trending Black Friday hashtags
The Brazilian business, Abra Casa, leverages Black Friday hashtags to promote their stylish furniture on Instagram. Did you notice the #blackfridaybrasil for the post’s hashtags?
Create Black Friday Facebook posts on your page and use relevant Black Friday hashtags. You can use hashtags like
- #Blackfriday2020 (or the relevant year),
- #BlackfridayUSA (or the relevant country where you operate),
You can add more Black Friday hashtags. The goal is to get the word out about your product.
17. Be inspired by Black Friday advertising slogans & catchphrases
In your promotions, you can use Black Friday advertising slogans like these to get attention for your business:
- “Countdown to Black Friday.”
- “Shop till you drop.”
- “Survive the Black Friday rush; shop our online store for X% off.”
- “Buy more to save more” — a nifty Black Friday advertising slogan if you are using the average order value technique to sell to your audience.
- “We are giving X% off on Black Friday!”
- “Get X% off, only on black Friday.”
You can come up with other unique, catchy Black Friday phrases to help get your buzz out there!
18. Black Friday ideas for small businesses
We’ve discussed lots of Black Friday ideas for small businesses that you can take advantage of right away. But let me give you three more ideas.
- Team up with other small businesses: Working with small businesses that complement what you sell can be great for business. For example, if you sell wine openers, you can team up with wine brands. You may choose to offer a discount or design and launch creative Black Friday campaigns for your users.
- Promote your offers across platforms: If sell on more than one platform, say Shopify and Amazon, make sure to use the promotional tools available on each platform to get the word out.
- Don’t make it passive, have a landing page: Make sure you have one or more landing pages to welcome visitors to your Black Friday marketing campaigns. Show them how they’ll benefit from your deals. Go above and beyond. Remember that other businesses are making offers too. So make sure yours stands out.
Put your Black Friday marketing ideas to work
There’s just a lot to do, and a lot of opportunities to succeed.
Now, go and put some ideas to work.