Black Friday Marketing Hacks
Black Friday is the most significant date in your ecommerce calendar. But the days of it being a one-day shopping extravaganza are over.
In fact, we analysed our own customers’ data and discovered that the last three months of 2019 accounted for 36% of annual orders.
Consumers are eager, more digital, and willing to spend. So, we’ve compiled 37 fantastic hacks to help you get bigger bang for your buck.
1 Build a year-long Black Friday landing page
Put your SEO hat on! Shoppers will start searching online for their purchases weeks before the Thanksgiving weekend. Did you know that search interest in Black Friday has grown 242% over the last five years according to Google Trends? If you have a high-ranking page, you’ll get seen before the competition. Having a consistent Black Friday landing page all year round creates an impressive and unswerving page ranking result on Google. You know it makes sense!
2 Build anticipation early
The window of opportunity to vie for your target customers’ attention is small. Plus, you’re competing with other brands to get in first. Ramp up your mailing list and social followers in early Fall to maximize the number of consumers you’re able to reach in November. Start sending promotional emails to build the hype early in the weeks before hand.
3 Personalize your messages
Black Friday is an attention-grabbing game that can be won with personalization. Include first name, local store, persona-based dynamic content - anything remotely relevant that can hook the reader. Did you know that personalized marketing emails experience 41% higher unique click-through rates than generic ones? That’s the smart way to unlock lucrative holiday sales.
Source: Instapage, 2019
4 Create unique experiences
Know your loyal customers from your infrequent shoppers, and understand who spends how much and on what. Every customer has different needs and wants. Use RFM (recency, frequency, monetary value) to filter contacts into segments and deliver a more fitting message. You wouldn’t want to offer 50% off to a customer who typically spends £400 per order.
5 Make subject lines catchy AF
Black Friday is the time to nail the almighty subject line. Expect an unopened email if your subject line is rubbish: your campaign’s success is at stake. Either spur curiosity or iterate the benefits: i.e. ‘The deals you’ve been waiting for inside’ or ‘STARTS NOW: 50% off Black Friday sale + free shipping’. Plus, don’t forget to test and optimise!
6 Put emphasis on the CTA
Calls to action should always be placed above the fold. Don’t hit send if it’s not clear what action the recipient should take. The inverted pyramid method works best; it grabs attention, builds the anticipation, and draws the reader in.
7 Send a ‘save the date’
‘Save the dates’ are a great way to get subscribers to block out key events in their diary. Include a CTA in your promotional email campaigns that allow subscribers to save the date in their calendar, so their mobiles will remind them of your deals.
8 Timing is everything
If you’re a global company, don’t forget to schedule your sends by time zone to avoid your customers’ bafflement. You don’t want to send a 60-minute countdown timer to Australia in the middle of the night, or a morning flash sale to the Pacific West Coast after midday.
9 Use web behavior
While your promotional campaigns are hitting the inbox like a well-oiled machine, make sure your behavioral triggers are running like clockwork in the background. Send timely nudges to anyone who abandons their browse and retarget users who quit their search across Google and social channels.
10 Trigger messages based on email activity
Email activity is never more insightful than over the Black Friday period. Create triggers that are based on a set of behavioral rules, whereby subscribers are pooled into certain groups. For instance, if email openers don’t redeem their special offer within 24 hours, they get a triggered daily reminder until the sale ends. Likewise, for every email that goes unopened, unengaged subscribers get three different follow-up emails, each with a different variation of the subject line.
11 Send a sneak-peek email a day before Black Friday
A peek-reveal before the big deals kick off can spur excitement in the inbox. Building the hype is a tried and tested way of getting subscribers on side before your communications start ramping up. Your brand will be fresh in their minds as they eagerly anticipate your unmissable bargains.
12 Generate buzz through a flash sale
The run-up to Black Friday is all about seasonal hype. Drum up excitement with a series of festive flash sales in advance of your Black Friday- weekend bargains. You won’t be the only one to adopt this tactic; so why not offer different promotions every hour on the hour? It’s a creative way to stand out from the sales-heavy crowd.
13 Create gift guides for giving
Black Friday is about both consumer self-indulgence and giving gifts. The true spirit of the holiday season is in the gift giving. That can mean that those visiting your website might not fall into your typical target audience, but are shopping for friends and family who do. So, like your standard wish list, create a gift list for these people. The list could filter items based on interest, tastes, product attributes, etc. It might also be handy to present feature collections: 10 gifts for everyone on your list or best gifts for women, men, and kids; dads, mums, daughters, and nephews, etc.
14 Make sure your design is top-notch
Conversion starts with beautiful design. Black Friday is about the best product for the best price; but design captures the user’s attention and interest for your offering over a similar alternative. Enchanting bargain hunters with design is the best way to stop them in their tracks and divert them to your website. Black Friday is about getting as many eyes on your brand as possible.
15 Don’t annoy your champions
Don’t bore brand advocates with off-price products when you had them on side to begin with. Take them down a different path. Black Friday is a great opportunity to graduate promising customers into this lucrative persona group. For customers already there, don’t solely target them with seasonal sale messages, but keep up your leading content too.
16 Always extend the campaign
Amplify your campaign across all channels and keep the messaging consistent. The timings of your Black Friday deals can be sensitive, so it’s important that all online and offline touchpoints are co-ordinated. You don’t want to upset customers by showing them a promotion on social that’s unavailable on your website or in store.
17 Include countdown clocks – they work!
This is a must-do. Nothing spurs more urgency than a countdown timer. The deals and offers are raining in, but you can do something to weather the storm. Show your customers exactly when your offer is going to end. Add your countdown clock on a banner; it should be super-obvious, so ensure it’s above the fold.
18 Don’t drift from your brand’s authenticity
Don’t jump on the Black Friday bandwagon if it’s going to undermine your brand’s authentic voice. It could have serious consequences in the long run. Not every business is a discount brand, and, despite your amazing offers, you should never abuse your customers’ financial and mental wellbeing. Your reputation is on the line, so be cautious.
19 Put the customer first
This rule applies all year round, but can be easy to forget around Black Friday. Basically, make it about the customer and not the offer. Sounds hard, right? Not at all. Simply laser-focus on the net benefit to the customer, then complement with the right products and discounts. For example: ‘Relax this December: Nail your holiday shopping NOW with 50% off all homeware.’
20 Include clever product recommendations
Layer personalized product recommendations onto your already compelling deals. Customers won’t be able to resist the relevancy factor. Use past browsing or buying behavior to populate the right recommendations – maybe a lookalike cross-sell based on similar product attributes. You could even surface items that similar customers went on to purchase next. Bosh!
21 Enrol new customers onto a welcome program
Black Friday is a pivotal period for customer acquisition. Brands tied up with their holiday campaigns can easily omit important communications that keep new customers engaged, i.e. the welcome program. Tone down your bargain bombardment and give new customers some respite; let them know who you are, what you’re about, and ask them for preferences so you can pepper your messages with relevant content.
22 Capture customer data Gate your deals to unlock layers of customer data that can enrich your profiles, enabling you to hyper- personalize messages and nurture customers into different persona groups. Using data-capture tools, collect everything from email address and mobile number to communication preferences and message frequency. An exchange of data is a big deal to consumers, so make the offer worth their while and your consent criteria crystal clear.
23 Skip the early morning during Black Friday weekend
Like the early morning commute, battling crowds in the inbox can prove futile. Remember that Black Friday is, more so than on any other day, a numbers game What’s the likelihood that this customer is going to open – let alone see – my email over my competitor’s? Our advice is to hold tight as the chaos ensues and wait for the right moment to pounce: your chances of getting noticed will increase from noon onwards.
24 Find your hook
Maybe it’s a hidden discount or limited product range? Play on human curiosity so that subscribers can’t resist clicking through to discover your mystery offer. Think specific and unique. If your store stocks something artisanal or handcrafted, drive the exclusivity factor. There’s no better incentive that prompts people to buy than something special.
25 Create a referral campaign
Referrals are one of the most trusted forms of advertising because people value the experiences of others. It stems from the theory of collective opinion: the psychological circumstance in which we reference the behaviors of others to guide our own decision-making (i.e. a purchase). Referred customers can be a great driver of brand loyalty and deliver even greater ROI than other customers. For your refer-a-friend program to go viral, make it irresistible and time-sensitive.
26 Make it fun – de-stress the experience
Who doesn’t like a party? Cue the music, snacks, and drinks for some festive fun! Physical stores that don’t embrace the festivities are lackluster places which won’t cut the mustard on Black Friday. Email your subscribers and make some noise on social media to get the word out.
27 Give back
Ethical marketing may be a competitive advantage in business, but that shouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s about doing something decent. Think humanity over profit. Outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia hit the nail on the head back in 2016: The brand donated 100% of its Black Friday sales to grassroots organizations working to create positive change for the planet in their own backyards. If that doesn’t scream ethical brand, then who knows what does.
28 Bundle products together
Maximize the amount customers are willing to spend on Black Friday. Group complementary products - items that go well together. Use ‘complete the set’ or ‘complete the look’ as a CTA. Do this on your website, over email, and on social. It’s a sure-fire way to upsell and increase AOV on Black Friday.
29 Reward your social media fans
Grab your share of today’s growing social media engagement. Social is a viral platform perfect for sharing consecutive special discounts and exclusive content during the Black Friday period. Oh, and don’t forget to hashtag. #BlackFriday
30 Offer specific exclusive discounts
Making your offer as specific and exclusive as possible will differentiate your brand from the pack. The frustrating thing about Black Friday for marketers is that brands are practicing the same tactics, which means it’s even harder to get heard. So maybe offer 35% off selected products or 25% off everything for email subscribers only.
31 Provide members-only discounts
Exclusivity goes a long way on Black Friday. Sure, you’ll be running campaigns across your entire database, but don’t forget to target different groups with different offers. If you’re part of an exclusive group, like a membership or subscription, you’d expect something special during the holidays. So, don’t disappoint. Amazon is a great example: this brand offers special money-off discounts to Prime Members.
32 Offer an incentive to spend more
Sounds crazy since you’re already offering bargains left, right, and center. But adding a small incentive to boost spend at the check-out can increase AOV across the board. Free shipping and next-day delivery (on orders over a certain amount) are great ways to tempt customers to add on some extra items at the checkout.
33 Make your offers time- sensitive to drive urgency
Everything in the run-up to Black Friday is for a limited time only, but there’s always a way to spice things up. Use an hourglass GIF to emphasize your promotion’s time limit in email. If you’re really data-savvy, you could even use advanced personalization to trigger an individual countdown that activates on email open.
34 Rescue abandoned carts
82% of carts were abandoned online on Black Friday 2018. So, if you’re not already triggering cart recovery emails, then you’re leaving serious money on the table! Cost-effective and easy to implement, this program runs like clockwork to recoup lost revenue.
Source: Barilliance, 2018
35 Extend the season
Extend beyond Black Friday to encompass Cyber Monday and further. Why not prolong your campaigns to acquire new customers throughout the whole week after Cyber Monday? You’ll be able to reach people faster and easier. And don’t forget the people that avoid Black Friday, who you can target once all the chaos has died down.
36 Stay open late There are only 24 hours in a day. Milk it.
37 Go the extra mile
Do something that puts a smile on customers’ faces. For example, as Cyber Monday draws to a close, send your subscribers a voucher that they can claim then and there, but redeem whenever they want to. No urgency, and no strings attached.