Black Friday is the busiest shopping weekend of the year. What started as a one-day event after Thanksgiving has become a four-day shopping event ending on Cyber Monday.
Last year, consumers spent $14.13 billion over the Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend (up from $11.9 billion in 2019). This year, figures are expected to grow about 20% year over year and hit $17 billion.
As brands worldwide gear up for Black Friday, here are seven Black Friday marketing strategies you can use to maximize sales.
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1. Use Email to Engage and Differentiate
Email marketing gives you the perfect opportunity to reach, engage, and differentiate your audience based on historical data.
Make your subject line different
People are going to get flooded with emails leading up to and through the BFCM weekend. The only way to ensure your email gets read is by making your subject line stand out.
Most email subject lines will contain “Black Friday”. So do something different that immediately gets your readers’ attention and intrigues them to find out more, as Chubbies did with “Black Friday is CANCELLED”:
(They even added a cheeky email address: Liar@chubbies.com).
Suspend non-BFCM emails temporarily
With all the Black Friday emails flying around, it makes sense to suspend other emails temporarily, so they don’t get lost in your subscribers’ inbox.
Send personalized deals based on past purchases
Personalization is another way to differentiate your emails and ensure your subscribers get the email suited to them.
- Past customers – offer loyalty discounts
- Potential customers – offer limited-time offers
Encourage sharing the email with a referral program
You can encourage your existing subscribers to share your BFCM email with their friends and family by introducing a referral program or giving them a store discount.
2. Offer Enticing Deals
There will be tens of thousands, probably millions, of deals around Black Friday, so how do you get yours to stand out?
Doorbusters are those special deals traditionally used to get people through the door and into the store. Nowadays, you can use the same principle for in-store and online shopping.
The third type of shopper is the buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS). This is especially popular when shoppers realize that standard shipping is not free or the goods wouldn’t arrive in time.
If you’re offering different shopping experiences, make sure you create unique deals that appeal to each type of shopper.
Deals bring out shoppers
The size of your discount matters.
On average, it takes a 58% discount to coax Americans to shop on Black Friday. Almost one in five adults (19%) said it would take a 50% discount, while 15% said it would take a 90% discount.
Lead with attention-grabbing deals
Naturally, all deals should be attention-grabbing, but some will be more contextually appealing. For example, if you’re marketing to previous customers, you could personalize the offer to their purchase history. But if you can’t personalize the deal based on previous purchases, then lead with your biggest or broadest discounts first.
Offer free shipping if you can
BFCM is not only about discounting.
You can go beyond discounts and offer benefits like free shipping and returns, bonus points, cash backs, rewards, or gift cards.
For example, Estee Lauder offers double loyalty points, plus free shipping and returns.
Another option is to offer free shipping with a minimum value order – e.g. $25 – so that you can increase your average order size.
Follow up after purchases with free gifts or extra discount codes
You can keep your latest customers coming back for more with free gifts and extra discount codes.
Remarket to abandoned carts
And don’t forget to remarket to those shoppers who abandoned their shopping carts. In the mad rush to get around all the deals, some customers will likely add products to their cart and then get side-tracked. These potential customers are almost there and just need a little nudge to get them over the line.
Donate to a charity
An alternative option instead of discounting is to donate to a charity. This marketing idea attracts a different audience and drives a positive perception of your brand.
Here’s an example from Cubitts:
3. Update Existing Landing Pages
Our third marketing strategy is all about SEO. But don’t panic – these are straightforward tips you can implement with a bit of planning and foresight.
Little time to rank new pages
Throwing up a new page just before the Black Friday holiday period is not a good idea if you want it to rank on search engines. A better strategy is to have a Black Friday page that you keep updated throughout the year.
Adwords found that 61% of holiday shoppers begin searching online before Thanksgiving. So it pays to have a regular Black Friday page, like electrical retailer Currys:
Or beauty retailer Estee Lauder
Or leading vacuum technology brand Dyson:
Notice how they encourage visitors to sign up so they can hear about the Black Friday offers first.
Add popups or banners to your best-performing pages
Another option is to use your best-performing pages and guide visitors to your Black Friday offers. For example, you could have a popup or banner that makes visitors aware of your upcoming BFCM sale with a button to tap that takes them to your landing page. From there, you can introduce your offers and ask them to sign up for reminders.
Update existing content
If you already have content that’s ranking, like a list or comparison post, you could modify it to highlight your Black Friday sale.
For example, say you have a list of “Top Holiday Gifts 2020” that ranks well – you could update it to “Top Holiday Gifts 2021” and refresh the content with some of your current Black Friday Deals.
Or, if you have a non-Black Friday comparison article that’s already ranking, you could update the pricing section to show how your Black Friday special deals are better than your competitors.
4. Create a Sense of Urgency
You can create a sense of urgency and incentivize immediate action with countdown timers, limited quantities, and surprise discounts across all your marketing channels.
Run flash sales
You can run flash sales at any time leading up to Black Friday. The idea is to create some extra hype and anticipation before your Black Friday sale kicks in.
To make it a success and protect your margin, you need to limit the flash sale’s timing and offers. If it runs every day leading up to Black Friday, then there’s no need for customers to jump in and grab a bargain.
Here’s an email subject line example from Carphone Warehouse:
To add more urgency, you can restrict the sale to particular items or limited quantities of items.
Use timers and limited quantities
Using timers or limited quantities encourages customers to make an immediate decision. Shoppers like to hunt around for the best price and compare products before they make a decision. But if you include a countdown timer or list the quantities of items left, shoppers know they need to hurry up and buy now before the sale ends or stock runs out.
Here’s an example from fashion retailer, Rebellious:
And another from the AVFC store:
Surprise discount codes
Everyone loves a surprise. And you can use the element of surprise in your marketing.
For example, you could send a unique, random-generated gift code to your email subscribers. Shoppers enter the code at the checkout to see what discount they get. Here’s what Death Wish Coffee did:
It’s a great way of building surprise and intrigue as shoppers have to wait until the final moment to see their discount.
5. Experiment With Your Timing
You don’t have to keep all your products on offer the entire Black Friday weekend. Try introducing special deals at different times to encourage people to visit your store more frequently.
Don’t limit to one weekend
Instead of limiting offers to the holiday weekend, try extending the sale for a fortnight.
Tease with pre-Black Friday sales
You can also whet people’s appetite with a pre-Black Friday sale, like airline Ryanair did with their “Cyber Week swoops in early” email:
With offers starting a week before Black Friday right through to Cyber Monday:
Extended sales after BFCM
Why not add some different offers after the BFCM weekend for those shoppers who missed out, like this email from Doggyloot:
Or this offer from National Geographic:
Experiment with email and social media deal timings
You can plan your Black Friday marketing campaigns for email and social media well before the sale starts and schedule messages accordingly.
Using scheduling tools like Loomly, you can publish your social media posts at different times of the day when people are most active.
Loomly Tip: Scheduling Slots allow you to set your preferred publishing schedule and save time when creating new posts in Post Builder:
Check your social media analytics to discover the best publishing time for each channel.
Loomly Tip: Advanced Analytics is jam-packed with features, like account-level statistics, engagement metrics, and Loom.ly click counts, sources, and locations:
The same applies to your email campaigns, as you can create and schedule your messages in advance. Experiment with timing in your email marketing tool, so your offers can land in people’s inboxes at different times.
Another experiment you can try is running a pre-sale. In this case, you’ll make your Black Friday sale items available for pre-order, so customers can reserve items in advance and avoid the rush.
6. Use Shoppable Content
With more people shopping online, you need to make the most of every available channel, including social media.
Social commerce lets you sell your products directly through social media networks. Rather than redirecting users to an online store, you’re enabling customers to checkout on the social platform, which reduces friction.
From Instagram shoppable posts to Facebook product tags, Pinterest rich pins, YouTube cards, and TikTok shoppable ads, it’s never been easier or more efficient to sell on social media.
You can even use Live Shopping to showcase your products and sales, like Pink Tag Boutique.
They started using Live Shopping so that viewers could purchase featured items from the broadcast directly in the brand’s Facebook Shop.
7. Grow Your Following
It’s not all about selling – you can use Black Friday as an opportunity to grow your following and get repeat customers.
Take advantage of BFCM to get repeat customers
One way to get customers coming back to your store is to introduce them to your Loyalty Program or VIP Club. Make them feel special by inviting them to your exclusive club, where they’ll receive special offers throughout the year.
Extra discounts for signing up to your email list
One way to encourage customers to sign up to your email list is to offer an extra discount. For example:
“Take an extra 10% off any sale price when you join our mailing list.”
Special deals for followers on social media
Another way is to offer special deals to your social media followers. For example:
“Like this post, and follow us on Instagram, to get all-year-round special offers.”
Take advantage of hashtags
One of the best ways to expand your reach on social media is by using hashtags.
Use a mix of popular, trending hashtags – like #BlackFriday, #CyberMonday, #BlackFridayDiscounts, #ThanksgivingSales, #WeekendSales, and #FreeShipping – with some unique, branded hashtags – like Nike’s #JustDoIt or GoPro’s #GoProHERO9.
Loomly Tip: Hashtag Suggestions recommends trending #hashtags that are relevant to the copy of your post and lets you use them at the click of a button:
Hashtag Collections lets you save collections of #hashtags, such as your branded hashtags, and include them in a few clicks in your posts.
Collaborate with other influencers, creators, and brands
Use Black Friday as a time to collaborate with other influencers, creators, and brands. For example, you could partner with an Instagram influencer who complements your brand and lets you reach a wider audience. Ask the influencer to promote your products via Instagram Stories or host an Instagram Live to unbox or model your items and offer a unique discount code.
Black Friday Marketing Strategies, in a Nutshell
It’s easy to get wrapped up in a Black Friday discount frenzy. But above all else, your brand should focus on providing value.
Lastly, don’t bite off more than you can chew. With all these tips, choose a few and get them right rather than trying all of them at once.
Marketing strategies are great, but people want authentic and trustworthy brands they can rely on all year round.