Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, and as a result, it’s also one of the most competitive times for retailers and brands. The usual news images of people fighting in the stores aside, Black Friday is actually a very useful shopping holiday. There are data that suggest a lot of small businesses and stores make 20-40% of their year’s sales on Black Friday! So, it’s definitely not something you can shrug aside if you want to make a good last-quarter impact on your sales numbers.
Of course, it’s not just shoppers who have to compete and fight to get discounted goods — the same is true for all businesses, entrepreneurs, contractors, and all others, really. In order to get ahead of your competitors, you need to think outside the box when it comes to marketing.
15 Best Black Friday Marketing Ideas
Here are 15 Black Friday marketing ideas that will help you reach new customers while driving sales in stores and online:
1. Start planning early — Or not!
It’s not too early to start planning for Black Friday. If your business is small, it can make all the difference in time and effort if you plan ahead. You’ll have more time to prepare deals and discounts, get extra staff on board, and prepare your website and social media accounts for the influx of traffic that comes with a big sale day like Black Friday. Planning early also means there’s less chance of things falling through at the last minute—you won’t be scrambling around trying to fix errors or rushing orders because everything was pushed back due to poor planning.
Of course, you can also skip the hectic planning from a few months earlier and focus on it in your own time. Even an 11th-hour strategy can get you a considerable increase in sales and profits, assuming you have the right Black Friday marketing ideas and know how to make them happen using the right tools.
2. Develop a cohesive message across all marketing channels
One of the most important things to do when developing your Black Friday marketing plan is to have a cohesive message across all channels. This will ensure that you are communicating the same information in a similar way so that customers can easily understand what you’re offering and how it benefits them. Here are some tips:
- Use the same language, tone, and style in all your marketing materials. For example, if you use a fun voice in one ad but then write an article with formal language on another website or social media platform, it can confuse people about who you are as a brand and what kind of experience they should expect from working with you. To avoid this confusion, choose one style for your writing across every channel where content is published (including email campaigns). The only exception might be if there’s something specific about each channel that would make using different styles necessary—for example, using casual language on Twitter but the professional-sounding copy on LinkedIn would make sense because those sites attract different audiences who respond differently to certain types of messages. Otherwise, though make sure they read like they came from the same company!
- Use consistent design elements such as fonts or colors throughout everything related directly back into their branding guidelines/style guide which should already be defined before any other steps take place during this process–and keep these standards consistent between platforms as well.
3. Establish your Black Friday sales dates well in advance.
Not only is Black Friday the biggest retail day of the year, but you also need to take into account that it’s likely going to be a hectic one. For that reason, we recommend starting your marketing plan as early as possible and not waiting until just before Black Friday to start thinking about how you’re going to get shoppers in your store.
To do this properly you’ll need some pre-planning:
- If you’re running Black Friday deals on your website, make sure all of those pages are ready well in advance so that they can go live at midnight on November 24th (or earlier if you choose). Also, consider whether or not you want shoppers who visit these pages prior to 11/24/17 and then come back after midnight on 11/24/17 see an updated version with new prices or offers. If so, there are two ways for this changeover between old vs new pricing and offers: 1) have separate URLs for each page where they can click through from their browser window (either via bookmarking or typing out each URL), 2) create one page that has both old pricing as well as new pricing displayed side by side so customers can compare them easily before making a purchase decision (this option requires more work upfront though).
4. Give customers what they want.
This is the most basic piece of advice, but it’s also the most important: listen to your customers. It’s easy to get caught up in your own ideas, but if you always put yourself in the shoes of your audience, you’ll be able to understand their needs better than anyone else. Consider what kind of deals they want (a great one!), how they like being treated (nicely), and if they feel heard by the brand (absolutely!).
5. Create a sense of urgency.
- Create a sense of urgency. If you have limited inventory, let people know.
- Include a countdown clock on your website, promotions and marketing materials to let customers know how much time they have left before the sale is over.
- Use social media to create a sense of urgency by posting updates about what items are selling out fast or being restocked at specific times.
- Write ads and emails with scarcity language like “hurry” or “limited time only.”
6. Research competitors to understand the landscape you’re working in.
- Understand your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
- Use that information to create a strategy that will help you stand out from the crowd.
- How do you find out what your competitors are doing?
- Monitor social media channels and blogs (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest). Look for hashtags related to Black Friday shopping and marketing campaigns — many brands use these hashtags when posting about their sales. Also, keep an eye on news outlets for coverage of what companies are doing for Black Friday 2018!
7. Release deals early to those who sign up for email alerts and other offers.
If you have an email list and/or social media following, it’s time to put them to work. You can give your loyal customers exclusive deals, promotions, and giveaways if they sign up for the newsletter. This will be a great way for you to capture their emails and get more sales from those who haven’t already purchased from you before—especially if no one else is offering these kinds of offers!
To make this work well for yourself, make sure that:
- Your opt-in process is as simple as possible (no more than two steps)
- You have some kind of value proposition on your landing page (what do people get when they sign up?)
8. Offer free shipping on all purchases.
There are a lot of ways to do this, but one of the best is to offer free shipping on all purchases. If you’re not sure what that means, here’s an example: if someone spends $100 or more on your store, they get free shipping (or if they spend $50 or more). You could also make it so that if someone spends any amount of money at all above a certain threshold (say, $25), then they get free shipping. The key is that you have options; pick one that works best for your business and stick with it!
9. Prepare your social media accounts for increased traffic and engagement.
To prepare for increased traffic and engagement on your social media accounts, you need to make sure that your site is ready. This means making sure that it can handle the traffic if necessary scaling up or down as needed. It also means having a plan in place for handling post-holiday sales and returns, which may be more frequent than usual during this time of year.
To ensure that you are prepared for Black Friday marketing success:
10. Run polls on your blog or social media accounts to tease upcoming promotions.
For example, you could ask:
- What products do you want us to feature this Black Friday?
- Which of our current products are you most excited about?
- How do you feel about a Black Friday sale? Do the words “sale” and “Black Friday” make your heart race? Or are they more like nails on a chalkboard: annoying and disruptive? We want to know!
- Are there any changes that would make you happier with our company as a whole (like new product lines, better shipping options, etc.)
11. Make sure your website can handle increased traffic loads.
This is a crucial step, as if your site is not ready for an influx of new visitors, it could cause problems and even cause you to lose sales. If the site crashes or experiences slow load times when you need it most, some people may be put off by the experience and choose to move on. To make sure this doesn’t happen:
- Ensure the website is responsive and works across multiple devices. This means it should look good on desktops and laptops, but also work well on smartphones and tablets too. Most retailers will have separate mobile sites where users can browse products without any issues (though larger companies may want to consider creating apps). As such, ensure that all of these devices are accounted for during Black Friday planning so that everything runs smoothly come November 29th!
- Test out what happens when there’s an increase in traffic (i.e., simulate how many online shoppers you’ll get). While this isn’t a substitute for actual testing—and shouldn’t replace actually running tests before launch day—it does provide valuable insights into what could happen if certain events occur during Black Friday itself like traffic spikes due to news articles published earlier than usual being posted online during Thanksgiving weekend instead of December 1st followed by overall increases in social media activity related specifically towards shopping activities taking place now versus later down the line after December 25th/26th has already passed us by along with decreased demand due their being no longer needing anything else besides food items at home already purchased earlier today (as opposed to tomorrow!).
- Make sure your checkout process works properly so customers don’t have issues making purchases while they’re shopping around looking at different retailers’ websites.”
You can use Google’s free but powerful tools like PageSpeed to gauge how well your website will perform under pressure. You can also consider changing your CMS (like WordPress) or maybe your hosting (do you use cloud hosting or shared web hosting?).
12. Include a countdown clock on your website, promotions, and marketing materials.
Include a countdown clock on your website, promotions, and marketing materials. The countdown can be used to show the day of the sale or the time remaining until the next sale. This can help build excitement and anticipation for these events by giving people an idea of how much time is left until they can take advantage of your discounts.
To handle all that without feeling overwhelmed, you can use an all-in-one, powerful marketing and sales software like RunSensible. RunSensible combines all the usual marketing and segmentation features with amazing promotion tools and landing page designers.
13. Promote your business through local media coverage and holiday events
- Local media coverage is a great way to get the word out about your business.
- Events are a great way to interact with your customers and create excitement around your Black Friday promotions.
- Events can also be used as an opportunity to interact with customers, which will help you build relationships and trust.
Encourage customers to share their own photos of your products by using hashtags in social media campaigns and promotions encouraging them to tag their photos with custom hashtags when making purchases or reviewing products online.
Social media campaigns and promotions are a great way to encourage customers to share photos of their purchases. You can also use hashtags when making purchases or reviewing products online, which will encourage people who see the hashtag to check out your store.
14. Create excitement with a live webcam showing employees preparing for Black Friday
- Create excitement with a live webcam showing employees preparing for Black Friday or the opening of the store that morning.
- Use Facebook Live to stream a question-and-answer session with customers. This is also a great way to showcase your store, as well as interact with fans, who are much more likely to comment on posts than they are emailing you.
15. Reward loyal customers with an exclusive offer before the general public gets access to specials at midnight or when the doors open the next morning.
- Make sure the offer is exclusive to your customers. This can be as simple as a discount or special deal that only they have access to.
- Make sure the offer is valuable and worth going out of your way to getting it.
- Offer the special deal for a limited number of people, so you don’t exhaust your supply quickly and leave everyone disappointed when it’s gone out of stock by 9:30 am on Black Friday morning (or earlier).
- Ensure that this exclusive offer isn’t available at other retailers—this will help prevent backlash from angry shoppers who don’t want their shopping experience ruined by having someone else swoop in with an unbeatable deal first!
To get the special rewards really right, simply use RunSensible’s email campaign segmentation features. They let you easily pick out the customers that you’ve previously qualified as VIP or loyal with a few clicks, giving you an email list and nurturing schedule. You can then use the native Promotions feature to generate, configure, and send digital coupons or other offers.
Black Friday is a great opportunity to engage with customers and build loyalty. By planning your marketing strategy in advance, you’ll be able to create an exciting campaign that will encourage shoppers to buy more than they originally intended. As we have seen, in almost all of these Black Friday marketing ideas, a real all-in-one CRM and marketing solution like RunSensible is necessary. Start for free right now, and see what else it can do for your business.
Can I only use these ideas on Black Friday?
Of course! Almost all of these ideas can be adapted to your usual promotion and marketing campaigns, meaning you’ll get a lot more out of learning these strategies.
How long should I continue offering my Black Friday deals?
A good idea is to start Black Friday a week early, giving your campaign time to make its way around to all your customers and leads. Since we have the Cyberweek holiday right after that, it’s more reasonable to stop Black Friday on time.
Are there any disadvantages to using Black Friday marketing?
Some marketing experts think that offering something with a heavy discount for a while will create the wrong expectation in future customers, who expect to buy your goods and services with the one-time Black Friday prices they saw before.