Black Friday Marketing — Everything You Need to Know

With Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend fast upon us, we've put together a checklist and a cheat sheet so that we can enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner with our families, and rest easy knowing that we’ve got everything covered.

No matter where we are or what we do for a living, once we’ve changed the clocks for winter daylight saving, hearing the term ‘Black Friday’ gets our blood up.

For most of the online world, the notion of Black Friday weekend came out of nowhere some 15 years ago. Since then, this gargantuan retail opportunity has continued to grow exponentially to benefit all avenues of business. 

Should I Invest Resources in a Black Friday/Cyber Monday Campaign?

As customers, it’s pretty obvious that we can’t afford to miss out on such an opportunity, but what about business owners and marketers? 

Should small or medium businesses (SMBs) dedicate huge chunks of their resources to go up against the giants of the industry? Or should we wait until the giants have finished slugging it out to win customer’s attention and lost their competitive momentum?

The short answer is yes. Black Friday is worth the risk.

Business is about taking risks, and all risks must be weighed against the potential return or reward. The tricky part is knowing how much of a risk you can afford to take. 

Possibly the most important thing I learned from the music industry is that a band that doesn’t play doesn’t exist. 

With 86% of adults expected to be shopping online from the US alone, each potentially spending an average $480, we cannot afford not to play. Even if we feel that our product or service is the last thing on the minds of family members shopping for holiday gifts, the potential exposure is incalculable. At the very least, our goal should be to gain awareness, drawing as many users as possible into the top tier of our sales funnels. This way, the next time they come across our now familiar brand, there’s a greater chance that they will follow through the funnel, generating interest and commitment.

This reward is achievable. 

Better yet, working with WordPress means that we don’t have to over-commit our resources to accomplish it. 

However, we need to bear in mind that the impressions we create during this weekend will influence our businesses over future months, which is why we need to be smart.

Over the last weekend of November, customers and marketers from all over the physical world will face one another upon the field of online commerce. Each armed with strategies based on years of experience, savvy, and intuition. 

Standing in the center of the field are search engines like Google, cunningly playing both sides.

To keep online activity churning, search engines consistently satisfy customers with more seemingly accurate search results. Simultaneously, they create the tools and ‘holes’ that marketers use to appear in those results and better reach their target audiences.

Inevitably, customers learn to see through banners, popups, and catchy copy. While many customers have become skilled at finding the best bargains online, marketers are forever trying to play the SEO game and beat Google’s evolving system of algorithms. Each year, both sides try to get the better of one another, raising competitive the ante across the board. One way of looking at this is by seeing it as an ever-growing difficulty. But we choose to see this as an exciting challenge that grows greater by the year.

Black Friday weekend continues to account for 20% of the overall amount spent on holiday shopping

In an attempt to get ahead of the game, some marketers will change tactics and begin campaigning special offers weeks before Thanksgiving. 

However, you might be better off launching a creeping campaign, establishing awareness among customers over the black weekend, using minimum resources, then slowly cranking up the campaign over the coming weeks until the end of the year.
After all, this is the period of time that accounts for the remaining 80% of all holiday spending.

Source: Bloomberg

The Checklist​

1. Timing is Everything

Unless mystery is an essential part of your marketing strategy, don’t wait until the last minute to post crucial information. Make sure that your audience gets all the info they need, at least by Monday before Black Friday weekend. Figure out the essential information and prepare your emails, banners, pop-ups, even a brief FAQ in advance. This gives customers time to consider your offer, allowing for an idea to marinate in the mind of a potential customer is a proven method of persuasion.

Sometimes, even if a customer has seen a slightly better deal elsewhere, they will still prefer yours if they saw it early enough. That’s because, having thought about it and envisioned ordering your product for the past few days, they’ve made some form of unspoken commitment. 

Launching a campaign too early, however, will have the opposite effect. The optimal time to launch is estimated to be 5-10 days before Thanksgiving. You might also want to check out Design Modo, who has lots of great insight on planning an email campaign for the big weekend.

2. Remember, Remember, the last Weekend of November

Thanksgiving weekend is busy enough without Black Friday, and customers are only human. Prepare reminders to email clients for the Sunday and Cyber Monday morning. Be considerate, don’t bombard your mailing list with email blasts. Adopt a thoughtful and caring attitude and send them a gentle reminder.

3. Testing, testing, Check-Check-Check!

Every single element that you post will reflect upon your brand, products, and services. Missing files and broken links are just a few of the things that could go wrong with your site over a 4-day sales bonanza and kill a reputation.

As website builders, we see these things as trivial goofs. Alas, customers translate these misdemeanors as a lack of responsibility and possible failure to provide decent products or flawless service that they were willing to pay for.

In a similar way, users from English speaking countries have a habit of mistrusting websites that publish content with spelling and grammar mistakes.

Test your links, pop-ups, forms, cart and checkout pages. Make sure that mailing lists are correctly registering new members. 

Grammarly

Using tools like Grammarly is a good way to avoid typos and grammatical errors. However, it is not perfect. Read your content out loud at least once, as it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If you’re not sure what to write in your promotion emails, Active Campaign has some really good suggestions.

4. Got Loyalty?

After all, customers are people just like us, and as human beings, loyalty is important. It’s because we tend to throw the word around far too freely in the realm of commerce, that we should remind ourselves of what it stands for.

Loyalty isn’t about getting something extra for being a returning customer. It’s about creating a relationship between a business and its clients; generating a sense of familiarity, of belonging, and a sense of security in reliability for the client while simultaneously maintaining a secure income for the business.

Never take your returning loyal client base for granted. Always make sure that regular customers know about the perks that loyal clients have earned.

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is still a concrete incentive for most people. Retarget past customers, make them feel that you (not a bot) genuinely remember them. Remember, loyalty is a lot more reliable than karma. 

5. Think Outside the Gift Box

If this isn’t your first Black Friday Weekend as a marketer or business, there’s a good chance that there will be plenty of customers out there waiting to see what you will do this year. 

Many believe that when it comes to deciding what offer to make for Black Friday it is the thought that counts. That is so long as you’re offering more than an empty gift box.

Returning customers tend to look for something new, not necessarily a bigger and better offer, (although I doubt anyone would say ‘no’ to that). 

There will be customers who have heard or read about your business throughout the year and looking forward to seeing what offers you’ll be making. 

Do something different.

Perhaps offer a ‘Mystery’ gift or discount to subscribers, 

Among Shopify.com’s wonderful list of ideas, you’ll find a suggestion to make your Black Friday promotion about giving back to the community and donating part of the weekend’s proceeds to a charity.

6. Made the Same Mistake Twice? Shame on Me

With so much traffic, we’d be fools not to take advantage of it to better our business strategies. The data we can collect over Black Friday weekend will give us key information that will help us determine what works and what doesn’t. 

We recently posted a quick guide on how to connect Google Analytics to your WordPress website, and there will be more links on the cheat sheet below. Don’t be afraid to learn more about what your customers like and don’t like about your site.

7. The Real Need For Speed

In 2018 mobile users, who aren’t exactly known for their patience online, accounted for 67% of all digital traffic on Black Friday. If we are going to get their business, we need to grab their attention and hold it. Unless we want to turn our landing page into a virtual bouncy-castle, the speed of our content is as, if not more, important than its quality. 

Some of you might be familiar with the way that Formula 1 and Stock Car racing engineers pull out everything non-essential to the task of driving to win. Most experts have a similar attitude when it comes to tooling your site to boost performance, at the very least, for Black Friday weekend. 

It’s well worth the time you spend on going through your site, page by page, and improving the load-time, even if you’re just shaving off a second. Reduce the weight of images as much as possible without losing quality. Make sure that none of the 3rd party plugins you’re using are slowing you down. If you need them, keep them.

However, you may find that you’re still using plugins that are redundant. For example, if you’re using Elementor, take advantage of the fact that there are several widgets (e.g., FormsPopups, etc.), and options in Elementor’s integrations settings designed to reduce the necessity of some standard plugins.

Make sure that your server is ready to handle a possible flux of visitors to your site. Making sure that you have server scalability ensures that it can scale up to handle sudden spikes in traffic. We cannot afford to risk the loss of customers or even worse, losing our site when it crashes and giving our business and service a bad reputation.

The Cheat Sheet

As with past years, come November, we get hundreds of emails, messages, and queries from Elementor users regarding advice on setups, designs, plugins, developing, and executing online campaigns for Black Friday weekend. 

This year we’ve decided to put together a cheat sheet. The list below is a compilation of masterclasses, podcasts, and tutorials, with everything you need to know and more. 

Please feel free to add any advice, links, and tips for other users in the comments. Hopefully, together, we can create a wonderful online resource for others looking to make the best of the tremendous business opportunities this coming Black Friday.

Design

Marketing

About the Author

Simon Shocket
Simon Shocket
With a background in graphic design and animation, Simon began his writing career in the entertainment industry, followed by a fruitful career in advertising, before moving into hi-tech journalism. Simon also performs with several bands and musical productions. After all, he was born in Manchester, UK, and that’s a lot to live up to.

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One Response

  1. Well timed article! We’re getting ready for black friday too.. Don’t forget about your PPC campaigns for the holiday! One of the best ways to really crush it. Tons of searches around the weekend for “[your product/service here] black friday” with HIGH buyer intent.

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