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With Black Friday just around the corner and a seismic shift in online consumer behaviour over the past couple of years, it’s crucial for online businesses to plan and implement their biggest and best Black Friday marketing tactics yet in order to drive sales and revenue they may have missed out on during the pandemic.
According to PwC, consumer interest in this peak shopping period has dropped from 51% to 38% over the past year despite the pandemic causing a surge in online shopping. For this year, sales are also expected to take a tumble to £6.2bn, a decline of 20% vs. last year.
This is why online retailers need to respond, but what else can they do other than discounting their products and services whilst maintaining profit margins? This blog will uncover some easy and clever Black Friday marketing strategies to boost sales that you can implement now before it all kicks off!
- Review your online shopping experience
- Load test your website
- Launch early
- Offer more than just discounts
- Make pop-ups your friend
- Build and cleanse your Black Friday email database
- Realise the power of remarketing
- Leverage social proof
1. Review your online shopping experience
Despite shops now being open post-lockdown and consumers starting to shop physically in store again, it’s still vital to review and perfect your online shopping and user experience, as part of an eCommerce health check, so that customers can purchase your products without coming across any issues or faults.
If the customer journey becomes problematic, your shoppers will go somewhere else, resulting in a loss of sales and revenue in an already super competitive space and time. Some things to test and look out for:
- Be the customer yourself and test the journey from start to finish to uncover any problems, errors and bugs. This includes the checkout process, filtering, searching and browsing behaviours.
- Make sure that your website is reflecting correct stock and size availability. There’s nothing more annoying than spotting something you want at a great price, to then find out it’s out of stock.
- Are your products easy to find? Is your site search functionality working as it should? Do your product and landing pages offer all the information a customer might need? Is the shopping basket easy to view and edit?
- Ensure that your site speed is up to scratch. You can use tools, such as Google PageSpeed Insights to see what speed you’re at for both desktop and mobile.
- The majority of consumers shop from the comfort of their phones so make sure your site is mobile friendly. You can use Google’s mobile-friendly test.
- Ensure your customer service and after-sales offering is in tip-top condition. A customer’s journey doesn’t just end at purchase.
- Make sure any product-support content, such as blogs and guides are live in time to be found. Some customers may need more information about a product or service which may help them with their purchase.
2. Load test your website
Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year. Looking at 2019, because let’s face it, 2020 wasn’t a normal year, Black Friday saw 93.2 million buyers shopping online, resulting in a surge of 14% in online traffic, according to SpendMeNot.
So you can clearly expect a wave of traffic to your site during this time period too and it’s critical to check that you can handle it by testing and improving your page load speed.
To do this, contact your web hosting provider to discuss your traffic limitations. Many servers can handle increased traffic, but you may need to upgrade. It’s always a good idea to double-check previous data to gain an understanding of worst-case scenario.
Top tip: If you do need to upgrade, then check how long it will take to be up and running as there is no point if it won’t be in place for when you need it.
3. Launch early
Everyone is doing Black Friday promotions so one way to stick out from the crowd (and also to bring in some extra cash) is to launch early. Black Thursday is totally a thing, right? The below brands think so.
You can see that brands, such as Amazon, Gymshark, Oasis and Purewow create a sense of exclusivity for their customers by letting them in on secret flash sales before Black Friday arrives.
These examples highlight that it’s just the small and quick changes that make a big difference, such as a subject line and simple copy tweaks. This type of email communication can make customers feel special, that they would otherwise miss out or that it’s better to get your shopping done early so you can relax afterwards.
Most of us like an unexpected surprise, especially if we’ll gain something from it. Knowing this, brands can run a surprise sale before Black Friday so that your customers don’t have to wait another day.
4. Offer more than just discounts
The first thing shoppers expect on Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a discount, which may not be enough to get them to purchase, especially if they don’t find any products they like or if your products sell out fast.
That’s why it’s a good idea to offer more than just a discount. Give them free shipping, returns, bonuses and more benefits. If your business has a loyalty scheme, offer your customers more points or send them a free gift – Estee Lauder is a great example of this.
5. Build and cleanse your Black Friday email database
We all know the value of email marketing, but it’ll be even more effective if you grow your list to contain more subscribers who are actually interested in your Black Friday deals. You should also cleanse and exclude those who aren’t interested in promotional content or don’t engage and get rid of any spammy and invalid email addresses.
Doing this will improve your email’s deliverability and ROI, increase open and click rates and reduce spam complaints and the number of bounces and unsubscribes. So if anything, it’s worth doing this, whether it’s Black Friday or not.
You should also create an eye-catching and persuasive email marketing subscribe pop-up or banner specifically to build this list. With effective creatives, you can make your customers feel they’ll miss out if they don’t sign up for updates and exclusive offers. Don’t forget to make the signup process compliant so you’re not breaking any GDPR rules!
6. Realise the power of remarketing
Online shoppers tend to have a very short attention span and will often visit and explore a site, have a browse and leave without purchasing anything. However, that isn’t the be-all and end-all.
In fact, consumers are 70% more likely to convert after seeing and engaging with a remarketing campaign and increase online sales by 20%, according to Meazy and that’s just on a normal day, let alone Black Friday.
Remarketing enables you to grab your customers’ attention and remind them of your products and services after they leave your website without buying, which is even more valuable during the Black Friday sales.
Remarketing also helps you improve those key performance metrics, such as traffic, conversions, revenue and average order value.
You can implement remarketing or eCommerce PPC campaigns in a number of ways:
a. Standard remarketing
This shows display ads to past visitors as they explore other websites that use the Google Display Network and social media. It also targets visitors who use search engines to search for terms that are related to the products or services that you offer.
b. Video remarketing
This involves showing those visitors remarketing ads that have recently seen your videos or to people who have been on your website. You can display video remarketing ads on YouTube at the beginning or in-between videos your potential customers are viewing (where they’ll have the option to skip the ad). You can also display a remarketing ad on the right side margin where they find video suggestions.
c. Email remarketing
Not only can you serve remarketing display ads across different websites to users who open an email from you, but you can also send cart abandonment emails to your subscribers that put things in their basket but didn’t purchase.
Top Tip: One caveat to note is that with remarketing campaigns for Black Friday, you need to select a precise time frame and/or schedule for them to run as the time period only lasts for a few days so after, your ads will be irrelevant.
7. Leverage social proof
Social proof is commonplace in e-commerce nowadays as we are highly influenced by others and their decisions/purchases. If we don’t know much about something, we’re most likely going to believe and trust someone who does.
A brand can tell its customers how great its products and services are, but the sentiment would be much more meaningful if it came from someone outside of the business. That’s why social proof helps to increase conversion rates. Social proof and user-generated content build trust as the review comes from real people, not a business.
Also, nothing motivates a hesitant shopper more than the fear of missing out so there are a few easy, yet effective, ways to leverage social proof and urgency messaging in your Black Friday marketing campaign to steer your customers to checkout:
- Display how many customers are viewing your products at that given time
- Expose stock levels and let customers know you’re running out
- Offer flexible payment options, such as Klarna
- Display images of actual customers using the product
- Offer a notification to be sent if the item is out of stock
So you now have seven quick and easy Black Friday marketing ideas and zero excuse to not make this year’s peak shopping season the best you’ve had to date. We’ve included something for your key channels to improve, such as eCommerce SEO, UX, paid media, email marketing and content marketing.
The idea is that these tactics we’ve provided are simple and quick to implement as we’ve only got a couple of months to go whereas more advanced strategies would’ve taken a lot longer to plan and put in place. If you would like some further advice on Black Friday marketing tactics, please don’t hesitate to contact us.