Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday are excellent opportunities for retailers to maximize their profits, with small businesses able to expect a +107% revenue boost over the world-famous shopping weekend.
However, while Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer a chance to build brand awareness and gain those all-important holiday sales… When you’re competing against virtually every other brand and business out there, it can be challenging to stay front-of-mind during the shopping season.
Utilizing the best Black Friday marketing strategies with clear and thoughtful campaigns will ensure your brand stands out this holiday season; boosting your off-and-online sales, and attracting new, loyal customers.
What does Black Friday mean?
Black Friday is considered to be the official start of the holiday shopping season and was designated the biggest shopping day of the year in 2000, with discounts and savings offered by brands worldwide.
It falls on the first Friday following Thanksgiving. In 2021, this will be Friday 26th November.
In 2005, Cyber Monday was added to the holiday calendar. This day was designed to supplement Black Friday by promoting online shopping with online-only discounts and deals.
These days, BF and CM encompass an entire weekend of savings, boosting foot and web traffic alike.
How to market Black Friday ideas for small businesses: 20 Top Tips
No matter how great your Black Friday sales are, nobody will know about them unless you have a solid Black Friday marketing strategy. This includes marketing Black Friday deals on social media, utilizing excellent email marketing, and letting your customers (and potential customers) know what awesome offers you’ve got going on during the holiday shopping season.
1. Optimize your website and landing pages
If you’re an online retailer, you know how vital your website is. And being prepared for Black Friday means you need to be ready for increased traffic while maintaining quality, speedy loading times for your landing pages.
Studies show if your site takes more than 5 seconds to load, users will start to drop off at a rate of 1% for every additional second they spend waiting. However, if your landing pages load within 1 second, you can enjoy an average conversion rate of 32%.
This means ensuring you have plenty of bandwidth, memory, storage, and processing power to deal with increased traffic is a vital aspect of Black Friday strategies for retailers, whether or not you intend to offer your Black Friday sales online.
2. Pick the right keywords
Uncovering seasonal keywords and past Black Friday shopping trends will help you hit those SEO targets and attract that BF/CM traffic to your store.
But getting those keywords right isn’t all about stuffing “Black Friday 2021” or “Black Friday sales” into every paragraph. You should also focus on long-tail keywords and search terms and utilize industry-relevant terms in your product descriptions and on every landing page. Google has some quality tools to help you do this, including Google’s Keyword Planner and Google Trends. You can also track the success of your SEO strategy using Google Analytics.
Having some Black Friday and Cyber Monday dedicated landing pages can also maximize customer attention and boost your SERP ranking.
3. Experiment with paid ads
The lead-up to the Black Friday weekend is an excellent opportunity to experiment with your PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising and receive a quick boost in online traffic. Around 79% of brands that use PPC claim it’s a “huge driver” for their success, and with plenty of tailoring options, you can easily get your paid ads in front of your target audience.
If you’ve never tried paid advertising before, try out sixads, ad automation app for Shopify stores. The app is great for entrepreneurs with little or no previous digital advertising experience as it’s very easy to get started. With sixads, you don’t need to waste time on manually writing ad texts or selecting the best pictures for your ads - the app does it for you, so all you have to do is approve the texts and visuals, set your budget and targeting, and let AI-powered algorithms find people on Facebook, Instagram & Google who actually want to buy what you sell.
4. Build your email list
Having solid email marketing campaigns is a must for any business, and this becomes especially vital during the BF/CM holiday. Your Black Friday email campaigns should be full of interesting, relevant information designed to get customers excited about your upcoming deals and any other Black Friday events you’re planning.
In the lead-up to the Thanksgiving weekend, you should be putting extra effort into building your email subscriber list. Pop-ups with special offers, discounts, early access to sales, and other incentives can help encourage customers to sign up, as will having a powerful Call to Action (CTA) and fantastic graphics.
5. Schedule pop-ups
Whether you want to let customers know about the awesome Black Friday sales you’ve got coming up, want to increase your email subscription list, reduce abandoned cart rates, or anything else… Carefully targeted and scheduled pop-ups can make or break the customer experience.
Online retailers who know how to market Black Friday know that having the right pop-ups at the right time is a fantastic way to encourage specific visitor behavior from upselling to subscribing.
As well as finding the best email marketing tools, automated, targeted, and scheduled pop-ups are an essential Black Friday marketing tactic. To add urgency to your pop-ups, you could even include a live countdown to the best deals or let customers know how long your sales have left.
6. Make your subject line stand out
Once you’ve increased your email list with scheduled pop-ups and high-quality CTAs, you need to encourage people to actually open your emails. In 2020, some email providers processed over 5.8 billion emails on Black Friday alone, so you’ll need to work hard to stand out!
Creating email subject lines and CTAs that stimulate curiosity and offer something different from the standard annual Black Friday experience is a great way to boost your email open rates and get customers excited to shop.
It’s also worth taking advantage of some standard email subject line tips and tricks in your Black Friday marketing. For example, simply using the recipient’s name in the subject line can increase open rates by 22.2%. Similarly, subject lines that create a sense of urgency and/or exclusivity offer a 22% higher open rate.
For some inspiration, take a look at these unique Black Friday email subject lines businesses have used in the past:
- Black Friday is CANCELLED
- Flex your power-shopping muscles this Black Friday
- The countdown to Black Friday is NOW ON
- Your Black Friday survival guide
- Top gifts this BFCM weekend
- Psssst… This sale is secret!
- Why wait until Black Friday? Access our sale early!
7. Utilize social selling
You shouldn’t need us to tell you that the bulk of your Black Friday marketing strategies should be centered around social media in 2021… But one aspect your social media campaigns might be missing is social selling.
According to studies, 78% of online retailers who offer social selling outperform those who just use social media for marketing purposes. They also create 45% more sales opportunities, and 25% of Americans aged between 18-34 used social media to make a purchase in the last 6 months of 2020 alone.
By connecting your online store to social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, you can reduce any friction that slows down the online shopping experience, enabling more customers to shop quickly and efficiently.
8. Highlight VIP, rewards, and referral schemes
Black Friday ideas for small businesses shouldn’t just be about maximizing sales and shopping carts on a single day (or however long your Black Friday event ideas last); it can also be a valuable opportunity to gain new customers by highlighting the benefits of your VIP, rewards, and/or referral schemes.
As mentioned above, carefully timed pop-ups, email marketing, and even abandoned cart reminders are excellent opportunities to transform casual shoppers into repeat customers.
Try offering discounts and promotions such as early bird discounts, extended sales, or free shipping to your VIP customers. You could even offer special, time-sensitive discounts to anyone who signs up for the VIP scheme or refers a friend during the BF weekend.
9. Create gift guides for givers
Approximately 27% of Black Friday shoppers use the discount-filled weekend to search for gifts for the upcoming holidays. To help these gift-givers find the perfect products for their loved ones, it’s a great idea to create a series of gift guides highlighting your best selling, most unique, or niche-specific items.
Remember, when shopping for gifts, people might be investigating brands and products they’re not familiar with. This means you may need to think outside your usual target market box to attract and speak to a broader section of shoppers.
Try breaking down your gift guides to suit a wide range of audience demographics and interests, with varying levels of specifics and an informative table of contents that will genuinely help holiday shoppers on their mission. Send emails, and be sure to share your Black Friday sale blog on social media to let customers know every time you release a new gift guide.
For some inspiration on great gift guides, check out some of the guides on Buzzfeed. You can tailor your options by the recipient, category, interests, price, or even select gifts that have a positive impact.
To make things even further, you could reward the givers with a free gift for themselves if their shopping cart reaches a set value. According to studies, offering a mystery gift can double the chances of purchase, and nearly 90% of shoppers are “somewhat likely” to buy more from a brand they’ve received a free gift from.
10. Don’t forget the hashtags
In addition to PPC Black Friday advertising, you can also increase traffic to your social pages and online store by taking advantage of relevant BF hashtags in your marketing.
- Use a variety of hashtags, from generic to specialist. You can include your location or niche to attract a specific market.
- Do your research on the hashtags other brands use to promote their Black Friday deals
- Experiment with different phrasings and hashtag placements to get more likes and engagement.
11. Utilize user-generated content
If you’re running low on inspiration for creative things to post on Instagram or any of your other social channels, user-generated content (UGC) is an incredibly valuable marketing tactic that helps boost your social proof and makes you appear more trustworthy.
According to studies, customers are 2.4x more likely to view user-generated content as authentic, and 79% claim it influences their purchase decisions.
If you don’t have loads of UGC to share already, starting an influencer marketing strategy could also help boost your social proof levels. In fact, 89% of marketing professionals believe influencer marketing can provide a more effective ROI for brands than other marketing strategies.
If you can’t afford to pay a famous influencer, micro-influencers may be willing to work with you in exchange for complementary products and/or a discount they can share with their followers.
12. Listen to and engage with your customers at every step
When coming up with Black Friday marketing ideas, it’s easy to get caught up in attracting a large customer base with awesome deals and discounts. But the best brands know that shoppers are looking for more than a discount. They want to shop with a business that genuinely cares about them and their needs.
To get the best Black Friday ideas for small businesses, it is acceptable to simply ask your customers what they want. Do they want an exclusive discount, or would straightforward free shipping on every shopping cart be more valuable to them? Perhaps your customers aren’t interested in a sale and would prefer you commit your profits to a charity or cause instead?
To get this information, try:
- Sending out a survey with “thank you” emails when someone buys from your store.
- Reaching out to VIP customers to give them an exclusive chance to dictate your next sale.
- Creating a poll on social media with some of your top Black Friday promotion ideas to see which is the most popular.
- Offering incentives for feedback… For example, early access to sales.
- Sending SMS requests for feedback.. Studies have found SMS beats email in terms of open rate, read and response times, and conversion rates, so this could be a fantastic alternative to generic sales emails.
Once you’ve got some great Black Friday promo ideas, you still need to maintain communication. Black Friday often brings increased traffic and sales to an eCommerce site, and you still need to be there for customers throughout their shopping journey and beyond.
A great way to show your customers that you’re there for them is to utilize a live chat app. This will allow shoppers to ask their questions at any time and help streamline your customer service.
- Kayako reported 79% of businesses claim live chat increased customer loyalty, sales, and revenue.
- Goinflow noted a 3.84% increase in conversion rates and a 6% lift in revenue after implementing live chat.
- Forester found a 10% increase in average order value from customers who engaged with a live chat before purchasing.
13. Check your aesthetics
If you’re looking for creative Black Friday ideas, updating your site design to match the holiday season can be a fantastic way to help your store stand out and let customers know you’re participating in the Black Friday deals.
A simple way to do this is to incorporate the Black Friday colors in your site design and product pages. Seeing as we make up to 90% of our snap purchasing decisions based on product color alone, playing around with color psychology can be a great way to tap into your customers’ minds.
Traditionally, the BF colors are black and red. But you don’t want to change your entire site image to make it no longer recognizable as your brand. Instead, use the holiday sale colors in your banners and pop-ups alongside your usual branding to pique interest.
While you’re tweaking your site colors and design, it’s also an excellent opportunity to take a closer look at your product pages to ensure they’re as engaging and informative as possible. Check every page is optimized for keywords with plenty of sensory descriptors and that your images are well-edited.
14. Sync offers and countdowns across all channels
When advertising across multiple marketing channels, it can be easy to fall behind. But for your Black Friday marketing, it’s more important than ever to ensure that every advertisement is promoting the same discount/offer.
You should also be careful to ensure you’re not promoting out-of-stock items. If you’re a dropshipper, software like Oberlo can streamline these processes. This means less time manually updating every individual ad and product page, and your customers only have access to the latest information.
15. Offer channel-specific deals
While it’s good practice to keep your advertising consistent across all channels – whether a Facebook ad, email campaign, or website banner – you could also utilize some creative Black Friday marketing ideas by running channel-specific offers.
For example, you could offer a discount that’s exclusive to your email subscribers or run an Instagram-based scavenger hunt, like Heineken did in 2013.
Many brands have also found success with sweepstakes or lucky draw style competitions on social media, where the prize could be a gift card, free shipping, or a mystery gift bundle.
Channel-specific deals are a great way to get your audience to engage with your brand in a new and exciting way and can be a fantastic way to stir up some extra excitement about your Black Friday deals.
16. Consider mobile-only deals
In 2020, over 56% of Black Friday direct sales were made on a mobile device. And this statistic is only predicted to grow over the coming years.
To take advantage of this shopping trend, why not offer mobile-only deals to your Black Friday shoppers or by offering an extra discount to users who use/download your app over the holiday season?
While you’re planning any mobile-only offers, take the opportunity to revisit your site and ensure it’s optimized for mobile traffic. According to Neil Patel, the number 2 reason people leave your site is because it’s hard to read on mobile. Not only is this detrimental to your conversions, but Google also prefers mobile-friendly websites when dictating your SERP position.
17. Keep your audience informed on stock levels
A great way to create a sense of urgency with your shoppers is to display stock levels on items when your inventory is running low. This shows customers that a particular item is popular and makes them feel like they need to buy now before stock runs out.
For dropshippers, you can easily monitor and update your inventory across multiple sales and marketing channels using software such as Oberlo or Dropified.
Using time-sensitive language on low-stock items can enhance the urgency felt by customers, and you could even add an extra “last change” discount when you’re down to your last few items. Using color psychology can also help here, with an urgent, red font highlighting low stock.
If you run out of a product before Black Friday, try to get it back in stock for the event and make a big deal about it being back.
You should also ensure your eCommerce fulfillment service is good to go. You don’t want to let down excited shoppers with shipping delays or a bad experience (in fact, 47% of customers are unlikely to associate with an online store following a lousy shopping experience, so you need to get this right).
18. Increase shoppers’ average order value
With shoppers spending all this cash, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a fantastic opportunity for businesses to increase their shopping carts’ average order value (AOV).
The most popular way to cross-sell customers is with a Buy More to Save More offer.
This effectively means offering something additional to shoppers who increase their cart values to a set monetary value. Often, this will be free shipping if you spend a certain amount in a single transaction. However, you could make the experience more enjoyable by offering a different reward to customers who hit AOV targets… For example:
- X% additional savings
- Select a free gift when you spend over $__
- Free mystery item with qualifying orders!
- Free gift wrapping for holiday shoppers
Bundles are another great way to increase AOVs. Take a look at some of your most popular items and think about complementary products that customers often buy together. Use this information to create targeted bundles. Throw in some free shipping, and you could find people immediately start spending more on even simple products.
19. Reduce cart abandonment rates
Increasing the average order value is one thing… But if shopping carts are being abandoned, you could be facing up to $260 billion in lost orders!
But it’s not all bad news. Recovering just a few abandoned carts can make a dramatic difference to your bottom line. Plus, you’ve got the added advantage of knowing these customers are at least somewhat interested in your products to have added them to their carts in the first place.
To target cart abandoners, you need some solid abandoned cart emails and SMS templates.
You should also look at your checkout process to ensure that it’s not causing your shoppers to abandon:
- Ensure checkout is as fast and easy as possible.
- Don’t ask customers for unnecessary information at checkout.
- Provide a guest checkout option.
- Clearly state all costs (including, tax, shipping, and any other fees) in the cart.
Multiple studies have found that extra, unexpected costs are the top reason for abandoned carts, and 60% of people will abandon because extra fees are too high.
20. Try early bird or last-chance sales
Although BlF and CM are the first and second busiest shopping days of the year, respectively, it’s worth maximizing the shopping frenzy with longer sales and more chances to buy.
In fact, in 2020, 52% of shoppers took advantage of early bird savings, and 38% bought items in the week leading up to Thanksgiving.
If you intend to start your sales early, consider Black Friday marketing ideas such as Daily Deals to keep shoppers interested. By offering different discounts each day, customers will be encouraged to keep returning to your site to check out the changing deals.
Alternatively (or in addition to), you could offer a “second chance” or “last chance” Black Friday sale that extends beyond Cyber Monday. This can help reduce cart abandonment and ensure that shoppers who don’t like making spur-of-the-moment purchases get a second chance to save.
Communication is key
When it comes to creating an excellent Black Friday marketing strategy, it’s essential to consider your customers at every step. Ensuring consistent and transparent communication that gets them excited to shop with you without misleading them is crucial for making the most of this holiday season.
Remember, Black Friday shoppers don’t have to be one-time customers. By providing the best shopping experience with easy communication, Black Friday can be the start of a long-lasting and valuable relationship with your brand.
And if you’re looking for some extra oomph to add to your Black Friday advertising ideas, why not add a famous shopping quote to your marketing? After all, “whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.”
How can I increase sales on Black Friday?
Reducing abandoned carts is one of the best ways to increase sales on Black Friday, but you can employ numerous other tactics to make the most of the shopping season.
- Reward loyal customers with exclusive offers.
- Increase AOV by upselling relevant products or with free shipping if you spend $X
- Create complimentary product bundles
- Offer referral discounts
- Provide customer-specific discounts based on user behavior
- Add mystery gifts to qualifying carts
- Pre-sell to previous customers
What strategies do stores use to attract customers on Black Friday?
When it comes to BF, even the best discount in the world won’t guarantee traffic to your store. Generating traffic can only be done with an effective marketing campaign, so you need to work hard to get the word out about the incredible offers at your store.
- Announce your Black Friday sale clearly on your site’s landing page, social media channels, and via email marketing campaigns.
- Utilize countdown timers to create a sense of urgency.
- Use the BF colors (black and red) to provide a themed appearance.
When should you start marketing for Black Friday?
There’s no specific date that you should make a start on your Black Friday marketing strategies, but as early as possible tends to be a good rule.
Remember, most stores (online and offline) will be providing discounts over the Thanksgiving weekend, with many starting early and ending later in the year. So, you’ll need to work hard to get the word out about your amazing promotions before anyone else.
Is Black Friday profitable for retailers?
In short: yes. Black Friday was officially designated the busiest shopping day of the year in 2000, with small businesses able to expect a +107% revenue boost over the BF/CM weekend.