How to build a Black Friday campaign that works

How to build a Black Friday campaign that works

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday are some of the busiest times for e-commerce businesses. After back to school and prior to the holidays, Black Friday is often characterized by intense retail spending. Not only will people be bargain hunting or buy their Christmas presents that time of the year, but they are also more willingly spending their money.

Therefore, it is the perfect opportunity to boost revenue and end the year with a big increase in sales. Back in 2019, 190 million of people shopped online or in-store during Black Friday. Due to the current pandemic situation, less people will be out shopping on the high street. However, they will 100% be online. That is why, as a small e-commerce business, Black Friday simply is a date you cannot miss.

Yet, creating a Black Friday campaign that actually works and produces results can turn out to be a bit more difficult than expected. Simply because it requires planning ahead and good organization. This post will give you a few tips on how to build a Black Friday campaign that works.

Plan ahead and create a campaign calendar

There is nothing more stressful than doing things at the last minute. Whether you start working on your Black Friday campaign or creating content a few days before, you will be overwhelmed. Plus, you probably won’t be able to make the most of the promotion.

You need to plan ahead, a few months in advance. Then only will you have enough time to brainstorm, build your strategy and create the content you need. You will have to think about how to promote your offer across marketing channels, what content you will need, how long creating such content will take, etc.

It is useful to look at data from the previous years, whether yours or other companies’. They can help you assess what worked in the past and what to learn from it. The earlier you start preparing, the less rushed your campaign will be.

When you have decided on the strategy, the promotions and offers as well as what platforms you will use, create a content calendar for your Black Friday campaign. Lay out what piece of content will go out which day on which platform. Knowing far in advance when content is meant to go out will give you all the time you need to create each banner or post.

Should you need to make last minute changes to your campaign, having prepared everything in advance will make it much easier and less stressful than if you’re doing everything at once. While your campaign starts to run, monitor KPIs and results to amend your strategy or content if necessary.

Check your website speed and checkout process

Black Friday is a very intense shopping period. People will be browsing websites a lot. That many people at once could slow down a website. If the website is slow to start with, let’s not even imagine how things can turn out… The problem is that people do not like a slow website.

Indeed, lack of speed turns people off. 46% of shoppers said they will never return to a website that is slow. Slow means that it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Considering the marketing budget you might put behind your activations for Black Friday, having a slow website seems like a bit of a waste of money.

Indeed, why spend a lot of money on getting people to your website if it is slow? And if people bounce to never come back? You want to make sure you do not waste money and that your website is fully functioning. Compress all your images, remove unnecessary plugins, use a cache plugin, update your SSL certificate, speed up your website.

You also need to make sure your checkout process is as straightforward as it can be. Black Friday shoppers are fickle. They will not complete their transaction if they have to go through a lot of pages. Reduce steps to checkout, offer guest checkout and add new payment options such as Klarna, Quadpay, Apple Pay, etc.

Drive traffic to your website

Now that your website is ready to go, fast loading and offering striking content with a clear CTA, it is time to bring people to your website. There are many ways to increase traffic to your website, whether organic or sponsored.

Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization happens at site level. Improving website speed is part of it, but it also relies on keywords. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are very competitive keywords. Everybody uses them at the same time. 

If your website does not have a high authority to start with or much newer than the biggest brands out there, it may be difficult to compete. However, it does not mean you should not improve your website for SEO

You can create landing pages, specific products, add Black Friday related copy to your pages. Create a blog calendar with Black Friday related blog posts, i.e. “a guide to our Black Friday sale”, or “a gift guide for her/him/them”. Working with bloggers to promote your offers and give you a back link can also help drive traffic to your website.

Social Media

Black Friday is great to bring in more clients to your website. However, it should also make the most of the audience you already have. You can do this through social media and promoting your campaign to your existing followers.

Your followers have either purchased from you in the past or been following you to decide whether to purchase. Now is the time to upsell with the former and turn the latter into buyers. If you post on Facebook and Twitter, create posts with a clear call-to-action and a link towards the product or page.

On Instagram, make use of all the features the app offers: static feed post, videos, reels, stories. Adapt your strategy to the social media channels you use, i.e. Pinterest, Youtube, TikTok, etc. You can also host giveaways and competitions that will help you increase your following and engagement.

Social and Google Ads

Black Friday is the perfect time to encourage your existing clients to buy again or acquire new customers. You can use awareness, acquisition and retargeting ads, all with different goals but that will show at each stage of the customers journey even after they complete a transaction.

Each social media platform offers ads, i.e. Facebook and Instagram, Pinterrest, TikTok. By linking your website to Facebook Business Manager through a Pixel, you will be able to create ads targeting your existing customers, your website traffic, your email subscribers or even broaden your audience with Lookalike audiences.

Google Ads are great to bring in a lot of traffic. You can use smart ads, search ads, discovery ads, display ads. They each have a different goal and will show at different stages of the customer journey. For example, smart and search ads will show in a relevant search result.

Discovery ads will show in places like your gmail box, Youtube or any other Google website. Of course, if you see those, you belong to the ad ideal target. Display will show to people who have been on your website and have not made a purchase. A comprehensive ad strategy covering all stages of the customer journey will help you increase your conversion rate.

Influencer marketing

Last but not least you can also increase awareness of your Black Friday campaign by working with influencers and bloggers. You can hire influencers to promote your campaigns in social media. The visibility can help bring more people to your Instagram for example.

Working with bloggers is great for SEO. If they feature your offers in a Black Friday guide, they will also link back to your website, thus providing a backlink. Being mentioned by other websites sends a signal to the Google algorithm and will help boost your SEO.

Bloggers are very trusted by their audiences who read their content religiously. Influencer marketing is a powerful marketing tool based on word-of-mouth and recommendations. Indeed, 86% of women use social media for purchase advice.

Make the most of email marketing

A lot of businesses do not invest time in email marketing because they think that this medium is dead. It is not. It is also very cheap and has a very high return on investment. Small businesses need email marketing. Indeed, you can create a series of emails that will follow a customer along their journey from sign up to after their purchase.

Make sure you have automated emails in place: welcome email, abandoned cart email series, retargeting email, product suggestions, review request, etc. Sometimes, an email sent after a cart abandonment is the only missing thing to a conversion.

Email marketing needs to be part of your Black Friday campaign. You need to utilize the subscribers you already have and create emails informing them of your offers. Work on the email subject and preview as well as content. Make the content striking and attractive, so that you increase clicks.

Using emails is a great way to follow up with leads. You want to push people to buy. As mentioned above, a nudge in the right direction can be all it takes. Even after your campaign is over, follow up with your new subscribers. Keep your audience informed and interested for future promotions and campaigns.

Start your campaign early

Even though Black Friday 2020 officially is on the 27th, you can start your campaign earlier. If you are in the US, Black Friday is preceded by Thanksgiving. Thus it can be a good idea to have a soft launch or pre-Black Friday sale to heat things up.

If you make that pre-sale available to your current subscribers only, you show them that you treat them as VIP. If you are based in the UK, there is nothing before Black Friday so you can launch your campaign earlier.

Doing so can help you get ahead of the competition, make sure your message is out prior to anybody else’s. It can help you make the most of the space before it becomes too noisy and crowded.

In conclusion

Building up a successful Black Friday requires planning and creating content ahead of time. Only then will you be able to run a smooth camping, well thought out with precise goals in mind and high quality content with a high return on investment.

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