Who doesn’t love Fridays, let alone Black Friday? That’s right, we’re just crazy about it because everyone gets a little something out of it. The consumers are up for deals and discounted products and services. The business is happy because of the crowds of people rushing into stores and shopping malls to buy holiday presents. And finally the marketers… Well, the marketers get to do a lot of work and planning for one of the biggest yearly events in the marketing world, long before Black Friday comes around.

A fun fact concerning Black Friday is that the term became widely popular in the 1980s and at that time it was used as an expression for ”the day on which business owners turn profit” therefore getting out of “the red” and into the safer black zone of their bank accounts. And while back then people didn’t have the internet and thus formed miles-long lines in front of the shopping malls, nowadays with the digital era being present, we can easily access Black Friday deals from the comfort of our own homes, or anywhere, really.

This little peculiarity of the modern days makes Black Friday even a bigger phenomenon when it comes to sales, because the consumers don’t actually have to get up and physically go to a store to buy the products. All they have to do is scroll through their Facebook feed and tap on one of the hundreds of ads and posts, which offer Black Friday deals. This brings us to another point concerning THE shopping day – if 30 years ago Black Friday marketing campaigns were advisable, now they are simply a must just because everyone is doing them and the competition is tough. If you are a business owner and you still haven’t thought about your Black Friday campaign we advise you do so as soon as possible.

Will COVID-19 Turn Black Friday Into a Prequel to Cyber Monday?

Another related sales event that closely follows Black Friday is the so-called Cyber Monday. As The New York Times puts it: “The name Cyber Monday grew out of the observation that millions of otherwise productive working Americans, fresh off a Thanksgiving weekend of window shopping, were returning to high-speed Internet connections at work on Monday and buying what they liked.”

You can think of Cyber Monday as the Black Friday of the digital world. Don’t worry if this confuses you, because it is actually fairly simple. Both of the events share stunning similarities – the two offer discounted items and deals to the consumers and give the opportunity of increasing sales and acquiring new customers to business owners around the globe. However, a major difference can be outlined – Cyber Monday is an online event, whereas Black Friday originally focuses on real life interactions between customers and brands.

That being said, in the past few years we see more and more Black Friday deals online. Furthermore, with the current coronavirus situation, there’s a big chance that this year we’ll get not one, but two sales holidays (if we may call them so) which operate on the internet. According to blackfriday.com’s prediction, although products will be offered on site in their physical shops, retailers this year will encourage their customers to participate in the Black Friday event online. Moreover, with Covid still around, the holiday shopping experience is probably going to look a lot different than previous years not only because of the social distancing culture that’s become popular, but also because of the bruised economy, which many societies face. This means that the price of the offered goods in 2020 will matter more than ever and people will actually look for the best deal on the market.

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Traditionally those days of discounts served as a means for the public to buy the one-time-a-year luxury items that they probably don’t really need. However, in 2020 things are a bit different, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if consumers abstain from making big fancy purchases. When shopping for holiday presents in 2020 people will probably opt for useful products, rather than something pretty but inconvenient. Additionally, consumers this year may want to buy home improvement items or entertainment technology, since we’ve all had time to notice the flaws in our homes during self isolation sessions and we’ve realized we need something to kill our boredom if a similar situation arises in the future.

This year’s big shopping dates for Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the 27th and the 30th of November.

Many businesses, however, have already started implementing their Black Friday marketing campaigns. According to blackfriday.com, retailers are going to announce their Black Friday deals earlier than ever. Consider “earlier” as at least a month before the actual Black Friday. Some companies such as JCPenney have already begun introducing their holiday sales in mid October, which is a whole month and a half before the shopping weekend. Furthermore, according to Statista, 38% of Americans want to buy their holiday presents before the end of October and 23% before Thanksgiving day, which automatically shifts the sales dates farther.

Consequently, it comes without saying that if you want to stay on top of your competitors (or at least have the same starting point as them) you should definitely start thinking about your business’s Black Friday / Cyber Monday marketing campaign.

Plan Your Black Friday Marketing Strategy Now

As we already discussed, businesses are shifting tendencies and are already announcing their holiday deals to the customers, who in turn are beginning to purchase holiday presents. Therefore, it’s important for business owners to stay up to date with all trends concerning Black Friday this year and to start planning their marketing strategy as soon as possible. If you still haven’t got a clue about what deals your business is going to offer this holiday season, then you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to find out which are the 5 most important elements of Black Friday campaigns that need to be taken into consideration when planning your own holiday strategy in 2020.

Figure out your desired outcome

The first thing that you must do when planning any marketing campaign is to set a specific goal (or multiple goals), that you want to accomplish through it. Holiday campaigns do not make an exception. Through them some companies decide to promote old products, stacked up somewhere in the warehouse, so that they can clear them up. Others prefer to center their campaign around the launch of a new product so that they can boost its sales.

So what should your goal be? It’s all up to you and the needs of your business. However, keep in mind that in 2020 a lot of the holiday shoppers are probably going to focus on necessities and will definitely look for the best price on the market. By offering something meaningful to your customers, you are making sure that they don’t buy it from your competitors. Furthermore, when it comes to the price of the products the bigger the discounts, the better. Most people expect at least a 20% lower price of the products during Black Friday campaigns. If you aren’t able to deduct a lot of money from the original price, you can think of ways to make your offer more tempting. For example you can offer a small gift such as a 10% discount on future purchases or something tangible and connected to your product. (During Black Friday sales, the deals often include pricier gifts, so don’t forget to keep track of what your competitors are doing).

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Plan your campaign’s timeline

As we already mentioned, in the past few years many businesses gradually started to announce their holiday deals a little bit earlier each year, so up until 2019 a Black Friday campaign usually ran for about a week before Thanksgiving day (Thanksgiving day in the USA is the day before Black Friday). This year however, the game changes completely as more and more companies introduce their deals months before the holiday shopping weekend. Therefore you need to carefully consider when to execute each stage of your campaign. The sooner you start, the better.
You need to think about whether you want to do a small Black Friday campaign with discounts valid only on the 27th of November, or (preferably in the case of 2020) enable discounts for a longer period of time, let’s say for a week. If you decide to do a one-day discount campaign, we advise you to start teasing your target audience at least a couple of weeks before the 27th. On the other hand, if you decide to follow this year’s fashion when it comes to Black Friday campaigns, you should start running teaser ads as early as the end of October.

You can set different discounts for multiple products and introduce them to your audience gradually throughout the whole month of November.

Keep in mind that during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a lot of businesses are using social channels to promote their products. Furthermore, some of them are only using social media ads during this period of the year (or during similar holiday-centered events). Therefore, the usual waiting time for a Facebook ad to be reviewed becomes much longer, sometimes taking up to 3-4 days. (before they are free to run, Facebook ads need to be reviewed by an automated software, and in some cases by members of Facebook’s team) Plus, since many marketers are displaying their ads to the same audiences (meaning bigger competition) it shouldn’t come as a surprise that ads on social media are slightly pricier during such events.

The possibilities for setting up your campaign’s timeline are endless, however, the most important point that you must follow is to make sure that the products you offer and the timeline, that you’ve come up with align with your overall goals for this campaign.

Decide where you are going to promote your products

Choosing the right platforms, on which to promote your products can be crucial for your campaign’s success. First and foremost: be sure to use all communication channels that you can in order to maximize your reach.

These include:

  • Social Media channels: They are a good solution in case you have a limited budget for advertising. Plus, those channels have good tracking capabilities and high ROI (return on investment). So don’t miss out on using them during Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns.
  • Email marketing: Adding an email marketing funnel to your business’s holiday shopping campaign is a win, because through it you can easily warm up your audience ahead of time. Furthermore, it’s a light on the wallet marketing tool, which helps you chase customers who didn’t complete their purchase.
  • Google Ads: Through these tools (Search and Display ads) you are not only getting high ROI, but also fast and transparent results. Google Ads allow you to easily analyze the performance of your campaign through the platform’s dashboard. So you can see what works and what doesn’t in real time. They help you get to that first position in the Google search engine results page that you desire.
  • Push notifications: If your business has a mobile app, this could be a very useful tool, which can enhance your campaign. Being an intrusive notification , make sure not to overdo it, because no one likes to be spammed.
  • Anticipation-building flyers: You can think of locations around the city of your business, which your potential customers might visit, and place your flyers there, so that they could easily access them. For example, if you are selling nutrition products you should consider asking gym owners in the area to display your promotional materials in visible locations. You can offer them to do the same in return.
  • Local radio advertising: This is a great channel through which you can spread awareness, however, it’s tough to track your campaign’s results. If you decide to include radio advertising, try running a promotion with an easy-to-pronounce promo code, so that you can efficiently distinguish which orders are executed as a result of it.
  • Billboards: If you’re operating a local business with a shop in a mall, consider mall display spaces as well as billboards in proximity to your business. This will undoubtedly raise awareness about your brand and improve your website (and onsite) traffic.

Keep in mind that each of those mediums has distinguishable features, therefore, the content you share should be slightly different on all of the platforms, so it can fit with the requirements they have. However, consistency is key, so although you should prepare your content according to the specifics of each platform, the overall message of the campaign should be identical and clearly communicated. This is when you should unleash your creativity and brainstorm through ideas on how to convey your point. Don’t be afraid to grab a piece of paper and jot down all ideas that pop into your mind, because you never know which of them can skyrocket your Black Friday campaign.

Additionally, another immensely important detail that you need to think about is the types of audiences, which you are going to target. You need to figure out what are the demographics and interests of the people who would want to buy your products this holiday season. Furthermore, if you’re striving for success, you should create different audiences for the different products, while also thinking about your overall goal. So for example, if your customers are mainly women and your goal is to attract male consumers this year, then you should definitely think about what topics are going to be interesting for them and what could make them buy your products. In that case, of course, you’re going to create an audience composed of only males, for instance.

Ensure your online shop can handle all the traffic

Same goes for all of your online business tools. With Black Friday being mainly digital this year, you should be prepared for a lot of traffic not only on Cyber Monday. In fact, you should always optimize your online shop, because according to Abstracta, a 100 millisecond delay during checkout can lower the conversion rates by 7%. So the importance of a smoothly running website becomes obvious. Be sure to test your website’s performance and to give extra attention to your checkout process and the server’s load capacity. Keep in mind that you may not be able to finish this task in a short period of time, so start early. If you only have a few days to test, then assess the biggest risks that your webpage proposes and run tests only on those features.

Focus on mobile! According to Shopify, 69% of the sales on the platform in 2019 were made using a smartphone or a tablet and only 31% of the purchases were executed via desktop devices. Therefore, you shouldn’t forget to optimize your campaign and online shop for mobile devices, if you don’t want to lose any conversions. Mind the fact, that although it’s now become a longer event, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a one-time-a-year thing, just like the holidays that follow them. Where we’re getting at it, do not miss the chance to grow your business and achieve your goals, simply because you skipped the testing and optimizing of your webpage and online shopping process.

Keep track of the results

Hopefully, at the end of the day (or should we say at the end of the month-long hassle, that’s widely popular as Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend) you’ll have achieved your business’s goals connected to this event. However, you shouldn’t let the euphoria of success stop you from getting those KPIs (key performance indicators) on paper. By writing the results down, you’re keeping track of what worked and what didn’t. Therefore, your whole Black Friday campaign planning next year will be so much easier, since you know what parts of it your clients liked most.

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In case you didn’t quite meet your objectives this year, tracking the performance of your campaign is even more important, because in that way you can see what went wrong and in which areas you should focus your efforts so that you can improve your performance next year. Since Black Friday and Cyber Monday are usually shopping-centered events, your objectives could have to do with metrics such as conversion rates, number of sold products or amount of generated revenue. Don’t forget to prepare a table (or download a premade KPIs template) and record those numbers throughout the whole campaign, in order to get an idea of how successful different stages of it were, as well as what influenced the end result at most.

Bonus tips & tricks

  • Mind Covid product trends and (if you can) offer goods that were often searched for during the lockdown. According to Shopify, amongst the top trending categories since the pandemic started were: Indoor and outdoor furniture, Home office equipment and accessories, Board games and puzzles, Exercise equipment, Self-care and beauty products and Leisure wear.
  • Give your products a chance to stand out. Did you know that 7 in 10 shoppers aren’t really sure of what exactly to buy. So you need to make sure to use appropriate keywords and to write product descriptions, which create urgency and excitement such as: limited offer, one time offer, in high demand, sold out soon, last chance deal.
  • Take a chance at cross-selling. During holiday shopping, consumers are often more likely to look at related products to the ones they have already bought, simply because they came to your website with the sole purpose of shopping (and not by accidently clicking an ad, for example). You can take advantage of that fact by offering combo deals or by simply placing all related products on a dedicated campaign landing page.
  • Stand out from the crowd. Write bold copies and offer irresistible deals. Create value for your clients, come up with smart email subject lines and bring to life fun game-like discounts. (For example, you can create a spin-to-win discount wheel.) The bottom line here is: use your creativity, know your competitors and think outside of the box.

Once you go through all of those steps you’re pretty much all set for Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend. However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the details you need to think about when planning and creating your campaign, you can always reach out to us for help.

Markception’s team can help you accomplish your business’s goals by going through the planning, implementation and analyzing process of your campaign. As digital marketing specialists with many years of experience, working with big international companies, we can give you the best advice for your business and work alongside you so we can craft your success story together.