Black Friday Cyber Monday sales have become an American eCommerce tradition, beginning 2005. Last year, Australian eCommerce stores alone processed over $8 billion, with global sales of over $880 billion just during this 4 day sale event.
Year-on-year, retail sales over the Black Friday promotional event grew by 14% compared to the year before.
Typically, eCommerce sales can increase by over 30% just on Black Friday alone.
Interestingly – Gen X spend the most during Black Friday, followed by Gen Y and then Gen Z.
But, more than 50% of Gen Z’s and just under 50% of Gen Y’s out spending in force, followed by a third of Gen X’s.
Also, men are just as likely as women to be shopping during Black Friday.
Additionally – customers don’t demonstrate brand loyalty during Black Friday promos. If something is out of stock, they buy something else.
So – a well-run Black Friday promotion is the time to encourage new customers to trial, as well as existing customers to stock up!
Now, I do know that some brands decided to sit Black Friday out last year, not wanting to fuel the frenzy of consumerism.
But if that’s you – I’d recommend reconsidering the messaging you employ, using terms like ‘Green Friday’ instead to encourage customers to make more sustainable purchases.
Either way – your audience will be out spending cashola, so if you want to be their go-to store then you’ll want to get yourself organised now to make sure your Black Friday is an absolute corker!
Read on for 8 steps to running a successful Black Friday campaign
Step #1: Build Engaged Audiences
The number one mistake I see most eCommerce brands make with major promotions like Black Friday is that they wait too late to start their marketing. (Or even think about it!)
This can be a big problem for brands that have not been consistent with their marketing over time. It leads to problems like:
- Social audiences and email lists that have not been replenished over time, and therefore immune to new offers. A burnt-out audience won’t keep responding.
- New and different products and offers have not been tested, leaving the brand guessing about what customers will respond to when the time comes.
- Dormant ad accounts that have no recent data or results to go by, making it very difficult (and costly) for algorithms to optimise effectively during high demand periods.
- Disorganised with implementation, which leads to a frazzled business owner who doesn’t have the right marketing assets ready to go – from images or videos to product collections to emails and everything in between.
And there’s more too.
So the point is – you need to be consistently:
- building your engaged audiences on social media (with organic content and paid ads),
- building your list (perhaps using a competition as a list-builder), and
- consistently sending out marketing emails to make sure your subscribers are accustomed to receiving and opening your emails.
Bottom line: you can’t wing this promotion at the last minute and hope to succeed.
Step #2: Decide on your offers
Historically speaking, Black Friday sales have been all about big discounts and deals.
I like to see a minimum 15% off here, but don’t feel like you have to go totally crazy with massive deep discounts.
More importantly, think about these two things:
- It’s a gift time of year, and
- You want to encourage bigger average order values.
Therefore, where possible, push discounted bundles and incentives to reach higher order values, rather than individual items (bundles make great gift packs!).
You do still want to have smaller offers on the table, though, as not everyone will spend the bigger bucks.
Stagger your offers
Don’t just have a single offer, you want to have a few different offers. Perhaps a large, medium and small discounted bundle (with a sliding scale of discount, so the more you spend the bigger the discount).
Also have one or two single items that are discounted.
And as you get closer to Christmas and everyone panics because they haven’t done their Christmas shopping, you can offer free express postage.
Introduce a new product
One very cool strategy for increasing sales uptake with your campaign, is to include a brand new product in one of your bundles.
That way, the only way people can get their hands on this item is to buy the bundle!
Alternatively, create a limited edition item that’s only available during the Christmas period.
Step #3: Get clear on the promotion period
In 2022, Black Friday falls on Friday 25th November, so generally that would be the start date of your promotion.
Cyber Monday is 4 days after Black Friday.
Once the Black Friday / Cyber Monday 4 day promotional weekend is over, then you want to continue promoting Christmas gift items and special offers.
The last day of your promotion period would be the last date you can ship your orders and reasonably expect them to arrive at their destination before Christmas. So you’ll need to check with your freight supplier about what that cut-off date is.
Step #4: Theme the creative
All of my most successful campaigns have had a very clear look and feel. All the communications in the campaign have the same imagery and graphic treatment, so that it’s very clear and obvious that they are part of the campaign.
Because your Black Friday campaign is the start of your Christmas selling period, you want to create some sort of festive theme for your promotion.
Then you’d include this imagery in your emails, website, Facebook ads and any other marketing or advertising you do.
Here’s an example of the imagery from one of my most successful campaigns:
Or, take a leaf out of True Protein’s book. Take a look at their recent End of Financial Year Sale event.
Step #5: Get your website ready!
When it comes to big sale promotions like Black Friday Cyber Monday, you want to have a dedicated place on your website just for those sale items.
That page should have the same festive themed look about it as per step #3.
You also want to use a few tactics to aid conversions:
- Frame the offer around gifting (that means, use language such as “Buy the perfect gift”)
- Show the financial savings on the price (so, cross out the full price and display the sale price in red)
- Make sure the add to cart button is really obvious, using a bright contrasting colour
- Clearly communicate the deadline when the offer expires
- Use a countdown timer to really drive home the scarcity.
Step #6: Email your list
I would hope this goes without saying, but you should be emailing your Black Friday Cyber Monday sales to your subscribers.
Many people ask me how often they should email their list in the lead up to Christmas, and the answer is: way more often than you normally would!
Over the Black Friday Cyber Monday 4 days, I would email daily at the very least (but more like twice a day!)
And this year, I anticipate most brands will commence their Black Friday sales early as well, going out to their email list in advance to offer ‘early VIP access’.
TIP: Try to avoid using the words ‘Black Friday’ in your email subject lines. Last year, we found a lot of emails with those words in the subject line landed in the Spam folder…
After that, I would email 2-3 times a week minimum, until you reach your last-post date prior to Christmas.
You have to remember, people are very used to receiving loads more marketing emails during such busy promotional periods. So to stand out in that cluttered inbox, you can’t just send a single email. You’d never bee noticed!
Don’t forget to emphasise scarcity!
Scarcity is the number one most effective sales conversion strategy you can employ.
If you’re changing the specials you have on offer throughout the Black Friday to Christmas sales period, then you can emphasise the scarcity on each offer.
Also, as Christmas gets closer, you also want to remind people about the last possible date they can order and still receive their order by Christmas.
Step #7: Run Facebook & Google Ads
Despite the fact that there’ll be a lot more competition for Facebook Ads during the Black Friday to Christmas period, you still need to be on there advertising!
You need to show your ads to your existing audiences:
- A custom audience of your email list
- People who have engaged with your Facebook and Instagram pages
- Pixel-based custom audiences of people who viewed content or added to cart on your store
You also want to show your ads to cold audiences too, and use this promotion as a means of attracting new customers to your website. I love using Lookalike custom audiences for this purpose – particularly Lookalikes to Purchasers (ideally generated from your Klaviyo list).
Then, make sure you also run Google ads as well, especially Shopping ads. Lots of punters will see or even click on a Facebook ads, but they won’t purchase immediately. Instead, they will search you up on Google and come back via a Shopping ad.
Promote each offer and emphasise scarcity
Just like in your emails, you want to use your Facebook ads to promote each different offer AND emphasise scarcity!
That means, you won’t be just running one single ad, you’ll be changing out your ads as the campaign progresses.
Step #8: Watch your metrics
Something I hope you’re all used to hearing from me by now…. But in addition to planning and setting goals in advance, you must be monitoring your metrics as the results start to come in.
Many small business owners make the mistake of thinking they can’t change the results once the wheels are in motion. But that’s just not true.
During the promotion, monitor all your metrics – open rates, click through rates, conversion rates, average order value, etc etc.
If you’re not getting the response you’re after – you can pivot as you go.
Tweak subject lines, change up the incentives, send more emails, jump on live video on your socials.
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Updated 30th August 2022