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The start of the holiday sales season, Black Friday, is a time that can make or break a successful year for small businesses. With Black Friday just around the corner, most teams already have a marketing plan for Black Friday in place. Companies who don’t have a marketing strategy for Black Friday created may want to rethink their decision:

  • About 20% of all sales for the year happen between Black Friday and the end of the year.
  • In 2016, over 137 million people went to stores over the four-day Black Friday weekend.
  • On average, shoppers expect to spend about $1000 with over $600 going towards gifts.

B2B and B2C companies should utilize the following three tips to make sure their campaigns are working at maximum efficiency.

1. Be mindful of “mega-deal” overload.

Black Friday is a great opportunity, but naturally, there’s quite a bit of competition. Companies aren’t just competing for the consumer’s purchase; they’re fighting for their attention as well. For marketing to stand out from the crowd, it needs to be creative and genuinely valuable. Offering a great deal in a straightforward, easy-to-understand format is one key to improving conversion. Additionally, ensure your marketing is mobile-optimized. With so many deals and communications sent in this short period, most companies only have one shot for their messaging to noticed. Stand out marketing often implements a combination of the following ideas:

a. Deal of the Hour – For companies offering a wide range of products, varying the discounted product or offer by the hour creates a sense of urgency and scarcity around your promotion.
b. Bundles – Bundles are a great way of increasing the average value per sale and can enable deeper discounts on well selling items through blended margins.
c. Add new products or offerings – New is generally exciting and captures attention just because it’s new.
d. Sneak Peaks for an unreleased product or service – One of the few things more exciting than being one of the first to see a new product when it’s released is being one of the first to see it before it’s released.
e. Attached downloadable coupons – Attached downloadable coupons can help promotions from getting lost in a sea of Black Friday emails, saving a file directly to the potential customer’s computer. Naming the coupon appropriately so that the brand name reads easily is essential to making this an effective tactic.
f. Gift Guides – Because many are shopping for the holidays, gift guides, describing which of your products are ideal for gifts and to whom they’re best suited for, alleviate some of the shopping pain by pointing shoppers in the right direction

*Don’t forget to increase your budget and maximum bid amounts for pay per click advertising. An increase in the quantity of advertising occurring results in an increase in the average bid amount, meaning if left unadjusted current campaigns will demote as competition bids higher.

2. Take advantage of the entire season.

It all started with Black Friday, but the “mega-deal” season has grown to nearly a week! Many companies plan 10, 15, or even 30-day campaigns around Black Friday alone. That can seem like communication-overload. However, there’s a good reason the most successful brands err on the side of over-communication. According to Salesforce, it takes nearly 6-8 interactions with a company before a potential customer makes a purchase. Successful brands take advantage of all the following opportunities to connect with their customers:

a. Presale – Some companies start a week early. This year, Amazon started two weeks (not counting the “Black Friday” they created in July, i.e., “Prime Day”). More and more businesses are starting to take advantage of pre-Black Friday opportunities.
b. Black Friday – The day that started it all! Despite the growth of presales, most consumers expect to see the best deals starting only on Black Friday.
c. Small Business Saturday – This day is exclusively for small businesses. There’s a segment in every market that merely prefers to work with a local company, and small business Saturday is one of the best days to connect with them. Small businesses can capture their attention by highlighting their story in addition to a deal.
d. Cyber Monday – Cyber Monday is primarily focused on online transactions. For eCommerce businesses, Cyber Monday is nearly identical to Black Friday. Companies who don’t sell online can still offer a deal by creating a designated landing page or form, allowing exclusive access to a Cyber Monday deal.
e. In case you missed it – With so many communications sent, it’s reasonable to expect that some people, who very much would have appreciated receiving an offer, just lost it in a flood of other marketing. Sending out another blast with an extension on the deadline “in case they missed it” drives additional sales and provides genuine value.
f. Extended for a minimal time – Extending the offer for a limited time can be a great way to capture a few stragglers remaining on the fence.

3. Don’t forget about your current customers.

Attracting new business through a deal is great, except when it makes current customers feel like they purchased at the wrong time. Creating an offer that forgets about current customers potentially introduces an additional delay to a business’s sales cycles, as consumers “wait” for the next big sale to occur. Instead of out-bidding their own discounting, companies can take advantage of alternative style promotions. While the bottom line revenue numbers suggest there is no difference between the different types of discounts, the variance in advertising allows customers to perceive enough of a difference that they can rationalize and feel good about making their purchase when they did. Successful organizations mix and match the following types of deals as it makes sense for their business and their customers:

a. Flat discounts – Offering a flat percentage discount on either a specific product or their entire purchase.
b. Gift Cards (eGift Cards) – Giving cash up front in the form of an eGift Card. Gift cards can be more effective than a flat discount, mainly when the minimum purchase amount required to redeem the eGift Card is limited.
c. Buy one get one free – An alternative to a product-specific discount, BOGO can be a great way to promote products that consumers frequently purchased more than one at a time.
d. Gifts – Free, limited time gifts are a great way of driving urgency. Unique, limited-edition gifts additionally benefit from the effects of scarcity on demand.
e. Early payment discount – Early payment discounts, or pre-orders, pair excellently with sneak peeks. Customers feel they’re securing their place in line and the company benefits from cash up front.
f. Price-Break discounts – Setting up spending tiers with varying discount levels to encourage large orders.
g. Trade-in-credit – Products or services with multiple “upgraded” versions released over the years should consider offering a trade-in-credit. Trade-in-credits are a great way of re-engaging past customers and ultimately increases the value of new products as well.
h. Free contest entry – Offering free entry into a relevant giveaway for every purchase, social engagement, and social share with your company is one of the simplest, and cheapest, ways of driving engagement.

Wrapping it Up

Black Friday is a critical season for companies to reach their customers and drive revenue results for the year, yet it’s certainly no blue ocean. Crafting a successful marketing strategy for Black Friday requires mindfulness about other offers, taking advantage of the entire season, and careful consideration regarding how an offering impacts a company’s current customers. With that said, there are numerous options for creating a unique campaign that resonates with customers and stands out from the crowd, and the size of the opportunity is indeed worth pursuing.

Check out this great Infographic on Black Friday from Camp Coupon:
https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/29119/7-fascinating-black-friday-infographics.aspx

Sources:
https://www.statista.com/topics/991/us-christmas-season/

https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-black-friday-3305710

https://blackfriday.com/news/cyber-monday-statistics-and-history

https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2015/04/takes-6-8-touches-generate-viable-sales-lead-heres-why-gp.html