As the newest estimations suggest, this year the holiday season will be more cutthroat than ever for eCommerce businesses. To get yourself ready for that, you need to leverage every advantage your business has and boost your Black Friday marketing strategy with the latest trends.
We’ve prepared a list of proven marketing strategies for the holiday season for you. It might help you to take a fresh look at what you've been doing with your marketing so you can earn a couple more bucks during this hectic period.
Prerequiments for getting a decent ROI from your Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns
It needs to be written: the campaign itself is the cherry on top of your activities. You need to have your IT infrastructure prepared for the storm.
With failing tech and pipeline full of holes, you’ll find yourself watching your hard-earned traffic slip through your fingers on the morning of Black Friday. It’ll be too late to act then.
To squeeze every last drop of ROI from your campaigns, double check if:
- Your back end is ready to handle the massive traffic.
- Your user experience is on point.
- You know what to expect this year.
If you want to explore more about how to build a scalable eCommerce, check out our “International eCommerce launchpad” eBook below.
Extending the holiday promotion period
“Last Christmas” booming from the speakers in shopping centers keeps happening earlier every year. Things are similar with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The shopping craze apparently spreads over an entire month now.
As a manager or entrepreneur, you want to stay on the ball and keep it rolling. Spread your marketing activities across the calendar and start a month before Black Friday.
Social marketing run-ups and presale buildups
The early bird gets the worm. Promoting your eCommerce in advance helps you to:
- Reach a broader audience.
- Avoid the last-minute communication clutter with its high-budget frenzy.
- Build anticipation.
- Entertain your audience.
A catchy campaign can be the perfect buildup for a flash sale. You can guide a limited number of customers toward a limited-time offer. That’ll keep them engaged and waiting for the big day.
Limited-time offers, like a one-hour deal
Nothing creates a sense of urgency like a flash sale. The more customers think about your deal, the colder the analysis gets, and it drives people away from making a purchase. Make them decide now.
Mystery flash sales
The goal of this type of run-up is to catch your audience off guard and build interest. That’s why some mystery around the promotion might serve it well. It can either be an unknown product or the benefits and rules of promotion depending on what you want to focus customers’ attention on.
A limited number of products in a promotion can be a safeguard in case the sale goes better than expected. You can always throw in some more if you decide to later on.
Building a strong set of benefits for customers
Black Friday isn’t only about pumping up the price a month before just to lower it on Black Friday. Those times are gone, and, at least in Europe, EU regulations helped to bury those practices.
“On May 28 , the EU Omnibus Directive entered into application at the national level, and it significantly expands consumer laws by trying to protect customers from fake promotions and opinions. (...) All eCommerce businesses will have to implement features to prevent these frauds. Big platforms, such as Magento 2, will probably get native plugins, but if you’re using a custom solution, you will need a bit more effort to deploy it, so it’s good to start looking into that problem.”
Michał Kuzemko, Business Analyst at Divante
eCommerce managers have to develop an approach with more finesse when presenting value to their customers. Your marketing strategy has to deliver value and be effectively presented to your customers. The most important thing is building a pipeline of increasing benefits that invites users to build up the value of their order to get better deals.
A buildup of benefits
Everyone loves getting great deals. What constitutes a great deal is our personal perception of value. Fortunately, it can be more than just a numbers game.
You can shower your users with small benefits. Those treats can be breadcrumbs that lead them on their way to reaching the value of an order that you want to achieve. You’re adding a bit of gamification to their shopping experience when they have to reach the next tier to get minimum spend rewards, such as:
- Free shipping. It’s so popular on Black Friday that it has almost become a standard for any order.
- Additional discounts.
- Same-day delivery. I wouldn’t recommend it because delivery services can be unreliable on Black Friday.
- A free gift. You can have a limited number of free products.
The tiers invite people into the “buy more, pay less” game. That’s a game where everybody wins.
Discounts are often the core of marketing strategy, but fighting over prices with your competitors can only get you so far. If you’re not just thinking about clearing out the warehouse to make space for new stock, you might have a hard time matching the best deals. If you cut the price deeply enough, customers will buy, but they’ll do it at your expense.
Usually, discount policies include limited stock of high-discount, rockstar products that aim to attract traffic and show off crazy deals in ads. It creates a tide of traffic, but you shouldn’t expect users strictly focused on the best deals to bring you substantial profits. They’re here for one reason only and will leave as soon as they get their deal. If you want to control your discounts better, use coupons. It’ll prevent people from getting annoyed when discounted items run out.
You can also get your users' attention in a more engaging numbers game by giving them additional rules. The typical scheme is giving the cheapest item in the cart for free. We can calculate it as an effective discount:
- The third cheapest item is free: up to 33% off.
- The fourth cheapest item is free: up to 25% off.
- The fifth cheapest item is free: up to 20% off.
Giving away the two cheapest items in a basket containing six products is also no more than 33% off.
“Buy three, pay for two” might sound like a better deal than 33% off, and it allows you to sell three products instead of one. It stimulates the value of the order, and you can use it with other incentives, like free shipping or different promotion tiers.
Squeezing your mailing lists to the last drop
We’re 20 years into the 21st century, and ancient mailing lists are still something that keeps sales rolling in. They simply work, and that’s something you shouldn’t forget. Now, let’s focus on how to leverage that fact on Black Friday and what you should communicate to all those people.
According to a study by McKinsey & Company, “personalization drives performance and better customer outcomes. Companies that grow faster drive 40 percent more of their revenue from personalization than their slower-growing counterparts.” That’s excellent news for you. If you do it right, you have plenty of data on your customers, their interests, and shopping habits.
Personalization isn’t only about a custom subject line in an email. “Pst, James, here are the newest promotions for you!” might catch James’ eye, but you can take that personalization to another level by tailoring your subject line to a narrow segment of your target group.
- Perhaps they bought something around this time last year that might need replaced, upgraded, or complemented by an accesory? Prepare a perfect little promotion for these cases.
- Did they buy a red jacket for the autumn season last year? Unless they bought it as a gift, it might be their favorite color. If so, you can be sure they’ll take a look at your promotion for clothes in a similar color palette.
- Is there something they add to their basket every time they buy something in your shop? Maybe a specific snack or sweet? Look, it’s a free gift when you buy something for over $50 during Black Friday sales!
To identify these groups, discover insights and build custom promotions you’ll need some big data research and an excellent analyst.
If you continue to tailor those promotions to target groups, it can seamlessly blend with your loyalty programs. You can make your promotions laser-focused and control them through custom coupons and narrow mailing lists.
Every marketer knows that a limited deal lights a fire under customers' motivation. Can you offer a laptop at a great price? Make the price even better, but limit it to 10 pieces. That’ll create some buzz, and you can always fall back to the previous price when you run out of the initial promotional stock.
A somewhat shady example of limited offers are countdowns that simply rewind the clock when time runs out. If you make “around the clock” countdowns, at least rotate between a couple of promotions, like for different groups of products.. That’ll make your long-term customers feel less objectified and deceived.
Building loyalty programs for Black Friday
Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be an opportunity for something bigger than this short, one-time sale. A tide of new customers will be washed ashore on your website. You went to all the trouble to bring all those people to your shop and convert them into your customers. It’d be a crime not to try to keep them coming back.
Don’t build your hopes up too high. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are unique shopping events that pour in with waves of buyers, but they rarely come back, and the retention rate will be worse than an average month. Still, there are several marketing strategies you can apply to attempt to turn them into loyal customers and keep them coming back for more.
Remember the personalized promotions? Reward your loyal customers with the best bargain. Loyal customer-only offers, sneak peeks at your incoming products and promotions, and special discounts make them feel special, taken care of, and valued.
Build relationships, but avoid spoiling your customers. Building relationships go both ways. They have to commit to staying in your happy family. They should fall out when they don’t respond to your communication, stop opening emails, and avoid your website. To reach these forsaken loyal customers, you need entirely different campaign messaging because they rarely reactivate on their own or from regular email chains.
Referring your shop
A proper referring code benefits both the giver and the receiver. The giver gets a discount or gift for bringing in a new customer, and the receiver gets a welcome discount or gift. It’s a pleasant experience that increases the chances of your offer going viral. “Refer this to a friend and get 50% off on your next purchase.” This kind of incentive fits well into the Black Friday shopping frenzy.
Avoid coupon leakage
I’ve mentioned coupons a few times throughout this article. When you use them, take a closer look at the issue called coupon leakage. It’s definitely something that you should keep in mind when planning your marketing campaigns so you maximize income and reduce unnecessary costs.
“Leakage is when a coupon is shared outside of its intended targets, preventing the coupon's target audience from benefiting because the budget is quickly depleted. In the worst case, when no upper limit is set, such leaks can cost the company many times more than what was planned, which seriously affects its revenues. (...)
“The best strategy to prevent leakage is to ensure that your coupon validation system has a secondary characteristic that will ensure the number of redemptions is limited in some way. This can either be by having a hard limit on the number of total redemptions or by limiting redemptions per user.”
David Hartery, Content Lead at Talon.One
You can read more on this topic in our article about four key steps to prepare for a viral Black Friday promotion with tech examples.
Get creative to tie it all together
To cut through the clutter of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you should pick a mix of marketing strategies that resonates with your audience and wrap them up in a value package that will be consistent and easy to communicate.
Be clever with your marketing. Try to find your own way with a creative and memorable concept that’ll bring everything together. Make your sale unique, fun, and rewarding for your customers to bring them all to the yard.
- 5 predictions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2022
- Black Friday UX hacks that will help you boost ROI
- Four key steps to prepare for a viral Black Friday promotion with tech examples
- More than tech: Use empathy to take care of your employees on Black Friday, Cyber Monday
- Why do eCommerce retailers lose money during Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
More Black Friday ideas are coming on our blog. If you want to be in the loop, sign up for our Innovative eCommerce Newsletter.
Published September 29, 2022