Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means it’s beginning to look a lot like…Black Friday and Cyber Monday. When referring to the Holidays, consumers typically think of the glorious store specials and discounts leading up to Christmas or Hanukkah. Others, however, may recall unpleasant memories of crowds trampling over defenseless employees. But for countless retailers, November brings the two most important shopping days – Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Did you know that the original purpose of Black Friday was to boost the economy and boost retailers’ profits with the help of tremendous savings? This comes as no surprise because a reported 30% of all annual retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas. According to consumer reports, more than 154 million consumers shopped in stores and online during Black Friday in 2016. Yet reports also indicate that more people now opt to make their purchases online.
With offers creeping into your inbox as early as November 1st, small businesses must learn when and how to appear on customers’ radars during the busiest annual shopping period. So how can your business strategically prepare their storefront specials or online discounts for this national shopping extravaganza? In the spirit of capitalism, the digital marketers at Premiere Creative offer six practices for scoring smiling customers vying for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
1. Let The Countdown Begin: Scheduling and Planning Marketing Campaigns
So when should businesses begin preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday? When brands allocate more time and effort into creating a timeline, they will reap larger benefits. Business insiders recommend strategizing at least one month prior to launching a campaign. Doing so allows ample time to layout business goals, create deals, design coupons, schedule email blasts and ad campaigns, create social media posts, and set tracking parameters. Furthermore, marketing analysts suggest offering a variety of sales or deals; this will entice new customers and please existing ones.
2. Try Extending Your Sales and Discounts
Doesn’t it seem as though the holidays come earlier each year? You may notice that stores construct holiday displays and commercials well before Halloween ends. This phenomenon is a result of an unofficial sales period referred to as “Black November.” Fast track companies such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy roll out their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales early in November, which means they’ve been planning for months. Marketing early-mid November helps to build a sense of urgency in your product.
The constraints of one-day offers are slowing becoming a thing of the past because many retailers now extend coupons and specials throughout the Thanksgiving weekend to generate higher profits. By offering deals on various products, you can even strategically promoting a special for the week leading up to Black Friday. Promoting your company’s special early on will benefit your brand by grabbing customers’ attention before the competition.
3. How To Brand Proof Against Competition
Are you trying to deter sales from your competition? Think back to the successful deals offered last Black Friday. To stand out during the competitive mayhem during the holiday shopping season, brands need to offer exclusive deals that reward customers for making purchases. For instance, try including a free gift with every purchase for large ticketed items. If your products come with warranties, Black Friday or Cyber Monday is the perfect time to offer limited-time extended warranties. Also, customers are more inclined to make purchases when awarded free shipping.
Furthermore, consider offering customers incentives that others businesses may not. For example, consider giving away a free breakfast to customers waiting on line in the early hours of Black Friday before the store opens.
4. Utilize Email Targeting Methods
So how do you market your timely specials to ensure they reach your consumers before the holiday craze? While traditional print and TV advertising can allow your brand to reach mass viewers, what can you do about the customers that tune out from live TV? With more people preferring streaming services rather than cable television, email marketing may be the golden ticket to reaching a larger audience. This is especially true as email marketing and e-blasts were responsible for over 30% of holiday sales in 2015! You can harness the power of email marketing in several effective ways.
In the digital age, an email is a powerful tool for businesses because it allows your brand to target specific demographics. The effectiveness of an instant email works by creating a sense of urgency, as you can promote new releases or limited time offers. For instance, your business can utilize email marketing to offer pre-sales or to announce sales exclusively for their email subscribers; you can entice opt-in emails with this promotion as well. As a parting gift, offer a post-Black Friday redemption code to customers that subscribe to your emails. This is a great way to welcome customers back for the remainder of the holiday shopping season.
5. Engaging In Social Media For Black Friday
Do you have a social media presence? More importantly, do you know which platforms your customers populate? Now is the time to strategize your social media campaigns because social media plays a key role in converting leads. After all, this is a platform to display your product and engage with an unlimited amount of potential consumers. Virtually all social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook Business Manager, Instagram Business, and Pinterest give companies insight through metrics to see how shared posts perform.
By sharing exclusive Black Friday offers and promotions with followers, brands can gauge which products sell out and which need improvement. Offers can also extend to other audiences by including relevant hashtags such as #blackfriday or #blackfridaysale. Alternatively, you can hold sweepstakes or contests, thereby attracting an even greater customer base. Furthermore, running advertisements such as promoted tweets or Facebook ads can effectively place a message in front the right target audience. Just don’t forget to add specific callouts to further grab consumers’ attention. Finally, don’t forget to update your Google Local listing with important information such as extended holiday hours.
6. The Importance of Mobile Devices
While there is no denying that millions of consumers brave the crowds each Black Friday, statistics now suggest that fewer people venture out to storefronts during the shopping rush. Instead, more choose to make their purchases online within the safety of their own home. In 2010, around 25% of all sales occurred online. Data analysts now believe that this percentage will increase to over 50% as early as 2020. If their predictions prove correct, then Black Friday may soon turn primarily cyber. With over 25% of Black Friday transactions occurring on smartphones and tablets, it is especially important to implement a mobile-responsive website to maximize your sales this year.
To facilitate customer satisfaction, visitors should be able to easily access a website through their mobile devices. Any problems such as long loading times or confusing navigation may cause a visitor to become frustrated. As a result, they will likely leave your website, and they probably won’t return. If you offer e-commerce capabilities, then take the time to make your website attractive and fully operational for people using their desktop and mobile devices.
Opting Out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is No Longer an Option
If you’re late to jump on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday bandwagon, then you’re in for a rude awakening. Failing to take advantage of this shopping craze can be crippling if you’re looking to make a huge profit in the fourth quarter. Even worse, your competition will gain a huge advantage, making it almost impossible for you to catch up.
But as you implement your strategy, remember that the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping experience must focus on the consumer with all marketing materials tailored to their unique needs. Only then will your brand enjoy a boost in sales during the busiest shopping weekend of the year. To learn how to maximize your sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, contact a top digital marketing agency near you today.