Did you know that you can sell online in 1 day as in a whole month? Or even better if you do your homework well. No, we didn’t discover a secret recipe for that, the key is to optimize the 2015 Black Friday event in your advantage. The good news is that it’s not too late to develop and implement an online marketing strategy for Black Friday. And if you think that your business is too small to compete with big e-commerce brands, I assure you it isn’t. Check some last minute online marketing tactics to help you win.
At its origin, Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States and nowadays is considered a kickoff to the holiday shopping season, including in many countries from Europe. Traditionally, this year Black Friday is on November 27th, but in some countries the retailers adapted this event to their local market, so they organize it on November 20th – like in Romania and Bulgaria.
Black Friday can create hysteria among online customers staying awake all night and hunting bargains.Think about crowds of people back of theirs laptops, tablets or smartphones screens, euphoric, with their credit cards in one hand and forefinger of the other hand ready to break into the online store and click the “Add to cart“ button. You definitely want to attract as many as possible. If you wonder if this hysteria is real in the Central and Eastern Europe, let’s take a look at Google Trends data.
Until now, Romania is the 2015 global leader for search terms like “Black Friday” and “Black Friday 2015”, surpassing the US, the Black Friday’s mother. Quite cool, isn’t it?
Digging in the data for this European region, we can see some big gaps between markets volumes and Black Friday interest. Hungary and Bulgaria are really closed for “Black Friday” term search interest, even if the Hungarian e-commerce market is 3 times bigger as estimated turnover for 2015 (according to www.ecommerce-europe.eu). An interesting e-commerce market to watch this year Black Friday event is also Croatia. On the other side, the Polish customers seemed to be less impressed by the Black Friday sales campaigns considering that their e-commerce market is evaluated for this year at 6,500 Million Euros, 7 times more than the Hungarian market.
Another important aspect to mention is that, according to the consultancy firm eNET, the fast e-commerce market expansion from Hungary, in 2014, is due also to the Black Friday – an initiative that finally became mainstream in 2014.
It’s clearly that public appetite for Black Friday is growing and in some countries has been bigger than ever, so, in order to capitalize it as much as possible, we gathered some last minute online marketing tactics, from Google AdWords and on-site optimizations to e-mail marketing and affiliate marketing.
Fast forward planning
- Figure out when your customers will shop – the time is not your ally now, but you have to take a look back at last year’s data.
- Use tools like Google Analytics for your site, Google Trends and see which keywords, channels, content and promotions have leaded to the highest traffic and conversions for your business last year. Do you know where did your visitors come from? What, when and how did they buy last Black Friday?
- According to Rakuten Marketing, shoppers will be online buying as early as 6 AM on Black Friday, with an important percent taken place before 9 AM. Another peak can be during the lunch break and of course in the evening. Plan your campaigns and key point communications moments keeping that in mind.
- Also, take advantage of the day before Black Friday to communicate with your customers. Shoppers are currently planning their Black Friday buyings, be there for them in this research phase.
- Identify the most popular topics and keywords and use them to create ads, banners, e-mail headlines and blog or Facebook posts.
- Shoppers took an average of 48 seconds to buy, so be aware of that when you plan your campaigns creatives, messages and mix of channels.
- When we are speaking about on-site changes, it is difficult to create something really valuable in a short period of time, but you don’t have to despair. Be sure your website is prepared for that traffic flow which can be several times bigger than in a usual Friday. Your site must be up and running first of all.
- Use dedicated landing pages.
- Use dedicated landing pages (just to be clear).
- If you already have a sales strategy, with key discounts for some products in order to attract customers on your site, with special categories and products that you can afford to give bigger discounts and enough stocks, you are lucky. If not, focus on solutions and try to establish at least some leading deals.
- During the big day, take advantage of tools that can help you automate your inventory and keep track of orders. When you’re out of stock with a product, be prepare to redirect them to similar items or other categories.
- Engage your visitors with tempting on-site promotions featuring discounts and free shipping options.
Here I have also some precious recommendations from 2Parale’s PPC specialists (2Parale is the leading affiliate network from Romania, the mother company for 2Performant).
- It is preferable to be present on the main platforms used by customers (Google, Youtube, Facebook, etc.).
- Establish your Black Friday deals and product to promote through AdWords at least 2-3 days prior BF for them to be placed in the AdWords platform.
- It is recommended to create new Black Friday campaigns with separate budgets for better monitoring and optimizing.
- Check functionality of the site codes.
- For companies with a smaller budget, it is appropriate to use keywords as targeted as possible, along with the words “Black Friday”.
- Create ads using countdown function to show how many hours are left until your discounts become active or until certain promotions end.
- Do remarketing on Facebook you can target the customers based on email addresses, phone numbers or IDs.
- Target the people who visited your site or bought from you in the last 12 months. You can use Display Network remarketing or search – for example, and you can show your ads to someone who visited your site in the last 12 months and is looking for “Black Friday” on Google now.
- For the Dynamic Search Ads, it is useful to add negative keywords such as “out of stock”, “not available” to be sure that you’ll not display ads for sold out products.
- Highlight your discounts clearly, with the amount or percentage.
- Think of attractive and engaging copy like „The offer expires in x hours”, “Extra discounts for existing customers”, “Awards surprise on orders over x”.
- The affiliates can be remarkable allies for an online store. In a single day, the affiliates have an impressive ability to capture the online shoppers interest and to direct them to an online store.
- They can send hundreds of thousands or even millions of clicks to one store using their creativity, experience and methods like websites, paid traffic, social media or email marketing.
- Treat them as partners, be as transparent as possible regarding your sales strategy and commissions used for Black Friday, in order to prepare themselves accordingly. But do that prior the big day, as early as possible.
- Provide them a various inventory of promoting tools.
- Keep the affiliates posted with any news regarding your deals, special products or out of stock info. In 2Performant, for instance, an online store can constantly communicate with ist affiliates using the internal messaging system.
- Also, the 2Performant platform promotes the advertisers with special offers for Back Friday. You can be included in that Black Friday advertisers list too.
- The competition for affiliates support is strong, give your super affiliates preferences commissions, even double if your profit margin allows you. Also, you can give them performance bonuses or prizes.
- Email marketing was responsible for 27% of holiday sales, in 2014 (source marketingadept.com). It is a communication channel that allows you to reach your audience on a fast mode.
- Create a holiday-themed email campaign that presents shoppers with several offers they can’t refuse. Black Friday shoppers have high expectations of steep discounts and sales.
- Be creative to stand out from all of the other emails that your customers are receiving. If it is a challenge you can`t take it, keep things simple and get right to the point, with discounts info and clear CTA.
- Before that, e-mail them a short list of best practices for Black Friday shopping (to be sure they have an account, with all the details for delivery, to create a shopping list, to check available products etc.).
- Shoppers need inspiration, so prepare a last minute guide about your greatest deals organized in categories or shopping recommendations for holiday gifts.
- Make sure your gifts guide or promotional posts show well on mobile phones, just test it.
- The best practices are to start the e-mail communication earlier, with collecting e-mails addresses, creating target groups and after that you can send newsletters with teasing or great deals on Black Friday. But it is ok if you use your distribution lists as it is just to communicate your offers.
- On Friday, keep them updated with periodic e-mails about your stocks and the lasts great deals.
- If you did your work well in the previous months and you have a database segmented by customer preference or previously purchased items, you’ll be able to increase your percentages of sales purchases by sending targeted campaigns.
- Take advantage of the extra attention and traffic you get this time of the year and collect e-mail addresses.
Grab attention with social media
- If you already have an audience on your social media channels, be sure that those crowds of shoppers will receive Black Friday updates from you.
- You can reach them instantly, so share with them coupons, promotions, contests, your best Black Friday deals, funny content with viral potential.
- Share with them also your BF themed content, like the deals guide (from e-mails campaigns) that highlights several of your products.
- Use popular hashtags. #blackfriday + name of your country rocks.
- Be interactive and engaging.
- Go Mobile! According to an IBM analysis, in 2014, mobile traffic accounted for 59.8% of all online traffic in the UK on Black Friday, while mobile sales accounted for 47.3% of all sales, 35.5% more than the previous year.
- Really important, for all these marketing and sales efforts to succeed, be sure you have the proper logistics for sales and delivery, like enough people to answer the phone, a constant communication with your clients about stocks and site access, a transparent delivery policy and so forth.
There’s still time left to participate to this stunning sales event, whether if you are a small business or an experienced one. You don’t necessarily need an elaborate marketing plan, use fast results tactics instead. Offer your visitors profitable deals – for your business also – and choose a few traffic-driving channels to focus your energy. Even a last minute campaign can drive great sales and encourage you to be even more prepared next year.
Also, learn from your mistakes and be prepared for the holiday shopping season, are plenty of opportunities to sell and earn more, grab them.