Are You Ready to Crush Black Friday?
Many online retailers go “in the black” based on post-Thanksgiving sales. But Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are not just for the big guys like Amazon and Walmart.
With some brands reporting 2x, 3x even 10x growth year-over-year on BFCM offers, you almost can't afford NOT to have a plan for the busiest shopping day of the year.
Many businesses are counting on a big Black Friday (which is Nov. 29 this year!). Whether you have a plan dialed in or are just getting started we have a checklist to keep you on track. If you've never promoted a Black Friday / Cyber Monday (BFCM) offer, read on, there's still time to get your strategy in place!
Preparing for Black Friday - Cyber Monday
Some companies start planning BFCM pricing and promotions about 11 months and three weeks before. In other words, they begin next year's planning as soon as this year is over. No worries, even if you're only starting your 2019 plans now, here are some essential ingredients to set you up for Black Friday success.
- Start planning for days (or weeks) of buzz-generating buildup to the actual day. This might be via newsletter mentions, targeted ads, email, social media, social posts & messenger chat. (We use Drip ECRM for Email)*
- Will your eCommerce store offer pre-BFCM deals and specials, not just price-driven sales? For example, Special offers for loyal customers, Friends & Family deals or maybe a scratch-off card that offers an additional discount to use on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
- Build up the buzz by offering sneak peeks on your best deals. You want to ensure your customers know about YOUR offers before they hear about your competitors. Shoppers start buying and research as early as October!
- Successful selling on BFCM requires more than lowering your prices and waiting for customers to find you. Be sure to plan a promotional strategy that will incorporate multiple online channels from your website to email marketing to social media.
- Partner up! Consider joining forces with influencers & bloggers or Gift Giving Guides.
FREE Black Friday - Cyber Monday Checklist
Lay the Foundation for Success
- Make sure your store foundations are in place. Are domain addresses up-to-date, links are working, website and social media pages are active, etc.
- Build anticipation organically. That means posting regularly as well as having customers, friends, and influencers writing and sharing about you because they are fans. It's ok to suggest they talk up a product that you'll be featuring on BFCM, but let your friends put their reviews in their own words
- Go BIG with your best offer. This is the one time of year where an eye-popping offer won't damage your year-round pricing strategy. There's more than one way to sweeten the pot. In addition to low, low, low pricing, you might also try loss leaders, unique bundles, gamification (spin to win a discount), free shipping, etc. Again, "go big!"
- Plan what products you'll feature on BFCM. Create a sales plan that maps out your inventory, pricing and promotion dates. What products have better margins? Where do you have excess inventory? Can you use a product as a loss leader, where customers will want to / have to buy full-price accessories?
- Have contingency plans. If you get an uptick in traffic, is your website ready? Can you fulfill orders? Are your suppliers reliable? And don't underestimate weather - can a power outage or a blizzard shut down your business? Be prepared for the unexpected.
Now that your basics are in place, you want to promote your BFCM offers.
- Share, share and share your offers! Blog posts, email messages, social media posts, paid social media ads, photos and chat are all unique ways to deliver your offers.
- Use video. (According to Animoto, video is twice as popular as photographs on social media posts.) And if you invest in video, use it for social posts & ads, emails.
- Encourage friends, family, and other "organic" influencers to share your message - recommendations help to build raving fans and develop trust for your brand.
- User-generated content is free. How can you Take advantage! For example, sunglass-maker Blenders has grown to 300,000+ Instagram followers, in part because their customers post photos with their product by the thousands!
- Paid advertising. Be careful and make sure you are targeting and retargeting the correct audience. Ad costs tend to get more expensive during the competitive holiday season. You may need to increase your bid price on specific keywords or for certain audiences to increase the visibility of your ads during big holiday sales. If you plan to do paid advertising, start early!
- Don't forget Email marketing. Use the list you have been building. People will be watching their inbox for the Black Friday & Holiday deals. Email is such an important marketing channel that we're devoting an entire post to it.
FREE Black Friday - Cyber Monday Checklist
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