Black Friday is traditionally the busiest day in U.S. retailers’ calendars. Many people start shopping before the Thanksgiving table is cleared, and on the following Friday, weekend, and Monday they spend what amounts to billions of dollars on gifts. That’s how it’s been for years.
The thing that’s changing with Black Friday, however, is how people shop. In 2018, only 21% of American shoppers made Black Friday purchases exclusively in stores. 25% shopped only online, while the remaining 54% opted for a multichannel shopping experience.Your Black Friday marketing strategy should take the hint. Combining in-store events with online promotions and using online channels (even if you don’t have an online store) is important. You have everything from paid ads to live streaming in your toolbelt, so let’s give you some ideas on how to best use the tools at your disposal.
1. Do a warm-up flash sale
You’re more likely to achieve good sales numbers by offering an occasional deal than by advertising constantly low prices. Flash sales, the type of time-limited offer that’s popular among e-commerce businesses, are a prime example of just how much people love good deals. If you send flash-sale notifications by email, for example, you can expect to see a 35% increase in transaction rates.
The increase in sales isn’t the benefit you’re counting on for Black Friday, though. Flash sales are eye-catching, and people will engage with communications that carry a message about sales. The attention you’re grabbing with your warm-up flash sale should be put into use to promote the ensuing Black Friday sale.
If you really want to boost the success of your flash sale, there are a couple of things you can do. For one, you can use live streaming to drive a more effective flash sale and promote the deals you’ll be offering during the Black Friday sale. The engagement factor of live video content can work wonders. Plus, you can also time the sale to last two to three hours, which seems to be the sweet spot. Finally, try to hold them in the evening. This brings the best results.
2. Leverage good old email marketing
Whatever type of promotion you want to run before or during the Black Friday weekend, you should find a way to incorporate email into it. Email is still among the most effective digital marketing tools. That is, it can be — if you know how to write great emails.
Some of the email-writing rules that will help your Black Friday marketing efforts include:
- Make sure the email template is responsive. Above all, ensure that people can read it regardless of the device they use.
- Don’t bury the lead. Let people know what the email is about with a quick, bold, and big statement they’re sure to see first.
- Include visual content. You should keep the email light on text, include images for good measure (maybe even GIFs), and consider adding video.
- Don’t overdo it with CTAs. Don’t follow every sentence or image with a call to action. Keep their number reasonable.
- Tell them when it’s over. A limited-time offer will create a sense of urgency, and including the end date of the offer in the email will remind the viewers.
Of course, you should also remember the general rules of writing effective emails. Don’t spam your readers with too many of them. Make the subject lines highly relevant. Give them a chance to opt out from receiving emails in the future.
3. Set up a countdown… or ten
There’s nothing that will encourage people to make a purchase like a great deal and a ticking clock. Putting end dates in information about deals is standard practice — you’ll be doing it in your Black Friday marketing emails, too — but you should also look for ways to turn it all up a notch.
Here’s an idea: plan a couple of deals for every hour of Black Friday. Then, add countdown timers that show when products go on sale. When they go on sale, show the viewers the ticking clock that says how long the deal is valid for.
You can also plan your content around countdowns, too. If you plan to live stream during your Black Friday sales event (and e-commerce businesses should definitely give streaming a try), maybe incorporate the countdown into your live content. When you’re live streaming to increase the hype and excitement for the event, including a countdown clock seems only natural.
4. Announce a new referral program
Is there a better marketing tool than word of mouth? 92% of consumers say they’d believe recommendations from friends and family over the information they get through advertising. We also know that people read online reviews and testimonials before shopping. They’re seeking them out.
People rely heavily on the opinions of others when making purchase decisions. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, you can use our propensity to look for and trust in social proof to your advantage in your Black Friday marketing. For example, you can start a referral program that’s active only during the sales event.
You can use all the tools at your disposal to make it happen. You can hint at the program in your pre-Black Friday email campaign, then elaborate on it during the live stream. Put a timer on it, and let your customers know they’ll get something nice only if they manage to bring you new customers by a specific time. Finally, make sure you offer something very desirable in return.
5. Boost your ad spend
There’s no way around it — if you plan to use ads as part of your Black Friday marketing campaign, you should plan for a bigger budget. Everyone else will be doing it, so the cost per click on your ads is bound to increase. You’ll have to follow suit if you want to stay in the game.
If you really want to excel at Black Friday paid marketing, you should do a couple of other things, too:
- Mention Black Friday in your ad copy. Don’t forget to update your ad copy to reflect the name of the sales event you’re running.
- Use the Google Ads promotions extension. The promotion extension will add another line to your ads featuring the event, the discount, and the offer expiration date.
- Imply scarcity in the ad copy. You can use ad customizers that will add to the ads the information about the quantity of product left in your inventory.
Also, you should remember to start planning for the Black Friday ads a little in advance. If you’re running ads on Facebook, you might want to start running them a week early to give them time to calibrate and catch their stride.
6. Offer coupon and discount codes early
Another way you can play into people’s love of good deals is by offering coupons or discount codes as part of the pre-Black Friday marketing campaign. This strategy can work equally well for online and offline marketing tools. Similarly, it can benefit brick-and-mortar businesses as well as digital stores. Just do it early enough to build anticipation and lock in the purchase intent.
Offline, you can use coupons with most promotional tools you already use. Coupons can easily become an addition to your direct mail marketing. If you’re buying TV or radio spots, you can include coupon codes in your ad copy. You can also put them in magazines or newspapers and offer them with each in-store purchase.
Online, you can be even more inventive with how you use coupon codes. Pepper them throughout your website and send an email blast announcing a pre-Black Friday coupon hunt. Use them in pre-event live video streams. Offer them at checkout in the weeks preceding Black Friday. Gamify coupon codes. Offer random discount values. Make them available, but also make getting the coupon code an engaging experience.
7. Boost average order value every step of the way
The best thing about Black Friday marketing is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every year. You can use the methods and tools that worked the previous year alongside some new things you want to try. But you can also use the simple sales strategies e-commerce businesses implement every day of the year, not just on Black Friday.
So let’s set your goal at increasing your Black Friday sales by boosting the average order value. Some of the things you can try are:
- Put free shipping behind a threshold. By all means, offer free shipping. But only make it available to people after they’ve purchased goods of a certain threshold value.
- Offer coupon codes or gift cards at checkout. Give your customers an incentive to add another item or two in their carts before checking out.
- Display upsell and cross-sell options. You can use product recommendations to show people similar or complementary products.
- Sell things in bundles or bulk and display savings. Let your customers know that they’ll achieve extra savings if they buy more.
These everyday sales and marketing strategies should have their place in your Black Friday arsenal. Not only do they work well on their own, but they become even more powerful when you combine them with the strategies you reserve for special sales events.
Bonus tip: Multistream your live content!
For several of these techniques, live video streams serve as a great delivery method. You can incorporate countdowns in a live stream, use live streams to boost your flash sales, and announce a referral program or coupon code. You could do these things with other forms of content, too, but there are very few forms of content that offer the interactivity and engagement of live streaming.
The only problem with live streaming, however, is that you have to make the hard choice between streaming to a single platform and investing a lot of time for streaming to one platform at a time. Or at least, that’s how it seems.
If you’re already using live video content as part of your Black Friday marketing strategy, you could do so much more by streaming it to multiple websites at the same time. This is exactly what Restream, a multistreaming cloud service, can do for you — help you save time and money while giving you the tools to expand your reach.
Best of all is that it’s easy to set up, and it doesn’t require any additional upfront investment in hardware or software. If you can stream, you can multistream, so there’s really no reason you wouldn’t try it.
Black Friday is among the most important (if not the most important) event in any retailer’s calendar. It’s the gateway into the holiday shopping season, and it can be a phenomenal day for a business’s bottom line. But you have to know how to put together a good Black Friday marketing strategy.
Increasingly, this means knowing how to use the online channels you can access and different kinds of content that are suited for them. Live video can prove to be an effective content choice to deliver many of the sales and marketing techniques you’ll be using. Thanks to Restream, you’ll be able to use those techniques on your audience no matter where they want to watch your content.