Black Friday: e-commerce advice for successful seasonal marketing

Sven November 6, 2017
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Holiday season is approaching fast. For many e-commerce businesses it’s the most important time of the year. In the USA, people traditionally start spending on the day after Thanksgiving: Black Friday. As is often the case, this American tradition has made its way across the Atlantic Ocean.

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday has been the biggest spending day in the USA since 2005. On the day after Thanksgiving – in 2017, that will be November 24 – shops, both offline and online, are trying to outdo one another with sales, reductions and promotions. The name Black Friday has been around since the 1960s. On one such day, traffic in Philadelphia was so busy that the cars’ exhaust fumes painted the city black.

Seasonal marketing

It should come as no surprise that Black Friday is also gaining in popularity in Europe. The date fits perfectly in the yearly calendars of retailers. A month before Christmas, consumers are slowly getting into the buying mood and they’re particularly interested in bargains. Retailers that use that opportunity adequately, are likely to generate extra revenue. In this article we’ll consider the ways e-commerce businesses can prepare themselves for Black Friday. This advice isn’t just applicable to Black Friday, but to all kinds of seasonal marketing. Our tips are as useful for other peak moments, such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Christmas.

A good preparation begins in time, because there’s a lot to do. We’ll give suggestions on how to use the following optimally.

Website

The one thing that matters most is creating excitement. That means you’ll have to start dropping teasers in time to build up the tension. A few more things to keep in mind:

  • Publish relevant and high-quality blog articles.
  • Create specific landing pages.
  • Ensure that positive reviews catch the eye on your website, so they can inspire confidence in new visitors.
  • Upselling and cross-selling are excellent ways to make those visitors who are already actively looking for special promotions spend more money.
  • Use last minute offers and countdown clocks to create a sense of urgency.
  • Give your website a distinct face on the day itself, in the same way you’d decorate a physical store. You could, for example, adopt a special Black Friday template.
  • Use extra buyer incentives, such as free shipping.
  • Assure that the technology is ready to handle the extra visitors. Make your website mobile-friendly.

Content

Content is King, a mantra which is no different on Black Friday. In this neck of the woods, we’re not yet familiar with the overkill of Black Friday content that grips the internet in the USA. To stand out it’s nevertheless important to do well. Both Google and your potential clients appreciate original angles, useful information and entertainment value.

E-mail marketing

E-mail marketing is one of the best strategies to turn Black Friday into a success. A 2015 American study reveals e-mail marketing as the main channel, accounting for 25,1% of all Black Friday purchases of that year.

A good e-mail campaign shies away from being pushy, instead giving clients and hot prospects the feeling that they’re receiving a VIP treatment. Reward their loyalty and interest with exclusive offers. Existing clients are in general more sensitive to loyalty programs featuring discounts and freebies. Potential clients, on the other hand, are best approached with concrete “now-or-never” offers.

Social media

Black Friday is a moment to capitalize on the efforts you’ve made to build a fan base throughout the year. Reward your fans and followers with the best sales, just for them – using a special landing page – as well as with a couple of great blog articles.

SEO

Keyword research is a must if you want your Black Friday offers to be found. Here are a couple of tips:

  • ‘Black Friday’ is a search term that peaks briefly and disappears off the radar for most of the rest of the year. That means the competition is huge during the days which matter most. Be creative with long-tail keywords. Why not link ‘Black Friday’ to the name of a product or a brand? Don’t just think about keywords – it’s even more important to keep the intention of the surfer in mind. Google Trends can be a source of inspiration.
  • Quality content – the kind being read and shared – provides one of the best ways to rank high in Black Friday search results.
  • Start your Black Friday SEO activities early. SEO needs time. It’s a good idea to keep an indexable Black Friday landing page online throughout the year, which you update once and again.

SEA

SEO needs time, SEA has an immediate effect. Search Engine Advertising can be a valuable strategy for one-off events like Black Friday.

  • Begin in good time, for example at the beginning of November, and use your advertising campaign to raise excitement.
  • Employ re-marketing: people who’ve already shown an interest are your best prospects.
  • Advertise concrete offers and use percentages: 25% works better than €25.

Home pages and affiliates

Black Friday home pages and affiliate sites are springing up like mushrooms. Being present on some of those will undoubtedly boost the traffic on your page.

And last but not least

When Black Friday turns into Saturday, you’ve not just closed a campaign (and hopefully a successful one at that). You’ve also made a new start. This is the perfect moment to focus on re-marketing strategies that might turn the bargain hunters into regulars. Use Google Analytics data to see which actions have worked and what you can do better next year.