Written by James Scherer
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The Black Friday Holiday Marketing Guide

You know Black Friday is a huge retail opportunity.

Last year 87 million shoppers participated in Black Friday, and online sales alone reached 2.4 billion dollars on the day (more than 5 billion for the weekend including Cyber Monday).

It’s a big deal.

How can your business take full advantage?

This article will give you a simple 3-step guide proven to work:

  1. Creating an online promotion to boost awareness and buzz
  2. Using email marketing to ensure the success of your promotion
  3. Using marketing automation to turn your promotion leads into sales

And all of this takes only an hour or two to set up (most of which is creating emails). You still have time before Black Friday to complete this whole 3-part strategy!


Step 1: Run a Black Friday Contest

Your business may have run an online promotion in the past to drive social media engagement, and that’s all well and good.

But the real value of a contest is in lead generation: building a list of people who share an interest in your products.

Creating the referral contest below took me about 5 minutes...

black friday marketing

Why this contest page is optimized for conversion:

  • Loud, clear headline which includes value of prize
  • Clean, professional image
  • Simple form fields which don’t ask too much of the entrant
  • Contrasting CTA button
  • Image featuring a product you could purchase with the prize
  • 3-step process, telling people exactly what to do and what to expect

By running a referral promotion, I dramatically increase the chance of the promotion being shared (see Step #3 in the contest page above) by incentivizing it. At the end of the contest I simply select the entrant who has referred the most people (or randomize selection of those who have tied for the most).

To download 101 contest prize ideas, just click here!

This kind of contest, centered around a holiday and with a large prize, will often generate several thousand new prospective customers for your business, but let’s see if we can’t get a bit better...


Step 2: Make it Successful with Email

Many contest providers have a built-in email marketing component in their platform, including Wishpond (though ours is significantly more than just an auto-respond tool, as you’ll see later on).

Contacting your contest entrants via email is a great way to start a relationship with them. Making that email personal is even better. whatever you do, avoid templated emails which make your business sound like it’s run by a robot.

As soon as someone enters your referral promotion, set up a personal email to be automatically sent.

Here’s what that looks like in Wishpond’s tool:

black friday marketing

black friday marketing

So this is a very simple (don’t get scared) bit of marketing automation. Essentially it defines a set of automatic actions based on conditions being met. Those conditions are, in this case, simply converting on your promotion page.

Once someone converts they’re immediately sent a personalized “thank you” email, and then the next day a “remember to share with your friends!” email.

You’d be surprised how effective that reminder email can be in the success of your promotion. A little nudge can go a long way.

Top Tip for Emails:

  • Keep it as personal as possible. Introduce yourself and use merge tags to send every email to the person by name.
  • Briefly mention how excited you are for the upcoming Black Friday sale.
  • Remind people to share (both in the Thank You and the Reminder email) and include social share buttons to make it easier for them to do so.
  • Also be sure to mention a few of your best-selling products to encourage purchasing down the line.

But what about after your promotion has ended? What do you do with those thousands of prospective customers now in your leads database?

Let’s turn “prospective” into “loyal.”


Step 3: Nurture Entrants into Sales with Marketing Automation

You might think that marketing automation is only for tech startups or huge B2B corporations.

You’d be wrong. Retailers (both online and brick-and-mortar) can get a lot out of marketing automation if they know how to go about it.

Here’s a simple example:

Step #1: Create a List (i.e. segment of your email contacts) generated from your Black Friday promotion:

black friday marketing

Step #2: Create a simple, two or three-email workflow which A) thanks them for their participation in your promotion B) Gives them a 10% discount code usable until January 5th, and C) Notifies them of upcoming sales (you already know they’re interested in discounts from your promotion):

black friday marketing

Step #3: Once your automation flow is completed, add leads to a larger list of people who haven’t bought but are likely interested in your products.

I’ve called it simply “prospective customers” in the example below. Use a manual newsletter mailout whenever you have a sale, discount or promotion they might like.

black friday marketing


Bonus Tip to Turn it Up a Notch

Before I dive into this tip, let me show you an example of a “customer-nurturing” email sent to my colleague:

black friday marketing

At first glance this looks great: professional layout, simple message (sale products) and great imagery.

But there’s a couple problems with this email - problems that are solved very simply by a solid marketing automation platform…

  • My colleague is a guy and this email includes two products (underlined above) for women.
  • My colleague bought a full range of snowboarding gear last year: the boots, the jacket, the snowboard, the bindings - all of it. And yet this email prompts him to buy it again.

Marketing automation can help. Marketing automation can ensure your leads and customers are only pitched products and content they’re actually interested in.

Whether you do it manually or set up lead properties within your checkout process, to truly get the most out of your email campaigns you need to be organizing your leads into segments to optimize them for re-purchasing.

Here are the stats on the effect of segmented communication:

According to Mailchimp, segmented email campaigns had 14.21% higher open rates, 59.82% higher click-through rates, 2.1% lower bounce-rates and 8.68% lower unsubscribe rates.

Here’s how I would create an email segment of male prospective customers:

black friday marketing

Provided you set your products as lead properties, you could do the exact same thing based on what a customer had purchased, allowing you to send emails to selections of your customers, prospective customers and leads based on their purchase history or interests.

Wrapping it Up

Black Friday is right around the corner, so get cracking!

If you need a hand setting any of this up or have a few questions before you get started, don't’ hesitate to reach out to me in the comment section below or by emailing support@wishpond.com.

Related Reading:

To download 101 contest prize ideas, just click here!

wishpond facebook contest

Written by James Scherer

James Scherer is the content editor at Wishpond. When he's not writing or designing for Wishpond he's risking his life biking around the city. Reach out to him on Twitter @JDScherer.