Black Friday has little competition when it comes to marketing today. Forbes reported that the USA saw $7.2BN in digital sales alone on Black Friday.
Consumers are eager to make purchases and businesses offer their details for Black Friday to please their buyers.
But just like any other holiday season, the actual event lasts only a few days of the year. So your sales for the rest of the year can dip seriously unless you as a marketer can do something to keep the customers returning for more.
And besides, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are typically characterized by tons of deals, offers, and discounts. All these, while attractive, can hurt your profitability and lower your revenue. If done too often, discounting can damage your reputation too.
So the question is: what are the other marketing strategies that you can use for the rest of the year?
Here are 7 Black Friday marketing ideas that you can use for the rest of the year.
1. Build a Special Experience
A discount offer can bring the customer to your online store but after that, their shopping experience plays a big role in influencing their buying decision. Who’d want to buy from a store that’s got 60% off but the site is so awful it’s a headache to look for the product they came for?
Also, you can offer discounts only for a limited time, but whatever you do to improve their shopping experience is more lasting.
How to build a great shopping experience for your customers:
Surveys have found customers value digital shopping as valuable as prices.
Here are three very simple things online stores can do to improve the experience without incurring significant costs to them or their customers:
- Communicate clearly: Use simple language. Customers shouldn’t have to make efforts to understand what you’re trying to tell them. Or what your Black Friday deal is.
- Offer a live chat: A live chat not only answers your customers’ questions but also shows you care. Encourage customers to use chats.
- Be transparent in pricing: It would be awesome if you can offer free shipping, but if you can’t, always be transparent about shipping or related costs.
Remember, it doesn’t matter how good your Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials are if your online store sucks. Before you even think of running killer Black Friday marketing ideas, start by improving your eCommerce experience.
2. Run Referral Programs
You don’t want your customers to drive away and never return, since festive discounts or Black Friday special offers can only last so long. That’s where referral programs can be a great help – especially for Black Friday marketing ideas.
Referral programs can help you reach new customers through the network of your existing customers.
Here’s an outline of how referral programs can be run to improve your Black Friday marketing:
- Define what value you will offer: What do you intend to offer in exchange for references? No, it doesn’t always have to be money. It can be priority delivery, access to limited edition products, free gift packing and so on.
- Check the numbers: While a referral program is a great idea, you want to know the math. Put down in a spreadsheet the costs involved and the benefits. Set goals and begin with realistic expectation:
- Begin the action: Send out great emails and other communications to get the program up and running. Also, tweak things in your marketing automation.
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3. Keep Customers Engaged for an Upsell
Your customer lifetime value depends upon a number of factors. However, they most certainly are worth a lot more than that $19 coloring-pencil set they bought last spring. Naturally, there are tremendous opportunities for you to cross-sell and upsell.
When thinking about Cyber Monday and Black Friday marketing, don’t only try to get customers to purchase your special offers. Getting these customers to buy larger items than their Black Friday deals will improve your revenue in a big way.
Also, craft a series of emails that your readers will enjoy reading. That means you always put your readers’ preferences before your own.
Here are some actions you can take to increase your Black Friday sales:
- Be inspiring, not selling: In the example above, Canva inspires recipients and reminds them of their potential to do more. With that, people are more open to read about the next topic that the email talks about: The Editing Suite.
- Consider bundling products: If you can put together products that offer better combined value to the customer, nothing like it. Despite the upsell, customers would love it. This is an easy way to take your Black Friday sales up a level.
- Segment where possible: Can you break down the list per their interests, demographics or anything that will help you talk to your customers better? Do that the first thing and you can send creative Black Friday content to the right people. This will have a far greater impact on your Black Friday sale.
4. Improve Your Data Quality
Your mailing list is one of your most powerful marketing assets, right? Naturally you want to keep it clean and updated all the time and maintain a high-quality list.
Here’s what you can do to improve your data quality for a better Black Friday marketing strategy:
- Understand what email data quality means: Different types of email addresses have different value for your business. Disposable email addresses, for example, have little to zero value in terms of future engagement.
- Clean your list: Select a bulk email validator that can run your mailing lists past comprehensive tests and reliably tell you which all email addresses on your list are SafeToSend and which ones are risky, disposable, accept-all, plain dead and so on.
- Set up re-engagement campaigns: You may want to reach out to recipients you’ve placed in a suppressed list although they showed near-zero open rates. Create targeted campaigns to get them re-interested in what you have to offer.
Email marketing is essential for successful Black Friday marketing, and the better your mailing list, the better your campaigns will be. By focusing on improving this data, you will achieve far stronger Black Friday marketing results.
5. Re-Engage Cart Abandonments
Wouldn’t it be great if you could simply bring abandoned carts back into your fold with intelligently crafted emails? Imagine how much of an impact this would have on your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Here’s what can be done to improve cart abandonment this holiday season:
- Appeal to the emotions: Short sentences like “We miss you!” provide an invaluable human connection in emails.
- *Add social proof: *Social proof in the form of reviews will add confidence to the customers’ decisions, making them more likely to buy.
- Keep it short: Don’t waste your customers time – be brief, engaging and direct.
- Design a good flow: Send 3 or 4 emails, the first within a few hours from the time the cart was abandoned. In the last one, consider offering a special, limited period discount.
The following email from Coursera focuses on what all recipients can learn. Even the CTA says “See Catalog”, and not “Buy the Course”.
6. Polish Up Your Marketing Processes
Sounds like a vague, generalized sentence right off the bat, right?
Well, unfortunately, this sweeping statement hides behind it an important secret: In the eagerness to do all the fine-tuning and detailing, organizations occasionally miss out on the bigger picture.
Here are the three dimensions of the bigger picture to remember for better Black Friday marketing campaigns:
- Review your training: Have you updated your teams’ training, made appropriate changes in SOPs, and shared the overall big picture to reflect the changes in your marketing approach?
- Review your lead touchpoints: Review the quality of leads or mailing lists. Does a particular channel (e.g. a webinar sign-up form) give you the lowest quality email addresses? Real-time email verification can stop bad emails from entering your mailing lists and allow prospects to correct typos.
- Review your processes: Look at your processes from the POV of the buyer. Are there places you can make things easier, safer, faster for your customers? With all the efforts and resources you’re putting in, you don’t want prospects to land on your website or storefront, only to be met with a less-than satisfactory experience.
7. Take a Stand for a Cause
This is more of a broad positioning strategy and not a specific marketing strategy. This may not work for all brands, but if it works for yours, it’s an excellent way to tap into more Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
First, look at the following:
Yorkshire Tea took a strong stand in the ongoing Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, going to the extent of even asking customers to distance themselves from their brand if they didn’t believe in anti-racism.
Such actions make brands go beyond being just brands and become expressions of the values and ethics that their consumers hold close to their hearts.
Here are two different routes companies can take:
- Encourage ethical consumption: You could consider highlighting the importance of ethical consumption and reducing waste. For instance, you could talk about how your products are made with little to no environmental damage.
- Seize the day: This may not happen often, but when there’s an important social event you may want to be bold in showing your priorities can rise above commercial considerations.
For example, Lush (below) prominently displayed the BLM message. They let this theme overshadow their above-the-fold product display, clearly showing a few things mattered for them way above business.
Continuing the momentum of a shopping festival round the year is never an easy task for marketers. Engaging buyers, nurturing their loyalty and making sure you can create novel programs for your buyers require marketers to think out of the box. Creative Black Friday deals and campaigns are important, but you want to continue the sales after this shopping season.
From sending emails to reverse cart abandonments and building irresistible referral programs to improving your marketing asset quality and taking a stand, marketers must constantly experiment with what works and what doesn’t.
In many cases, marketers will realize that while Black Friday marketing ideas cannot be implemented all through the year, the spirit of going out of the way to make buyers feel special is certainly an achievable goal. In the end, marketers that create a great experience and great value for their buyers win big – and this will have a far greater impact than just running great campaigns over the holiday shopping season.
About the Author
Mayank is Partnership Manager at QuickEmailVerification. In addition to the exciting world of email and email marketing, he enjoys solving math puzzles.