Innovative Black Friday Marketing Concepts for 2021
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is the day after American Thanksgiving. This marks the start of the Christmas shopping season for consumers, meaning retailers often heavily promote their stores and markdown prices to entice shoppers to buy products both online and offline.
What started as a one-day event has become a four-day shopping event, ending on Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is essentially the same type of event as Black Friday, falling on the Monday after Thanksgiving, with promotions targeted at online buyers.
Typically, prices are marked down for the entire four days. Some businesses offer different types of discounts or Black Friday deals for each of the four days. A fashion retailer, for example, may offer 50% off everything on Black Friday, Buy One Get One Free on Saturday, 30% off sweaters on Sunday, and 50% off online purchases on Monday.
There are no rules for these four days, so you have the freedom to do your Black Friday marketing however you’d like to better entice purchases.
The Real Black Friday Meaning
Black Friday may look business-driven, but it’s the consumers who actually started this shopping event. It was first observed in Philadelphia, where there was always high traffic the day after Thanksgiving. Though the original Black Friday, a term coined in 1961, actually had a lot less to do with shopping, today it’s an event that helps retailers move from red to black before the end of the year. Read our Black Friday facts to learn more about what makes this day special.
Why Is Black Friday Marketing Important?
SaleCycle reported that in 2019, Black Friday online sales surpassed all previous records, reaching $7.4 billion, up by $1.2 billion from 2018’s $6.2 billion record. That’s huge! This is a serious holiday that every merchant with an online or brick and mortar store should observe. Our Black Friday tips will help you get a cut of this $90.14 billion pie so you can settle in for a prosperous holiday season.
10 Creative Black Friday Marketing Ideas
1. A Deal Every Hour
For high-traffic stores, having an hourly deal covers several bases at once. Not only does it encourage spending, but by keeping your Black Friday deals a surprise and changing them often, it keeps your customers coming back.
It helps to offer Black Friday deals on all items, in addition to the Deal of the Hour. For example, if you offer 40 percent off everything, then your Deal of the Hour could be 50 percent off or higher, further discounts on particular brands or items, or other combinations of sales.
To run a sale like this, I recommend using an app that allows you to schedule sales, such as Bold Discounts. This app is great for staying organised throughout this fast-paced, important weekend, so it’s well worth the investment. Plus, it can take care of some of the admin and logistics, so you can schedule sales to go live when you’re not near your computer.
When promoting your Deal of the Hour, consider having a product post created on all social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Since you’ll be busier than usual that day, I recommend automating your social media posts in advance with a tool like Buffer.
Managing a Deal of the Hour requires the efforts of a team to manage social media, graphics, customer inquiries, and administrative work. If you’re currently a solopreneur, this may not be the best Black Friday marketing idea for you.
2. Produce a Gift Guide
Gift Guides allow customers (particularly first-time customers buying gifts for friends) to find you during the holiday season. A gift guide not only highlights your products or deals, but it also gives a sense of direction for novices shopping for gifts. Crossfit Lovers, "Crossfit Gifts for Her," "Crossfit Gifts for Him," "Funny Crossfit Gifts," and "Crossfit Gifts for Coaches" are all examples of gift idea searches a Crossfit lover might use to find you if you were selling Crossfit gear.
There are two ways to easily create a gift guide: by creating a collection, or by writing a gift ideas blog post.
- To curate a collection on Shopify, create a product tag with the same name. Then, go to all of the product pages that you want featured in this gift guide and add the product tag. Shopify will automatically curate the collection.
- Creating a blog post in Shopify is a little more work, but can be a more effective SEO strategy. Consider making it a list. 40 Gifts for Crossfit Fans, for example.If you want to outrank the competition on Google for similar gift guides, look at what they’re doing. Google "gifts for crossfit lovers" and look for the highest numbered article, then write a post that features more products to encourage a better click-through.
To get more traffic to your gift guides, feature them on your homepage or other places on your website where they’ll get visibility. Emailing the Gift Guides to customers is also a great way to have customers share the guide with friends and family ahead of the holiday season. If you choose to make your gift guide a blog post, you can share it on social media. I recommend boosting the post through Facebook Ads to drive more traffic to it. Don’t forget to leverage the Facebook Pixel so you can track the performance of sales from your gift guide.
3. Every purchase comes with a free gift.
Offering a free gift is a fun Black Friday deal for shoppers. With Oberlo, you’ll find several products for under $2.00. With each order, you can give away a free gift to every customer who orders over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period. Items that work best for this have cheap or free shipping.
You’ll want to feature the free gift on your homepage banner to ensure visibility. You can set minimums, such as "with every $300 purchase, get a free gift," or you can provide it to every customer who orders if you have high margins.
If you sell women’s fashion items, you can give away a free bracelet or earrings. In men’s fashion, you can give away cufflinks. For the home decor niche, you can give away a free vase. And if you sell beauty products, you can give away a makeup brush or sponge.
4. Extend your Black Friday sale through Cyber Monday.
An effective Black Friday marketing idea that has become much more common is extending your sale. Black Friday used to be the main day for retailers to have their best sales, but now the money keeps rolling in till Cyber Monday. As a result, most e-commerce retailers extend their sales through the full four days. By extending your sales, you’ll be able to gain more customers and profits. You can even start earlier, like Best Buy did, with an early Black Friday sale.
Since Black Friday deals tend to be the most popular, you’ll want to focus your energy on those first. One approach would be to offer great deals on all your products on Black Friday, and follow this on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday with offers only on your best-selling items.
5. Making Use of Your Email List
When it comes to email marketing for Black Friday, there are two approaches.
- Previous Customers Contact your former customers and offer them a special VIP discount code that gives them additional savings when they buy. Since they’ve already bought from you before, they’ll be more likely to buy from you again. If they’ve bought within the past 30 days, your brand will be fresh in their minds, so be sure to include those people as well. If you don’t have an email list, you may want to run some ads to build your list before Black Friday so that you can email them during the weekend.
- Potential customers When it comes to sending emails to potential customers, tell them the deals you’ll have that day so that they keep checking back online. If you’re planning on promoting specific items, make sure their images are clickable so people can go directly to the product pages to make their purchases. Be sure to pay attention to your email subject lines. If they sound too promotional, they might end up in your subscribers’ spam folders.
6. Don’t miss out on the benefits of SMS
If email sounds kind of obvious and many don’t even question it when planning their marketing campaigns, SMS still has to work much harder to make it to the list. However, as old-school as it may sound in comparison to other communication methods, SMS is actually one of not that many channels that can cut through the noise and ensure that your audience hears what you’re saying. Did you really not know about 98% open rates?
If you’re wondering how you can benefit from it during Black Friday this year, here are two suggestions:
- Use it to complement your email marketing. When it comes to content, sure – SMS can’t really compete with email newsletters since it’s very brief and straightforward. But that’s exactly why those two work so well in tandem. While it might take time until someone even opens your email, SMS is actually the opposite – since it's read almost immediately, it’s a perfect channel to grab attention when it’s needed. This also works great for time-sensitive deals, which Black Friday is all about.
- Improve your customer experience. It’s the little things in life that count, right? SMS marketing can be used in many different ways, and every time you put time and effort into crafting a valuable message for your customers, it adds up to their overall experience. Use it to send deals and promotions, inform your subscribers about exclusive deals, or improve their post-purchase experience by providing order status updates.
7. Provide a Sneak Peek at Black Friday Offers
An easy Black Friday marketing approach is to create a gif or teaser video of products that will be on sale, while mentioning their promotion before the big day. Remember to promote the sneak peek on your social media accounts. This builds anticipation for your Black Friday deals, making people "line up" at your online store ready for the sale.
8. Use Hashtags to Your Advantage
When running creative Black Friday campaigns, you should be taking advantage of black Friday-focused Instagram hashtags in addition to your regular hashtags. You should use hashtags like #blackfriday #cybermonday #sale #blackfridaysale #blackfridaydeals.This will allow you to reach customers who are specifically looking for deals these days.
Using these types of hashtags works particularly well for everyday products like fashion, home decor, and electronics. If you sell more niche products, this may not work as well as people are less likely to search for these types of products under Black Friday hashtags. If your products are not for a larger audience, consider focusing on the niche hashtags that normally work well for you.
9. Increase Your Advertising Budget
During the Black Friday weekend, advertisers will be spending way more than usual. The return on Black Friday sales is seen by many as a major investment, justifying the increased spending. This means that the cost per click (CPC) will be higher than usual. If you plan to advertise on Facebook, consider increasing your ad spend a few days before Black Friday. This will give the ad enough time to optimise for conversions and allow you to adjust and tweak along the way before the big day.
By spending more money than you usually do, you’ll be more likely to be noticed by potential customers. This is another reason why it’s essential to mention Black Friday deals or have appealing discounts to attract people’s attention. People will be ready to buy if they’re presented with the right offer, at the right price, at the right time. Black Friday weekend is all of this. A steep discount will help you attract customers at the right price.
10. Make a Promotional Content Calendar
As Black Friday draws nearer, you’ll want to solidify your overall strategy. A great first step is to create a content calendar with what assets and content you want to share and when. Aim to plan a month ahead and start your promotions the week of Black Friday so that your customers know you will be offering deals. Your calendar should include:
- New graphics and banners: You should create graphics for social media posts and email campaigns. You’ll also need to create a new homepage banner graphic as well as graphics for any promotional video clips.
- Social media posts: Automating your social media posts ahead of time will make your life easier. Write out the copy with the relevant hashtags in advance, then use Buffer for marketing automation. Pay attention to where your engaged followers are located to ensure that you post at the best time for them to see it.
- Creative and copy: You’ll want to have your creative and copy completed for emails, social media, ads, articles, and more.
- Promotions: Run the numbers to figure out how much of a discount you can offer your customers without affecting your margins too greatly. If you offer VIP discounts to some customers for additional savings, you’ll want to ensure that you’re still making a profit. Keep in mind that you’ll be spending more on advertising and paying for the actual products, so be sure to take those costs into account as well.