By Stephanie Heasman, Director of Customer Success at Feefo
For many retailers, Black Friday has become even more important than Christmas, signalling the beginning of a weekend of frivolous gift buying and care free spending.
It’s become such a milestone weekend for shopping, that many consumers now prefer to take advantage of deals online and avoid the high street crowds altogether. This is where digital marketing really starts to kick in for many brands, but even the largest retailers can struggle to stand out from the competition during the Black Friday weekend. Not only is it about prices, it’s also about visibility, brand awareness and connecting with customers in the right way.
Whether you’ve been preparing all year for Black Friday or you’re just beginning to pull some ideas together, there are always improvements you can make to your digital marketing strategy to ensure you get the best possible return on your investment.
Run targeted email campaigns
If you want to keep your customers engaged, there’s no better way than with a carefully targeted weekly email. Include promotions, new offers and reminders about things they might be interested in. The more you can segment your data and target the emails, the better your results will be. For example, targeting a set of customers you know happen to be interested in a particular product due to time they’ve spent on your website or their purchase history. Black Friday can also provide an excellent opportunity to reconnect with inactive customers and renew your relationship with them.
Just bear in mind that most other retailers will have exactly the same idea, so try to make your email as unique and targeted as possible. You can even turn a series of emails into a joined-up narrative, like a countdown to the big day. You might even decide to have a ‘deal of the day’ in the run up to Black Friday to keep your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds. Build excitement, share in their anticipation and deliver what they’re looking for.
Also, pay attention to your subject line! This is where many businesses fail. Your subject line and pre-header can determine whether or not your email even gets opened. So put some thought into it and make it short, snappy and informative.
Get serious about social
Social media is different to email marketing. Not only does it provide a direct line to consumers, it does so in a public way that can generate awareness and hype around your offers and deals. It’s also a great way to converse with consumers and allow them to interact with your brand. Make sure you have a strong presence on social media, and have a person or team whose job it is to post, monitor and respond to comments.
Reply to positive comments, retweet your delighted customers, and of course – push out your offers in the run up to Black Friday weekend. You may want to design ‘social cards’ – images that are the perfect ratio to sit in someone’s feed and draw attention to your breathtaking deals. Don’t forget that you advertise on social media too. A sponsored post can land your message in front of a key demographic and earn you some clicks, likes and follows that you may otherwise miss.
Explore Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and build a landing page
Landing pages are incredible tools. They can be beautifully designed completely separately from your website, allowing you to push specific offers or services to those interested. What’s more, every time you create a landing page you can gather data about how people interact with it. What worked? What didn’t? Why did everybody click this button instead of filling out this form? Over time, you’ll get a knack for creating the perfect landing page, turning clicks into customers in no time.
Think of your landing page as a funnel. Have a nice strong message at the top and keep it very simple. As you scroll down, provide a little more information and maybe some proof points or statistics. Short, snappy and compelling is the order of the day. At the end, make sure to include a strong call to action and a form or link – don’t be afraid to tell visitors what you want them to do (‘call now!’, ‘book a consultation!’, ‘leave a message!’).
In terms of design, your landing page must be mobile optimised and look great on any device. You should also make sure not to include any large image files or videos that might slow the page down – you want it to load within 3 seconds, otherwise visitors may bounce off elsewhere.
Unfortunately, the ‘build it and they will come’ mentality won’t quite cut it with a landing page. To get visitors to see it, you’re going to have to lead them to it. That’s where PPC comes in. With so many consumers starting their product searches online, it’s important to have your PPC campaigns set up as early as the beginning of October in order to start building interest. Create some PPC ads that lead directly to your carefully devised landing page for a nice, streamlined sales funnel.
We’d recommend bumping up your usual PPC budget by around 30-40% for your Black Friday campaigns and use in-audience targeting through broad search terms to hone in on potential sales. Callout extensions such as ‘free delivery’ or ‘60% off’ can also be very effective.
Above all else, create a sense of urgency
It’s a frantic time for shoppers. They’ll be worried about missing out on deals and are willing to spend more than usual to save in the long run, particularly on an item they’ve been waiting for. Through your email campaigns, landing pages and PPC ads, create a developing sense of urgency from the beginning of October right through to Black Friday. Weekly countdowns that evolve into a daily countdown a great idea, and even your PPC ads can say things like, ‘7 days to go!’ encouraging customers to act. You don’t want to panic consumers, or make it seem like your stock is going to run out at any second, but you want to be present in their mind. Remember, people spend a lot of money during the Black Friday period and while it might seem impulsive, those purchases are often heavily considered and thought through. If your brand is present and with them throughout that consideration journey, and you present yourself at just the right time (popping up in search thanks to PPC, or landing in someone’s inbox), you’ll be their number one choice.