Black Friday will fall on 27 November 2020, which means you have less than two months left to prepare. Ideally, you will have already been thinking about what promotions you're going to run and how you're going to shout about them for a couple of months now. But, if you haven't, the second-best time to start is right now.
Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping events of the year, as it falls at a time when people are doing their Christmas shopping. Plus, everyone loves a bargain! It's a difficult time to stand out under the best circumstances, but 2020 has been a tumultuous year for the majority of businesses, due to the uncertainty around the coronavirus. This means your competitors will be doing everything they can to ensure their Black Friday is a success. You can still attract plenty of customers, though — you just need to prepare accordingly.
Here, we'll share our top tips on what you need to do in the lead-up to one of the biggest shopping days of the year to ensure you maximise your ecommerce sales.
Choose your products ASAP (and do it carefully)
It's a good idea to choose the products you're planning to promote in your Black Friday campaigns as soon as possible. This will allow you to ensure your stock levels are where they should be, give you a chance to spend a good amount of time coming up with your strategy, and provide you with the time you need to create any necessary marketing materials.
There are several things you need to think about when choosing which products to promote this Black Friday, and the factors might be slightly different this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is because a lot of shoppers' lifestyles and financial situations may have changed quite dramatically over the last six months. As a result, previous best-sellers may no longer be relevant.
Take a close look at your recent sales data to see what people have actually been buying lately. If you sell seasonal products, it's also a good idea to keep a close eye on this information in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, as things could change.
You also won't want to run a promotion only to find that you sell out of a particular product very quickly, missing out on further sales. So, you should only be looking to discount and promote items that you're confident you won't run out of. Your customers will get frustrated if they're excited by your ads but are then taken to a page on your website that says, "out of stock".
It's vital that you keep your profit margins in mind, too. As a small business owner, you might not be able to cut your prices across the board, so think about whether it's worth only focusing on the high-ticket items that you stock.
Make sure your site is going to offer the best possible user experience
The lead-up to Black Friday is the perfect time to take a look at your website and ensure it's going to offer the best possible user experience for those who visit on the day. It's likely a lot of new people will be introduced to your brand, and your website could be put under a lot of strain with a dramatic increase in visitors. You want to give off a great first impression and ensure poor performance doesn't deter purchasing.
Check that your website is going to load quickly, will perform well on mobile, and has easy-to-use navigation. You'll also want to start building your Black Friday sales pages, making sure that they include all of the information customers both new and old will need. For example, do you typically have a different returns policy for sales, or will delivery times be different for Black Friday purchases? You need to make any details like this easy to find, so potential customers are confident when buying from you.
Decide on your strategy
The best and most successful Black Friday sales are those that have a strong strategy behind them. There are two main things you need to consider: which methods are you going to use to promote your sale, and how are you going to build loyalty with new customers who find you on Black Friday?
There are lots of different ways to promote your sale, but some of the simplest and most effective include using paid search ads, sending alerts to your mailing list, posting on social media, and working with relevant influencers or publications on an affiliate basis. You could also use content to promote your Black Friday deals — for example, by creating Black Friday gift guides. You know your industry and customers best, so you'll have to think carefully about which routes you're going to use.
In terms of building a relationship and loyalty with new customers, after each Black Friday purchase, consider sending the buyer a discount code that they can use on their next purchase. Or, if you've been thinking about introducing a loyalty scheme that awards shoppers with money off once they've spent a certain amount with you, Black Friday could be the ideal time to pull the trigger. Simply getting new customers to sign up to your newsletter during checkout can be very fruitful, as you'll be able to update them about any future sales or product launches they might be interested in. Black Friday doesn't just have to benefit you on the day — if you strategise, you could continue reaping the rewards long after your sale has finished.
Build anticipation around your Black Friday sale
A lot of shoppers make plans for Black Friday ahead of time, so they know which websites to visit, what kinds of savings they want to get, and which products they're most interested in. So, it'll pay to start promoting your Black Friday deals early.
Don't assume your customers will automatically know you'll be running Black Friday promotions — especially this year when things in the ecommerce space have been quite different. You're going to have to shout about your promotions ahead of time to get the word out.
The week before Black Friday, add a banner to your website that makes it obvious you're going to be taking part in the shopping event and gives people an idea of which kinds of products will be included in your sale. It's also a good idea to start posting on social media about your plans around a week before, and you could even encourage people to sign up to your mailing list by promising them early access to deals. Not only will this help to build anticipation, but it will also all you to contact these customers about discounts and new releases once your sale has wrapped up.
Create click-worthy paid search ads
If you're going to make paid search ads part of your Black Friday strategy (and we would recommend that you do), it's a good idea to make these around a week before the event. This will help to ensure they're up to date while leaving enough time to make tweaks should they be rejected by the platform.
Look into what your competitors have done for Black Friday in previous years. It's also worth checking whether any similar companies have started to promote their deals in advance, as this will give you a clearer idea of what you're going to be up against. Signing up to your competitors' mailing lists, regularly visiting their websites, and looking for hints on their social media accounts will allow you to adjust your strategy accordingly.
When it comes to putting your ads together, make sure any important information about your sale is included, so people know exactly what they're going to get when they click through to your site. It's also vital that you give your ads a sense of urgency by making it very clear that the discounts you're offering will be available for a limited time only. Including a call to action like "buy now" can make all the difference, and you'll also want to add your USPs. For example, you should mention if you offer free or next-day delivery. This could be enough to help you stand out from the crowd when everyone's trying to get customers' attention.
If you're thinking about promoting your Black Friday deals through Google Shopping, you can also create Merchant Promotions. These allow you to promote your offers directly on the search engine results pages. Put these together ahead of Black Friday to ensure that your discounts will show up directly on the Google Shopping page, where people could be searching for your products.
Black Friday is one of the most exciting and potentially profitable times in the ecommerce calendar, but you need to ensure you're well-prepared to make the most of it. Take these tips on board and you'll be well on your way.
Here at Glass Digital, we can help with all of your organic search, PPC, and affiliate campaigns, whether you're preparing for Black Friday or looking to boost your online visibility long-term. If you're feeling a little bit lost, or just don't have the time to devote to your marketing, get in touch and we'll be more than happy to help.
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