As an eCommerce business owner, knowing how to execute a powerful Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaign during the most important time of the year is essential to the survival of the company.
In order to outperform previous years sales, make a profit and acquire new customers, you must have a good supply of inventory, a well-executed email marketing campaign using segmentation and timely, a solid content marketing strategy through Facebook, Google, Pinterest and other platforms, advertising that get huge amounts of attention all through amazing design and video production.
I will break down each of these elements below.
Stock up on Inventory
When I worked in retail at a home and hardware franchise store, I would look up the sales stats from previous years. A history of sales gives you insights into which products sold at what price the previous year. I would record each month’s sales in separate columns in a spreadsheet and estimate the number of sales I expect to have of those products. We had over 11,000 product types in the store, but only about 100 of them were best sellers.
In the hardware industry, there are certain products that sell every single day. These are what I call core products. Sales from these core products would generate sales of complementary products. These are products that accessorize or facilitate the use or functionality of core products. Think bread (core) and peanut butter (complimentary). Plan the products you would like to sell and estimate the volume of sales you want and anticipate.
Picking Price and Knowing Which Products to Discount
This is not a blog post on how to build a house, but I will use this example to show a strategy that may apply to your store.
For example, to build a house in South Africa, mortar is made from cement, stone and sand. The foundation is made from steel and a cement mix. The walls and roof structure is constructed with brick, timber and roof tiles. These products are the core products.
In order to make and move the cement mix, cut the steel and timber to the right lengths, and tack everything together in a safe and fast way, other products are needed. These may include, wheelbarrows, shovels, cutting discs, saws, blades, nails, screws and a whole host of other items. These complementary products were usually also ordered in bulk for a major sale like Black Friday, but not always discounted. This meant that the profit margin for the store as a whole would not suffer as a result of a major sale happening. The idea is to make a small profit on the core products and maintain a good profit on complementary products.
The grocery and convenience industry employs the same tactics in their marketing and sales campaigns in order to ‘get people in the door’.
For Apple, their accessories and services products make more profit than iPhones, MacBooks and iPads themselves.
Online businesses can use a similar tactic. Discount products that usually are your bread and butter winners. Do not give them away, but offer them at a discount that is large enough to entice people to not want to miss out.
Use The Fear Of Missing Out To Your Advantage
Use FOMO, the fear of missing out, to your advantage. FOMO is a real emotion that people all over the world feel. Our fear comes in two forms.
- People want to be first and don’t want to feel disappointed if stock runs out.
- Saving money on things that they possibly could not afford or did not want to pay normal retail price for is a real deal. Everyone loves a good deal, and we brag about our ‘luck’ to our friends, family and social networks.
Black Friday/Cyber Monday only happens once a year. This creates urgency and a higher sense of need.
This explains why people line up outside store hours and hours ahead of the store opening up for the sale.
Another tactic that can be used is to limit the number of items you are willing to sell at a certain price. You may offer a 70% discount to the first 100 customers.
Email Marketing Segmentation
Email marketing segmentation is probably one of the most important and overlooked elements of email marketing. Segment your email list into relevant audiences so that you can speak to them based on their behavior and previous actions.
Communicate to your audience in a way that is personal empathetic and tells the story about the company. Reinforce your brand, values and purpose. It’s the perfect time of year to do so.
Klaviyo is a really effective email marketing tool that features, segmentation, split testing and behavior-based intelligence for e-commerce businesses.
If people have bought before, using Klaviyo, you are able to exclude those people from email campaigns and offer your products to those who have not bought that product. If people have shown interest in certain products Klaviyo emails can include recommended products and upsells based on this interest. This is achieved through the Shopify API integration.
They also offer advanced abandoned a cart segmentation for people who did not complete their checkout.
You can also automate emails for people who abandoned their cart and who may be interested in buying an upsell product.
Time Your Emails
Your customers are receiving Black Friday/Cyber Monday offers from multiple companies. Therefore, the timing of the emails is also important. Email marketing should communicate directly to your clients on a basic level and also to strategically place the business at the top of the inbox. You want your Black Friday/Cyber Monday offers to be seen and clicked. Test sending your emails on different days and at different times. Does your audience check their email first thing in the morning or do they check emails at lunchtime? Timing of the emails is very important.
Email marketing should communicate directly to your clients on a basic level and also to strategically place the business at the top of the inbox. You want your Black Friday/Cyber Monday offers to be seen and clicked. Test sending your emails on different days and at different times. Does your audience check their email first thing in the morning or do they check emails at lunchtime?
Split test your audiences as much as possible. Test different headlines subject lines preview text and other elements. Use emoji’s in the subject line to try to boost your open rates. Use the preview text to give a little bit of context and to get people to open your emails.
Create Content To Generate Engagement and Excitement
Awareness creates demand for a product. If people know about your product, they may be more likely to trust it to meet their needs and expectations. If they see a need, they make a decision to buy.
Content marketing is a very effective way to get your message and products out into the marketplace. People today are seeking community, seeking a greater purpose to follow and support companies that are doing great work. Your audience should still see the company culture, quality, attention to detail or service. Use this time of year to reinforce your company values and purpose.
Social marketing is used more and more to handle support queries from customers, to answer questions from potential customers. Posts are visible to everyone and are a key component to executing a powerful Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaign.
During the crazy season ensure that your content is engaging, fun, focuses on giving great value and service. This time of year is the busiest period of the year in retail and shopping. To handle the influx of orders, requests and support queries your business processes and support systems must be working effectively.
Advertising Campaigns to Boost Reach, Awareness and Sales
By far the most effective way to put deals in front of your potential and past customers is through effective Facebook, Google and Pinterest campaigns. Depending on your niche, Pinterest may not be a focus area for your business but the fact that Pinterest has launched video on their platform recently, and continue to attract a majority female audience goes to show that they are still a major network.
When it comes to Facebook Ads, ensure that you segment your audience according to
- Their interests,
- Product or collection page visits,
- Previous purchases, and
If you have tested ad campaigns on Facebook in the past, you may have tested and found winning interest groups that convert at a good profit. Retest audiences may not have performed well in the past. Especially lookalike audiences based on past purchases. If you have not advertised to these groups recently, they are probably the most likely audience to generate sales and engagement. Restart your lookalike audience testing through all Lookalike groups from 1% to 10%, each in a separate ad group. These audiences change through the life of an account.
The goal of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale may be to bank huge profits, but its can also be a good time of year to test and find new customers in areas that may not have performed well in the past.
Ad platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest thrive on high engagement. During a Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaign, people are more likely to react, comment and click.
New customers do cost more from an ad and support point view, but over time, through ongoing sales of both core and complementary products, they could become loyal customers and true advocates of the business.
Treat Google Ads in a similar way as Facebook Ads. Update your search ads with copy that mentions the sale of a particular product. Use extensions to maximize the visibility of your ads. Target keywords which exactly match the words used by people looking for deals.
Google Display for Gmail is also a great way to get in front of your customers in the promotions tab in Gmail or G Suite. A Gmail campaign is not a replacement for your email marketing campaign.
It goes without saying that great design that looks good to the eye and gives a good experience to the customer is important. This applies to both images as well as videos for ad campaigns, email marketing, social media or any other form of communication.
Ensure your Black Friday campaigns are:
- designed well,
- have a very clear call to action, and
- state specifically which products are on sale.
Be clear to showcase the irresistible offer.
We spoke about creating demand and excitement on your product earlier in this article. During this time of year, price is the driving force for the sale, but leading up to this time of year excitement and irresistibility needs to be communicated in other ways. This also refers to great branding and consistency when it comes to your business and it’s positioning.
Video advertising has become the most important element of advertising is the key to execute a powerful Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaign. Since video became the main feature on Facebook people spend more time on Facebook than ever before. The same applies to Instagram.
One of the most exciting things about Pinterest in 2019 is that they have just added video to their platform. We expect that Pinterest is going to generate more engagement, more impressions and more traffic to your website because of video.
Video also one of the best ways to grab attention. Video can outperform image and text ad performance when produced well, in a professional, clear and concise way, it
Add video into your library and into your toolbox of marketing tactics. Produce your videos in a professional and meaningful way that is short, between 15 seconds and two minutes depending on the platform it will be published.
Your videos prior to Black Friday should tell the story of your business, to generate emotion, empathy and reactions. The goal is to generate engagement and interest. Use video to entice new customers and to reinforce your message to existing customers.
Creating and executing a successful Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale requires preparation as well as targeted goals. Plan your campaign around products that are core and complementary. Create purposeful and segmented email marketing campaigns which speak the language of your audience. Use social media to generate excitement and anticipation. Use advertising campaigns to test and find audiences who you may not have reached in the past and focus on great design and video production which communicates your company message and values.
What tactics have you used in your business which worked well? Comment below.