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Black Friday marketing tips, tactics & techniques for growing sales

If you’re a retailer, you don’t need us to tell you that Black Friday and Cyber Monday represent a big opportunity. Are you making the most of it? Find out by exploring our marketing tactics for maximising your sales.

Black Friday marketing tips, tactics & techniques for growing sales

Like them or loathe them, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now two of the biggest shopping events of the year — a big chance for both on and offline retailers to maximise sales ahead of the festive season.

Taking a proactive approach to your Black Friday marketing is key for cutting through the noise and connecting with customers in a time when they’re bombarded with discount codes and sale announcements.

That’s where we come in! Our team of digital marketing experts have curated a list of the best Black Friday marketing tactics you can use to help drive traffic to your site or footfall in-store, maximising sales over the weekend.

But first, let’s look at what we can expect from shoppers following a turbulent year. The way we shop is likely to have changed forever.

Black Friday sales predictions: 2020 vs 2021

In 2020, sales across the Black Friday period were expected to reach £8.4bn (up from £7.8bn in 2019), however, lockdown 2.0 forced most stores to close during the month of November, no doubt resulting in millions in lost retail sales.

At that time, we saw a rise in direct-to-consumer business models and a surge in e-commerce activity, with businesses forced to adapt and push their online offering like never before. As a result, British consumers spent a total £113 billion online throughout 2020, a rise of 48% on the year before.

But now lockdown restrictions have lifted, have shopping habits returned to pre-pandemic times? In short, no, and they may never do so.

Around 70% of Britons say buying online and on mobile phones have become their preferred shopping methods, up from less than half prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, online retail sales reached a record high of £10bn in July 2021, which is thought to be down to a reluctance to return to highstreet environments and a boom in spending with many returning to work.

As a result, a carefully considered digital marketing strategy has never been more important in connecting with customers and driving sales. Looking ahead at this year's big event, 34% of millennials are planning to spend more during Black Friday compared to last year, with 42% of parents with young kids looking to do the same. Here are our top tips to help you create an effective campaign this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, whoever your target audience are.

Our top tactics to boost Black Friday sales

1. Provide pre-Black Friday offers

A screen shot of Holland and Barrat's black friday invitation, saying Black Friday event coming soon in black font on a green background.

Capture the attention of potential customers ahead of your competition by offering exclusive, early access to deals and offers, in exchange for signing up to your email list.

Not only will this help you further down the line with your marketing efforts for the big event, it will also generate a network of subscribers you can tap into who have already shown an interest in your products for future campaigns.

Whether you use social media, pop ups or other list-building tactics such as referral programmes, you can adapt your messaging to include any additional benefits you want to offer to best suit different audiences, incentivising even more sign ups.

Whatever you choose to offer — free postage, further discounts, a free gift, or simply the original early bird saving — as the day approaches, let them know your virtual doors are open for business exclusively to those who signed up in time.

Some brands simply choose to start their Black Friday sale ahead of the actual weekend, without offering exclusive discounts to subscribers and instead opting for one set sale price for all shoppers. Some start a few days early (like makeup brand Nars), whereas others, like Amazon, have been known to run month-long Black Friday sales!

2. Use countdowns to create a sense of urgency

A screen shot of Vodafone's black friday countdown.

You can leverage shoppers’ fear of missing out (FOMO) on offers and discounts by creating a sense of urgency both ahead of, and during, your Black Friday campaign.

This tactic can be communicated in different ways — on social media, pop ups or in emails — but requires carefully constructed copy which is persuasive without sounding desperate, while the call to action needs to be direct and compelling, leaving them wanting to click whatever button takes them to your site.

Whether you use a clock to quite literally count down the seconds until they can shop your sale, or you send daily reminders directly into their inbox, this tactic will help to generate excitement around your campaign.

A sense of urgency can also be created using SMS marketing, which considering the growing popularity of using mobile to purchase items, is a tactic more brands should consider.

34% of shoppers are most likely to sign up to receive texts from your brand before their first purchase, as they’re motivated by a sense of urgency, like time-sensitive offers and perks. Over 57% reported the top incentive to sign up for SMS being a one-time discount code, making Black Friday a prime time to interact with these potential customers.

3. Provide exclusive channel-specific offers

Creating unique discount codes for use across different areas of your marketing activity will provide insight into the effectiveness of each channel in your overall Balck Friday campaign success.

This breakdown of your audiences by how they reach your site and make purchases over the period — whether that be via your social media platforms, your email list, a PPC ad or even via a podcast — the results will help to shape future campaign activity and budget planning.

Using social media to drum up sales for Black Friday

Sales from the platforms are increasingly becoming a key income stream for many businesses due to the evolution of shopping functionality across platforms like Facebook, Instagram and most recently, TikTok.

Sprout Social reported that 35% of consumers have purchased products or services directly from a social media platform — it’s a key channel for not only promoting your Black Friday campaign through both organic and paid activity, but also for engaging with customers throughout the event.

Whether you choose to utilise a network of social media influencers, providing each with a specific Black Friday code for them to promote to their followers, or simply create one code per platform, channel-specific discounts will make monitoring the impact of your marketing output much easier in a time where privacy restrictions and data tracking is more restricted.

A hidden message from Asos saying Happy Black Friday in their tweet.

4. Write personalised emails

Paid search and social media can be competitive and costly, but email still remains a relatively low-cost method for connecting with your audiences multiple times, with tailored offers and bespoke messaging arriving directly into their inbox.

Subscribers typically recognise they’re able to access greater savings if on your email list, and so they’re likely to hold out on purchasing from either you or your competitors until they know what exclusive offers they can get their hands on.

As they’re often inundated with marketing emails during this period, it’s important you time your messages well and tailor them to their needs — whether that be introducing a new customer to your best sellers or highlighting products existing customers have shown an interest in previously.

Another way you can use emails tactically is to encourage shoppers to create a wish list of products they want to purchase once your sale starts, ahead of time. Not only does that give them a chance to look thoroughly through your site, it also enables you to retarget them at a later date with product recommendations based on items they looked to purchase as well as similar or complementary products — but more on that later!

5. Perfect your pop-up strategy

From gathering email information, to promoting your Black Friday offers, pop-ups are a great tactic to prevent shoppers from leaving your site empty handed.

There are a number of ways you can use them, and at different times depending on where your customer is along their journey with you. If they’ve just arrived on your site, consider using a pop-up to greet them and gather important information like their email address as mentioned above.

If they’re revisiting the site during your sale, use it to display your range of Black Friday offers, for example how much they have to spend to get 20% off vs 30% off, or the discount code for free shipping should you have one.

If they’re about to leave the site without purchasing what’s in their basket, you can use a pop-up to remind them of what’s in there, or even show them similar products you think they might like, but haven’t seen yet.

You can also reward your VIP customers with a special discount code at checkout, by utilising e-commerce smart segmentation, which allows you to target specific audience groups with a specific message.

Don’t go overboard with the number of pop-ups though, as you’ll simply irritate your customers if they’re constantly interrupted while trying to shop!

6. Remember to retarget

Retargeting customers during the Black Friday period is key for maximising conversions and staying relevant in the midst of all the marketing noise surrounding shoppers at that time. There are different methods for retargeting depending on where they are in the customer journey.

Abandoned cart emails

Be sure to reach out to those who haven’t completed their purchase with an abandoned cart email, gently reminding them that they left something in their basket.

By highlighting what a great product it is — and potentially even offering further discounts to help them make up their minds — shoppers are more likely to reconsider and complete the sale.

Again, it’s important to carefully consider your tone of voice here and not be too pushy, using only encouraging and persuasive language as seen in this example from Ralph Lauren.

A screenshot of Ralph Lauren's abandoned cart email, which mentions which products a shopper has left behind.

Retargeting ads

There are a whole host of options when it comes to creating retargeting ads, including Google Ads Manager and Facebook Ads Manager, which allow you to get your products and Black Friday offers directly in front of those who have visited your site recently, but may have ended their customer journey before making a purchase.

However, before deciding on how to best invest in your paid media strategy, it’s important to consider where exactly those customers are most likely to be while online.

A proportion of your customer base may in fact use Bing as a search engine instead of Google, where you can often secure cheaper CPCs and higher click through rates due to less competition from other advertisers. Or, they may be on Instagram but not so much Facebook.

Understanding your audiences is key when determining your paid media tactics. For more information, take a look at our article on creating the perfect Black Friday PPC strategy!

Recommend future purchases

As you’ll know if you browse and shop with any seasoned online retailer, you can be retargeted with items you may also like based on your browsing history on a website.

This tactic also works throughout the year, where tailored communications designed to show you really know your customer well will help drive future sales, allowing you to promote new products on an ongoing basis.

7. Drive footfall & provide value to maximise in-store sales

Despite the rapid expansion of the e-commerce market over recent years, some customers still prefer to head into a store when making a purchase. This may be to simply to look and feel a product before committing to it, or they may wish to talk something through with a member of staff, for example when investing in electrical items or new technology.

At a time where shoppers can buy most products online from any retailer, stores must go beyond simply selling physical items. By creating unique in-person experiences for shoppers, you not only encourage them to browse your wider store and increase the number of things in their shopping basket, you also are able to create a buzz around your Black Friday offers by creating a sense of exclusivity around them.

Of course, not every retailer has a bricks-and-mortar presence, but if you’re lucky enough to, here are a number of things you can do to maximise sales in store over the Black Friday weekend, depending on your business and audiences.

  • Try serving food and drink - from cupcakes and coffee, to canapes and prosecco, provide something your customers can enjoy while they shop.

  • Offer added value with services - from free makeovers to customisable products, what could you offer shoppers in return for spending money at your store?

  • Hold an event or class - whether that be a yoga session or a craft-making class, draw people in with an experience relevant to your business.

  • Generate online buzz around your in-store experiences - encourage location tagging and hashtags for customers to share on social media. If you have the room, you could even create a designated Instagram wall shoppers would want to take pictures in front of and post to their channels.

8. Push loyalty programmes

Convert potential one-time customers into lifetime buyers with rewarding loyalty programmes. This retention strategy will allow you to maximise on your newly-acquired Black Friday traffic, providing shoppers with reasons to keep coming back for more and driving future revenue — as well as positioning yourself ideally for next year’s event!

Entice customers with additional discounts or benefits throughout your Black Friday marketing, and then continue communicating with them in between purchases with tailored messaging based on their purchase history. That way, you’ll be able to stay relevant and keep them interested in what you’ve got to offer throughout the year.

9. Post Black Friday offers

A screen shot of B&Qs Black Friday fortnight poster which offers discounts for two weeks.

Running a campaign that only spans Black Friday and Cyber Monday means you’re competing with almost every other business out there for consumer attention. Last year, inboxes around the world were inundated with more than 10billion promotional emails over the course of the super-sale weekend!

Rather than focusing all your marketing efforts on those limited few days, why not expand your offering to cover a longer time period? Although some worry that it removes the sense of urgency and exclusivity for customers, there is evidence to back up this tactic — customers that buy once are 32% likely to return, while customers that buy twice are in fact 54% likely to return.

By incentivising and encouraging repeat purchases during Black Friday, you can increase the likelihood customers will continue to return once your promotion ends.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday present huge opportunities to grow your audiences, drive sales and build long-standing customer relationships. These marketing tactics provide a great basis for doing so, but should you need any further help in developing your Black Friday strategy, our teams of digital experts are on hand to help.

Looking to supercharge your Black Friday and Cyber Monday retail success?

Get in touch with our marketing experts today

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Extreme

Digital Marketing Agency

As a digital marketing agency of over 18 years, we’re proud of it all. But with many, many happy clients, we’ve had to whittle it down a bit. Explore some of the digital magic team Extreme has worked for brands and businesses like yours - all from the glorious surroundings of Harrogate, Yorkshire.

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