Sep 13, 2021
Black Friday Marketing Tips and Strategies for 2021
With Black Friday nearly here, businesses are getting ready for another record-breaking year. Whether you’re a veteran or first-timer in this event, you will need all the best tips and tricks to gain customers and maximize online sales.
This guide will showcase nine actionable Black Friday marketing ideas, so you’ll know exactly what to do to get started. Furthermore, we’ll share five real-life Black Friday marketing campaign examples to use as inspiration.
What Is Black Friday?
Black Friday is a holiday sales event in November where businesses launch bold promotional offers and significant price reductions to attract customers. It traditionally occurs after American Thanksgiving day, though it has evolved into a month-long shopping season.
When online shopping wasn’t so common, consumers used to come early and line up by physical stores on Black Friday. However, according to the recent eCommerce statistics, it seems most of the Black Friday traffic will happen online.
As seen in the infographic from Adobe below, consumers spent a total of $9 billion online in 2020 – a 21.6% increase from the previous year. In contrast, in-store shopping saw a significant decrease due to the pandemic, with foot traffic down by more than 52%.
How long a Black Friday sale lasts depends on the business. Many big-name brands launch Black Friday deals from the beginning of November to entice early holiday shoppers and anticipate unpredictable delivery times.
On the other hand, some online retailers start their Black Friday campaigns from Thanksgiving day until Cyber Monday, which is an online-only holiday sales event. They may also do different promotional offers for each day throughout that shopping weekend.
In addition, small to medium-sized enterprises may participate in Small Business Saturday, an event that highlights local and small merchants.
Though Black Friday originated in the US, businesses worldwide have taken on the term and date for their marketing campaigns.
9 Black Friday Marketing Ideas to Increase Revenue
Businesses of all sizes will participate in Black Friday, so crafting a solid holiday marketing strategy is necessary to win potential customers and compete with major retailers.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with nine of the best Black Friday marketing strategies to help you out.
1. Optimize Your Website Performance
For an eCommerce business, one of the most critical elements is website performance.
In an event like Black Friday, customers expect online stores to load fast, so they can quickly find the best deals and purchases.
The ideal loading time for eCommerce websites is zero to four seconds as it has a 12% to 30% conversion rate. Longer than that, users begin to abandon their purchases, and the transactions decrease by 1% each second.
Furthermore, many big-name brands like Macy’s and H&M have fallen victim to website outages due to massive traffic spikes. Optimizing the website can prevent this from happening.
One way to prepare an online store for a Black Friday campaign is to evaluate its web hosting. If the website is nearing its resource limit, consider upgrading.
The ideal plan should have plenty of bandwidth, memory, storage, and processing power to support the number of products displayed, the amount of anticipated monthly traffic, and a smooth shopping journey.
Hostinger offers a wide range of hosting services for businesses of all sizes. With a 99.9% uptime guarantee, your online store will be up at the most crucial times. We can also help you choose the right hosting plan for your business if you’re unsure which one to use.
We also recommend using a website speed tester to measure the page loading time. This tool can suggest which areas to optimize for better website performance.
While there are many speed testers on the market, we recommend starting with GTMetrix. This tool can analyze your website’s loading time from different server locations and visualize what happens when a browser opens the page.
Other than that, make sure to optimize the images. These files usually carry significant weight to them and can slow down the website speed.
2. Build an Email List
List building is a great Black Friday marketing strategy to generate hype. It involves capturing the email addresses of potential customers and informing them about upcoming Black Friday deals. Here’s an example by fashion brand thredUP:
WordPress users can send promotional emails using two types of plugins – one for email subscriptions and another for newsletters.
The first type will create pop-up forms to collect email addresses, while the second is for creating the message content, customizing the template, and automating the email delivery process.
Offering an incentive is one of the best email marketing campaign practices. People are more likely to sign up if they get a reward for exchanging their information. Some common options are a special discount code or a free gift card.
Other than that, personalize the email content based on the subscriber’s needs. Such personalization can lead to six times higher transaction rates and a 122% return on investment.
For this, you can segment customers based on their purchase history, using an analytics tool like Google Analytics. From there, decide what kind of offers to entice them in the email.
For instance, one-time or potential shoppers are usually more interested in finding the best Black Friday bargains, so you can highlight how much they can save if they buy from the store. They may also be into flash sales or time-sensitive deals.
For the most loyal customers, consider offering them VIP discounts to encourage repeat purchases and foster a sense of exclusivity.
Personalization can also be as simple as addressing the recipient’s name in the email subject line. Such email subject lines have a 22% higher open rate than average.
To increase the chances further, the subject line should grab the subscriber’s immediate attention. Use words that trigger a sense of curiosity or fear of missing out to get them to open the content.
Here are some examples of email subject lines to use as inspiration.
3. Strengthen Your Social Media Presence
Social media is a powerful marketing tool, which can influence consumers’ purchase decisions by 71%. For eCommerce companies, it’s also one of the few digital marketing platforms that allow direct audience engagement.
Besides raising awareness about Black Friday deals, use social media to listen to customers’ needs and keep them happy during the event.
Here are some tips and tricks for Black Friday marketing on social media:
- Optimize the social media accounts. Use a clear profile picture and branded cover photo. Include keywords relevant to the business in the bio. Make sure that all the featured links work.
- Leverage the social shopping feature. Merchants can connect their online store with platforms like Instagram and Facebook, allowing customers to buy directly from their feed. This feature helps eliminate frictions that can slow down their shopping experience.
- Feature Black Friday hashtags. Users most likely will use them to find more Black Friday deals. This idea works best for selling items that generally garner many searches online, like clothing and electronics.
- Encourage user-generated content. Get customers to upload pictures of their purchases or write testimonials about the products. Then repost them on your feed as social proof.
- Schedule the Black Friday promotion posts. Publish consistently to build anticipation for the event.
- Don’t overdo the Black Friday content. Make room for other types of social media posts to avoid being too salesy and annoying your followers.
- Use Facebook ads. They’re much more targeted than search ads and result in higher conversion rates, at an average of 9.21%. Make sure to redirect users to an optimized landing page after they click on the ad.
- Work with micro-influencers. While their audience reach is small, they usually have a higher engagement rate. Thus, they are more likely to influence their followers.
- Respond to comments and messages. Some buyers may reach out to your social profiles to ask about an item, request help, or express a complaint. Address these inquiries to maintain good standing and relationship with customers.
4. Audit Product Pages
Customers will spend most of their time on the product pages looking for their desired items and purchasing. Hence, optimizing product pages can ensure a quick and pleasant shopping experience.
Use this checklist to improve them:
- Optimize the product descriptions. Use sensory words to visualize how the item looks and feels to the customer. Include relevant keywords for SEO. Create a FAQ section to address buyers’ most common questions.
- Create gift guides. 27% of Black Friday shoppers look for gifts for upcoming holiday celebrations. Group products based on the recipient, like “Gifts for Him,” or the purpose, such as “Home Decor Gifts.”
- Sync the inventory on all sales channels. Save time on manually updating stock quantity and avoid inventory-related issues.
- Include six to eight product pictures. Show the item from different angles and use cases for a more in-depth visualization. Check out the example below by Bellroy:
- Display user ratings and reviews. Customers rely on them to see if a product is worth purchasing. Feature both positive and negative comments to seem less biased.
5. Create a Holiday Marketing Calendar
Navigate the hectic holiday season with a calendar that maps out all of your Black Friday marketing strategies.
What kind of calendar to use and what needs to be in it depends on what you plan to do during Black Friday. It may also be necessary to have separate calendars for different marketing channels to organize the timelines.
Here’s a list of project timeline calendars you can use to mark dates for brainstorming ideas, creating the design and copy briefs, and launching the Black Friday campaigns.
6. Create the Urgency to Increase Black Friday Sales
Offering discounts isn’t enough to get customers buying from an online retailer. To maximize Black Friday sales, urge them to rush to the website. Entrepreneur Marcus Taylor implemented this marketing strategy, skyrocketing his sales by 332%.
There are several ways to create urgency for Black Friday campaigns:
- Launch a flash sale. Flash sales are discounts and deals that last for a short time, typically between a few hours up to a day. To urge shoppers to buy, highlight the start and end times and display a countdown timer on the website.
- Display the stock level when the quantity is low. Doing so creates the sense that the product will be gone soon. Retail company H&M uses this tactic for their last-chance items.
- Use time-sensitive language. Keywords like “now,” “today only,” “final sale,” or “last chance” are good examples of this. Consider including them in the marketing email subject lines to increase the open rate as well.
- Use a color that stands out to highlight the offer. Bright red is a good example, though you can also try a color that contrasts with the dominant shade of the web design.
- Reward the fastest customers. For example, offer free shipping or a free gift for the first hundred customers.
- Show how many customers have bought the item on the product page. The purpose is to induce a fear of missing out, prompting visitors to follow other shoppers to buy the product. Below is an example from J. Crew’s website.
7. Encourage Customers to Purchase More Items
This marketing strategy persuades shoppers to spend more, increasing the average order value for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. This is an excellent tactic to gain more profit without raising the cost of acquiring new customers.
Apply these Black Friday marketing ideas to increase the average order value:
- Offer free shipping with a minimum order threshold. This policy can encourage customers to add more items to the shopping cart to qualify for the promo. Here’s an example from Forever 21:
- Cross-sell relevant items on the product page or before checkout. For instance, if the user is shopping for a t-shirt, suggest a pair of pants or accessories to go with it. WooCommerce users can use the product recommendations extension for this.
- Offer bundle deals. An example is to create a package of three items for the price of two, or make a buy one, get one 50% off discount.
- Offer a free gift card if the customer spends a certain amount of money. That way, they will feel more inclined to make another purchase in the future. Make sure the gift card’s value is not very expensive so that it won’t create a significant loss.
- When offering discounts, show how much the customer has saved with their purchase. This can make them feel like they’ve found a great deal and prompt them to shop for more items.
8. Update Store Design for the Holiday Season
Design the website using Black Friday colors and elements to get customers in the holiday shopping mood. Make sure the design looks appropriate for the business’s branding so that visitors won’t feel out of place.
Besides paying attention to the aesthetics, optimize the user experience and navigation system. Customers should be able to quickly find the product or information they’re looking for and make a purchase.
If you need some pointers, our eCommerce website design guide offers some best practices to follow.
For some design inspiration, consider checking out our list of best eCommerce website examples.
9. Reduce the Cart Abandonment Rate
Cart abandonment means that customers add items to their shopping carts, proceed to checkout, but exit the page before completing the transaction. It’s one of the most common issues eCommerce businesses face, costing them $260 billion worth of loss.
Online stores experience the highest cart abandonment rates in October and November – when businesses launch their Black Friday sales campaigns.
One possible reason is users are planning their purchases around that time and want to see if they can get a better deal at the peak of the event.
To ensure these window shoppers return and buy the items, implement these tips:
- Send cart abandonment reminders using email or SMS marketing. In the subject line, remind the recipient they’ve left something behind and include a discount code to increase the chances of them completing the purchase.
- Include the taxes, shipping costs, and other fees in the shopping cart. “Extra costs too high” is one of the most cited reasons for cart abandonment. Be transparent with the price from the beginning so that customers know how much they’ll spend.
- Make checkout fast and easy. People want to complete their purchases quickly to look for more deals during the Black Friday weekend. Be sure to enable guest checkout and only ask for the most relevant billing and shipping information.
Best Black Friday Marketing Campaigns for Your Inspiration
Hopefully, the marketing tips and tricks mentioned have shown you what to do for the upcoming sales event. If you need some inspiration to put them all together, here are some Black Friday ideas from previous years:
Hostinger – Up to 90% Off Discounts
Last year for the Black Friday campaign, Hostinger launched a discount of up to 90% off for all web hosting and domain products. There were several strategies implemented to market the offers:
- Deals to entice every type of shopper. This is an excellent strategy to make both new and current users happy. We offered first-time customers discounts for the Premium hosting plan and domains. On the other hand, existing clients enjoyed a deducted price for upgrades and service renewals.
- Soft launch. We released a $0.89/year domain offer for an early Black Friday sale at the beginning of November. Besides giving customers a treat, it’s also a great way to generate buzz for the upcoming main campaign.
- Black Friday-themed landing page. The design incorporated Black Friday colors to embrace the shopping season spirit, but the overall design remained faithful to Hostinger’s visual identity.
- Countdown timer. As previously mentioned, this tactic can trigger a sense of urgency and get people to purchase the item immediately.
Zyro – Up to 85% Off Discounts
Like Hostinger, Zyro also offered a massive discount of up to 85% off. With this promotion, new users can create a website with a domain name starting from $1.99/month – a competitive price compared to other site builders.
There were several strategies used for the campaign – from updating the site design to using a countdown.
Tactics to attract Black Friday weekend shoppers include:
- Email marketing. Sending an email to subscribers and existing customers about the upcoming deal. It included a banner highlighting how much the deal costs and a call-to-action button that takes users to make a purchase.
- Video advertising. This raises the chances of the campaign reaching the most relevant users on social media platforms. If you’re running a new small business, consider using ads to increase exposure.
Gymshark – Big Deal Energy Campaign
If you want to target Gen Z and Millennial customers, consider following Gymshark’s footsteps. Their 2020 Black Friday campaign video demonstrates excellent practices for attracting younger generations.
The fitness wear company collaborated with YouTube influencers KSI, Behzinga, and Calfreezy to gain viral attention. It also hacks the meme term BDE and features some 1980s-1990s elements to cater to the Gen Z and Millennials’ preferences.
To highlight the brand’s products, the video illustrates the positive effects of wearing its fitness clothing, presented in an absurdist style to appeal to the target audience.
goop – Holiday Gift Guides
If you want to create gift guides, goop provides some excellent examples. This lifestyle brand creates different product categories based on the type of person the present is for, such as the traveler, the cook, or the party host.
Customers can simply choose the appropriate category for their needs and pick one or several items presented there. They can also click Shop All to add all items to the cart.
While some of the products are from goop’s lines, the page also features items from the brand’s partners. Doing so provides more options to the reader, making the gift guide more comprehensive.
Allbirds – Pay It to the Planet
In recent years, many businesses have leveraged Black Friday to raise awareness on causes they stand for. This trend is popular among sustainable brands and will continue to rise in the conscious consumer era.
According to Sprout Social, nearly half of customers want brands to be vocal on social or political issues. 36% of them also say they will make more purchases if they agree with the business’s stance.
Allbirds is one of the brands embracing this trend. For last year’s Black Friday campaign, the shoe company decided to raise their product prices by $1, which they donated to an environmental charity.
Other brands have also taken advantage of Black Friday by encouraging petition sign-ups, launching video campaigns, and shutting down physical stores.
Black Friday Marketing: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions asked about Black Friday.
When Is Black Friday in 2021?
Friday, November 26, 2021.
Why Do We Call It Black Friday?
The term Black Friday most likely originates from how police officers in Philadelphia described the shopping frenzy the day after Thanksgiving in the 1960s. Many tourists and suburban residents came to the city, creating long traffic jams and crowd-related accidents.
What Is the Difference Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
Black Friday is a shopping event that takes place online and offline after the American Thanksgiving. On the other hand, Cyber Monday is online-only and occurs on the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend.
In 2021, Cyber Monday will be on November 29.
Is Black Friday Only One Day?
Black Friday campaigns usually last more than a day. Many businesses launch a four-day campaign starting from Black Friday and ending on Cyber Monday. Some large retailers even start earlier, from the end of October or the beginning of November.
Ready for This Holiday Shopping Season?
Black Friday marks the busiest shopping season of the year, so preparing a solid digital marketing strategy is crucial to successfully attract attention and boost sales.
The campaign can last for an entire month or a shopping weekend – it’s all up to your business needs and preferences. No matter what you pick, make sure to implement the following Black Friday marketing ideas to earn more sales:
- Optimize your website performance to anticipate traffic surges.
- Build a subscriber list for a Black Friday email marketing strategy. Personalize the email subject lines and copies to increase the chances of getting them opened.
- Strengthen your social media profiles. Use the Black Friday hashtags, leverage the social shopping feature, and respond to customers’ messages.
- Make the product pages user-friendly and attractive.
- Craft a calendar to guide your holiday marketing activities.
- Trigger a sense of urgency in the campaigns to get people rushing to the store.
- Encourage customers to purchase more items, such as by implementing minimum order for free shipping.
- Update the web design to embody the holiday festivities.
- Make checkout fast and user-friendly to reduce cart abandonment.
Other than that, take a look at the creative Black Friday campaigns we’ve listed if you need some real-life inspiration. Best of luck.