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Black Friday 2017 - Part Four: Digital Marketing

Laura Lewis
Laura Lewis

Digital Marketing

In this part of our Black Friday series, we will be covering what to consider when it comes to Digital Marketing for Black Friday.  As we all know, there is alot to consider when it comes to marketing a sale, so hopefully this post gives you some key points to think about before the big weekend.

Digital Marketing

Have you created your Black Friday landing page?

Many companies leave their Black Friday pages live all year and repurpose the content for the page to remain relevant and to assist with SEO rankings. Creating a landing page for your Black Friday sale in advance will give the page a chance to be indexed by Google, making it easier for customers to find when they are searching for the next bargain.

If your Black Friday page isn’t live yet, get it live as soon as possible and add it to your XML sitemap so Google has time to crawl and index the site and rank your page.

Before your sale goes live populating this page with facts and common questions around the sale will also drive potential customers to the page and lets them know that you will be partaking in the event. The information you could include on the page could be Black Friday dates, what is Black Friday, Black Friday tips etc.

If your Black Friday page isn’t live yet, get it live as soon as possible and add it to your XML sitemap so Google has time to crawl and index the site and rank your page. Keeping these pages live all year helps to avoid your webpage going down in the Google rankings, so this may be something for you to consider for following years and link to any other existing promotions or sales the company are offering. This also lets customers know that your company is going to be participating, so they know to check back.

Here are some examples of existing Black Friday landing pages, which we expect will be updated when the sale comes around:

Have you tested all your sales codes?

There is nothing worse than sending out an email campaign to your database featuring a promotional/discount code, to drive potential customers to your website, for it to not work when your customer tries to enter it at the checkout.

After the development of a sales code, it’s second nature for it to be tested and be tested again in advance of the sale, but depending on the promotional code you choose, there are encompassing ways to test if it works. For example, if your code will only work when a customer has spent over a certain amount of money (e.g. 10% off when you spend over £50 or 20% off when you spend over £100), then have you checked if this works only for those spending over that amount at the checkout? Also test going over each threshold and then removing items from the basket to ensure the basket re-calculates correctly.

Ensure that you have analysed all aspects of your promotional code such as where it is used, how it is used, are there any customer restrictions to its usage, etc., and make a checklist of any issues that could arise. Do all codes work on stage, and most importantly when they are live?

How are you promoting your sale?

There is an array of places online that you can promote your Black Friday sale, however, to make the most out of it, you need to be strategic and figure out where your traffic is coming from to make sure your sale is promoted on those sites. To do this, websites allow you to create multiple trackable links which means you can monitor this information and target your desired audiences with your sale promotion.

It goes without saying that paid advertising can work out to be fairly expensive. To help minimise costs why not take advantage of free promotional websites? Many companies use sale websites like HotUKDeals to upload details of their discounts, so this may be an option for your company if you’re looking to save costs on advertising.  When you have set-up all your advertisements, be sure to add expiry dates to them. This will ensure that the content is removed accordingly and that customers are not being driven to offers which are no longer available.

Next thing to remember is to e-mail all your customers on your mailing list ahead of the sale so they know what to expect. This e-mail can be in the form of a personal e-mail or newsletter, just make sure to include the times, dates, promotional code (if you want to give this out early) and details about the products that they may expect to see on sale. You may also want to offer loyal customers pre-sale access for their customer loyalty.

Sending an E-mail

A great way to reward your loyal customers is to send them a coupon code for a discount or special offer after they have made a purchase. It is always easier to market to existing customers than to try and convert new ones. You can couple the coupon e-mail with details of products they may like to spend the coupon on from data of their previous purchases.

Social Media

There are currently 3.028 billion active social media users around the world, according to a new 2017 report by Hootsuite and We Are Social. With this is mind, what better way to promote your Black Friday Sale than on social.

Social Media

Here are some popular social media actions to consider:

Scheduling Posts – For the day, it’s crucial that you have a content strategy for your social media channels. Are you going to create the posts in the run up on the day and schedule them in Hootsuite/Buffer? Or are you uploading on the day? It’s a good idea to schedule your posts in advance so they tie in with your overall sale and there is consistent communication with your audience on the day. If you do decide to adhoc post on the day, then make sure you at least have an idea of what you’re going to post on the day. If not, you could end up dealing with other social media issues such as a complaint, and forget to upload your posts.

Campaign – If you are running a social media campaign for Black Friday such as only offering discount code to those who, promote, share, follow your social media pages etc., then as you will know, there is a lot to plan. Here are just a few questions to ask yourself before your campaign begins:

  • Have you got all your artwork finalised and ready to go?
  • Are your campaign images ready?
  • Have you scheduled the posts for the campaign?
  • How are you going to monitor the campaign?
  • How far in advance are you running the campaign, when does it start?
  • Are you going to reveal the code before Black Friday or on the day?
  • Have you tested you campaign to make sure it works?

Artwork – For your Black Friday promotion, it’s not just about which design you choose for your website, but also social media. Are you going to create a new profile header? Are you updating your profile image? Will you be promoting your sales code on your social media channels and through which artwork will this be communicated? Think carefully about the artwork for your social media channels to make sure it stands out, is enticing and clearly displays if your company is partaking in Black Friday, not only during but before the sale begins.

Designer

AdWords – Are your Google AdWords are set up correctly, so that when people are searching for certain products, your company’s website is coming up in the results? If you haven’t quite got around to this, take a look back at last year to help you identify the key words that people were searching for so you can implement these into your Google AdWords for Black Friday 2017.

Paid Social – Paid social is a great way to get your campaign/code out there at a fairly low cost depending on the size of your campaign. Paid social can be a useful option and is certainly worth the investment if your company is putting specific products in the Black Friday sale (e.g. Candles – Women aged between 21 - 50) because of its ability to target certain audiences. This does however need to be planned in advance of Black Friday to ensure you have the correct imagery, wording, links etc. set up.  It’s also best to set a budget for this to maximise your overall reach.

Website Link – Another tip, is to change your website address on your social media pages to link through to your sale webpage. If your sale is prominent throughout your site, then you can leave the link to direct to your website in general. However, if the sale is specifically for one product line/section, using this technique means those who click through from your social channels will go directly to your sale page over this Black Friday period.

It is also worth keeping in mind that customers will not refrain from turning to social media to express their opinions, whether that’s good or bad. All companies have a brand name to protect, therefore ensure that your Marketing/ Social Team on hand to respond to customers on social media throughout your sale and resolve any issues that may arise.

Creating a sense of urgency

Creating urgency during a sale can be quite a useful way of encouraging shoppers to finalise their purchase and avoiding cart abandonments. However, there is a fine line between encouragement and panic, so make sure you don’t push customers away with short timers and unrealistic shopping expectations, and you ensure you give them reasonable time to browse your website.

Timer

If you’re looking to create a sense of urgency for Black Friday, think about where you’re going to place the timers. Are you going to include them on the site, in e-mail campaigns, just at the checkout? You could also think about adding countdown timers to the start of your sale so that shoppers have a limited time to purchase products on sale.

Do you need to upsell at the checkout?

Upselling at the checkout is not in all companies Black Friday strategy, although some ecommerce websites could, and do benefit hugely from this. If in the previous year you noticed that your customers added more items to their basket than they purchased, then upselling at the till is certainly an option you could consider.

Like the above, there are many options for encouraging you customers to go through with their purchase at the checkout. Common upselling techniques include:

  • Offering a percentage off at the till if customers spend over a certain amount to persuade them to add additional items to their basket.
  • Offering customers a free item worth up to £X if they spend over a certain threshold.
  • Showing related products and telling your customers what other people bought at the same time. Make sure if you’re doing this, it’s based on good data. Tools like Exponea are fantastic for this!
  • Offering free delivery once an order reaches a certain threshold, then display related items in the basket which take customers just above this threshold.

Are you going to send out abandon basket e-mails?

It’s common that customers will add items to their shopping basket but then either become distracted or change their mind about their purchase, leaving items in their basket. Econsultancy, 2017, highlights recent research from Adobe, which shows that 74% of  consumers abandon thier shopping carts on desktop, 78% on tablet and 84% on smartphones. These figures demonstrate the crucial need to concentrate efforts on preventing cart abandoment where possible or at least encourging customers to go back and finalise thier purchcase.

Checkout

It could be that you decide to send out abandon basket e-mails, to encourage your customers to continue with their transaction. Or, decide to offer these customers an unexpected discount coupon when they checkout.  You could even make it time sensitive, e.g. if they complete the order within the next 24 hours, they receive a further 5% off their overall basket value. Another blocker, can be shipping costs, so it could be worth running a free shipping offer for purchases over X value.

On the other hand, some businesses actually opt to disable abandon basket reminders to avoid a negative customer experience. For example, customers will be unhappy if they are encouraged back to your site to find out the promotion has been removed and the reduced price is no longer available. Although, with cart abandment figures at a high, it would be advised to have a strategy in place, but make sure you have chosen the option that works best for your company.

We hope that you found the fourth part of our Black Friday series useful and you have picked up key points to consider for your Digital Marketing strategy. For Part Five, the last part of our series,  we will be covering what you need to do following the Black Friday sale.  

If you have any questions or would like to speak to us regarding the preparation of your website for Black Friday, then feel free to contact us

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