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Black Friday is almost upon us. The largest retail shopping event of the year in the United States, it has also become part of Holiday tradition in the United Kingdom, Australia, and more.
Black Friday, this year on November 25th, is always the Friday four weeks before Christmas. It is a sale day in which bricks and mortar stores seek to clear their stock and line their nests before consumer interest in retail crashes.
Promising exclusive short-term low prices, the whole thing is based on FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), and encourages people to get much of their Christmas gift shopping done in a single day.
The event has become so huge as to provoke mass hysteria in the past.
Stampedes, fights, riots and chaos have all been a result of people’s desperation to get the ultimate deal. What we know from this extreme behaviour is that Black Friday really works.
Of course, it wasn’t long until the online business world came up with its own answer: Cyber Monday. This year on November 28th, Cyber Monday is a chance for online retailers to offer amazing deals and still get their products shipped to people in time for Christmas. This also has the advantage of not requiring customers to fight one another for discounted items.
Black Friday sales are on the increase.
People know they can get a great deal next week, so they wait until next week to do their shopping.
With a short period of time to make an impression, nailing a Black Friday or Cyber Monday campaign takes creativity and ingenuity, together with perfect timing. Fortunately, this blog is here just in time to help you nail 6 elements of the perfect Black Friday online campaign.
After all, while traditional marketing can go some way, digital Black Friday marketing has the speed and adaptability to do more. With viral ripples being felt across the online sphere much faster and more cost-effectively than the same exposure can be gained in the outside world, it’s time to consider how to maximize your exposure in the coming week.
Here’s a great example to get you started:
Cards Against Humanity.
They have raised the price of their game for Black Friday. They have also sold actual bullshit (no, really). Last year, they offered people the chance to buy nothing for $5. 11,248 people did.
What’s more, everyone is dying to see what they come up with this year. While I’m not suggesting you should mail cow poop to your customers, you can see there’s much more to Black Friday marketing than meets the eye.
Cost Leadership one of the simplest Black Friday marketing strategies there is. It’s a simple idea in which a business offers their product at the lowest price on the market. Many businesses don’t seek to do this through the rest of the year, preferring to position their product as “great value” rather than “cheap”.
Companies like McDonald’s is really good in cost leadership. Not only during Black Friday, but on normal days too.
On Black Friday, “cheap”, or “cheaper” is a lot more powerful. Consumers are looking for a way to buy gifts for loved ones, and they need to be able to do so within a budget.
In order to achieve cost leadership however, your cost of operation must be the lowest in the industry, to enable you to offer lower prices. Combining this with superior customer service and product leadership is the surest way to market dominance.
On Black Friday, cost is everything. If you can offer the product at the lowest price and make a little less profit, you’ll make up for that in the volume of items you sell.
A lot of people waste time trying to transform their shopping cart or catalogue pages for the big weekend sales. Don’t.
Save your time and money. Just create a specific landing page that is exclusively for the Thanksgiving weekend. Promote this landing page and this landing page alone. Make it the subject of its own miniature Cyber Monday marketing campaign.
There are many outstanding examples of Black Friday landing pages out there, using a wide range of strategies. These include the flash sale, promo codes, gift offers, pop ups, countdowns, storefronts, and more. There are many ways to promote and each will suit a particular business better. The important thing is to do it.
By creating a purpose-driven landing page, and ensuring as many people as possible see it before Black Friday, you can advertise the offers you’re going to make and drive interest up. Put a countdown on the landing page, along with a teaser, and people will be turning up in droves on the day to benefit from the sale.
If you haven’t made a landing page before, we have a guide on 7 essential elements to create effective landing pages to help you out.
Search Engine Optimization is the cornerstone of online marketing. Understanding how keywords work and flow is essential in utilizing SEO effectively around Black Friday.
As an example,
Let’s take a look at the keyword “Black Friday”:
By seeding your Black Friday SEO ahead of time, you give your pages a chance to rank for the terms. Things like Black Friday, Black Friday Sales, Black Friday Deals, and so on. Once you’ve done that, when the searches start to increase, your pages will be ranked much higher, and receive the lion’s share of the traffic.
Make no mistake, Black Friday is getting bigger online. Your best chance to mop up some of that organic traffic is to post shareable, high quality content with a unique angle, all relevant to Black Friday. Cards Against Humanity have done this in a disruptive way, but unique doesn’t have to mean troublesome.
If you’re looking to maximize the benefit of your content, get SEOPressor.
As well as suggesting keywords, it helps you monitor your readability, control Search Engine crawlers, and manage links.
I recommend you start now. Like, right now.
Press releases are a great way to create more exposure for your business.
Press releases get syndicated to major news organisations and websites, which helps with your SEO, increasing organic traffic. At the same time, a press release helps to legitimize your business and increase consumer trust in your brand.
When you use a press release to talk about your Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers, you can gain exposure for your brand in the process. If you have a unique deal, you’ll see it gain traction much more quickly through the same avenues used by professional journalists.
Beyond being a tool for SEO and exposure, press releases also provide the opportunity for journalists to pick up on your story and syndicate it. For this to happen, you need a compelling angle and a unique offer that will stand out from the crowd.
One you have your Press Release written, you can use a distribution network like MarketersMEDIA and PRWhirlWind are both great choices for distribution, with established links to a wide range of different recognized and respected news brands.
If you never heard of a Press Release, and have no idea how to write one, not even that needs to stop you. Both MarketersMEDIA and PRWhirlWind provide press release writing services, where experienced professional copywriters will draft your press release on your behalf, based on a brief you provide. All you need to come up with is the idea.
If you want to have a crack at writing a press release, have a look at our handy guide on how to write SEO-friendly press release to increases traffic and exposure.
Email marketing is what your SEO efforts should be leading you to. Email is a direct method of communication, and if you have a subscriber list, you get to contact them whenever you want. That’s a privilege that shouldn’t be abused, but you can really make it count come Black Friday.
Email open rates in the Black Friday season exceed 60%, because everyone is open to getting an offer they can’t refuse. If you back that up with a genuinely great offer, then you’re in a really strong position to make the best of the situation.
There’s nothing people like more than a pleasant surprise. Quirky created this great GIF visualising their merchandise and issuing a strong call to action, “Don’t wait ‘til Tomorrow!”
In the online world, immediacy is king. Giving your email subscribers preferential treatment, offering them deals ahead of the day itself, makes people feel special and increases the chance of them making an impulse buy.
What’s more, the GIF is fun. It stands out from the typical emails you get. Even better, all the details of the discount are included – free shipping, the scale of the discounts, the time limit. Everything you need to know to take advantage of the sale is right there.
GIFs with unique imagery provide the best way to get people’s attention. Make sure as much of the information as possible is above the fold, so your potential customers don’t have to go to any effort to get the key points or call to action.
Another great strategy is to remind people of the items they’ve left abandoned from previous visits. If a user has abandoned their shopping cart, a simple reminder email with a Black Friday incentive might be all they need to complete the transaction.
As Black Friday is pretty much based on the Fear Of Missing Out, stoking that fear in people is also a great motivator within your emails.
Scarcity is the idea that once something is gone, it’s gone, and there are only a few precious examples left. Scarcity is the reason diamonds and gold retain their value. It’s also the reason you will feel an anxious response if a product you’re interested in is nearly sold out. (Find out more on the psychology hacks for marketers to increase conversion rate here.)
By emailing people directly to tell them, “Hurry! Buy Now! Only Three Left In Stock!” you make it feel like you’re doing the customer a favour by giving them an opportunity to buy before it’s too late. They’ll be grateful for that, and will much prefer not to miss out.
It would be foolish to ignore the role social media has to play in modern online marketing. It would be even more foolish to do so around the time of Black Friday, when people are more likely to share news of deals with friends than at any other time of year.
If you can create amazing, shareable content on your social feeds which complements your search marketing efforts, you’ll create a much stronger resonance with more customers than ever.
Once your content is published, hashtag it. Hashtags are not only useful on Twitter – they’re now part of search engine algorithms.
Kohl’s did a very effective campaign where the store tweeted trivia questions to get the response from the audiences.
— Kohl's (@Kohls) November 26, 2014
According to Spredfast, the tweets drove nearly 500% higher engagement compared to the typical Kohl’s tweets.
The most important things you need to remember when composing your social posts are:
We have also written a blog post on the best and worst time to post on social media for you to get a clearer picture.
Outside the usual channels, there are still plenty of opportunities for businesses. Snapchat in particular is a favourite of young people. 80% of its users are between 13 and 24. This demographic is hugely popular with retailers because of the amount of disposable income they have ready to spend.
Again manipulating the fear of missing out, the company is building its social media profile with a promise of preferential treatment. It’s smart, and I’m sure it will be effective.
Snapchat is relatively new, and so for many of you it may feel intimidating. If you are looking for an orientation on Snapchat for business, look no further.
It doesn’t matter whether you sell accounting software, medical equipment or handbags – everyone can take advantage of the marketing power of Black Friday. By making the most of the opportunity across multiple channels: Search, Email, and Social, you’ll be best placed to maximize the benefit to your business.
Of course, the main objective is to increase your revenues and feather the nest ahead of the long winter months. But this also gives you an opportunity to get creative in a highly competitive environment, with relatively low stakes.
If you follow these instructions you will see at least some success on the day. If you manage to nail a unique approach you could see incredible, breakout success on the day.
The good thing to remember about Black Friday is that it puts your business into a pressure cooker. You know what they say: no pressure, no diamonds. The same principles that will lead to success on this day are the best practices you should be using every day. Use this as a chance to practice and get better.
The one crucial thing you need to have in place? Make sure your site is mobile ready. I mean it.
Most consumers are shopping on their mobile devices now, and if you aren’t offering a seamless mobile experience, you’re going to lose them as customers.
If you’ve experienced success in the past on Black Friday, share your story in our comments section! Equally, if you have any questions about the items listed here, then ask away.
Updated: 23 July 2017