What Can We Learn From These 11 Killer Black Friday Marketing approaches?

  • With Black Friday and Cyber Monday around the corner, brands are busy gearing up to take on the biggest sales weekend of the year.
  • To get ahead in this today's fiercely competitive online environment, businesses must ensure they have strong multi-channel Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing campaigns.
  • Be inspired by some of most successful retail giants and their Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing strategies.

With the holiday season upon us, chances are you’ve been busy fine-tuning and finalising your marketing strategy in time for November’s online shopping frenzy. When it comes to mega sales events, few compare with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The BFCM weekend kickstarts the holiday period, with thousands of online retailers roll out their latest and greatest digital marketing campaigns. 

So what can we expect over the BFCM weekend? Well with 2020 coming to a close, it’s safe to say this retail period will be unlike any other. The competition online will be fierce, as retailers who once relied on brick-and-mortar stores are now having to turn to eCommerce. With all of this noise from competing offers, finding ways to stand out is critical. 

Sometimes all we need is a little inspiration to help get those creative juices flowing and deliver highly successful campaigns. Luckily, we’ve taken notes from the pros and put together a list of eleven killer BFCM approaches to help you take the lead this retail season.

1. Jump on the mobile bandwagon

There’s no hiding the fact that mobile will continue to grow as the predominant point of purchase for consumers. As the world spends more and more time online, mobile has now become the preferred shopping platform where discovery, consideration and purchase all take place. 

For eCommerce businesses, mobile-to-mobile conversions are now 13% faster than computers. In the age of one-click buying and on-demand everything, consumer expectations are on the rise. Meaning a customer’s mobile experience can be the difference between landing a new sale or losing them to your competitors. As Facebook IQ say – ‘people will not only pay for ease – many will base their buying decisions on it’.

The Iconic’s mobile-friendly interface creates a smooth and enjoyable shopping experience for their customers. The dedicated daily updates page is also a great opportunity to keep shoppers in the loop and inform them of any upcoming sales and promotions.

The Iconic Click Frenzy
Source: The Iconic

2. Leverage social media campaigns

With so many of our interactions and transactions happening online with the help of various social media platforms, it’s no wonder retailers are choosing to tap into this hugely lucrative market. A well-designed Instagram picture or Facebook post can also be an excellent opportunity for you to display your promotions early and generate buzz around your BFCM campaign. 

ASOS for example has used a clever play on words to brighten their customers’ day with an early 20% off sitewide promotion that extends through to the BFCM weekend. The use of a bright electric blue colour immediately captures their audiences’ attention and is tied in nicely with their caption. 

Source: ASOS

Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or the new kid on the block – Tik Tok, social media has become one of the most personal spaces of all. In this new ‘personal space’, users already expect the right content, products and experiences to conveniently fall at their feet.

Running a full-scale social media campaign before the BFCM weekend allows you to highlight your unique deals and promotions, and draw people towards your store in time for the sales event. Through channels such as Instagram, shoppers can now browse through your site without even leaving the platform – so it’s a win win for everyone! 

3. Nail your email marketing

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of the most engaging Black Friday campaigns involve email marketing. Afterall in 2019 during the BFCM period, 39% of consumers looked at emails from retailers for information on upcoming deals and promotions. A striking email marketing campaign will help keep your brand top of mind as consumers scramble to get the most bang for their buck. 

Luckily, email provides you with plenty of scope in terms of automation. Not only does this make it an easy channel to succeed with, but it also allows for greater personalisation. 

As far as inspiration goes, let’s take a look at a crowd favourite – Apple. 

Black Friday Apple Email
Source: Apple

True to their form, Apple has traditionally used a minimal yet confident approach to their BFCM campaigns. Whether it be an iPhone, MacBook or AppleWatch, Apple products are among the most coveted purchases over the holiday period. For this reason alone, Apple can get away with simply having the word ‘Friday’ on their homepage without even needing to provide further information. 

Black Friday Apple Watch
Source: Apple

Rather than blasting their subscribers inboxes on the morning of the 27th, Apple cleverly staggered their emails in the lead up to the BFCM weekend. This is an excellent strategy for those wanting to build greater anticipation and hype around their promotions. 

Black Friday Apple Watch Campaign
Source: Apple

By sending a teaser emails announcing their sale, followed by a second email highlighting their precise offering, Apple was able to successfully pique customer interest long before the sales had even started. 

Another notable mention is fashion-brand – Pretty Little Thing (PLT), with a more bold and loud approach to their email marketing. While your brand mightn’t be suited to the bright colours and striking design PLT have chosen, it still incorporates several useful elements that immediately grab readers attention. Such as the clear discount codes, imagery, countdown timer and call-to-action (CTA). 

Source: Pretty Little Thing

4. Engage customers early

You can bet your bottom dollar shoppers will be looking for enticing deals long before the BFCM weekend commences. So it’s important to build a robust marketing strategy that engages valuable customers early. 

The focus here should be on building strong audience lists that strengthen existing customer relationships and engage new prospective customers. This can also help you connect with people in a more meaningful way through targeted campaigns and personalised offers based on where they stand in their purchase journey. 

Steve Madden Early Access Email Campaign
Source: Steve Madden

Steve Madden’s early access email list is an excellent strategy for those looking to kill two birds with one stone. Not only does it make customers feel a sense of importance and exclusivity, but it also helps to create a sense of urgency before their sales open to the public. 

The most valuable part of all – early access emails provide an opportunity for businesses to grow their email list and collect the email addresses of new shoppers. Effectively allowing brands, like Steve Madden, to connect with subscribers year-round and nurture them into repeat customers long after the retail season is over. 

5. Get behind gamification

It’s already a challenging task for many brands to capture the attention of consumers and land new sales, let alone over the BFCM weekend with hundreds of competing offerings available. Therefore, finding ways to stand out amongst the crowd often requires creative and out-of-the-box thinking. This is where gamification comes into play. 

From a marketing standpoint, gamification is typically integrated into campaigns that aim to enhance audience engagement or inspire action (e.g. making a purchase). By incorporating gamification into your BFCM marketing strategy, consumers receive a more interactive and engaging experience that helps keep your brand top of mind. 

There are a number of fun gamification ideas like a scratch to reveal discounts and spin-to-win prizes. Take a look at this excellent example from Forever 21 – 

Forever 21 Scratch to Reveal Campaign
Source: Forever 21

Firstly the bold eye-catching text and gold colour draw the reader’s attention to the potential discounts they could earn while shopping. The interactive scratch card design also helps to build anticipation around their promotion and adds an element of fun for readers to click through.  

6. Send abandoned cart emails

Competition is rife during BFCM, so it’s no surprise that the abandoned cart rate skyrockets during this period. With so many options to choose from, customers will happily jump from site to site in search of the best promotion. According to data collected by Barilliance, last year’s BFCM period in the US saw the abandoned cart rate soar to a whopping 82%!

After putting in the hard yards to drive customers to your site – it would be a shame to let them go before landing a sale. Abandoned cart emails are a highly effective strategy to recover otherwise lost sales. Since your customers will be doing plenty of online shopping across multiple different sites, they’re inevitably going to lose track of what’s been added to their cart. 

However, it’s important to note that your competitors will more than likely be using a very similar strategy to draw consumers back to their site. The key to standing out is then increasing the frequency of the follow-up emails within the 24-hour sales period and using attention-grabbing phrases that stimulate a sense of urgency. 

Check out this example from Adidas – 

Adidas Abandoned Cart Email
Source: Adidas

By using clever messaging that directly aligns with their brand, Adidas’s opening tag line immediately prompts their sporty and competitive readers to review their cart. Phrases such as ‘popular products sell out quickly’ also creates a sense urgency that encourages shoppers to complete their purchase or risk missing out.

Then the added reminder of their generous free shipping also helps to remove any uncertainty or mild objections that might have played a role in the initial cart abandonment.  

7. Optimise BFCM landing pages

Having an optimised and exclusive BFCM landing page can provide your brand with a dedicated space to highlight your unique promotions. This is also a great opportunity to use relevant messaging and CTAs that help customers navigate your sale. Typically these pages would link to a list of deals or specific collections you are running over the BFCM weekend. 

Often traffic is driven to these pages through online platforms like Facebook and Google, or from email subscriptions. But you also want to make this landing page accessible from your main site navigation so those who aren’t aware of your promotions can join in on the fun! 

Dyson_Landing_Page
Source: Dyson

Dyson’s landing page uses a simple yet stylish design to entice customers and build anticipation around their sale. By listing attractive USPs like their free next-day delivery and 2-5-year guarantee clearly articulates Dyson’s promise to their customers. The checkbox feature is also a clever tactic to build their subscribers and add a personal touch to their campaigns.

Dyson_Landing_Page_2
Source: Dyson

8. Offer free or discounted shipping

Nowadays, shoppers have come to expect free or express shipping for online orders. Having high shipping costs or delayed delivery times is a surefire way to send your bounce rate soaring. Free shipping is often one of the most enticing offers used to boost conversions on BFCM.

With that being said, not all businesses can afford to offer such a discount on every order. Where feasible, we suggest offering free or discounted shipping over a certain order value or for certain products. We also recommend pairing this with intelligent upsell and cross-sell promotions that encourage shoppers to raise their order value so they can meet the free-shipping minimum. 

Let’s have a look at Kogan here –

Kogan_Free_Shipping
Source: Kogan

The company offers free shipping on selected product lines like LED TVs and Cooling while still offering additional 50% discounts. Meaning their sale still guarantees great savings with the added benefit of free delivery. 

9. Host a giveaway or provide freebies to shoppers

Remember the holiday season isn’t only about making as much money as possible, it’s also a time to give back and show your appreciation for those who support your business. Giveaways are also a great way to put your brand on the map and build hype around your sale. 

Missguided’s Black Friday giveaway saw prizes given away every 15 minutes on Twitter over the 24 hours. The brand was quick to jump on the hashtag train with the hashtag #MakeMyFriday so customers could easily find and access the promotion. They also offered a further 20% discount on items already listed in their sale. 

While some brands may choose to offer freebies to all of their subscribers, you should consider offering exclusive deals to your most loyal customers. After all, it’s 6-7 times cheaper to persuade returning customers than to acquire new ones. 

Start by taking a look at your contact list and segmenting your most engaged readers. Whether it’s a free product or additional discount, offering something exciting as a thank you for their loyalty will build a strong customer base over the holiday season and beyond. 

Sephora does an excellent job at rewarding recurring customers through their exclusive VIP offerings like the one below. The personalised content also brings about a sense of exclusivity, making customers feel personally connected to the brand.

Sephora_Freebies
Source: Sephora

10. Give back on Black Friday

There are many roads you can take when designing your BFCM marketing campaign. For some brands, it’s all about conversions, whereas others are more focused on giving back. 

In 2016, Patagonia joined forces with environmental initiative One Percent for the Planet, agreeing to donate their entire Black Friday earnings to organisations committed to clean water, air and soil. 

Patagonia_Charitable_Cause
Source: Patagonia

The campaign was led by the hashtag #loveourplanet and was wholeheartedly supported by their eco-conscious consumers. By the end of their Black Friday sale, Patagonia had successfully raised $10 million in donations to help save the environment.

This year’s BFCM is an great opportunity for businesses to give back to a cause that’s close to their heart and aligns with their brand’s ethos. Not only will you be supporting a good cause, but you’ll also foster a positive brand image in the eyes of consumers.

11. Add a touch of humour

While it’s important to have a well structured and polished campaign ready to go for BFCM, it’s equally as important to find ways to connect on a more personal level with your customers. 

Humour is always a good way of attracting people’s attention and adding a more ‘human’ element to your brand. After all, who doesn’t love a bit of humour? We can all appreciate a good pun, analogy or one-liner. 

This clever post by Forever 21 pokes a little fun at those facing the shopping struggles of mega sales events like BFCM. 

Forever_21_Twitter_Joke
Source: Forever 21

Shopify on the other hand has used a more endearing approach to engage with their audiences. The BFCM weekend is undoubtedly the busiest time of year from everyone in manufacturing right through to customer support. So retailers can rest assured knowing Shopify have their whole support team on-pawed (pun intended)!

Shopify_Pun
Source: Shopify

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With all the industry examples mentioned above, it’s clear to see there is no one-size-fits-all approach to BFCM marketing campaigns. While there’s certainly no harm in drawing inspiration from other brands or competitors, it’s extremely important to find your unique style. 

Start by figuring out what it is you want to offer your customers, what elements you want to shine and what you want people to associate your business with. After that, it’s all about customising your campaigns so they’re relevant to your target audiences and promotions. 

Whether you’re simply interested in checking out the competition, or you’re looking for some useful inspiration, we hope this list can help you design eye-catching campaigns that knock your sales out of the park this BFCM!  

Interested in learning more about how to prepare your business this holiday season? Check out our useful tips and tricks here

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