The debate about whether your business should be reacting to Black Friday or not ended a long time ago. What started at the turn of the century as an American tradition following Thanksgiving has rapidly become a global event, kickstarting the busiest period for consumer activity of the year.
It now stretches well beyond retail. You can see this in bars offering improved happy hour discounts, and B2B insurance brokers reducing their finders fee percentage. Black Friday has become such a huge customer happening that your business should be capitalising on it in some way or form – even if you don’t choose to actively offer anything around it.
Whatever your audience or sector, we’ve rounded up five ways your business can use Black Friday in your marketing strategy.
Get your message out early
Black Friday is Friday 26th November this year. If you start ramping up the excitement about it on that date, or even as late as Monday 22nd, you’ll have lost ground to your competitors. Google reports that search activity starts up to four weeks before the event in late October.
It’s also important to remember the competition for your customer’s money extends well beyond your sector, as they will likely be in the mind frame of looking for a bargain. If you sell TVs then a customer could decide a cheap coat is a better purchase than a bigger screen for their living room. B2B businesses might sense the opportunity for balance sheet savings in different components of their business based on the bigger savings they can harvest. So to ensure they are thinking about your products and services, get your promotion out early.
Make sure all your relevant channels are working in advance, particularly pay per click, social media and email marketing. Tease details at the end of October, and even trial with going early on Wednesday 24th November – you can always boost the discount when the weekend actually hits. Oh and don’t be afraid to extend either; if a promotion is working well there’s no reason to not continue it as close to December as the custom keeps coming.
Make your promotions dynamic
Black Friday is more than just one day. Cyber Monday follows on Monday 29th November and most businesses use the period in and around the date to run deals. This offers huge scope for a dynamic and exciting calendar of offers – much like the way Amazon has generated so much hype around the limited daily offers on their Prime Day and Week promotions.
Utilise a combination of generic offers with more niche and targeted ones, and experiment with when each offer is available. Having a different offer for each day – or even a shorter period such as a morning or hour – is a great way to not only extend the promotional period but also keep it existing and dynamic. If you react early enough you could even use the opportunity to engage directly with your audience base and ask them what offers they want. Doing so is a great way to communicate to customers, which brings us on to the next point…
Reward and communicate with your loyal base – and new customers
Customers will expect offers and communications from you around Black Friday, which lessens the likelihood of them experiencing sales fatigue. It’s also an opportunity for you to remind your current customers how important they are. Whether allowing them early access to offers or adding an extra loyalty bonus on top of other promotions, ensure that your loyal customers are well looked after during this period.
Offering loyalty deals in advance of the sales going is a great way to publicise your activity, and it also gives you the opportunity to get your customers to commit early to converting. This promotes a healthy dialogue with your customers, which you can then build on by using the following months to harness reviews and feedback.
You can also use social listening to recruit new customers as well. While this can be used to direct customers towards your own products, it’s also the opportunity for you to nurture them with valuable insights or non-competitor offers too – an excellent strategy to build brand awareness (and much less likely to incur a negative reaction).
Capitalise on consumer psychology by upselling
The hunger for a bargain during Black Friday is even more powerful when a customer realises how much they’ve saved. This makes it the perfect opportunity to reinvest the savings in another product or service – making Black Friday an upsellers dream.
Provide your customer with the opportunity to make further purchases at the same or even bigger discounts. Utilising messaging which rewards the customer’s purchase will also go a long way to building a positive relationship with your brand. You can do this either at the checkout prior to purchase (think the way UberEats and Deliveroo offer products that complement a customer’s takeaway order) or deliver a follow-up email.
The latter also allows you to extend the offer long beyond Black Friday alongside maintaining customer communication. Decide on which option best suits your offering and the way you interact with your audience.
Don’t do it – but make sure everyone knows about it
Black Friday isn’t for everyone, both consumers and businesses. There are good reasons for businesses not wanting to do it, but if you are planning to not participate in Black Friday, don’t make the mistake of not advertising that fact.
Making a point of why Black Friday isn’t right for your business is a perfect opportunity for you to align your brand values with consumers who agree. Create newsletters and social media posts explaining your stance to reinforce your brand values or mission. You can also double this up with a positive black Friday ‘discount’, such as donating 15% of all sales made across the weekend to a cause that aligns with your business.
While this strategy works particularly well with retail brands looking to distance themselves from ‘mindless consumerism’ (Patagonia’s Buy Less Demand More campaign remains the benchmark), the same approach can be adapted for any business. Eschewing promotions and offers is a deliberate ploy you can use to focus on the quality and consistency of your brand, saying it’s your mission to offer top-notch customer service all year round and not offer ‘cheap’ prices.
For authenticity, this approach is best advertised through organic channels, as using a paid media campaign could contradict your message (although Patagonia did use mainstream media advertising). But if special offers don’t suit your business don’t be afraid to avoid them, just don’t avoid talking about it.