Right, so by now you have probably tried it all: the hefty discount, the smart promo tiers that increase with the order value, the bloody and unrewarding bid battle with your competition over increasingly ignored advertising space online. And since you have probably already started having nightmares featuring this dreadful question, we are here to help you figure out the ultimate answer to it: how to make Black Friday a success?
There is a limit to what can be achieved on the sales front itself. You have your limited marketing budget, your competitors are fighting for the same audience and rising the ad bids to new historical heights every year, there is the overall market size that you might be already a leader of and, last but not least, you may be selling a product or a service for which your customers have no need more often than once every year (or even worse – every few years..). So, this year let us define success differently. In 2022, wow your board with impeccably smart planning and a resulting significant increase in something they will certainly appreciate: actual profitability.
Despite Black Friday having achieved a lot of bad press lately, it is still a very important shopping event that can offer great benefits to both the buyer and the seller. The buyer gets a fantastic offer on a product or service, the seller gains a new customer that might come back and purchase more. And if approached correctly, the new customer may even become a brand advocate and refer new customers to the seller. And this is where the actual revenue is being made, despite the higher-than-usual CAC many marketers tend to whine about.
Now, remember the look on your colleagues’ faces the first time you started talking to them about TOFU, MOFU and BOFU and how they all thought you had gone a little too far with weirdening up your diet? Time for those awful acronyms to get back into the picture.
While you might be running multiple campaigns with a variety of goals, remember: this one is going to be focused on sales. It is essentially a BOFU marketing activity, and unless your merchandise can be subject to impulse shoppers, you would need to run your TOFU part reasonably earlier. But bottom of the funnel is not where you will see the actual ROI, especially given the heavy discounts. Add to this the cost of advertising – even with a large spend it will still be difficult to get through all the comms, especially if your brand is not recognizable enough or you operate in an ultracompetitive industry such as fashion, beauty, consumer electronics or SaaS.
Therefore, your real focus should be on what happens after the sale has been completed. The retention.
So you are most likely going to be dealing with either prepared shoppers or relying on the algorithms and strength of your ad copy so it does get through.
Since your customers have probably heard about Black Friday before, they will be expecting some kind of activity from you, or from everyone else for that matter. The smarter you approach them, the more likely you are to receive their attention in return.
Most likely, your existing database includes contacts to people who might be interested in what you will have to offer during Black Friday or around that date. However, not all of them might have opted out for all of the communication you plan on sending. Wouldn’t they appreciate being notified about your Black Friday sale in advance? Or perhaps even given access to an exclusive offer, as a form of reward for their loyalty?
This is why you will want to consider arranging your Black Friday promo around the Coming Soon Funnel, which differs slightly from a regular e-commerce funnel and works best during product or service launches or big seasonal shopping events of which Black Friday is a prime example. And it looks more or less like this:
The heart of your Coming Soon Funnel is a dedicated landing page that will sit within your domain. Its URL should be associated with a Black Friday offer, for example: https://yourdomain.com/black-friday-early-bird. This landing page – let’s call it the Coming Soon LP – has one job: to convince visitors that something big is coming, it will be of limited availability and therefore they had better sign up for an instant notification once the offer is up in order not to miss out. It should include a message that creates anticipation of a Black Friday Sale and a short form to fill in for those who would like to get alerted once your sale goes live.
Make sure you keep secretive and discreet about the actual offer (discount level, free gifts and so on), but to help the conversion rate increase, include a list of benefits a visitor can enjoy upon signing up. Add an element showcasing the exclusivity – only by signing up your visitors will be the first one to be notified. Here is a good example from Focus Lab:
image source: https://www.sniph.com/
Think of adding further elements that could create a sense of anticipation – like a countdown widget as shown in this example from Center:
Simply: it will help you get better quality leads. It serves to convert two types of visitors: existing customers from your database that you can drive via promotional email or newsletter (or by adding a seasonal footer to your transactional emails!) as well as warm leads who could be your existing social media followers or retargeted users who recently accessed your website. You may think of doing a little campaign for completely cold audiences but only as long as you make sure you can actually target an audience that might have genuine interest in what you do (think: your competitors’ customers and followers or fans of influencers / niche media you collaborate with). Make sure to create a set of assets that will be in line with the audience and their level of brand awareness and an automated email sequence that will guide your newly acquired sale interest through the entire process. Set up a tag for this contact segment and segment it further if necessary (e.g. by traffic sources).
Do not forget about your current website visitors and existing customers who might not have signed up to your database but could be willing to, if you offer an early bird savings or an instant notification about the sale. There is no point driving this traffic away from the page they originally landed on, but a pop-up could prove handy here, especially if you time it well (perhaps by displaying it earlier to those browsing your current promo sections and later to those who have not visited your website before).
image source: https://convertkit.com/coming-soon-landing-page
Once your Black Friday sale goes live, an email (or SMS, or webpush) notification should be sent out. Make sure the timing is right – and this will depend on your business model and industry. If you run a high-end boutique which will only be offering 20 scarves reduced by 50%, your customers will expect to receive the information instantly, even if it is 00:01 on Black Friday. Should your business be a large FMCG reseller who decides to introduce multiple discounts and runs Black Friday more like a Black Week of special offers, you could send not one but a few notifications, including a final call to action right before the promo ends.
What starts after the communication has been sent out is where your ecommerce funnel actually starts bringing you money. To know more, stay tuned for the next article from our Black Friday series, coming soon!
Małgorzata’s 15 years of experience have seen her delivering effective solutions to ecommerce brands of all shapes and sizes across the EU and UK. Małgorzata is experienced in brand positioning, traffic and ecommerce sales analytics and leading ecommerce teams and projects for B2B and D2C businesses.
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