Black Friday is the biggest B2C ecommerce weekend of the year. At my retailer, we often generated 30%+ of our annual revenues in the time between Halloween and Christmas.
Black Friday is the day the gloves come off, the day game theorists earn their paychecks predicting all the moves and counter-moves among competing retailers.
Most retailers start preparing for the holiday over the summer. But whether you’re ahead of the ball or looking to set something up for Black Friday at the last minute, watch this video to for the two key action steps that will drive your Black Friday revenue upwards.
00:58 – The 2 things your entire Black Friday strategy should boil down to.
01:22 – Know your estimated ship dates
01:59 – Free shipping
02:10 – Hype, Hype, Hype – communicate with your customers
02:30 – Content strategy: create a gift hub
03:47 – Three ways you can drive more traffic to your site
04:30 – The exact SEO title you should use for your Black Friday blog post
05:48 – The four elements of a great Black Friday email marketing strategy
06:56 – Add urgency to your Black Friday campaign
07:49 – How many emails should you send?
08:32 – Don’t forget Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising
10:03 – Write holiday-specific copy in your Ads
Prefer to read rather than watch the video? No problem, you’ll find a text transcribe below, and you can also download it for later.
Hi. My name is Drew Sanocki, and today I’m going to talk about Black Friday.
Black Friday was such an exciting period of time for us when I ran my retailer. We’d make upwards of 25 percent to 35 percent of our revenue in the period of time between Halloween and Christmas. You’ve got a little over a week before Black Friday. What are the five or six things I would do in order to try to capture some of the increased revenue and increased traffic that’s out there during the holiday season?
I’m going back to the whiteboard now, and I apologize in advance to all the ladies out there because you probably can’t make out the chest hair in my hipster v-neck t-shirt here. But I assure you it’s still there. All right, so nobody wants to see how to double their revenue in five days, do they? I’ll just erase this…
Black Friday can be boiled down to two things. I think offering, you want to enhance your offering and then driving traffic to that offering.
When I’m talking about enhancing your offering, I’m primarily talking about two things.
The first is policies. Talk to your ops person and talk to your vendors if you’re a drop-shipper, and really dial in the estimated ship dates of all your products. Like what’s the estimated ship date? What’s the last possible ship date in order for a product to arrive by Christmas? So, ship dates. Return policies, I think this is a time of year when you want to go to customer service and say, “Hey, we’re going to extend our return policies, which are normally 30 days. We’re going to extend them through the end of January because things are going to be given as gifts.
Then, free shipping. If you don’t offer free shipping and haven’t tested it, now might be a time to start testing. People really zero-in on free shipping, especially over the holidays. Then the next thing you want to do is just hype these things on the site. Mention them everywhere. It should be very clear to your customer that he’s going to be able to get an item that he buys today by Christmas.
So that’s number one. That’s policies, the first part of your offering here. The second part would be content. You want to create a gift hub on your site. What’s a gift hub? It’s a gift category. It should be yoursite.com/gifts or /holiday, and this is an easy thing to do because you can do it in a day. You go into Magento, or go into Shopify. Create a new category. Call it “Gifts”. Call it “Holiday”, and you want to merchandise that category with your top-sellers, obviously, top-sellers, gift items, and then quick ship.
If you are a drop shipper you want to make sure the items you are pushing, you will be able to ship quickly by Christmas. So, you get a lot of this information from up here and talking to operations and talking to your vendors. So, create and merchandise a gift hub, and then you want to link to it from everywhere. Like, the header of your site should feature this, maybe with a little holiday kind of icon. It should be on the homepage. It should be on your blog. It should be linked to from social. So this is just a very quick thing you can do to really dial in your offering.
Okay, we talked about enhancing your offering, and once you’ve done that the second part of the equation that you can attack over the next week is driving traffic. There are three things that you can control, three ways by which you can drive more traffic to your gift hub.
So the first one is SEO. You want to create an SEO-optimized blog post about your Black Friday deals, and the content of the post can be something like your top picks, a delineation of what your deals are, maybe some staff picks. Make it exciting and make it about holiday.
But the most important thing is that you title this post “Black Friday [Your Niche] Deals”. Or if you sell brands, you might even consider “Black Friday [Brand Name] Deals”. In other words, if I am in the furniture niche, the title of the post would be “Great Black Friday Furniture Deals”. This is important because this is what people search for.
So go to Google right now if you’re at your computer and start typing in “Black Friday,” and then the name of your niche, and you will see “Auto Complete” or “Auto Suggest”. Well, tell you what people are searching for. Use that as your guide. Title the post as such, and you’re going to get some nice organic traffic by next Friday. Another thing, a pro tip here, add the year to the end. It makes it a little more relevant and you’ll get some more traffic for that.
So that’s SEO and a blog post. Second, the thing I would consider is email. Email is going to be your workhorse over the holidays. It’s going to drive a lot of your sales, and one thing you can do between now and next Friday is put together a Black Friday email campaign. This campaign should have four aspects to it. The first should be anticipation. The second, urgency. The third will be, as I’m looking at my notes, focus, and the fourth will be frequency.
So think of those four things. Anticipation, you want to let your customers know that a Black Friday deal is coming, that they should look at your site and not your competitor’s site. I suggest sending out an email before Black Friday, before Thanksgiving, maybe early next week, hinting at some of your deals. All right? You don’t have to announce the deal yet, but you might suggest some of the product categories or brands that are going to be on sale, and tell people to come back and check your site on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
Urgency, you want to put a deadline on your deal. So, obviously this would be your initial anticipation email. It would be a follow-on email that maybe goes out the morning of Black Friday. Right? You’re going to put a deadline like, “These deals expire at tonight at midnight,” or, “They expire Cyber Monday at midnight.” Obviously the reason for that, calls to action need a deadline. They need urgency in order to get people to buy.
One modification, if the deadline comes and your competitors are still on sale or still pushing the same products you are, but they have a discount, consider extending your deadline. It’s an opportunity to send out a second email that says, “Hey, deadline has expired but we’re going to extend our deal another week,” another couple days and it really lets you get the jump on your competition there.
The last two, focus and frequency. I don’t care if you sent out emails every month through the rest of the year, now is the time to break that pattern and consider upping your frequency. We upped our frequency up to the point where we were twice, even three times a week through around December 11, which was our shipping cutoff date, and each time we’d get a positive ROI on each email sent out.
This allows you to focus on something different. In each newsletter you could have a different product, a different deal. In each newsletter, it’s a real reason to come back to the site, to open the email, and to engage with your brand. So, focus and frequency are both really important over the next couple weeks.
Then, the last way to drive traffic, the old workhorse, pay-per-click. Right? It’s the part that everybody forgets, but I think you should revisit your pay-per-click strategy, especially over the next couple weeks. Why is that? It’s because it’s a little known secret for smaller retails, because they don’t pay attention to this. But for bigger retailers, the lifetime value of customers that you acquire over the holiday season is, in general, a lot bigger than the lifetime value of a customer you acquire at any other time of the year.
In other words, customers that you acquire during October, November, and December will buy more from your brand, will spend more on your brand than would a customer that you acquire in January, or in June, or at any other time of the year. Armed with that knowledge it tells you, you can spend more to acquire that customer. Right?
So what you want to do, increase your ad spend. Right? Take your bids in Google AdWords or in Facebook Ads and multiply them by 120 percent. Increase them across the board. I think you’ll get a jump on your competition if you are in a solid B2C retail space, where your customers do come in over the holidays and they’ll have a higher lifetime value. So you’ll beat your competitors there by outbidding them.
Another thing you want to do is consider changing up your ad-copy here. If you add the words “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” to your top ad ad-copy, you’re going to most likely increase the click-through rate on that ad because customers really focus on that when they click through.
Okay, there you have it. That’s what I would do if I were preparing for Black Friday without having done anything else. Those are the top tips. Enhance your offering and then drive traffic to it. If you want more tips like this, sign up for my regular newsletter where I publish hacks, tips, and tricks regularly.
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