Black Friday Marketing Assignment Ideas

September 19, 2017

Last year, U.S. eCommerce revenue set a record of $3.34 billion on Black Friday – a substantial 21.6 percent year-over-year growth rate. What does this mean to eCommerce? More people are increasingly ditching the old way of going to a physical store for their holiday purchases. Consumers are actively spending more time online to search Black Friday promotions. If you are running an online business, you’d better have best Black Friday marketing ideas ready now to boost great sales this season.

How will you shift that increasing traffic of online users searching for that perfect holiday item? Take a look at our list of 7 Black Friday marketing ideas that will definitely help you curate a successful promotion, get the attention of the increasing traffic of holiday shoppers this Black Friday and make great revenue.


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1 – Send a Black Friday email marketing blast to your customers

Begin your plan by email blasting your past and potential online shoppers ahead of the influx of marketing especially when your competitors are still busy figuring out what to do. There is no doubt social media is thriving but email marketing is a time-tested strategy to expand both your sales and your customer base.

Custora reported that 25.1% of sales during Black Friday promotion season has originated from email marketing, which makes it the biggest driver for Black Friday trades. On the other hand, an online retailer instigated an email marketing campaign which saw a 330% increase in revenue per email sent.

Make this tactic SMARTER?

  • A catchy subject line. Your email subject line is a vital component to your campaign’s success as this is the first thing that your targeted audience will read. If you won’t catch your reader’s attention with your subject line, then it is most likely to expect an unopened email.
  • Timing is everything. Schedule your emails based on time zones or peak of online email users. Email marketing is like nurturing a seed to grow.
  • Save the date. Include a personalized “Add this event to your calendar” section linking your website. You don’t want them to miss your Black Friday promotions.
  • Not everyone is created equal. Create separate email campaigns to your past and potential customers (Need to segment customers? Smarter App: Mailbot) since they both have different needs and wants. To further illustrate:

   – Past customers are more on a loyalty program strategy like offering discounts or freebies.

   – Potential customers are more on a persuasion strategy like limited time offer deals.

2 – Take advantage of a year-long landing page

You may have heard about landing pages strategy. How to make it a lifelong Black Friday marketing for your store?

In a report by AdWords, 61% of holiday shoppers begin searching online for their purchases prior to the weekend of Thanksgiving. If annually you make a new landing page to boost Black Friday sales, your SEO will start on a clean slate and that means it is less likely that you will be listed on top of the search results the next time a consumer looks for a product like yours.

Take for example an electrical retailer that established a consistent yearly landing page for Black Friday, they have shown an impressive and unswerving page ranking result on Google UK search positions for the phrase ‘Black Friday’.

Make this tactic SMARTER?

  • It should look great on any device. Almost everyone has an access to a smartphone or tablet and computer specs vary too, so bear in mind that a slow loading time or device compatibility issues will definitely frustrate your online shoppers. The exit button is literally just around the corner.
  • Include a sign-up function. Well if an online user landed on your page, chances are he is interested in your offers. In order to keep that interest alive, you need to add a section where your potential buyer can subscribe for updates regarding the upcoming sale.
  • Make it evergreen. Your page should be an evergreen content, meaning online users should continuously find your Black Friday and Cyber Monday page to be relevant no matter what time of year.

3 – Boost Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sales via Social Media

A 2015 study revealed that there were a 3.8 million social posts mentioning Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Now that’s an enormous amount of online shoppers to ignore. Planning your Black Friday social media marketing is both exciting and challenging since everything is real time. You see what people are saying on a millisecond and they expect you to act swiftly. Your social media posts should vary before, during, and even after Black Friday or Cyber Monday to boost sales.

Make this tactic SMARTER?

  • Find the best time to post. Schedule your post when there is a peak of social media users online.
  • Don’t leave a comment unanswered. Netizens are extremely impatient, so being quick to address their concerns or queries on your posts is highly crucial.
  • A call-to-action. Strike while the iron is hot. Remember to always put an instruction on what is next to do for your customers like “visit our site” or “find out more”.

4 – Initiate a referral program during Black Friday promotions

Recommendations or referrals are the most trusted form of advertising, as reported by Nielsen’s Consumer’s Trust in Advertising. This simply means that majority of people heavily rely on someone else’s opinions in deciding what to buy. Another study also found out that referred customers can be a great driver of brand loyalty and striking profitability than any of your other clients.

A great testament to this is the well-known referral program of an online file hosting service which generated a 3900% customer growth in just 15 months since its launch. This evidence is good indicators that starting a referral program is a cost effective way for short and long term success

Make this tactic SMARTER?

  • Make it irresistible. The question you need to ask when starting a referral program is how will you incentivize a successful referral. There are lots of ways to create an appealing reward system while maintaining your profitability. Make sure to research on what triggers the interest of your audience. It will be a waste if your reward system won’t magnetize your customers.
  • Indicate the reward’s expiration. The sense of urgency is very important in a referral program. If it takes too long for a referral to make a call to action, then you are passing away a lot of golden opportunities to make a sale.
  • Make it viral. A good platform for a referral leads is through social media, so let your audience talk about your brands. With the power of social networks sharing, more and more people will come to know your brands and land on your website through the shares/posts/tweets of their friends, like this:

Smarter Black Friday marketing tool to increase social networks sharing: Checkout Boost

5 – Add a countdown timer to require swift action

Customers can be very indecisive. Most of the time they like to compare your products first with your competitors before clicking that purchase button. This is true as shown by a research for comparative pricing which discovered that 94% of online shoppers take time in finding the cheapest product, 36% of which spend an additional 30+ minutes of comparison shopping before arriving to an actual purchase decision. By including a countdown timer to your promotions, you help your customers decide immediately, thus closing that sale right there and then.

Make this tactic SMARTER?

A countdown timer should appear on each of the following:

  • Every product – State the date and time a specific product’s sale will expire

Suggest tool: Countdown Cart app (Free)

  • Promotional emails – This will help in building anticipation days or weeks before your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
  • Landing page – A website banner timer to reveal when the actual sale will commence so people can plan ahead when to start online shopping.
  • Social media posts – A countdown timer section can be added on your social media page to hype the event and to make sure that your customers know when to save the date. (Here’s a tool to look at)

6 – Upsell and Cross-sell with Discounts

Upselling and cross-selling are great ways to take full advantage of selling more to a current customer who is already on your website. Create combos of 3-4 complementary products that go well together and offer the whole package to customers at a discount on the total. These kinds of combo promotions work very well on big sales days as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when people are actively looking for package deal for a much better price.

Smarter tool to upsell & cross-sell with discounts: Boost Sales.

Make this tactic SMARTER?

  • Write copy message that delivers true value to customers: your message in the offer is the selling copy that convinces customers to take the offer. Polish the copy to make sure it embodies true values to customers.
  • Create a sense of urgency or scarcity: state in your offers that you only have very few items in stocks or offer is only valid until midnight. When being pressed for time or scarcity, customers will be more spontaneous in purchasing items they like.

7 – Generate excitement through a Flash Sale

A flash sale is a generally short period of time promotion. It is an exciting way to create hype and boost sale before the actual Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It can be few hours before the expected event or a day or two is also a good idea.

A flash sale testing conducted saw a 51% growth in traffic, 50% rise in conversion rate and a whopping 236% increase in revenue. Flash sales can be tricky so you need to carefully set your limitations and conditions before considering to use this approach.

Make this tactic SMARTER?

  • A limit is the key. As much as you want to sell everything, during a flash sale you need to margin a huge number of products. Limited availability should be your top priority when considering a flash sale. Aside from limiting your product offerings, time is also a vital variable. Well, the name flash suggests it but keep in mind that your time should be as fast as lightning.
  • Advertise your unobtainable products. Your unavailable products during flash sale should be promoted. Remind your customers that these products will soon be offered on Black Friday or Cyber Monday itself so they need to be patient just a little longer.

A SMARTER Difference

Every online marketer wishes for that boost on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, but the inflow of massive advertising during the holiday season makes it seem like a wishful thinking.

So be sure to apply the tactics above to intensify your Black Friday marketing campaigns and see a smarter difference.

Do you need a hand executing these SMARTER Tactics? Have some clarifications in mind? Don’t worry, we are just one comment away.

P.S: For more Holiday sales tips (of course, with instructions how you can execute to achieve success) written by our marketing experts, take a look at this guide The 20-Point Checklist to Prepare Your Store for The Holiday Season.

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The small retailer has a lot going on day to day. Each department is busy and usually loaded up with more ideas than it has time to execute. Black Friday and Cyber Monday (We’ll use BF/CM for short) are pivotal times for most retailers. We’ve all heard the statistics that big box retailers do 50% of their annual revenue in these few days. This does not always hold true for many smaller eCommerce retailers.

I’ve been in the automotive world for thirteen years now, and I can tell you from experience: the holiday shopping rush is definitely a nice spike in business, but by no means a showstopper as far as total revenue generated goes.

Because blockbuster profits are not guaranteed, many small retailers simply don’t have the time and resources to fully plan out a perfect marketing campaign for BF/CM. Deadlines close in fast, and many retailers may throw together a sloppy marketing campaign, or simply do nothing at all.

As someone who is guilty of throwing together a last minute BF/CM marketing plan, I’d like to share six things you can do to get more out of BF/CM even if it’s last minute. Think of it like ordering a full Thanksgiving dinner from your local Whole Foods. It’s within your budget and looks about 95% of the way there when served. Just remember you can’t gloat about how hard you slaved over it in the days prior.

On Page Visual Cues

Cost to implement:
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Letting customers know you’re running a Black Friday or Cyber Monday promotion is key. When they land on your page, they must be aware that what they are about to buy is a holiday deal and not just everyday pricing. If you are doing a storewide discount or discounting specific products, you must show your customer this, or how will they know to buy? Change your “sale price” or “discount price” wording in front of the price of an item to “Black Friday Price” or “Holiday Price.”

Let the customer know you appreciate them and are doing something special above and beyond your already competitive prices. Even if the price is the same, psychologically that customer will be more inclined to buy as they are already in the Black Friday / Cyber Monday mindset. What does this cost? A line of code changed – that’s it.

Reveal Coupons at Checkout

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Here is another simple and low cost tactic. On the busiest shopping days (or now weeks) of the year, your general customer most likely has many different tabs ope, and is hunting for the best price. The name of the game is the lowest price, plain and simple. So how do you do that? You use Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE’s) like Google Shopping or You compare as many stores as possible. The customer lands on your product page, and if you’re lucky, they start to checkout to see what goodies and discounts await them.

The customers that do make it to your checkout area see the “Enter Coupon Code Here” field. Now they are in the mindset of, “I need to go get a coupon code or at least try one out.” While I give you kudos for engaging the customer, he or she is now leaving to find a coupon away from your site.

Your customer has now left your site and is looking elsewhere. How do you get them to stay? Offer your coupon codes at checkout. Why risk someone leaving when you are clearly trying to give them an offer. This takes very little time and could also boost your conversion rate, help with your Cost of Sale (CoS), and decrease those pesky abandonment rates.

Deploying Cart Abandonment Remarketing Software

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Speaking of abandonment, here is one tactic that’s not as lightning fast or nearly as cheap, but it’s powerful. So powerful, you should keep it around after the holidays. Yes, we are biased with this one, but it just flat out works. Black Friday and Cyber Monday create crazed customers that jump from site to site abandoning pages and carts left and right.

Once mild mannered shoppers are now digital hunters, sniffing out the prey with the best price tag.

We know that abandonment rates can skyrocket past the 80% mark at the site and cart level. That’s a big chunk of people who just came to peruse and aren’t planning on coming back. With all those people looking for a special offer, why not remarket to them!? With software like Rejoiner, you are able to remarket deals, coupons, and anything else your little marketing heart desires to get those valuable customers back

Like we said, most online holiday shoppers are living in their browsers, hopping from one site to the next. Sure, every retailer is offering some sort of special offer or discount, but are they all taking the next step and sending targeted remarketing emails after abandonment (inevitably) occurs? Probably not. Be that retailer who shows up in your customer’s inbox minutes after they have ditched your cart. This is your unique power-play for the holiday. Install is easy. Most software installs via JavaScript if it is not already integrated as a plugin for most carts, like Magento or Volusion. The design gets created for you, and boom, you’re rocking and rolling retaining customers left and right. It’s easy, fast and opens up a totally new channel of conversion.

The Welcome Series Pop-up

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Welcome Series Pop-ups are a great way to get your client to opt-in and provide their ever so valuable email address. Why should you do this? Because it’s a catalyst for so many other powerful marketing tools and it’s fast and easy to install ; especially last minute.

When a customer lands on your page, the pop-up can offer them a Black Friday or Cyber Monday coupon code if they provide their email. Gamify the experience, make them feel special and give them that much needed coupon so they can convert.

So they opt-in but still leave. That’s okay, you now know where they have been and can use your remarketing technology from number 3 above to remarket to them.

Shucks, they didn’t end up buying during the holidays – not to worry. You can send them segmented offers post holiday or put them in a special club to then gain access to that customer. The possibilities are endless and it’s all powered by this easily installed tool.

Make your own Black Friday & Cyber Monday Discount Page:

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Great, a customer has found her way to your site! Say you are not showing coupons at checkout or landing page and are just not a fan of the practice. No problem at all. You have to accept the fact that your customer will be leaving your site to look for coupons. Where are they going to search?

Where will they land? If you have submitted coupons to your affiliates, they may land on one of those sites. The problem here is that you don’t control the experience. They may see a wrong coupon code, it may be buried on the page or displaying the wrong discount or brand. Affiliates often prioritize quantity over quality – especially with coupons. So build your own one pager.

Make sure your page is rich in keywords and text that people are searching when they think of your brands, and of course don’t forget Black Friday/ Cyber Monday.

Control the customer’s experience by navigating to where you want them to be and provide links when necessary. You can spend 30 minutes or 30 hours on this, but the goal will be to curate your own micro-site.

How else are you winning with this strategy? First, you don’t have to pay any extra acquisition costs like you do with affiliates! You can also take that cost and put it behind something like Google AdWords to promote your coupon page so it ranks number one at all times.

Call your suppliers:

Cost to implement:None
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So it’s almost Black Friday or Cyber Monday and you’ve read the blogpost, get the jist of it but are still struggling with which products to apply this to. What if you run on really tight margins and simply can’t discount 10-20%? Call your suppliers and let them do the heavy lifting.

Just like you, they have been prepping for the holiday shopping rush. They have been making smart purchases and establishing deals with their manufacturers or material suppliers. They have prepared their salespeople and marketing team to setup extra discounts for bulk buys and clear out items.

Use this to your advantage. Call or email them asking for ideas on what is moving fast or on what they can get you deals on. Look at your own best seller list and see if you can negotiate a better deal. During this time, most suppliers or manufacturers who follow MAP (Manufacture Suggested Pricing) will allow you to drop the price to spark sales.

Everyone Is About “Dropping Prices”, Why Not Increase Something Instead:

BF/CM is all about price, price, price. It’s a time shoppers are expecting to get the flat out lowest price on the products they have waited for.

As you may have noticed, we are living in a more experience-based society than one that just cares about the bottom dollar price. Companies like Zappos have paved the way to show that good experience can lead to more sales. A big push Amazon has had over the years is to not be the lowest price leader, but make it the easiest place to find everything and easiest place to return something. No surprise they bought Whole Foods this year and of course Zappos many years back.

So while everyone is focused on dropping prices, think about what you can to create a better experience for customers.

Think about extending return periods for those who buy during this time frame or making shipping faster for everyone for instant gratification.

How about offering a longer warranty period for items bought during this time. Don’t give away your bottom line, but give customers a better experience. If you couple a small discount and a big value proposition like the ones listed above, you’re going to have some really happy and eager people as customers.

Take This Time to Build Loyalty and LTV:

So now that you’re thinking about offering a higher level of service, why not try to ensure all those new customers turn into repeat customers and stay with you. Each $1.00 can turn into a point earned toward a future purchase with your store.

If there ever is a time to build a loyalty program, why not during the time everyone has their eyes on retail buying?

Start Early and End Late, Don’t Hold People Hostage:

Every year it seems black Friday & Cyber Monday gets longer and longer. The trend in the market is to start before everyone, but it seems some retailers are doing “Black Friday Month” at this point.

While it’s not anything unique, join the herd and start early. With that said, offer those shopping early a different incentive like we talked about in point earlier.

Maybe consider doing 2 day shipping for those who order before BF/CM. Call it the “Don’t get out of bed on Friday” sale or similar.

Work the Hours Others Will Not:

Here is the easiest one that takes the least amount of creativity: stay open longer.

Yes, the internet superstore is open 24/7, but support is not. While a vast portion of American customers already knows how to shop online, 79% to be exact,not all turn to buy digitally. Many are heading to brick and mortar stores and have the same mentality of support being available from 7am-11pm or so on these crazy shopping days.

Change your hours of operation on Google and on your site. Put up a banner that you are open longer for support. Sure, you may field far more Customer Service oriented calls, but its your time to shine.

It will also help skeptic buyers who have product questions and buyers that are not regular online shoppers. Never underestimate the human element, at least not in 2017.

They want to sell just as much as you. Leverage that.

In Brief:

While there are other high impact, low cost, low time investment approaches, these have worked quite well for my eCommerce companies over the past thirteen years.

They bring value to the customer and open your business to new marketing channels. Because you can test conversion quickly and cheaply, they also give you a basis for offering some of these things year round. Black Friday / Cyber Monday may not be your meal ticket to success or see the blowout sales that many big box stores do. However, it can be a great learning experience that can broaden your marketing program.


Eddie Lichstein
Ed Lichstein is a serial e-commerce entrepreneur with more than 15 years in the business. He has grown multiple brands to surpass the 8 figure mark and consults those who are looking for serious growth. Ed is an avid amateur racer and cyclist.

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