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18 Experts Share Their Top Black Friday Campaign Ideas

Online retailers are gearing up for the biggest shopping weekend of the year.

But with the frenzy of consumers looking for the best deals, also comes merchants trying to one up their competitors and capture as many sales as possible. Whether that’s by offering a bigger discount, throwing in free gifts or ramping up their marketing budget to the max.

With over $90 billion expected to be spent this year, the level of competition during the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend is intense to say the least. 

But you likely already know that. Instead if you’re reading this post you’re fully aware of the importance of this time of year and are looking for Black Friday campaign ideas to take full advantage of the holiday shopping.

If this is you, then you’ve come to the right place. 

To give you the best chance at making the most of Black Friday, we’ve asked 18 marketing experts for their top Black Friday campaign ideas.

Here’s what they came up with.

Don’t Leave It To The Last Minute

A common response among experts we asked for their Black Friday marketing ideas was that merchants shouldn’t wait until Black Friday to launch their campaign.

1) Felix Süllwold

felix süllwold

Felix Süllwold from Pushowl suggests warming up your marketing communications in the lead up to Black Friday.

BFCM – It’s not a 4-day activity. Counting down the days to Black Friday and then shooting all your marketing cannons will likely lead to your promotions just bouncing off. 

Warm up the communications channels you will be using for your BFCM marketing. The easiest way to do so is by building hype: Announce the big deals that are coming, when the promotions start, or send content that prepares potential buyers for making a purchase: such as how-tos, testimonials, or product hacks.

2) Steve Wilson 

Steve Wilson from Plastic Wallet Inserts suggests beginning to offer your Black Friday deals from early November. 

Set up a form where people can sign up for early bird specials in the beginning of November so it has some time to collect email addresses. Then send out emails to these people (as well as you list you already have) about your early bird specials for Black Friday/Cyber Monday the week before. 

Also make sure you have Retargeted ads running to capture more sales. 

3) Jon Tabbernor

Jon Tabbernor from WealthTurbo also recommends getting your Black Friday campaigns up and running well before the week arrives.

It’s all about building a buzz around your sale. By building a buzz around your Black Friday sale beforehand you can ensure that people know your sale is coming to achieve maximum traffic. 

For example by signing people up to an exclusive Black Friday email list to ensure people don’t miss out you can ensure people are engaged with your sale beforehand. 

4) David Bridburg

David Bridburg

David Bridburg from Bridburg.com is wise to point out that you shouldn’t be just starting to collect email addresses for Black Friday even a month out. 

Marketing is a yearly event. I collect many email addresses from the public and the Sunday afternoon before Cyber Monday, I email out my best sale of the year. Making the day my most successful of the year.

5) Jennifer Moore

While it may be a good idea to be prepared and launch your Black Friday campaigns early in November, Jennifer Moore, a marketing specialist from The Saatva Company, cautions against being too early. Instead suggests sending out your first Black Friday email two weeks in advance. 

Send targeted emails two weeks before your sales begin. 

In the past, we’ve tried a month prior, but we’ve found that as our world gets inundated with flashy tech, consumers are remembering less and less after a certain period of time. 

The two week mark before Black Friday is perfect because, by that time, consumers are already thinking of what they’d like to purchase. They’re making budgets and will be sure to include your product on their list. 

Depending on when you’re reading this, the ship may have already set sail on launching your campaigns in early November. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to collect email address to boost sales.

The Power of Email Marketing During Black Friday

As a lot of the suggestions have already alluded to, email marketing is a powerful tool to increase sales.

This is especially true given that email is responsible for driving a fifth of all online sales during the holiday season.

6) Julianna Weiss-Roessler

Julianna Weiss-Roessler

If you don’t have to time to properly set up email flows in preparation for Black Friday this year, don’t worry. As Julianna Weiss-Roessler from WR Digital Marketing points out, you can still use email marketing now in a way to also set yourself up for success next year.

Set yourself up for success in 2020. Take advantage of the bump in traffic by asking people for their email in exchange for the Black Friday deal. For example, you can offer, “Sign up for our email newsletter to get our killer Black Friday deal!” That way, you have the opportunity to turn a one-time buyer into a repeat client.

7) Igor Cerjan

Igor Cerjan

Igor Cerjan from Perceptiv Digital recommends setting up an email campaign to build excitement for your Black Friday offer.

Email is still king.

Prepare a drip campaign driving awareness and excitement about your promotion starting 3-5 days before Black Friday to give people time to think through their potential purchases and kick off Black Friday with a custom template that drives urgency. 

Countdowns work best and make sure you put together a compelling offer! 

You’ll find people window shopping during the days leading up to the sale and then purchasing on the day. Re-target everyone who opened your email on Facebook leading up to the sale and on the day with a separate campaign (this will be cheap since its a specific warm audience). With short attention spans, getting their attention of Facebook will increase your conversions and sales on the day. 

8) George Hartley

George Hartley

Email marketing has multiple features that you can use to make more sales, such as personalized product recommendations. But if there’s one type of email you definitely should set up it’s abandoned cart emails.

These are emails that are automatically sent to customers who add items to their carts, but fail to checkout.

George Hartley from SmartrMail recommends fully utilizing these emails during the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend. 

Abandoned cart emails are a great tool to recover otherwise lost sales regardless of the time of year, but they’re especially useful on Black Friday.

Your customers are going to be doing a lot of shopping across a lot of different sites meaning they’re inevitably going to lose track of that’s in their carts. That’s why abandoned cart reminder emails are useful at prompting them to go back and checkout.

The problem however is that your competitors are also going to be sending the same people more emails than usual, leading to very crowded inboxes. 

The key to making abandoned cart emails work during Black Friday is then increasing the frequency of the follow up emails so that you send them all within the 24 hour sales period. 

Other abandoned cart best practices like including increasingly better discount codes in your second and subsequent follow ups still apply. 

9) Wei Tan

Wei Tan

To help make your emails stand out in people’s inboxes, Wei Tan from The Orchard Agency recommends people use structured data.

To make your email campaigns really stand out, consider using structured data to generate more visibility and engagement with your Gmail audience. 

Structured data can create a more visually impactful presence in Gmail inboxes, by allowing you to customise and promote your own image, coupon code, and promotional offer before they open up your email. 

With approximately 40% of B2C databases consisting of Gmail addresses, the application of Structured Data will give you the competitive advantage for a significant portion of your audience/database. 

Black Friday Retargeting Campaigns

Retargeting campaigns are another highly effective Black Friday marketing strategy.  They also make a great addition to your email campaigns as you can often use your email list for your list of people retarget. 

10) Matthew Post

This is exactly what Matthew Post from MatthewPost.com recommends.

I would recommend going heavy on retargeting ads and remarketing emails. It is easier and more cost-effective to engage previous clients to have them purchase. Plus, shopping cart solutions, such as BigCommerce and WooCommerce, have plugins available where shoppers can receive an additional discount by sharing your store on social media. Combining these two strategies will turn past clients into evangelists.

11) Raúl Galera

Raúl Galera

When most merchants are trying to acquire new customers, Raúl Galera from ReferralCandy is wise to point out that your efforts are often best directed toward your existing customers.

When we think about BFCM we tend to think about how to attract new customers to our store: heavy discounts, free shipping, and so on. But are these really valuable to your store?

BFCM is the time for the deal hunters and impulse buys. Most of the customers that will be landing on your store for the first time are probably just going to be looking at the numbers before the “%” sign. And that’s okay. But the real value is what happens after that new customer makes their first purchase at your store.

It’s 6-7 times cheaper to persuade a customer to return than to acquire a new customer. You’ve done all the hard work — don’t let them go now! After their first visit, you should take the opportunity to start educating those customers about the brand, why you are different from other competitors and encourage them to come back for more. An email campaign is the best way to pique their interest.

Once these new customers start using your product and can see for themselves the value that you offer (say, a week after they’ve received your product), you can hit them with another email – now with an invitation to join your referral program. Once they’ve had enough time to use your product they’ll be able to pitch it to their friends and family more efficiently and generate more referral sales for your store.

Black Friday Social Media Campaigns

Of course, when it comes to online retailing we can’t forget about social media. Here are some of the expert Black Friday campaign ideas for social media.

12) Andrei Vasilescu 

Andrei Vasilescu

Andrei Vasilescu from DontPayFull recommends starting your social media campaigns at least two weeks before Black Friday arrives.

Today everyone keeps an eye on social media to know what’s happening. 

Run a full scale social media campaign for your retail business highlighting your special discounts coupons or Black Friday special deals. Keep surfacing in popular social networks as many times as possible in a day and start campaigning from at least 15 days before Black Friday.

 This continuous and recurring appearance in the social networks will fetch people towards your retail store in the Black Friday to get your discount offers.

13) Syed Ali Hasan

Syed Ali Hasan

For Syed from Film Jackets you just can’t forget about Facebook. 

Promote your products/services via Facebook Ads.

Everyone is using Facebook, and it is also a great platform to do online shopping. Users are more moving towards social networks so why not take advantage of such platforms? Facebook Advertising gives us the opportunity to target the right audiences that would take an interest in our products. 

During Black Friday, increase your ad spend because everyone will be competing for your target audience. In order to reach them, you can increase the budget but in the end, this will maximize your ROI. 

Offering a Free Gift to Black Friday Shoppers

Email marketing, social media and retargeting are all great ideas, but if you’ve been involved with online retail for a while now, you likely have these channels covered. 

A more unique Black Friday strategy, a couple of experts have advised offering free gifts to shoppers.

14) Shelley Grieshop

Shelley Grieshop

Shelley Grieshop from Totally Promotional recommends placing your logo on the free gifts for added brand exposure.

The best way to draw customers to brick and mortar or online stores for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday is to offer free stuff. Advertise via social media, on your website and other more traditional ways that customers will receive a free gift with every purchase. 

Choose affordable and useful customized gifts such as drawstring bags, chip clips or can coolers with your logo. Now you’ve created happy, loyal customers who will be exposing your logo to other potential clients wherever they take your gifts.

15) Becky Beach

becky beach

Becky Beach from MomBeach.com suggests making your free gifts a Black Friday exclusive offer. 

What I have done last year and plan to do this year is to give a free item with a $30 or more purchase. This free item is exclusive and has never been sold on the site before. The only way my customers can get the item is if they spend $30. After the sale, the item goes away to never be sold again. 

Dealing with Shipping

A turn off potential customers often encounter with online shopping is shipping costs. While free shipping will prevent this from becoming an issue, not all stores can offer it. For these stores, there are some other solutions.

16) Cara Hebert

Cara Hebert

Cara Hebert from Justuno recommending using upsell and cross-sell promotions to offset shipping costs.

Shoppers have come to expect free shipping these days, but not every business can swing that on every order. To get around this, we suggest offering free shipping over a certain order value coupled with intelligent upsell and cross-sell promotions so that your business can stay competitive and raise the average order value (AOV) to help offset shipping costs. 

By pairing a free-shipping threshold with an automated cross-sell promotion, you can show visitors items within a certain price range that would raise their cart total to meet the free shipping minimum. 

In doing so, you reduce the chance of cart abandonment due to shipping costs and also increase your average order value by encouraging visitors to purchase more. 

If a free shipping threshold is still too expensive to apply nationwide, try geo-targeting the free shipping offer to a radius that makes more fiscal sense for your business.

Make Purchasing As Easy As Possible

In addition to running Black Friday campaigns, one of the best things you can do in preparation of Black Friday is making sure your online store is properly optimized. 

17) Pete Boyle

Pete Boyle

Pete Boyle from Jumper.ai recommends ensuring that it’s as easy as possible for your customers to checkout. 

During the BFCM weekend your potential customers are bombarded with offers, ads, deals, and communication. However, a lot of brands will fall foul of a simple rule. They still insist on implementing an unnecessarily complex purchase journey. 

They’ll connect with customers through ads or email, then redirect them to a different site where the customer has to navigate a 5+ step purchase journey.  

The result is a huge drop-off at every stage. 

You can tackle this by making the purchase journey as streamlined as possible. In particular, assessing user intent and formatting your checkout process to best mimic that intent. 

A user on social media is not necessarily intent on buying. They’re looking for a social distraction. Aligning your purchase journey with that intent will increase conversions.

Not All Black Friday Campaigns Need to be Digital

There’s no denying that online retail has taken off over the past decade, however that doesn’t mean all your Black Friday campaigns need to be digital.

18) Nick Titus

Nick Titus

Nick Titus from Minuteman Press International suggests sending postcards to your potential customers. 

For independent retailers, it is vital to get Black Friday messaging out via multiple touchpoints such as cross-media marketing and direct mail. 

The USPS has a popular program called Every Door Direct Mail that allows retailers to send unaddressed mailings at a fraction of the cost. We have a program called Dynamic Direct Mail that links physical mailings to online marketing efforts. Retailers can mail a postcard to consumers who will then see online ads relating to that postcard.

Making This Your Best Black Friday Yet

Hopefully these Black Friday campaign ideas have given you some inspiration for your own marketing strategies. By taking on board this expert advice, you’re setting yourself and your store up for success this Black Friday. 

To help you maximize your sales, we also have plenty of other Black Friday resources. These include blog posts on great Black Friday email examples as well as over 100 Black Friday subject lines that’ll entice subscribers to open your emails. 

So no matter how little time there is left until Black Friday, there’s plenty of things you can do to make the most of the shopping holiday! 

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