Posted on Nov 7, 2017

Is Your Online Business Ready for Black Friday?

Whether your online sales are slumping or you just want to rock the end of the year, Black Friday is the perfect chance to spark a shopping frenzy. And as November shoppers get more savvy about online deals and specials, you can leverage the momentum of Black Friday and continue enticing customers through Cyber Monday.

According to Adobe Digital Insights, Cyber Monday is on track to hit a new record with $3.39 billion online and $3.34 for Black Friday. But if you want to claim a piece of that pie for yourself, you need to ask some important questions about whether or not your online business is ready for Black Friday. Do you have a plan for bringing in customers? Or are you unsure how to begin?

In either case, start with iPage’s guide to getting your website ready for the holidays. Then, focus on these 10 marketing tactics to attract more shoppers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.


Run Facebook Ads

Running a successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotion means spreading the word to the right shoppers, from the start. And when it comes to attracting past, current and new customers back to your store, Facebook Ads are a great place to start. Use phenomenal product photos and an appealing call to action to entice customers to click through to your website or sign-up to your email list for a limited time, holiday-specific offer.

To target your ads appropriately (and prevent wasted spend), upload your own email marketing list directly into Facebook to create a Custom Audience, or use Facebook’s targeting features to narrow down your reach to customers that are likely to buy your products.

As an example of what’s possible, Ecommerce shop and learning platform Craftsy used Facebook ads to promote their business and saw a 4.3x return on their ad spend. Among their strategies, they created dynamic Facebook ads with a “Shop Now” call-to-action button that directs people to their online shop. They also customized their audience reach in order to avoid wasting ad spend on customers outside of their ideal market.

Testing and tweaking your ads is a critical part of finding the right targeted audience that converts to sales – and it isn’t easy. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, social media ads can be a highly effective way to find the right customers for your business.


Include a Free Mystery Gift

Everyone loves free stuff from their favorite stores or an exciting new business running a Black Friday or Cyber Monday promotion.

Try including a mystery gift with every order of a specific amount. To help spread the word, ask your customers to post a photo of your product with a special hashtag like #BlackFridayGift to their favorite social media channel to further increase your reach.

free giftRemember, though, that the point of a mystery gift isn’t to skimp on quality or to move old merchandise that no one is interested in. Instead, carefully choose items that speak to the personality of your store or service and that will keep a customer coming back for more.

If you’re a consultant selling a package that helps entrepreneurs get set-up online, for example, you could offer a free mini call with every purchase. Meanwhile, shops selling physical merchandise could offer a free cosmetic, homeware, or piece of artwork that reflects their unique style.


Launch a Limited Time Product

You can create a sense of urgency behind your sales by launching a limited time product or service that’s only available during Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Build up the hype around your launch with an email marketing campaign or via your social media channels. Make the product highly valuable and use a countdown timer to alert customers that the sale is only for a limited time.

You can also increase the urgency and sweeten your offer at the same time by including a highly valuable freebie like a free consultation or by upgrading their product with an extra gift. The more reasons you give customers to buy – while simultaneously hyping the exclusivity of the offer – the more you create a sense that your product or service in-demand (and that eager customers shouldn’t wait to buy).


Bundle Your Products

Once you’ve figured out how to drive more traffic and eager customers to your website, you can increase your profits with this simple technique. Bundling your products helps customers see the value in buying multiple products in one place, while driving more revenue for your business at the same time.

That said, remember that your customers still want a deal on Black Friday and Cyber Monday – not just an easier way to shop with a bundle of products. Show customers how they’ll save money by buying your bundle now, versus purchasing each product individually later on. You can even throw in an extra product that isn’t available for sale, whether that’s a special sample or an exclusive upgrade.


Host Hourly Flash Sales

Take a cue from ecommerce giant Amazon’s successful Gold Box lightning sales.

One of the easiest ways to grab shoppers’ attention is to run hourly flash sales. Offer a high-ticket item, a unique piece of merchandise, or a surprise novelty item every hour (or at designated times). Spread the word about your ongoing sales on social media or through an email marketing campaign to your customers to get a flood of traffic and potential customers to your website.

How much can you increase your own revenue in a flash sale? It depends on your product and customer base, but Case-Mate ran a flash sale and saw a 51% increase in traffic and 50% increase in conversion rate for an overall 236% increase in revenue. Their second flash sale saw a 5% increase in traffic, 105% increase in conversion rate and a 78% increase in revenue.

case mates case sale

Image: Case-Mate

Remember to also promote upcoming flash sales directly on your website on the day of your sale. Experiment with sending preview messages about your flash sales to email subscribers, or test sharing more information about the flash sale when someone retweets a Twitter announcement or follows your Facebook Page.


Offer Coupons to New (and Old) Subscribers

Entice casual shoppers to sign up for your email list for limited time, same day coupons. Make the coupon offer juicy enough to spark action, and consider offering an additional discount if they take advantage of a special affiliate link they can pass on to their friends.

As you’re planning your promotions, remember that it’s also important not to ignore your old email subscribers or customers who might drop by your site and see what you’re offering to new sign-ups. Let your current subscribers know about your upcoming offer and send along an additional discount if they pass on the deal to their network.

The more you can spread the word about your promotion, the wider your reach will be – and the higher your revenue will climb.


Provide Live Shopping Tips

If you don’t have much of a budget to run online ads and give away coupons and free products, rely on good old-fashioned personalized service as your Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotion. Use a live chat tool to let active shoppers know that you’re available to help them shop and offer personalized suggestions based on what they’re looking for.

If they don’t respond, give them some space to browse without pressing them to respond. But chances are high that curious shoppers will respond and ask what to get for a special someone or for help identifying the best product for their needs. Simply focusing on helping others by taking a genuine interest in their needs can help you stand out from your competitors.

The impact live chat can make on your business is big. According to MarketingSherpa, live chat yielded 39% of Total Gym’s online orders. They use the function to engage customers and answer questions at critical points in their conversion funnels, as well as to better understand their audience’s needs overall.


Throw in Bonus Gift Cards

If it feels overwhelming to come up with a genius offer for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotion, don’t overthink it. Just throw in bonus gift cards. Giants like Walmart and Target do this frequently by offering a discount on a product along with a valuable gift card.

You can do the same by offering a bonus card at various price points, depending on the product that’s being purchased. You could also discount your gift cards for a limited time so that your customers can buy for themselves or a friend. This tactic works for both online and brick-and-mortar shops to encourage holiday shoppers to upgrade their purchases.


Go Live

Sometimes customers need to see how your products or services really work – not to mention the value they’ll bring to their lives – before purchasing. Run a live webinar, Facebook Live session, or Instagram Story to connect with your customers and put a public face on your business.

Go over the features and benefits of your products and services with your audience and use case studies whenever possible. Talk about how your business has helped others and in what specific ways. You can also entice more sales by offering a limited time sale or bonus offer to anyone who buys during the live event to get the revenue flowing.


Reach Out to Your Loyal Customers

Neglecting your loyal customers is a missed opportunity for the biggest shopping days of the year. In reality, your past customers and loyal fans are more likely to buy than new prospects.

shopping bagsAccording to a report from Monetate, returning visitor transactions make up 48% of all U.S. e-commerce sessions in the fourth quarter of 2015 and spent $2.7 billion. Make attracting loyal customers back to your store with a special incentive one of your primary marketing techniques on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

An email campaign is an effective way to reach past customers and remind them how much they love your shop and your upcoming sale. Throw in a limited time coupon or product upgrade to get them enthusiastic about your sale. The more reasons you give your customers to keep coming back for more, the more likely they are to become repeat buyers.


Unfortunately, there are no “quick wins” for marketing your way to success on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Focus on the techniques that make the most sense for your business and stick to just one or two and test the results. At the end of the day, holiday shopping sales should be about enticing more sales, turning shoppers into repeat customers and offering phenomenal service and value.


What are you doing to make sure your business is ready for Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Let us know your plans by leaving a comment below:


Images: Pexels, Pexels, Pexels