Black Friday has become a well-known event within the public and throughout the marketing world. Taking place the day after Thanksgiving, Americans flock to retail outlets and digital storefronts to take advantage of the year’s best deals. Whether they’re in the market for a television, a new appliance, or some clothing, it’s likely that a customer’s store of choice is going to have a major sale on Black Friday.
But Black Friday is no longer a one-day event. It’s now morphed into a four-day weekend, with deals shifting throughout the weekend until shoppers are brought into Cyber Monday, where major deals hit the internet, allowing customers to make purchases from the comfort of their home. COVID-19 is changing the way we’re viewing a lot of “regular” things in life, though. Social events are few and far between, celebrating holidays is a head-scratcher, and the idea of shopping in-person can be fear-inducing for some. While our world is changing for unexpected reasons, what news does this spell for Black Friday? And how can marketers and affiliate marketing strategies adapt to keep the tradition alive?
Why Your Business Needs Black Friday
While shopping deals have spread from Thanksgiving Day all the way to Cyber Monday, Black Friday is still the most popular shopping day for customers — it’s likely become so ubiquitous that it makes sense to take care of your holiday and personal shopping on that day. 2019 was a hallmark year for Black Friday, too, as shoppers spent more money than during any other time, putting their hard-earned money to work by finding the best deals possible.
Yet COVID-19 presents a strange situation for 2020: Will people still be interested in shopping when the fate of the economy seems so uncertain? The fact is that people are willing to shop — especially when they find a deal — and while shopping in-person isn’t likely to be a thing this year, it’s more than likely that people will be doing their holiday shopping online. Because of financial limitations, people might be looking for the best deals they can get, which is understandable, so now is the year to really hook customers in every way possible.
How can this be achieved? By capturing their attention prior to Black Friday and maintaining it until that day comes, all achieved thanks to an affiliate marketing strategy, email campaigns, traditional advertising, and more.
Planning in Advance for Black Friday
With great expectations come great preparations. Your business needs to establish what it’s doing far in advance of Black Friday even happening. Why? Because you want to ensure that you have everything set-and-ready for when the day arrives; moreover, you should guarantee you’re communicating with customers far in advance of the day approaching.
The former is important because you want to ensure your business’s website doesn’t crash when more visitors than normal go to the site all at once. Issues that can come from a sudden rush of traffic include third-party components failing, unequipped servers lagging, and web pages failing to load for some users.
The latter is imperative because it helps to entice customers to actually shop with your business on Black Friday, rather than just hoping they arrive. This includes reaching out to them on a regular basis beforehand, letting them know what to expect so you can make sure they shop with you when it matters. Here are a few ways you can achieve both of these goals in relation to Black Friday:
- Plan ahead.
In reality, there isn’t much time until Black Friday comes along. In terms of establishing a marketing plan, three months isn’t that much time, so it’s important that you begin putting in the work now. This is especially true since your competitors are likely doing the same, hoping to get the attention of customers of your niche.
This doesn’t mean you need to immediately start advertising to your customer base about Black Friday; however, it does mean getting them partway in the door before that time comes. This can most easily be achieved by getting them to follow you on social and media and having them sign up for your email services. Both of these are simple avenues that allow you to remain in constant contact for the next few months, letting them become acquainted with your brand while remaining aware of what’s going on. Once November comes around, you can begin putting out content related to sales expected on Black Friday.
- Check the performance of your site.
Along with preparing your customers for the season, now is the time to ensure your website is ready to handle the increased traffic. This is one of the most imperative steps of preparation. Even if you’re able to land customers prior to Black Friday, they will not return if they had a bad experience with your website. This is solely due to customer’s expectations of websites to work efficiently and quickly — 40% of customers state they will not return to a website that takes more than three seconds to load, and more than 50% of users will abandon that same website under the same conditions.
For this reason, you should take the time to sit down with your IT and backend team to run through your website to determine whether or not it can handle the customer base you want to attract. Upgrades should only be minor fixes; however, that never justifies leaving them to the last minute. You don’t want it to be Black Friday and your website has crashed multiple times, thus ruining any chance at acquiring business that you might have had.
- Get your audience energized.
While you want to capture your audience prior to Black Friday coming around, you need to remember that these few days of sales don’t last long, and you need to remind your audience of that when the time comes. Getting and keeping the attention of your customers can be tough, and it’s common for customers to lose interest the farther out an event is — but this is just more reason why you need to continue reaching out to them once Black Friday is near.
This can most easily manifest in the form of urgency — a call to action intended to get their attention. In regards to Black Friday, this will look near frantic, reminding them what little time they have to act. This can include messaging related to the scarcity of items, the urgency of specific deals, and more, such as:
- “Get ready for our Black Friday deals!”
- “Deals you can’t get in-store”
- “One day to fill those stockings”
- “The perfect gift at the perfect price”
- “Get yourself a gift this Black Friday”
Whatever your approach, you want to take some measures that will allow you to hold their attention leading up to Black Friday, all while making sure they actually shop with you the day of.
Capitalizing on Black Friday
- Create an email campaign before Black Friday.
Reach out before it’s too late. Begin emailing customers who have engaged with your business and signed up to be part of your email list.
For current customers, that involves creating a campaign that makes them aware of upcoming sales, products that fit their needs based on past purchases, and potential gift bundles for holiday shopping. For past customers, it involves trying to find a way to bring them back into the fold.
- Retarget past customers and site visitors.
Maybe you’ve had a list of site visitors and shoppers from the past. Now is the time to make use of them. If they signed up for your email list when they last visited, consider reaching out with an email that lets them know what will be on sale coming Black Friday.
Take it further with customers who once filled their cart but abandoned it. This can include sending them a direct coupon for use on Black Friday — one inaccessible to the public. Simple things like this, and the above, can work to let customers know you haven’t forgotten them and that you are still appreciative of them considering you in the first place.
- Use time to your advantage.
As mentioned above, urgency matters when considering one-day sales. While shoppers are likely to bounce around, they’re also bound to make quick decisions if it sounds as if a deal is going away or if stock is low.
To take advantage of this, consider creating a sense of urgency with your content and across your website. Offer specific shopping codes that expire within a day; offer temporary digital sales that only last a few hours; make customers aware when stock is getting low on a product. Basic reminders of exclusivity and urgency can help fuel a customer from window shopping to checkout.
- Keep an eye on business.
If you’re using a platform like Refersion, now is the time to make the most of it. This, paired with technology like Google Analytics, can help you understand how customers are interacting with your website and content. By monitoring this, you’re taking the time to conduct research on what your customer thinks of what you have and what you do, such as:
- What pages do they most often click on?
- How long do they spend on certain webpages?
- Do they leave certain webpages without taking action?
- Are they opening your emails?
- How many people are engaging with affiliate content?
- How many of these engagements turn into sales conversions?
Receiving analytics from these questions can key answers that will drive your business in the right direction, allowing you to make tweaks as needed.
- Think multi-channel.
Utilizing just one avenue won’t do. The best way to reach your intended audience will be through numerous channels. Often referred to as an omnichannel approach, this marketing strategy is especially useful for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. By utilizing various types of marketing strategies, from affiliate marketing to social media, your business can effectively reach out to customers across the spectrum.
Marketplaces such as Instagram ads, Amazon storefronts, a brick-and-mortar shop, and smartphone-accessible web pages will allow customers of all stripes to shop freely with your business.
- Look beyond Black Friday.
Black Friday is a great day to bring people to your website to shop, but it’s not the only day of the season. The five-day shopping spree from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday should be capitalized on, where you provide different offers, deals, and sales every day, ensuring customers continue coming back to your site. Furthermore, you still have a whole holiday season to go until reaching Christmas and New Years’ Eve, which means you’ll have to continue finding ways to keep customers engaged.
This largely involves working to convert these one-time shoppers into long-term customers. How can this be achieved? By regularly communicating with them, providing them with excellent service, and guaranteeing your website online store is running as smoothly as possible.
An email campaign or affiliate marketing strategy are simple ways to stay in touch with your customer base, all while working to rope in new ones along the way. If you’re looking to make the most of your business this holiday season, you need to think ahead of Black Friday and begin structuring a marketing plan that covers the whole winter holiday season.
The Bottom Line
If you’re interested in how an affiliate marketing strategy can fit into your current marketing mix, consider learning about Refersion and how it can benefit your business’s marketing efforts and keep customers in the loop.