Client Director Zoe Adkins reveals how an integrated, cross-channel digital marketing strategy can deliver results for your business both during Black Friday, and for many months afterwards.
Beating Black Friday: Supercharging Your Sales With A Holistic Marketing Strategy
As the nights are getting shorter and we’re tentatively considering pulling our Christmas Trees down from the loft, most retailers are beginning to prepare themselves for the busiest time of the eCommerce marketing calendar – Black Friday.
Black Friday originated in the United States, typically taking place during the week following Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving has long been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the US, even though the term “Black Friday didn’t come into popular use until the last decade or so.
Nowadays, the Black Friday tradition is observed in many countries around the world, with retailers offering significant discounts on big-ticket items and top-selling brands. In the early days of Black Friday, retailers would roll out a variety of in-store deals, opening their doors as early as 5am. However; in recent years, the shopping frenzy has moved online, with more and more people choosing to carry out their holiday bargain hunting online. This provides retailers with an unprecedented opportunity to attract new buyers and increase their sales volume.
With this in mind, my latest webinar, “Black Friday: Supercharging Your Sales With A Holistic Marketing Strategy”, talks through the five pillars you need to be aware of for Black Friday success – from how to tap into consumer interest to ensuring channels work together to complement each other. Read my top tips for supercharging your sales this Black Friday below.
Paid search is one of the most accessible, and profitable, assets in your Black Friday toolkit. On average, for every $1 spent on Google, customers will see at least a $2 return. The question you ought to be asking yourself is, how can we give paid search the attention it deserves over this crucial period?
When it comes to Black Friday, paid search offers you the most direct means of communicating with your customers when they are most likely to be considering making a purchase – after all, you want to be visible to any potential customers searching for one of your key products.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that with great power comes great responsibility. It’s easy to get carried away over Black Friday, but paid search is arguably one of the channels that will require the most care and attention, with the possibility of costs growing exponentially over the weekend.
Key Tips for Black Friday PPC
- Plan for all scenarios – CPCs can become particularly expensive over Black Friday weekend, so make sure you’re keeping an eye on that all-important ROAS. It’s also important to ensure you are adjusting your budgets accordingly
- Utilise extensions – If you want to maximise real estate over Black Friday, make sure you’re taking advantage of text extensions. Text extensions could be promoting key offers through promotion extensions, or pulling out your key products through sitelinks
- Google Shopping – Consider breaking out campaigns in order to prioritise your best-selling/high-margin products. This will allow you to maximise your control over spend and ensure it is being pushed into areas that benefit your business the most. It’s also important to make sure that these changes are made well in advance to allow for Google algorithms to adjust
Will the competition on Google paid listings render our organic listings useless?
In short, no – organic search has a crucial role to play in the Black Friday build up! We’ve found that blog traffic typically peaks during November, both leading up to the event and during.
Black Friday is now a mass event across the UK, and customers are savvy at negotiating whether a deal is legit or not. Consumers want to ensure that the offers they’re shopping for are right for them, and will choose this time to research what kind of products they want to purchase. And what’s more, 22% of users in the UK still use ad blocking software, meaning that the only way to be visible on the search engine results page is going to be through your organic presence.
How do I optimise my organic listings ahead of Black Friday?
As we know, SEO is a slow burner, so it’s important to make sure your organic listings are optimised well ahead of Black Friday. If there is a particular product line you’re hoping to focus on throughout your Black Friday campaign, make sure that is a priority within your optimisation plan. When it comes to optimising organic listings, you should consider the following:
- Prioritising keywords by evaluating the difficulty of reaching top organic results
- Checking that important content on the page is being indexed
- Ensuring that on-page content is unique and that there is no duplicate copy across your site
- Updating or adding meta data (and ensuring both the title and description are within their respective character limits and keyword-optimised)
- Optimising existing text
- Adding keyword-rich image alt tags or captions where relevant
- Adding new content if necessary
- Making sure you have a strong internal linking strategy in place
HARNESSING THE POWER OF Display
To ensure you’re getting the most out of display advertising over Black Friday, you need to be an early riser. Plan and implement any prospecting activity early (ideally at the beginning of October) in order to build brand recognition with new customers in preparation for your offers.
It’s also important to remember that with display ads (and any other creative assets you’re creating for Black Friday), consistency is key. This means making sure that your tone of voice and ad designs are consistent with your site to ensure a seamless customer journey.
Finally, using live data, such as remaining stock or countdown timers to offer changes, can create a sense of urgency and relevancy in your creative. 68% of carts (and 78% on mobile) are abandoned on Black Friday, making it a prime opportunity for remarketing those abandoned items. With this in mind:
- A solid remarketing strategy with different ads for different behaviours is critical
- Dynamic ads showing users the items they left behind can be a great help in driving them back to your website
- Remember cross-device users – someone who abandons their cart on mobile might be tempted back on desktop
- Tapping into this resource can be the difference between a good Black Friday and a great one
MAXIMISING YOUR USAGE OF Social
Ahead of Black Friday, the first thing you should aim to do is test different placements across the social channels that you are planning on using. This will allow you to understand which placements perform well for you and which offer the best returns. Ensure you test these placements prior to Black Friday so that you thoroughly understand which placements to maximise.
Custom Audiences allow you to exercise a huge amount of granularity and control in your audience creation. You can use email data or specific actions carried out on your site to show tailored creative to specific users. You can then create lookalike audiences based on this data to further improve your reach.
Like display advertising, it’s really important to set up prospecting activity as early as possible. Traffic costs grow significantly as Black Friday approaches. Investing in prospecting traffic as early as possible means you won’t pay the same premium as you would if you were doing the activity over Black Friday – which is good news, as Facebook CPCs can get very expensive! You can then remarket to this audience in a more affordable way as the day gets closer, further improving your returns.
GETTING THE MOST FROM Email
Email is so crucial for any Black Friday marketing campaign. It’s a fantastic way of reaching out to your audience and current customers to speak to them about your offers. But what is the best way to approach your email workflow? Like most of the other channels we’ve discussed in this blog post, preparation is key. Planning your email content and setup ahead of Black Friday will mean you’re in the best position to push out lead up emails or warm-up offers.
Email is a key driver for traffic and revenue across Black Friday, so it’s important to make sure that whatever you’re sending out is consistent with the display and social assets you’ve already created. And remember, there can be too much of a good thing – don’t overwhelm your customers with too many emails that take too long to get to the point!
WHAT ABOUT UX?
The final thing to think about is the UX of your website in relation to Black Friday, especially in relation to how your website is going to look to your customers. Something that is key is the idea of having a theme for your Black Friday campaign, and using it consistently throughout the creative assets you are planning to deploy.
The biggest and most successful brands have a Black Friday theme that spans their entire website – for example, Gymshark, a UK-based fitness clothing and accessories brand, is now memorable and recognisable for the sale they push over the Black Friday period. It’s their biggest sale of the year, there is a big launch leading up to it and their customers get excited about it over social. Using the same theme repeatedly clearly resonates with their audience. So, if having a theme over Black Friday isn’t something you’ve tried before, it’s definitely something to consider.
Should I have tested that?
If you’re thinking about testing any part of your Black Friday campaign, the best time to do so is now. This will help you avoid being in the position where you are still running tests over the crucial Black Friday period. The best version of your website will be running in time for Black Friday.
Buy now, pay later…
The concept of ‘buy now, pay later’ is growing in popularity, with services like Klarna and Clearpay being shown to increase not only conversion rate, but also average order value. If you’re thinking about implementing one of these services onto your website, something to consider is what that model looks like. Most of these services will charge commission for you to use them, so you might need to look at how that impacts your margins over Black Friday and the changes you may need to make to the discounts you are offering.
But what about offline?
Three in four retailers believe merging of online and in-store shopping is key to success, but how does this change in light of COVID-19? An easy example of incorporating offline marketing is Click and Collect. If you do have brick and mortar stores alongside your eCommerce website, something you can look at pushing is Click and Collect over Black Friday, which is a perfect solution if your logistics can’t handle as many orders as they could have prior to COVID-19. Being able to pick up orders free of charge may be a big USP.
And Click and Collect isn’t the only example. You may be a car dealership who wants people to view cars. You can still follow a lot of these strategies, but your messaging will need to be slightly different. In fact, it might be easier to manage and track post-COVID, as you could be looking to book appointments to ensure social distancing.
So, you’ve heard the theory. Now let’s make it happen. It’s time to make sure that your Black Friday digital marketing strategy is aligned across paid search, social, Amazon, SEO and conversion rate optimisation. The good news? We can help you do this. Get in touch with one of our experts today.