What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving. It’s the shopping mega-event that kickstarts the Christmas holiday shopping season for early birds. To get consumers to start buying earlier retailers often use heavy promotion and other tactics to generate more traffic both online and offline. Huge discounts, coupons, special deals, bundles… You name it. Black Friday has it all. Businesses integrate various Black Friday marketing ideas to leverage sales.
The name Black Friday originated from the police describing the chaos of pedestrian and auto traffic surrounding this huge shopping event of the year. However, the phenomenon of Black Friday existed long before it was given its name. Back in 1950s people started calling in sick after Thanksgiving, to have a four-day weekend. However, since the stores were open, those who called in sick could go shopping during working hours and get a head start on their Christmas shopping. Eventually, instead of investigating on their employees to check who was actually sick and catching the “liars”, businesses just made the Friday after Thanksgiving a paid holiday. Today Black Friday has turned into an event that helps retailers move from red to black before the end of the year.
The Origins and the History of Black Friday, the Biggest Sales Event of the Year
It may seem that Black Friday is a business-driven event. However, the trend was actually started by consumers themselves. The instance when this shopping madness was called a Black Friday, was first recorded in Philadelphia. To describe the pedestrian chaos and traffic jam which occurred during the Thanksgiving weekend shopping, Philadelphia police used the terms Black Friday and Black Saturday.
The Friday after Thanksgiving has been the unofficial launch of the Christmas season since the late 19th century. Originally Thanksgiving was set to be the last Thursday in November by President Abraham Lincoln. This was set to become a holiday shopping phenomenon. The “calling-in-sick” trend started here. During the Great Depression in 1939, Thanksgiving happened to fall during the fifth week of November. For retailers this was catastrophic, since the holiday shopping season was cut too short, and they were at risk of going bankrupt. So the retailers petitioned President Franklin D. Roosevelt to move the Thanksgiving holiday up to the fourth Thursday. After quite some confusion among states, the Congress passed a law making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November in 1941.
The name Black Friday, associated with the shopping event itself, first appeared in print only in 1966.
Black Friday Statistics
By now, every business on the planet and their cousins know that Black Friday is a big deal. But how much do you know about the actual numbers and statistics about this mega shopping holiday? Here’s a quick list to go through on Black Friday statistics from last year *:
- The National Retail Federation (NRF) indicated that during the Thanksgiving weekend a typical young to middle aged consumers spent an average of $413.05.
- About 69% of the overall spending was on gifts, with Christmas around the corner in the customer’s mind.
- According to the NRF the group of Americans shopping both online and in-store has seen an increase of 40% on the previous year.
- Multi-channel shoppers also spend about 93$ more than single-channel shoppers.
How to Leverage Black Friday Marketing and Scale Your Business
What is a better time to leverage sales and scale your business than the biggest shopping event of the year? Whether you’re in retail, restaurant business or provide various services, Black Friday is an amazing opportunity for your business to take full advantage of, online or offline. It has been estimated that the sales happening on Black Friday exceed a billion dollars. You might want to consider joining in and taking a piece of that billion. However, to do so, you as a business should be prepared for the storm to come.
An important thing to consider is that joining the hype just for the sake of joining is not always the best idea. Nowadays, businesses are somewhat pressured to be active during Black Friday and come up with special offer, otherwise they risk losing customers to some extent. However, you shouldn’t rush into this due to “peer pressure” alone, without thinking of an effective strategy first.
You can just put a flat 30% off on everything and call it a day, sure. But this approach may seem lazy and not leverage the results you are expecting at all. In fact, it might backfire. Consumers like to feel as if everything is tailored to their needs specifically. Consumers like personalization and feeling special. A flat 30 % - 40 % discount on everything might not make them feel that way. Instead, this might create an impression that your business is just trying to be done with this as soon as possible. This doesn’t exactly show effort or care for your consumers, does it?
This is why a good well-detailed strategy is key to make the most out of this shopping holiday, keep your customers loyal, attract new ones, and make sky-rocketing profits. A decent strategy takes time and effort, so consider starting early and being prepared.
Effective Black Friday Marketing Campaign Ideas
Since you already know how important a well-designed campaign is, let’s go through some Black Friday marketing ideas and techniques that work best and will make your job easier.
1. Social Media
With the rise of social media, it is now a staple in any online and offline Black Friday marketing campaign to drive engagement and generate leads. People spend most of their time on social media. This is where they are relatively more proactive, which makes it one of the best platforms to get your message across. Social media is also the place where you reach a huge audience at once. For example, the data shows that 68% of Americans use Facebook*, one of the biggest social media platforms to engage with potential customers and have product promotions on. This is why you might want to make the most out of it.
- Keep Posting About Your Black Friday Deals
You should constantly post relevant content to stay afloat. The logic is simple. The more pages of content your business posts, the more generated traffic for your website. Combine quantity with quality, and you will have a traffic generating machine. Make sure your titles and headlines are catchy and relevant. Put a bit of mystery in there to make the curious reader dig deeper and read more, thus generate even more traffic. Once you have content, share it across platforms to ensure inter-connected engagement. Cross-post your content on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, etc. and link the posts to each other. However, in order to avoid annoying repetitions, don’t share the exact content on all the platforms. Rather, to generate cross-platform engagement, post different variations of the same content, on different platforms and leverage different content formats. Use bits and pieces to engage the potential customers more. Doing so will make them try to put the “puzzle” together, dig more, and will keep them interested. Use the pages of your business on social platform to spread the message through subscribers and followers to generate organic traffic too.
- Passing the Message through Influencers
Besides targeting your own subscribers, you might want to consider reaching out to other relevant audiences as well. This can be effectively achieved by partnering with influencers to promote your product. The influencers could be the link to new audiences. If you manage to resonate with those audiences, you might be able to borrow the trust of these audiences that has already been built between them and the influencer they follow. This way you have a very good chance to start generating more leads.
Running a Black Friday marketing campaign with influencers for wide audiences is a good option to take into consideration. Especially if you’re dealing with Micro-influencers (content creators with 3K-100K followers). On social platforms like Instagram, which is one of the primary focus platforms for “influencers” you’re dealing with an actively engaged audience, with the majority (60%) of the users visiting this platforms on a daily basis*. They often generate greater and more organic engagement due to the fact, that the community they work with is smaller, usually more interactive and authentic. Unlike classical celebrity endorsement, which can be very costly, you might want to consider partnering up with dozens of micro-influencers to generate content for your business. Create an exclusive offer (discount, promotion) for an influencer’s followers by examining their audience to engage them more effectively. This will give the much appreciated hint of personalization to your new potential consumers.
2. Product Bundles
Some people wait for months for the Black Friday to come around. They are ready to make big purchases with better shopping conditions. This is one of the key ideas Black Friday revolves around, making it the best time to increase the average order value. The simplest way to do this is incorporating bundling in your Black Friday marketing strategy. The formula is simple. Offer your customers a deal they won’t get during any other sales event of the year. Consumers will be more likely to buy “more for less”. This is because the Black Friday is the launch of holiday shopping season. And most customers buy in bulk because they don’t shop for themselves alone. They shop for family, friends, co-workers, the neighbour’s dog... You get the idea. They are more likely to buy as many gifts for upcoming holidays, while there are good offers laying around. Around the time for Black Friday typical consumers make a shopping list, expecting great deals. And by offering them these deals you are giving the customers what they really want, and generating more sales at the same time.
- Gift Bundles
Think about taking this to the next level. Don’t just offer your great deals. Give your customers a hand by doing the hard part for them. Present ready-to-go bundles on a silver platter. Saving time and money? Who wouldn’t want that?
Research your target audience and their social circle. If you manage to put together a bundle that’s relevant for your customers and those they are buying gifts for, it is sure to be appreciated. Remember personalization is key. You’re simplifying their job. This will make your customers feel special and cared for, which will ensure they stick with you and come back over and over again, and, perhaps, bring more customers along. In other words, you’ll gain loyal customers along with good Black Friday sales.
- Mystery Bundles
Another interesting way to put together a good bundle offer for your consumers are Mystery Bundles. This approach will work best with your already loyal customers: the other side of the coin. Remember, you want to get new customers, but it’s important to keep the ones you already have around. A mystery bundle takes the concept of putting together a ready-to-go set for your customers even further. You can create a bundle with your best products, and offer significant discounts for them for those loyal customers that are willing to buy everything, since they already know your product and are loyal to your brand. To keep it interesting or them and trigger their curiosity, add in the mystery element. Reveal elements gradually to keep our customers engaged and interested throughout the whole sale period, not the single Friday alone. And by revealing one item at a time you will also appeal to different customer segments. This will ensure consistent traffic, engagement and revenue for the whole period.
3. Offline Shopping Specials
It may seem that online shopping is taking over. Many customers don’t like getting physical, being rushed, dislike lines and big crowds. They would rather shop in the comfort of their own homes, while sipping on hot tea, instead of fighting off with others over the last piece of discounted product on the rack. This is why many retailers start putting more focus on their online presence, often neglecting the offline aspects of the Black Friday sale season. To make the most out of the Black Friday shopping season, however, you should not neglect the offline buyers, since they are here to stay.
For the older generation of Black Friday lovers, it’s all about the live experience. Touching, feeling, getting involved in the chaos, rushing from store to store, feeling the adrenaline. of going online to find deals can only be described as sacrilegious. For these loyal and true fans of the day, Black Friday all about the experience of waiting in lines, and fighting the crowds. For these Black Friday purists, it’s all about the hunt for bargains. For some, this might even be a time to gather with family and friends and compete in groups in catching the best sale deals in real time. These customers might get things they don’t even need, things that were not on the shopping list to begin with. All for the sake of the empowering feeling of victory. Think of it as a sporting event. It’s very important to ensure this experience is preserved for those customers willing to show up to the stores and engage in live action. A great way to target this customer segment is to offer In Store Only Deals. The old-school Black Friday fans will definitely appreciate it.
4. Referral Programs
Referral marketing is one of the oldest forms of advertising. In simple terms, referral marketing means spreading the word about a product or a service through the existing customers of the business. In fact, word-of-mouth marketing, which happens when people tell each other about a brand, is also a type of referral marketing. According to Nielsen*, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know. In fact, many products have gone viral with the help of word-of-mouth marketing.
So how to make referral marketing happen? If you want your business to benefit from referral marketing, then consider encouraging your current customers to recommend your product/service to others. The best way to encourage people is to offer them a reward. According to McKinsey, referrals influence up to 50% of all purchasing decisions* and generate more than twice the sales of paid advertising.
One more powerful benefit of referral marketing is that it creates not one-time purchase customers, but loyal clients who are more likely to return to your brand. From a retailer’s perspective, Black Friday is a great opportunity to drive sales. But it’s hard to understand whether you attract those who want a quick discount or those who are likely to return and build a long-term relationship with your company. The lifetime value of referred customers, on average, is higher than that of non-referred customers.
So by using referral marketing during Black Friday, you get two big benefits. Firstly, you attract customers who are more likely to become long-term clients. Secondly, by rewarding your current customers for each new person they introduce to your brand, you create a more loyal customer base. According to statistics, referral sharing is 3 times higher on Black Friday. With rising share rates, referral sales rise too. They are twice higher during a 6-8-week period after your Black Friday sale. This is the best time to use the advantages referral programs offer to generate more sales and customer engagement. Offer your customers special gifts, rewards or discounts when they engage other customers during the Black Friday sale season. Offer special deals for groups, when your customers engage a couple of friends. Use increased referral rater during Black Friday wisely. This is not only about driving sales by using referrals but also by expanding your loyal customer base.
5. SMS marketing
With the Black Friday being one of the biggest (and busiest) sales events of the year, many retailers use email marketing to promote their product and inform the potential customers about what’s coming. This might be effective to some extent, but there must be something to make you stand out. A next-level upgrade for you could be SMS campaigns for Black Friday. While emails might stay unopened for days or weeks (some of your emails might even go straight to the spam folder), because people might not check their inboxes every other second, SMS show up as notifications in text-messages, which catches the eye immediately. SMS are more convenient and are usually opened almost immediately after being received. Timing is also key, find the optimal time to launch your SMS campaign. This gives you more access to your existing and potential customers than any other communication channel. If you design your SMS marketing campaign well, you will get the message to your customers more effectively. To get the most out of your SMS marketing campaign, ensure that the content is relevant and targeted to your customers. If you make it catch their eye, this tactic promises to improve your chances to get a hold of your customers and keep their interest.
Here are a couple of ways to keep the content of your SMS marketing campaign effective:
Discounts are loved by everyone. But it has to be done right. Just giving a discount through SMS marketing is not enough. Instead, give a discount that entails future engagement. Use keywords for the customers to use for following up with your offer. This way, you will not only have more engagement but also be able to track what fraction of the targeted customers, who got the message, followed up, and use this data for later. Not all SMS marketing solutions provide such sophisticated features, be sure to do the research before making the decision.
- Promo Codes
Similar to discounts, using a keyword, use special promo codes for your existing customers, through text messages only. Using SMS to give your customers promo codes can be useful for targeted tracking as well, since you’ll see how many customers used it.
No promo codes? No problem. You can still generate traffic and drive engagement. Humans are curious beings. Attach a link to a catchy text in your SMS, and you will have people following up to learn more about your special offers. And yes, you can track the progress and gather data this way too.
The uniqueness of SMS marketing for Black Friday is that it allows to target both online and offline customers. And in the light of how affordable utilizing this technique has become, it’s a great finishing touch to you general Black Friday campaign.
The Perfect SMS Marketing Solution for Your Business
Black Friday could be the make-or-break period for you. That’s why it’s crucial to have a well-structured creative Black Friday marketing campaign. Now that you have an idea of effective techniques to get the most out of it, let’s focus on the main takeaways. To be outstanding and have a head-start, consider promoting in advance. Make sure to tailor your message to different customer segments, to give them the feel of a personalized approach and appreciation. No cookie cutter techniques! Stay active on online platforms and maintain your presence, but don’t forget about those offline old-school shoppers as well. You don’t want to keep any customer segment unhappy. The key of your Black Friday campaign is keeping your customers engaged one way or another.
As the cherry on top of your whole campaign, the best ways to do all this, both for online and offline customers, is targeted SMS marketing. Need a hand executing the SMS marketing tactics? Have some questions in mind? Don’t worry, we are just one form-to-fill away. Here at Textedly we believe in the importance of customer experience and aim to provide easy-to-integrate solutions for you business. We’re here to assist you in targeting multiple customer segments, create a personalized approach for each one to trigger maximal engagement with your business. The glue to put your marketing campaign together is ready to go. Get started with Textedly’s free trial to kickstart your SMS marketing campaign.