Black Friday is one of the biggest times of the year for ecommerce businesses across the globe.
Last year, on Black Friday 2017, it’s estimated that U.S. retailers brought in a record $7.9 billion in revenue. Couple that mind-boggling figure with the projected U.S. Cyber Monday earnings of $6.6 billion, and it’s evident that this weekend is massive for ecommerce.
But it’s important to remember this: it isn’t just the big businesses which make bank on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Smaller businesses crush it too – just ask entrepreneurs like Jacky Chou and Albert Liu, who made $5,460 in sales across the weekend last year. Or, you can ask dropshipper Paul Lee, who made just over $8,000 during Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017.
So, there’s plenty of money to be made during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, that much is clear.
But how can you make sure that your store is fully prepared for those eager shoppers over the big weekend?
That’s exactly what we’ll be covering today. In this post we’ll explain how to set up your store for success and how to prepare your marketing campaigns for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Okay, let’s dive in.
- Preparation is Key
- Make Sure Your Store is Ready
- Find Your Audience
- Coupons Versus Flat Discounts
- Marketing on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
- Using Social Media
- Using Facebook Advertising
- Using Email Marketing
- Nail Black Friday and Cyber Monday
- Want to Learn More?
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Preparation is Key
“By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.”
This famous quote from Benjamin Franklin is a good rule to live your life by, but it’s especially relevant when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
It might seem obvious, but preparation is one of the best ways to get ahead of your competition.
So start early with your Black Friday and Cyber Monday preparation. And remember, shoppers are preparing for this weekend just as much as entrepreneurs are, so keep them in the loop.
Put aside some time to think about what you’re going to do in the build up to the big weekend, and try to come up with a strategy that builds some hype for your upcoming promotions.
Make Sure Your Store is Ready
If you nail your marketing campaigns during Black Friday and Cyber Monday (more on marketing later), then you can expect a significant increase in traffic.
The worst thing that can happen after you’ve managed to draw a ton of traffic to your store is they leave without making a purchase, simply because your store wasn’t prepared for it.
But what do we mean by “not prepared”?
Well, there’s a lot that goes into making a great online store. You have your product pages, product photos, website design, website navigation, checkout process… the list goes on.
Also, if you’re relying on a supplier for your store’s inventory – which you will be if you’re dropshipping – you’ll want to check that your supplier has enough stock to keep up with a potential increase in demand.
There is one thing which you won’t need to worry about if you’re using Shopify – and that’s your store going down over the weekend.
In fact, the stability of Shopify is what drew fitness giant Gymshark to the platform, after they experienced mass outages over Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2015 on another platform.
Honestly, make sure that you test every facet of your store, and make sure that you’ve nailed everything down before you start driving traffic to your store for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
BONUS: If you’re looking for some examples of compelling ecommerce stores click here!
Find Your Audience
Before Black Friday and Cyber Monday arrive, it’s important that you spend some time to figure out exactly who it is that you’re going to be targeting with your campaigns – your audience, essentially.
Maybe you already have a good idea who this is, but if you don’t, you’ll need to think about who your would be interested in your brand and your products.
You can get a good idea about who your audience is by checking out other ecommerce brands in your niche.
Head over to their social media accounts and take a look at who is interacting with their content – those are the people who you’ll be marketing to over Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Also, it’s a great idea to install tracking pixels for your store when you’re trying to figure out who your audience is – you can read our guide to installing a Facebook Pixel here.
This is an important step towards Black Friday and Cyber Monday success – when you’ve got an idea about who you’re going to be marketing towards, you’ll have a much easier time figuring out what it is that which you can offer that they’re most interested in.
Coupons Versus Flat Discounts
Shoppers will be expecting discounts across Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so you’ll need to decide whether you’re going to apply discounts directly to your products, or whether you want to create vouchers for your products instead.
Again, foresight is key here – we really recommend deciding on this before the big weekend.
Shoppers are expecting some enticing discounts across Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so you’ll need to decide whether you’re going to apply discounts directly to your products, or whether you want to create vouchers for your products instead.
If you’re using Shopify and you want to just apply the discounts directly to the item, that’s a simple process.
First, you’ll need to head over to the “Products” tab, which you can find on the left hand side of your admin page.
Then, select “All Products”, and find the products that you want to include in your sale.
Scroll down, and you’ll see the “Pricing” widget. You want to make sure that everybody knows that these products are on sale, and simply changing the current price won’t achieve that.
That’s why you need to enter your current price into the “Compare at price” tab, and then enter the new sale price into the “Price” tab.
Your product will be displayed similarly to this afterwards:
Not too tough, huh?
But what about if you want to create coupons and discount codes instead?
That’s totally fine – you can create coupons with just a few clicks on Shopify, it’s a straightforward process.
Whichever option you decide to go ahead with, just remember this – foresight is key. Try to get this nailed down before the big weekend.
Marketing on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Promoting your products to an audience of engaged shoppers is the crux of Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing campaigns.
It’s important to remember that shoppers are much more receptive to ads during the build up to the holidays.
In fact, plenty of them are probably on the lookout for gifts for their loved ones (or something for that random person in the office who they got in their Secret Santa draw).
And at this point your store should be set, your discounts should be in place, and you should have a good idea about who your audience is.
Now it’s time to kick on and get your brand out into the eye of those eager shoppers.
But what are the best Cyber Monday and Black Friday tips for promoting your products on the big weekend?
From our experience a coordinated, strategic approach works best.
Let’s take a look at how you can use social media, Facebook advertising, and email marketing to get the most out of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing campaigns.
Using Social Media
According to Forbes, almost 40% of social media users follow their favorite brands.
Plus, 25% of social media users are following brands which they’re likely to make a purchase from.
The statistics don’t lie – social media offers a huge opportunity for brands to make sales, especially during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
But what’s the best way to use social media to set yourself up for success over the biggest shopping holiday of the year?
We’ve got three killer tactics for you.
1) Build Hype a Week in Advance
Whether you’ve already got a large following on social media, or you’re just getting started, try to build up hype for your sales during the build up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to start at least one week before. And, of course, get creative – think about the best ways to build buzz for your brand.
For example, you could tease some of the products that you’ll be putting on sale over the big weekend.
This is something which KITH do on a regular basis – they always post images of their products on Instagram a few days before they release.
Because they’re constantly building a buzz around their products, they almost always sell out within an hour of releasing.
2) Create Exclusive Social Media Discounts
Earlier we mentioned how you can create discount codes for your store – you can take those one step further and create exclusive discount codes for your social media content.
For example, let’s say that you want to post every few hours on social media across Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
If you create special discount codes that are related to your social media content it will help you to build an engaged audience, increase your following, and hopefully land more sales overall.
It’s a fairly simple tactic, but it’s certainly one that can pay off during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
3) Run Contests and Giveaways
If there’s one thing that I can say with 100% certainty, it’s this: people love free stuff.
Couple this with the shopping bonanza that’ll be going on over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and you’ve got a recipe for social media success.
So try running some contests or giveaways during the big weekend – you’ll want to offer your audience the chance to win something great, and in return you’ll be able to generate benefit too.
Think likes, retweets, comments, and shares – all of which will help you to draw more attention to your brand and the sales that you’re running.
Using Facebook Advertising
Facebook advertising is one of the biggest marketing channels for ecommerce entrepreneurs.
And there are a ton of stats to prove why you should use it to market your store during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Here are three things to consider when you’re preparing your brand for the big weekend.
Coming up with designs for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads can be daunting, but trust us – you don’t need to be a design wizard to come up with compelling ad creatives.
There are plenty of free tools out there, like Canva, which are simple to use, and will provide you with all the functionality that you need to design amazing Facebook ads.
Remember to use your own product photos if you have them – if not, stock images will work fine too.
And abide by Facebook’s 80/20 rule too – this means that only 20% of your Facebook ad can be text, otherwise they will distribute your ad to a smaller audience.
Targeting Your Audience
You’re going to be paying for your Facebook ads, and you certainly don’t want to throw money into the wind advertising to the wrong people.
That’s why you’ll need to utilize the targeting options which Facebook’s ad platform provides.
Use all of the data that you have to target your Facebook ads towards audiences of shoppers that you believe are interested in your brand.
You can also read our in-depth guide to Facebook audience and targeting here if you need help getting started.
If you’ve already installed a Facebook Pixel to your store, and you’ve been generating some traffic in the past, you’ll have data which you can use to set up retargeting ads.
Retargeting ads allow you to communicate directly to past visitors and shoppers who have made a purchase from your store in the past.
Essentially, retargeting ads will allow you to launch Facebook ads which are laser-targeted towards an audience of shoppers who are engaged with your brand.
Using Email Marketing
Email marketing has long stood the test of time, and is one of the most cost-effective marketing channels.
In fact, research from DMA found that brands can expect an average return of $32 from every $1 spent on email marketing.
That’s huge. It’s also evidence, if you ever needed it, that email marketing should play a part in your Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing strategy.
Here are our top three email tips that’ll help you to succeed.
1) Announce Your Sales
Ecommerce businesses of all shapes and sizes will be firing out emails to their mailing lists alerting eager shoppers about their latest deals, and we recommend you join in on the action too.
Make sure that you’re crystal clear with your email communication and let your audience know what’s on sale and the discount that you’re offering.
Also, make sure that you provide a clear call-to-action (CTA) to the product or collection which you’re talking about.
BONUS: Here are 6 email marketing templates which you can steal for your own campaigns.
2) Use Abandoned Cart Emails
A successful email marketing strategy doesn’t revolve solely around proactive communications.
Sometimes, you can find more success by being reactive.
Enter abandoned cart emails.
If you notice that some customers are getting to the checkout process, entering in their details, but failing to finalize their purchase, you can reach out to them with an email and prompt them to seal the deal.
You can read a full guide to setting up abandoned cart emails here.
3) Offer Last Chance Sales
Your special offers and discounts don’t need to end on Cyber Monday.
After all, shoppers are going to be bombarded with them, so they might end up missing out on your offerings.
That’d be a shame, especially if they’re interested in your products.
So why not roll the dice once more, and send your mailing list an email alerting them about a last chance sale?
Offer them an additional 10% discount if possible, and try your best to convert as many customers as possible in the build up to the holidays.
Make sure to leverage urgency if you do send a last chance sale email – shoppers need to know that this really is their last chance!
Nail Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Okay, so that’s it – we’ve covered everything you need to to know to prepare your brand for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018.
Now it’s over to you. Remember, get creative, and do your best to succeed.
Do you have any questions about Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Do you have any tactics which you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below – we read them all!
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