In the last few years, some retailers have lost confidence in Black Friday as a marketing opportunity, citing excessive discounts and declining traffic to physical stores.
But there are ways to add some method to the Black Friday madness. Many retailers will be smart about discounting, using deals to sell excess stock and acquire customers at a lower than usual cost per acquisition.
Taking a personalized approach to Black Friday marketing will help you turn new visitors into first time buyers, and keep them coming back for more.
Change up your data capture
Black Friday and the build-up to Christmas bring many shoppers to your website for the first time. People find you through searches when hunting for deals, or because of gift requests. They might even pay attention to ads they’d normally ignore. That makes the holiday season a golden opportunity to gain new customers.
So leverage this behavior to grow your email list. Make sure your email acquisition program:
a) Is designed not to chase customers off
b) Is crafted to encourage a second purchase
To nail your data capture strategy, consider targeting popovers based on shoppers’ behavior.
If you’re asking for a visitor’s email address, give them enough time to view your website and see what you have to offer. Consider using a slide over that gets customers’ attention but allows them to scan your website at the same time.
There’s no need to wait until the holiday weekend to up your data capture game. As the occasion approaches, visitors can sign up to hear first about Black Friday offers. Here's an example popover we spotted on electronics provider maplin's website:
Show customers the most relevant deals
Many retailers use Black Friday as an opportunity to clear unsold inventory of specific products and categories. Why not target these offers to customers with the highest propensity to convert?
Imagine you have excess stock of a particular brand of bike. You could create a customer segment based on:
- People who recently browsed that brand of bicycle
- Shoppers who recently browsed competitor brands
These segments can be used to target customers with batch marketing emails and social media ads. You could even reach a new audience by sharing the ad with Facebook Lookalike Audiences – Facebook users with similar preferences to members of your segment.
Re-engage distracted shoppers with cart and browse recovery
Exit intent popovers
People are in buying mode on and near Black Friday. They want to bag the best deals and check off items on their Christmas gift list.
But the buying frenzy means that shoppers are also distracted, often hopping between multiple websites and devices.
While you can’t recapture the attention of every browser who navigates away from your website, many visitors can be won back with simple shopping recovery tactics.
Exit intent popovers appear when a shopper moves their cursor (or taps their thumb) to navigate away from the website. This makes them ideal for engaging with cart abandoners.
Basket abandonment popups can either take the visitor back to the cart page, or ask them to sign up for a reminder email. Feel Good Contacts uses this overlay to appeal to acquire customers who might have gone on to shop elsewhere:
Cart and browse recovery emails
Since consumers are ultra-distracted, it’s important to send cart and browse abandonment emails quickly, before they move on to a competitor. We normally recommend sending emails within 30 minutes.
Where customers are doing a bit of comparison shopping, multi-stage cart and browse abandonment programs keep your products front-of-mind. The perfect timing will depend on how quickly your deals expire, and your customers’ buying habits.
While you probably offer cart abandonment emails all year round, it’s worth introducing a holiday-specific campaign to win back Black Friday and Christmas shoppers. For visitors who abandoned items in the sale, you might consider:
- Including a dynamic countdown timer to highlight limited-duration offers. This should accurately reflect the time left at the moment the email is opened.
- Adding social proof rating stars to reduce purchase hesitation in first-time shoppers (this is a great tactic all year round!)
Get smart about product recommendations
In the run up to gift-giving holidays, it’s a good idea to reflect on your product recommendation strategy. New visitors can benefit from best seller suggestions, popularity messaging and rating stars to help them feel confident in making a purchase.
For returning visitors, it might make sense to base product suggestions on their most recent browsing behavior. That’s because many shoppers will be hunting for gifts, or straying from their normal preferences in order to snag the best deals.
After the holiday, product recommendations can revert to customers’ longer-term purchase and browsing behavior - so suggestions aren’t based items they bought impulsively, or gifts they purchased for a significant other.
Liven up bulk emails
At this time of year, consumers’ inboxes fill up rapidly with competing deals. Help your bulk emails stand out with dynamic content such as countdown timers.
There are a many creative ways to incorporate countdown clocks in your Black Friday marketing.
- Count down to the start of promotions.
- Count down to the end of a flash deal.
- Highlight the deadline for free shipping.
- Let shoppers know the cut-off for next day delivery.
The best animated countdown timers are visually appealing, create a sense of excitement, and keep customers informed about important deadlines. Here's a great email example from Surfdome:
To avoid misleading or disappointing customers, it’s crucial that countdown clocks are correct at the moment the customer opens the email:
Don’t let first-time shoppers be one-time shoppers
It’s tempting to take part in Black Friday grudgingly, seeing it as a non-optional shopping occasion that eats away at margins. But handled well, the winter shopping season is a unique opportunity to acquire new customers and re-connect with lapsed buyers.
Marketers should focus on creating a convenient and relevant online experience that nurtures these buyers into loyal customers.
- Provide a warm welcome: When shoppers sign up, trigger a welcome series including social media feeds. This helps shoppers feel part of your tribe.
- Give shoppers more of what they want: Use individuals’ browsing and purchase behavior to provide tailored product recommendations across email and web.
- Inspire customers and build trust with social proof: Use ratings, reviews and popularity messaging to help shoppers feel confident at every stage of the buying journey.
- Don’t forget triggered emails: Shopping recovery emails, price drop alerts, back in stock messages and post-purchase emails are great ways to provide extra value to customers all year round.
- Avoid generic marketing messages: Use behavioral segmentation to tailor marketing emails, website content and triggered email programs to shoppers’ interests.
- Test, optimize and test again: There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. Use split testing and control groups to find out which tactics work best for your customers
Download the dedicated eBook for more hints and tips to guide you through Black Friday and beyond: