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The Black Friday checklist you need to start planning for.

Valentina Barron
By Valentina Barron on

If you’re a brand, or a business, the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale period is one of the most competitive times in the calendar year. A lot of brands rely on this time for a substantial revenue boost and an opportunity to clear out some inventory. But this sort of sale isn’t something that can be pulled off overnight. If you want your brand or your business to be successful during this time, planning is essential. And getting the necessary resources together early is key. So we’ve put together a Black Friday checklist for you to use in order to prepare for the big event.


Email

Your email marketing strategy is crucial around this time of year. Why? Because your “customer” is most likely a customer of 50 other companies. Which means that once the Black Friday / Cyber Monday train starts rolling, these customers are going to be hit with hundreds of emails from other companies all promoting their sale. So you need to be strategic. And here are some things you should be paying attention to make sure you’re getting the most out of your emails:

1. Give your VIPs exclusive access

One way to engage with your most valuable customers is to let them know about your promotion before it gets broadcasted. Sending an email 24 hours earlier to give them access will allow you to get high engagement rates and as a result, guarantee high open rates during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period.

2. Be innovative with your send times

Don’t think like everyone else. Try and capture your customer just at the right time. What you usually know to be your “peak time” will most probably apply to most other businesses, so to avoid the ‘delete folder’, try something new. 

3. Don’t send too few, or too many emails

If there was ever a time to send a few extra emails, this is it. Most likely, your customer won’t even see half of the ones you sent as they’ll be buried by other promotional emails. You can avoid sending too many to ones that have purchased by excluding them from your lists.

4. Get creative with your subject lines

Stand out in the inbox. The best way to do this is send yourself a test email and see if you would stop and open that email in your own inbox. If it doesn't make you want to click on it, then it’s probably not going to work for your customer.

5. Go beyond the promotion

Try and make your emails feel like they’ve got a little more substance to them, rather than just a sale. Give your customers a reason to buy your product, that extends more than just the percentage or money off. Get creative with your designs and make it look appealing. But remember to make your call to action buttons pop. 


Digital Marketing

Aligning your digital marketing strategy in anticipation of this major event is also very important. The cost of digital marketing during Black Friday and Cyber Monday often skyrockets, making it very expensive to execute your digital strategy.

2017 CPM on Facebook

You’ll want to plan ahead and grow your pixeled audience in the weeks leading up. In addition to that, here are some other things you should be thinking about:

All channels

1. Plan your budget  

Yes, your conversion rate should increase, but you are going to be competition for attention. So make sure you have enough budget allocated to hit and saturate your retargeting audience. Ensure you’re coordinating your efforts with all other mediums, and analyze how much traffic you are sending in the weeks prior to your launch.

2. Make sure all creative is aligned with your other channels

It often takes multiple exposures to a brand / ad before people make the decision to buy. Aligning all your messaging and visual content is key to making sure people recognize your brand.

3. Make sure you have your creative uploaded and in place a few weeks in advance

Almost every brand online will be submitting material for this sale, and even the biggest platforms like Facebook and Google can get stuck with the demand coming in. So make sure you give your ads plenty of time to get assessed and approved so you don’t end up having to launch with none of your ads ready.

Google

1. Cover your branded search

If you’re a brand that advertises on your own brand name, aim for a 80-90% impression share during this time of year. This will be huge for your business. Additionally, if you’re a brand with high search volume, make sure you check if any brands are advertising in your name a few weeks prior to the launch of your promotion. If necessary, submit trademark complaints in the weeks leading up.

2. Make sure your product listing ads are ready to go

Product listing ads take up a lot of real estate on Google Search so having them ready to go is very important for your brand. Make sure that you update your product images to ensure they display the correct items that are on sale. Additionally, Google Shopping ads and Google Feed updates can take 24-48 hours to get approved, so it’s definitely something you don't want to leave until the last minute, especially during such a busy time for all other businesses.

Facebook and Instagram Advertising

1. Focus on your own audience

Focus on retargeting and engaging your existing audience. Driving awareness for your brand is too expensive over Black Friday and Cyber Monday across all platforms. You’re better off building up this audience in the weeks prior so that it is big enough to make an impact, and then make that your focus during your promotion.

2. Act fast on boosted content

Every minute counts during the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale period so if you have sponsored content that you want to boost, then get it boosted and be quick!


Social Media 

Implementing the right social media strategy to engage current and also potential future customers is also very important.

1. Don’t solely communicate your sale messaging

Regardless of the platform you’re utilizing, sale messaging can get old and stale pretty quickly. Yes, it is important to make sure that new followers and potential customers know about your sale when they land on your social media account, but it’s also important to shake up your messaging. Discuss your products, post customer reviews, and post content that mentions the sale indirectly.

2. Pull together your best content

Whether it’s an Instagram account or a Facebook / Twitter account, you want the content on your pages during this time of year to be some of your best work yet. You want the images to be eye catching, the copy to be engaging and the branding to be as strong as it possibly can be. It’s a great opportunity to gain new followers who want to see your content daily, and also get new and quick customers.

3. Stimulate engagement

With the introduction of the Instagram algorithms, the timing of your posts isn’t as important as it once was. Now it’s about the type of engagement you get that determines how visible your post is. The more engagement you can generate, the better. So ask them questions, give them something they’ll connect with, and do what you can to drive conversation.

4. Back it up with a strong Influencer Marketing campaign

If you’re using any Influencers to broadcast your sale during this time, then make sure you’re using it to its full effect. Try and direct your influencers to take their posts to the next level. Focus on the power of the referral, give them some ideas about really exciting posting styles they can work with, and if you have a consistent sale message that you’re pushing across all your social, web, and digital platforms, then find a way to integrate it into the influencer content.


Website

Making sure your website is converting at its best is the ultimate key to success during this time. None of your other marketing efforts really matter that much unless you ensure that your website is running without any issues, is conversion optimized, and is easy for the consumer to navigate.

1. Split test aspects of your website

If this isn’t something you’ve done before, now is a good time to get started. Split testing things like call to action button colours, certain hero image display layouts, and product placement - the possibilities are endless. 

2. Test everything  

This is the #1 thing that needs to be done before you launch your Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaign. Make sure your site looks correct on a series of different devices, including phones, computers, laptops and tablets. Make sure you place several test orders and ensure that your checkout is running correctly, both on the front end and the back end, and that the correct emails and sending at the right times. All of this is critical and it’s better to identify issues prior to launching rather than several hours in.

3. Don’t forget a strong hero banner with appropriate CTAs

A strong hero banner with clear call to action buttons can be make or break for some brands. They key is not to overcomplicate your site and make it difficult for the customer to navigate. Strong colours that entice customers to click are key, and you want to make sure your sale messaging is displayed clearly. Make sure the products you are featuring are clearly displayed on your home page, or in various other locations on your website and the sale, and promotional discount are easily displayed. If you have multiple different values of promotions going on, then make sure it’s communicated as efficiently as possible.


In conclusions, as you can see from this checklist, several things are required in order to make sure that your brand has a successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale period. It takes a lot of preparation, but it’s ultimately going to be worth it. The key is to plan ahead, allocate appropriate resources, and produce the best content possible in order to ensure that you stand out from the crowd.

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