This is a guest post from one of our trusted agency partners, Commerce Garage. Andrei Petrik is the Senior Director of Marketing at Commerce Garage and shares this unconventional Black Friday Marketing Strategy that his clients have seen success with in the past.
The busiest shopping weekend for retailers and e-commerce businesses, which includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM), is just around the corner. It seems like every year old records are broken and historic-firsts are set, whether it’s e-commerce sites pulling in more and more revenue every year from the weekend or more people turning to mobile devices to do their shopping. This year’s BFCM events will be no exception.
If you want to surpass your previous years’ records, you’ll need a bold Black Friday marketing strategy to make that happen.
Gate your store for a couple of days before Black Friday
Yes, you read that right. Gate your store and don’t accept any transactions for 2 days leading up to BFCM. Do not sell anything for a couple of days leading up to the weekend. If you’re feeling fearless, gate the store for even longer, like 3 or 4 days.
Instead of processing transactions, collect emails. The goal is to get as many newsletter subscribers as possible as email will be one of, if not the most important channel of the whole BFCM weekend. It’s the best time of the year to grow your email list and promote your products or services to new and current customers already in a shopping mood.
While this may seem counter-intuitive, don’t dismiss this strategy right away. Take a look at your sales numbers (from prior years) a few days before Black Friday and you’ll probably notice the same pattern year after year. The few days leading up to BFCM are S-L-O-W. This is because most consumers understand that big deals are just a day or two away. Leverage consumer psychology by gating your store and collecting emails instead of sales for the days leading up to your BFCM weekend.
Determine your offers and promotions
Before pursuing this strategy, you’ll need to decide what you’re going to offer during BFCM. Consider:
- Category discounts
- Putting everything on sale
- An exclusive product launch
Whatever you choose has to be attractive enough and something your customers cannot get access to any other time of the year. Otherwise, the whole BFCM campaign will fail on the first day of BFCM weekend leaving your customers disappointed and expected sales down.
Gate your site
To reiterate, gating your site will only work if you truly have something remarkable to offer during the BFCM event. But when done correctly, it will give you the creative freedom to build interest and create an immense sense of urgency.
Any time website visitors land on your site in those days leading up to BFCM, the only thing they should be able to do is submit their email and sign up for a newsletter to hear about upcoming BFCM offers or exclusive access to promotions. They should not be able to browse your store or purchase anything.
If you don’t have the stomach to forego a couple of days of sales, use a softer approach. Have a full-screen email sign up takeover as soon as visitors land on your website but make it dismissable with the option to continue on to peruse your site and complete purchases.
The goal here is to build your email list by prompting visitors to signup for your newsletter to find out about BFCM deals, exclusive products, get early access and even offers available to newsletter subscribers only.
Develop a roadmap
To effectively execute this strategy, you need to develop a clear roadmap containing dates, times, assets required, and assign people responsible for each task. Determine your messaging, email sequences, and subscriber segments. Then map out every event in the sequence to every channel you intend to participate in.
It will be a busy weekend and all of your competitors will be out in full force competing for your customers’ dollars. Get ahead of the game by planning out pre, during, and post activities to maximize your sales.
Based on our experience at Commerce Garage, here’s an example of what your roadmap could look like broken down by channel, activity, and messaging:
Do a dry run
Once you develop a roadmap, get your team together and walk through the whole BFCM sequence of events together. Involve your ad operations team, social media, web dev, creative, customer service, and other essential roles. Make sure you assign clear responsibilities and address any potential red flags.
Once that’s completed, go through this dry run with enough time for you to course-correct, create additional assets or allocate any required resources accordingly.
This Black Friday marketing strategy isn’t for the faint of heart
This strategy isn’t for everyone but, regardless of the strategy you choose, always make an informed choice before diving in.
Use sales data from previous years to determine if you can give up a couple of days of sales to build up your email list, generate excitement and urgency.
And lastly, this bold BFCM strategy will be most effective if:
- The offer isn’t available any other time of the year
- All assets are prepared in advance
- Technology to execute is in place
- There is a clear roadmap
- You carefully walk-through the plan with all key stakeholders
Execute this right and not only will you achieve new BFCM sales records, but you’ll also grow your newsletter subscriber base and earn new customers.