Many people think that Christmas is the period that typically drives the most sales and that’s generally true; however, Black Friday has put itself on the map as one of the days that businesses and consumers look forward to.
After all, with over $7 billion being spent online that day, it’s hard to ignore the impact it has on retailers and ecommerce businesses in general.
If you’re a marketer or small business owner, we strongly recommend including Black Friday deals in your marketing campaigns.
Looking for a place to start? We’ve got you covered.
In this list post, we’re going to present you with some of the best ideas to elevate your Black Friday marketing campaign and make the most out of the day.
Some of the ideas we’ll cover are:
- Partnering with influencers
- Leveraging social media
- Sending gift cards
Plus, many more to make sure you never run out of good ideas!
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Table of Contents
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday in the US is the day right after Thanksgiving that marks the beginning of the holiday season.
This means that consumers start preparing their shopping plans and retailers take advantage of it to heavily promote their products with huge online and offline sales.
This tradition is only getting stronger year on year and, although the COVID-19 pandemic was expected to slow things down, Black Friday sales were up 18.7% in 2020 compared to the year before.
Is something similar expected for 2022?
While we can’t be certain, we still expect a great buying appetite that will boost sales for online stores, if they take advantage of the big day the right way.
After all, studies have shown that it’s a highly anticipated day by most consumers so the right plan should be put in action beforehand.
The following graphic shows the percentages of respondents who wait for Black Friday to search for and buy a product.
The numbers say it all.
The same thing, more or less, applies for Cyber Monday; the Monday following the Black Friday weekend that’s also filled with holiday sales, but mainly for online stores.
Online shopping has had a huge impact on the way we consume over the past years, so Cyber Monday sales and ideas are something online retailers should try to take advantage of as well.
In one sentence, a day like Black Friday should be strategically planned to make the most out of it.
When should you start preparing for it?
Let’s get into it.
When should you start your Black Friday promotions?
While there isn't a specific date to start attracting potential customers, we suggest preparing for Black Friday no later than the beginning of October.
Actually, according to studies, 45% of consumers plan to start shopping before November 1, so the period between late September and October is ideal to start rolling out your Black Friday offers.
However, when it comes to coming up with your Black Friday marketing strategy in general, we recommend starting as early as summer in order to maximize your sales by reaching your target audience.
Let’s now have a look at a list of marketing ideas that'll inspire you to make Black Friday a memorable day for your business.
Idea #1: Mobile-ize your Offers
Technology is becoming more and more ingrained in our everyday lives and shopping is no exception to this.
In fact, a study has shown that mobile commerce sales have been growing non-stop since 2016 and are expected to reach a staggering $3.5 trillion in 2021.
While those numbers are impressive, they’re definitely not a surprise.
Over 77% of Americans own a smartphone and the value we get out of them is increasing.
If you own a business and want to attract new customers for their Black Friday shopping spree, you should make sure that your product pages, landing pages, and website in general, are all optimized for mobile search and use.
If they’re not, you risk losing an important chunk of traffic that could have come to you.
Idea #2: Partner up With Influencers
Influencer marketing has undoubtedly been playing an important role in the way businesses elevate their online presence and increase sales in recent years.
While finding influencers and collaborating with them can be done all year round, holiday shopping seasons and days like Black Friday are perfect to snatch the opportunity and promote your products.
Let’s have a look at an example.
Example: Amazon Fire TV
The Amazon Fire TV Cube was planned to be released a few weeks before Black Friday.
With such a product, the timing was perfect to create buzz around it through the power of influencer marketing.
Have a look:
The company decided to partner with a number of content creators to draw attention to its Black Friday shopping activation in Los Angeles and offer a free device to local influencers who shared the Amazon Fire TV pop-up with their followers.
This is a classic example of an influencer gifting program and an excellent way to promote your own products on Black Friday as well.
Moving on to the next idea.
Idea #3: Set up Black Friday Referral Awards
It’s no secret that referral marketing can work wonders for a brand.
Having your most loyal customers refer their network to you in exchange for a reward is one of the best ways to increase your customer numbers.
This technique can be applied to promotional Black Friday initiatives as well.
By offering your users incentives like:
- Gift cards
- Discount codes
- Free trials
- Giveaway entries
Or anything else you like to every new user they refer to your business.
Referral marketing can be particularly useful for ecommerce stores, but any online business can take advantage of it.
Let’s have a look at one of them.
Example: Feel Unique
Feel Unique is an online store selling all kinds of beauty-related products.
In order to promote its Black Friday event, it prompted its existing clients to tell their friends and family members about it in exchange for a special discount plus other combo deals.
What’s more, as a way to add an extra incentive, the referred clients would get a discount as well; this is known as a double-sided referral program.
Pretty cool, right?
This is a great example of how referral marketing works in cases like Black Friday when you're working to attract people to your business.
Plus, referral programs can be used as a way to retarget your website’s visitors and incentivize them to spread the word about you.
Author’s Note: Notice the personalization element in the image above. By adding your user’s name - “Phoebe, ...” - you come one step closer to creating a relationship with them.
Idea #4: Organize Flash Sales
Flash sales are promotions and discounts that last for a limited period of time.
As a result, they create a sense of urgency for shoppers to take advantage of the discounts in order to get a good deal while they can.
Makes sense, right?
Due to the fact that Black Friday and Cyber Monday only last for a few days, flash sales are a great fit for this time of year.
BrandCrowd is a good example when it comes to organizing flash sales.
By offering discounts via email marketing, custom logo maker BrandCrowd took great advantage of the flash sales technique.
More specifically, the company offered its existing users a 66% discount should they purchase their new logo within three days.
As you can see, this creates a great deal of urgency to claim the offer while it’s valid.
Generally speaking, words and phrases like “Hurry!”, “Limited-time Offer” and “Last Minute” contribute to urging users to make their purchase.
Author’s Note: As a way to create even more urgency, you can add a countdown timer on your website, showing visitors that your offers end soon.
Moving on to the next idea we have for you.
Idea #5: Offer Minimum Spend Rewards
Referral programs aren’t the only marketing tactics where you can offer rewards.
To be precise, you can reward your customers every time they spend over a certain amount of money when purchasing from you.
This looks a lot like a loyalty program that many companies use as a “thank you” to their customers for trusting them.
It can be particularly useful as an incentive for holiday shoppers to spend a little extra for a chance to gain a coupon code, gift card, or any other reward that fits your business model.
This could be something to think about for your next Black Friday campaign.
Idea #6: Offer Free Shipping
Who doesn’t love free shipping?
With 90% of consumers saying that free shipping is the top incentive for shopping online more, it’s a common tactic that many businesses use.
Although it can be used at any time of year, during a period like Black Friday when shoppers are bombarded with promotional offers and are looking for the best ones, free shipping can really stand out.
Let’s look at an example.
As you can see below, cosmetics company Sephora used its social media accounts to offer a discount and free shipping during the Black Friday weekend.
No matter what channels you use to communicate your offers - such as social media, emails, or Facebook ads - free shipping can work as a great incentive to get your users to take advantage of your Black Friday offers.
Author’s Note: You can combine the free shipping technique with upselling or cross-selling another product of yours.
Idea #7: Create Discount Coupons and Codes
Creating discount coupons and codes is a classic way to generate more sales during a period like Black Friday.
If you manage to cut prices and retain the quality of your products, then you’re doing Black Friday right!
What’s more, discount codes can be used to increase your conversion rates.
By offering them when users tend to exit your website, you can prevent cart abandonment and therefore increase your sales.
If you’re planning on creating a Black Friday marketing campaign, discount codes can be an obvious choice.
Simply choose which channels work best for you to communicate your offers and sit back to enjoy the results.
Idea #8: Set Up a Black Friday Email Campaign
Various digital marketing techniques are used for Black Friday purposes and we couldn’t leave email marketing out of this list.
It can offer an ROI of up to 4,300%, and it’s used by brands to inform their email list about their online sales and other promotional activities.
Let’s see an example of an email marketing campaign for Black Friday.
Example: Classic Football Shirts
Classic Football Shirts is a UK-based eCommerce business that specializes in selling soccer - or football - shirts.
Every year in November they send out an email campaign to inform their customers of their Black Friday offers and discounts.
This is a great example of how straightforward and engaging promotional emails can be integrated, thus boosting your Black Friday activities and other campaigns you might be running at the same time.
Author’s Note: Remember to pay extra attention to your email subject line; it can greatly determine your open rate.
Let’s move on, shall we?
Idea #9: Advertise your Promotions on Social Media
Social media channels are useful for a wide variety of reasons.
Content marketing and community building are only a couple of the reasons they are used, and promotional actions can also be integrated into a social media marketing strategy.
Here’s an example.
Example: The Little Avocado
Small business The Little Avocado took advantage of Instagram to communicate its latest Cyber Week deals to its audience.
Depending on the nature of your brand and the social media platform, you can come up with various creative content formats to announce any Black Friday-related activity you may have.
After all, there are many social media post ideas for that very day, such as videos and UGC.
Idea #10: Run Social Media Exclusive Discounts
We just said that social media is a great way to promote your business during Black Friday, whether through promo codes, free shipping, or anything else.
What if your offers were exclusively for your social media followers?
This means that you provide your audience with benefits for Black Friday that only they can enjoy.
That way, not only do you promote your business and increase your sales, but you also have the chance to gain more followers who want to take advantage of your social media-exclusive discounts.
Keep reading to find one more Black Friday marketing idea.
Idea #11: Go Black Friday Live on Social Media
Staying on the topic of social media, we believe that going live to promote your Black Friday offers is yet another great idea.
Live streaming is one of the best ways to come closer to your audience and have them engage with you in ways that other content formats can’t.
During an online shopping event in China known as Singles Day, eCommerce giant Alibaba generated 7.5% of all sales, around $3.1 billion, from live streaming alone.
What’s more, live streams are interactive and help users to start trusting you more and will come closer to creating a relationship with you.
Building long and meaningful relationships with customers is key to a successful business.
After all, the holidays offer a short CLV (customer lifetime value) and what you ideally want is to keep your new customers after that period as well.
According to a study by Shopify, for 64% of retailers, shoppers acquired during Black Friday and Cyber Monday have a lower CLV than those acquired at any other time of the year.
Going live on social media for Black Friday will not only help you promote your deals, but also increase the CLV of your customers.
Idea #12: Make Sure to Use Black Friday Hashtags
It’s no secret that hashtags are very helpful when it comes to organic discovery on social media.
Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook allow users to find what they’re looking for based on the right hashtags; whether they're about a location, a person, an occasion, or anything else.
By adding Black Friday-related hashtags to your social media posts, you enable people to find them easily.
Example: Happy Dolls
Crochet creator Happy Dolls added the hashtag #BlackFridayShopping to their Instagram post promoting a Black Friday offer.
We were able to find them by doing a simple hashtag search on Instagram - they appeared in the top results:
It can be highly beneficial for small eCommerce businesses to use Black Friday related hashtags because someone searching for #BlackFridayDeals, #BlackFridaySales, #BlackFridayShopping, etc., is almost definitely interested in finding deals for the shopping weekend.
If you use social media for your own Black Friday campaign, the right use of hashtags is a must!
Author’s Tip: If you’re a small or medium business, avoid using hashtags that have been used in multimillion posts as this will make it less likely for your business to get noticed. For example, steer clear from the hashtag #blackfriday. Instead, use hashtags that have smaller volume, like the ones mentioned above.
Idea #13: Offer a Flexible Return Policy
Any retailer will agree that customer satisfaction is key to a successful business.
With over $640 billion in returned goods each year, an important aspect that keeps consumers happy is the fact that they can return a product if needed.
Whether it’s because they’re not satisfied with their item or because it’s not the right size, being able to take advantage of a flexible return policy is bound to make them happy.
In fact, a flexible return policy should be as simple as allowing customers to return a product within a month from purchase if they’re not satisfied with the product with no fuss.
Keep your returns policy simple so there's no confusion about whether they meet a range of conditions to return an item; something like "if you're not 100% happy, return your item in its original condition for a full refund within one month".
Why not offer this flexibility as part of your Black Friday marketing campaign to give your buyers confidence in their purchase?
Author’s Tip: You can combine the return policy with discount codes or gift cards.
Moving on to the next idea we have for you.
Idea #14: Bring in New Products and Services
There’s nothing better for your loyal customers than to see that you’ve launched new products and services.
What’s even better is that you can announce the launch just before Black Friday so you can boost your sales from day one.
The following example from IKEA is a great one.
In an effort to save old furniture from being thrown away, the Swedish company decided to buy back any unwanted furniture and give it a second chance by reselling it.
This was all part of its Black Friday campaign that was called #BuyBackFriday and is a great example of how sustainability can be integrated into such campaigns.
Overall, if you’ve got new products coming up, it might be worth timing the launch with Black Friday and Cyber Monday to take advantage of those days.
Author’s Tip: Why not offer your new products in product bundles at a better price?
Idea #15: Send Gift Cards
Gift cards are a great way to attract new customers as well as motivate your existing ones to make more purchases.
A gift card can either be valid for your own store or an external one; whatever you choose.
They’re perfect for Black Friday campaigns and can be combined with all sorts of other offers.
Let’s see an example.
Themify - a tool offering WordPress themes and plugins - celebrated 2019's Black Friday by offering three Amazon gift cards, among others.
This is a great case of how a company combines offers and can integrate them into a giveaway; users had to share it on their social media profiles to win an entry.
All in all, gift cards are a good fit for any marketing campaign and can be combined with other marketing tactics as well, like user-generated content.
Let’s move on.
Idea #16: Create a Black Friday Gift Guide
Consumers are often overwhelmed before Black Friday comes, with a plethora of brands using ads and other ways to promote their offers.
You should make your marketing activity unique in order to stand out from the crowd.
Something that usually works is gift guides.
They’re basically a win-win situation since you get the chance to promote your products and consumers get informed about what the best options out there are.
Sounds good, right?
Here’s an example.
Example: The Verge
What The Verge did was create some detailed gift guides for Cyber Monday, regarding a wide range of products, such as laptop and phone deals.
What you can do is integrate your products in high-quality guides for users to explore what your business, as well as businesses you may have affiliate relationships with, has to offer.
We can’t stress this enough; gift guides are great for all kinds of occasions, from Black Friday to Christmas marketing campaigns.
Idea #17: Create Black Friday Facebook Events
Community building is essential for creating long-lasting relationships with customers.
Something that can be particularly helpful towards this is the use of Facebook events.
By utilizing them, you get together with your most loyal customers and exchange views and opinions.
What’s more, they’re a great way to promote your business for Black Friday or Cyber Monday by presenting what you have to offer for the shopping season.
When a user signs up to attend a Facebook event, they also get notifications of some activity so you can reach them much easier than by a simple page post.
Instead of uploading online content which - let’s face it - can sometimes be faceless, you create real-life relationships.
Let’s get to the next one.
Idea #18: Organize Black Friday Social Media Contests
Did you know that social media contests have a conversion rate of 34%, which is higher than any other content type?
This is exactly why brands love using them; users interact with them since they get the chance to win a reward and, as a result, the contest gains more exposure which benefits the brand.
Another advantage of contests is the fact that they can be set up anytime; from Christmas and Easter to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
As long as you pour all your creativity into them and offer your audience something irresistible, the benefits can be stunning.
Idea #19: Create Offers with a Sense of Urgency
We said earlier that creating a sense of urgency works really well in marketing campaigns and Black Friday is no exception.
It doesn’t matter if your campaign is based on social media or email marketing, there are countless ways to create that feeling and boost your sales.
Here’s a good example.
Superdrug incentivized its Instagram followers with a limited-time discount.
By doing so and using the phrase “Today Only”, it managed to urge its users to take immediate action in order to benefit from the 15% discount.
If you’re thinking of ways to get your sales off the ground, this psychological tactic can work wonders!
Idea #20: Extend your Deals and Discounts Beyond Cyber Monday
One of our previous ideas was all about live streaming as a way to create connections and increase CLV.
Since you want to extend your customer relationship beyond the holidays, you need to find ways of keeping your customers engaged.
Walmart is great at doing this.
In the following Instagram post, Walmart made sure to remind its audience about its Cyber Monday deals.
This way, all new clients generated from Black Friday would potentially stay loyal to the retailer for Cyber Monday as well.
If you want to take this a step further, you can always create a Cyber Monday Week that lasts longer than just one day.
The advantages are obvious; you increase your sales and your CLV significantly.
Idea #21: Do Something for Those Abandoned Carts
The average abandoned cart rate is just under 70%.
While this is an interesting stat, it’s also a huge loss for online stores that lose sales at the last minute.
There are many ways to prevent this, some more efficient than others, but finding the right ones for you is crucial.
One great method is to apply an exit intent pop-up that'll detect when users are about to exit your page and offer them a discount if they complete their purchase.
Whether it’s Black Friday or not, this can potentially lower your cart abandonment rates and boost your sales.
Let’s move on.
Idea #22: Give a Free Gift with Every Purchase
Who doesn’t love a free gift?
Whether it’s a free product, a free trial, or even free money to spend, users love receiving gifts.
Why not jump on the trend?
Simply make sure to offer something that you can afford to give at no cost and the new sales are bound to start pouring in.
After all, once a new client gets to know you through this tactic, it’s likely that they’ll stay around and make another purchase from you again.
Free gifts can easily be promoted through social media, emails, your website, and any other marketing tactic.
Let’s see a good case.
Online fitness retailer SHEFIT recently offered a free gift with every purchase over a certain amount.
By using the phrase “Now through the weekend” and “Shop now” as a CTA, it managed to combine the free gift with creating urgency.
This goes to show that many marketing methods can be used in the same campaign for optimized results.
Let's move on to the last idea.
Idea #23: Establish a Catchy Black Friday Slogan
Nothing beats a catchy slogan, right?
There are some phrases that, when you hear them, a certain company comes to mind and you should try and create the same thing for your brand, too.
A good slogan not only gives the customer a commitment but tells them what the brand stands for.
That’s why you should put a lot of thought into coming up with one.
It doesn’t necessarily have to stick with your brand in general, since you can create one for the purpose of Black Friday alone.
Patagonia is an interesting example.
Patagonia displayed a poem that, at a first glance looks pessimistic but when read backward, becomes a call to action with a cause.
The point here is that Black Friday actions don’t have to be all about offers and promotions.
You can get creative and stand out from the crowd by creating something that no one expects.
Even if you have to create something controversial, the results may be great for your brand.
Let’s wrap up this post.
Now Over to You
There you have it.
That’s our full list of Black Friday marketing ideas for you to get inspired by and nail your next campaign.
Whichever you go for, don’t forget to add your own personal touch and make sure everything is aligned with your brand.
Do you have any questions regarding your Black Friday social media activities?
Don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll help you step-by-step throughout the whole process.
Thank you for reading!