Black Friday marketing tips for SMEs

Supercharge your sales with our guide to Black Friday.

Black Friday has become a worldwide phenomenon, marked by massive discounts and an online shopping frenzy. Black Friday is a staple of the yearly retail calendar, a time when you can raise awareness, drive customer engagement and, most importantly, boost winter sales.

However, it’s no secret that the rules of Black Friday are changing. Traditionally, Black Friday was a one-day event that came around yearly to mark the start of the Christmas shopping season; then it seemed to extend over a weekend, then a week and now, more often than not, it kick-starts a whole month of deals – especially among bigger retailers.

So, how can you take advantage of this crucial early holiday shopping period, and should you think about extending offers throughout December to increase sales?

For businesses, especially SMEs, having a Black Friday campaign is a golden opportunity to boost sales – but the competition is fierce. To help you stand out, our 10 top tips show you how to increase your online sales, avoid website crashes, and effectively manage the rush.

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday, the fourth Friday of November, kicks off the holiday shopping season. The day sees retailers offer significant discounts, enticing consumers to shop ‘til they drop. From its US origins, Black Friday has spread across the globe, with online retailers playing a pivotal role in its expansion.

The results speak for themselves.

Consumers spent a record $9.1 billion online in 2022. And compared to the average October day, toy sales rose by 285%, smart devices by 271%, and audio equipment was up 230%.

Thinking ahead

Offering an entire month worth of sales might seem a lot, but chances are your competitors will be using this opportunity to draw customers in too. Plus, since Western Europe e-commerce sales have grown by 128% since 2015, you can be certain customers will be on the hunt for the best online deals.

So, before you launch, you need to plan ahead. First things first, make sure your website, online shop, social media, and email communications are set up for success. A good starting point is making sure answers to likely questions are easy to access and your website can run smoothly with increased visitors.

Then think from your customer’s perspective. Understanding the type of deals they’ll be looking for or how their spending habits or lifestyles are changing will help make your offers eye-catching. For example, the current situation means consumers are switching to cheaper brands and are postponing large purchases.

Check whether your website is simple to use, easy to navigate and kept up to date with fresh content to make it more than just a shop window. Your online shop should also be well maintained and updated as often as needed to keep it engaging.

Making the most of marketing

A great way to promote your products during this sales period is through a regular email newsletter, as it’s a cost-effective way of reaching new customers or making sure your current ones keep coming back for more. With a regular email newsletter, you can spotlight daily or weekly promotions or how about promoting your loyalty programme, which will give returning customers even better deals, encouraging them to shop with you again and again.

Social media is a great tool for promoting your offers during this time too. It’s worth remembering though that all businesses will be thinking the same as you, and there are plenty of tempting offers out there, so you’ll want to make your business stand out. Do this by making sure all content is customer-first. Think about including content from your community; this could be as simple as showing different ways customers are using your products or answering frequently asked questions through videos to put a face to your business and services.

There are so many ways to make your business stand out during the holidays – think about extending your Black Friday offers to more than just a day and engaging customers in new and exciting ways so you can stand out from the crowd.

So, with rich rewards on offer, how can you make sure your Black Friday marketing campaign hits the spot?

10 Ways to Boost Black Friday Sales

Start planning early

The key to a successful Black Friday campaign is early preparation. Start planning in advance. Analyse your previous performances, set clear goals, and decide on your discounts and promotions.

Use your partnerships

Collaborate with influencers, bloggers, or partners to amplify your Black Friday advertising, extend your reach, and bring in new customers. Joint promotions and giveaways can also boost engagement and sales.

Diversify marketing channels

While email marketing and social media posts are a must, explore additional strategies and platforms for your Black Friday campaign. Think about pay-per-click, content marketing, and even SMS marketing to reach a broader audience. Adapt your Black Friday marketing strategy to target different customer segments effectively.

Build anticipation

Create a sense of urgency by teasing your Black Friday deals ahead of time. Use countdowns, sneak peeks, and exclusive previews to spark interest and keep customers eagerly awaiting your offers.

Personalise offers

Targeting your approach can help turn marketing into sales. Dig into your data to find out what customers have bought before, their browsing history and preferences to create powerful, personalised offers that catch their attention and encourage them to buy.

Mobile and website optimisation

Website crashes and slow loading can quickly derail your entire Black Friday strategy, so make sure your website can handle the strain. Invest in the best possible web hosting for your budget and conduct stress tests so you’re certain your site can handle the traffic surge. Think about bringing in a queuing system so customers get a smooth shopping experience.

And don’t forget mobile optimisation. A record 48% of online sales and 78% of web traffic were carried out via smartphones on Black Friday 2022, so make sure your website is mobile-friendly, with fast-loading pages and easy navigation.

Use artificial intelligence

AI can whip through vast amounts of consumer info for fast data-driven decisions that can help you personalise your offers. Writing tools like ChatGPT can help produce engaging, conversational content. And chatbots can take high-volume calls off your customer service, offering 24/7, real-time, platform-wide, customer engagement that answers queries, provides information, and helps people buy. However, it’s important not to copy and paste directly from the chatbot. Most of the time, these AI tools use American English which may not have correct spellings for your country. Also, be sure to fact-check your Chat GPT results yourself as well.

Monitor and adapt

During the rush, keep a close eye on your marketing campaigns and website performance. Analyse real-time data to spot any issues and adapt your strategy where necessary. Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) can be a whirlwind of activity, so be prepared to make quick decisions to get the best results. You might also find an increase in shipments, so make sure you prepare in advance.

Stay secure

Cyber security is crucial during high-traffic events like Black Friday. Protect your customers’ data with the best security measures and the latest software. Display trust badges (also known as site seals or trust seals) so your customers know they’re in safe hands.

Post-sales engagement

The aftermath of Black Friday is much more than admiring your striking sales figures. It’s the ideal time to build relationships with new and existing customers. Send thank you emails, ask people to post and share online reviews, and think about offering post-sale discounts to increase brand loyalty and customer retention.

As the annual shopping extravaganza approaches, SMEs need to have a well-thought-out marketing and sales strategy to boost online sales effectively. By following these tips and staying adaptable, you can ensure your Black Friday campaign is a success.

Want to learn more about getting the best out of Black Friday? Have a chat with one of our friendly V-Hub Digital Advisers.

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