As the Christmas and New Year celebrations approach, the sales frenzy begins to make itself felt. The big brands organise themselves, final touches are made to marketing plans, and campaigns are put in place and implemented. Though Christmas itself is still some time off, another event is fast approaching: Black Friday
As a quick reminder and for informational purposes, this American sales initiative, which takes place during Thanksgiving weekend, is now becoming increasingly popular as a special date in the calendar all around the world, including in Europe. Friday 23 November will be the big day this year. Though you don’t prepare for Black Friday two or three weeks before it’s due to take place, you can at least go through your check-list at this stage to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything.
Keep the pressure up !
Two to three weeks before Black Friday is a good time to get everything together and in place and let everyone know what’s going to happen. Though Black Friday is becoming increasingly popular and well-known, not all your customers will necessarily be aware of the breadth and scope of the operation. Some might not even understand what the event is all about. You, therefore, need to be able to play an instructional role to an extent. Whilst at the same time encouraging the rest of your customers to sign up to a mailing list to avoid missing out on any of the bargains and great deals to come.
Something else you can do is work closely with your affiliates. In fact, why not organize a special pre-Black Friday session with your partners? This is also a good way of keeping the pressure up.
And finally, communicate about your special offers a little in advance, thus enabling your community to get itself organized. This could be a special 40% reduction on a particular product from one minute past midnight on November 23. Then 30% off another at 10:00 am, 20% off at 2:00 pm, and so on.
Optimize your email marketing campaigns
Email marketing is still very often the most effective lever when it comes to making Black Friday a success. You’re going to be very busy in the weeks to come, try to plan and prepare your campaigns in advance. Here are a few examples of things you can do:
Automatic reminders can be sent a few hours after the visitor abandons the page. You can even prepare some in advance based on product categories or total basket value.
Reminders at seven, three and one day(s) to go
This is a good way of generating customer loyalty. You can personalise the content of the reminders on the basis of actions carried out during previous campaigns. For example, send a discount voucher only to those who clicked one of the links in the first email.
Though the use of automation is of course indispensable, make sure you take the time to test all your processes in advance. There’s nothing worse than setting the apparatus in motion only to find it’s deficient in some way. This is especially the case with transactional emails (purchase confirmation, purchase receipt, dispatch confirmation, delivery confirmation, etc.), which serve to lend credibility to a brand’s image.
Finalise your landing pages
The design, the key messages, the integration into your websites… this is the final home stretch in the process of completing the work before the big launch.
Every landing page must be subject to a highly precise quality control process. Test your links, conduct an SEO analysis, and check the content and format, e.g. spell-check, responsive design behaviour, tests on multiple different devices, load speed checks, etc.
You need to aim for excellence, and you still have a few days left to prepare yourself for it all.
Make sure your back office set up is of sufficient scale
Imagine a nightmare scenario in which a server fails and a website becomes inaccessible at 11:00 pm on the evening before Black Friday. You need to do everything you can to ensure this nightmare scenario does not become reality. Make sure, therefore, that your server and your connection will be able to handle the load should traffic peak dramatically. Plan ahead for the situation together with your telecoms and hosting service providers. They need to be both mobilised and ready to immediately swing into action, and tests also need to be carried out prior to launch.
Try to think of all potential catastrophe scenarios: a transport strike preventing your support service staff from getting to work, a flu epidemic affecting your developers, etc.
Black Friday is an essential and unmissable event and your customers must not know anything about what takes place behind the scenes in back-office terms. Always have a plan B and a plan C ready. It’s the same principle as with insurance: you almost never need to use it, but the day you do need it, you’ll be happy and relieved to have it.
Spread out the special offers and deals
Don’t launch everything at the same time.
Even though Black Friday is only a short period of time (a single day, or perhaps a little longer for some online shops), it needs to be viewed as a marathon rather than a sprint. Make sure you’ve kept enough in stock to be able to send out details of deals and bargains not only at midnight on launch day but also early on the Friday morning, during the middle of the day, in the evening, etc.
The aim is to have a continual flow of visitors that you’ll need to feed with suitably adapted offers. The commercial dynamic will only be improved as a result.
Scarcity and urgency are two words that go hand in hand with Black Friday. Be clear about the amounts in stock and the time slot during which the offer will be available. A countdown timer, for example, is a very effective mechanism to use. You could also display a count of the number of people who are all looking at a product at the same time.
The aim is not to put pressure on the customer, but instead to ensure they perceive and appreciate the exceptional nature of the day. This is also an effective way of optimising conversions and creating a real sense of the event.
Black Friday is fast approaching, but don’t worry if you think you’re already too late: you haven’t missed out on a thing yet. With the right method, proper management of the priorities, and efficient, effective partners, you will be ready in good time for this coming 23 November 2018! Contact our team for a personalised Black Friday support and help package proposal – it’s not too late!