Black Friday is right around the corner, and you need to be ready to compete for the attention of your customers on a weekend where almost 140 million Americans are planning to or considering shopping. The problem is that you don’t necessarily have the marketing budget of a big box store, and you definitely don’t have the resources. It’s easy to feel like your message can get lost in the crowd.
The good news is that there are a number of smart, effective marketing tactics your small business can use to stand out from the crowd this Black Friday.
1. Take a Close Look at Last Year’s Data
The first step is to actually take a look backward. What did your customers do last year? Where did your traffic come from? Were there any surprises? Crack open Google Analytics and take a close look at what worked and what didn’t. You already have this information, so use it refine your strategy.
See if you can work backward to identify patterns that can help you get more specific with your targeting this time around. Often, you’ll realize that it’s about the timeframe. When was the last time they visited your site, and what did they do? How many buyers had abandoned a cart earlier?
If you can turn these successful buying journeys into discrete segments, you can start to craft campaigns customized to appeal to each specific group of promising leads. With a quick jump into your marketing automation platform of choice, you can make a plan that reaches the people most likely to buy and tips to the scales to make for impressive conversion rates. Don’t forget: A customized landing page for each group is key to making this tactic work.
2. Get Involved in the #BlackFriday Conversation
Social media is a big part of our lives, and Black Friday is no exception. There’s a lot going on with the #blackfriday hashtag, so throw your hat in the ring with a plan for engaging in the conversation. Black Friday, along with its cousins Small Business Saturday (#shopsmall) and Cyber Monday (#cybermonday), is sure to be a trending topic in the week leading up to the day itself, so line up content now that will grab your audience’s attention.
One important thing to remember is that social media isn’t just a set-it-and-forget-it medium in the same way that email marketing is. It’s social, as in a conversation, so you need to be ready to interact. The work you did with your data from previous years can be really helpful here because it can tell you who you need to target.
Your vision of your ideal leads should be as complete as possible—anything from age and income to music preferences or favorite vacation spot is fair game. This can help you spot people you need to reach. Even if it’s just a small interaction, it can make a huge difference.
3. Throw an Event
Big box stores are designed around a model of consistency. Walk into a Best Buy in San Diego or New Orleans and you will pretty much see the same thing. The good thing for customers is that it’s comfortable—they know exactly where to go if they are looking for headphones, for example. The flip side is that the customer experience can seem almost routine, and this can impact the connection consumers feel that they have with your business. Lacking a strong personal connection and a rewarding in-store customer experience, it’s getting harder and harder to draw shoppers into your store when they can order the same products online.
As a small business, you are already unique. You have your own distinct personality and real estate that’s (hopefully) already convenient for your prime customers. Take a page out of the hyper-local marketing playbook and host an event. You have a lot of opportunities for creativity, which gives it a handmade feeling and creates a rich customer experience that will draw people in. Anything from a poetry reading to a lottery for charity to a wine tasting is fair game. Think about what makes sense for your brand and your small business, and start planning for Black Friday.
4. Make a Video
Social media platforms are increasingly becoming all about video. It’s so easy to just press play and sit back and watch something, and our brains are trained to engage with video in a different way than the written word or a static image. At the same time, it’s never been cheaper or easier to make decent-looking footage and broadcast it to anybody with a smartphone.
Just like any form of content marketing, video is wide open for you to do almost anything to help build your brand and engage potential customers. You can take people behind the scenes to see what your day-to-day is like or make a how-to video to cover something routine that comes up frequently. Remember that as a small business owner you’re already an expert in something super specific and interesting to other people, so trust that and start shooting video today.
5. Try Hourly Sales
On the day of the event, be playful with how you structure your discounts to get people in the door. Announcing hourly sales on your social media feeds is a way to generate excitement and build followers for later in the year. Even if they’re not necessarily going to show up on Friday, you know they’re interested and can engage them later.
What You Can Do Right Now
Black Friday is an incredibly exciting opportunity to draw in new customers and bring back familiar ones. With such a huge shopping event for consumers, it’s easy to feel like your marketing message will get lost in the shuffle. But with a little planning and creativity, you can make sure you reach the people you need.
Look at data from past Black Fridays to identify what works and what doesn’t.
Take advantage of the #blackfriday, #shopsmall, and #cybermonday hashtags to get in on the conversation.
Leverage your uniqueness by throwing an event.
Use video to create engaging content that gets customers interested.
Try using social media to promote specific time-sensitive deals to make your followers feel special.
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