How To Prepare For Black Friday & Cyber Monday
I think many of us can agree that Q4 of 2021 has quickly snuck up on us this year! Fall is here and it’s time to start planning your holiday calendars if you have not already done so. There are some businesses who have had this calendar ready for months but for our small business clients who may not have thought of this yet – don’t worry – we will outline various steps to ensure you’re prepared for BFCM this year.
Start Planning ASAP!
It’s important that you start planning early! To make the best impact, you need to make sure that various different strategies are working together and in sync. Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to prepare:
- What is the timeline of the promotion? Will it run the full time between 26th – 29th or will it be day-specific?
- What products would you like to target?
- What is the customer’s topic/product knowledge around these products?
- Who will you be targeting? Any difference between new vs. existing customers?
- On what platforms will you be running these campaigns?
- What creatives would you like to use in promotions?
Content is Key
Great content is key to any marketing campaign!
Google advises stores to create BFCM content early so that Googlebot can discover and crawl your page fast. The content on the page should be highly relevant and include imagery to draw users in. Leverage holiday graphics and images to generate excitement for the shopping season. In addition, Google suggests stores to use a recurring URL to speed up the discovery process of the URL. Each year you can come back to this URL with the seasonal promotion.
Aside from creating a promotional landing page, there are several other areas of content you can work to create and improve before BFCM arrives. Some examples of content pieces to optimize include:
- Comparison Articles – Leverage comparison articles to show your consumers your competitive advantage.
- How to Articles – How to articles are great to share with customers in the awareness stage of the buying journey.
- Black Friday Buying Guide & Winter Holiday Buying Guide – Generate buzz for “hot ticket” items during the seasonal trend
- Product Descriptions – Continue to optimize your product descriptions to drive conversions when customers land on your page.
- Customer FAQs – Tailor your customer-focused FAQs to address what customers ask during this period of time.
- Return Policy – Make sure your return policy is up to date to avoid any customer service problems.
Check UX and Website Flow
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and test out the purchase process. Then do that again with another employee by your side. This is the easiest way to identify any problems or topics to address before the big promotion. Use the points below as a UX checklist:
- Can my server handle a traffic increase?
- How many CTAs do I have on the homepage? Do they vary?
- Is my navigation bar optimized for conversions?
- Where did I first find the BFCM promotion? Did it stay with me throughout the whole buying process? Did I create a sense of urgency with my promotion?
- Is my livechat working properly? Does it address frequently asked questions?
- Do I have a welcome pop-up? What about an exit intent pop-up?
- Is my store search working properly and fast?
- Are my 5 star customer reviews placed prominently on the website?
- Are my FAQs easy to find and navigate to? What about my return policy?
- Is my mobile store ready?
- How many steps did it take to purchase 1 product?
- Are all payment methods working?
- How did you apply your promotional code? Was it auto-applied at checkout?
- Did my order confirmation go through?
- Do I offer recommended products based on past purchases?
- Are my email flows working properly?
While this list is limited to address some of the top pain points we see as a website development agency, there may be others you find later on. We recommend you start testing at least a month in advance to fully prep yourself for the last week of November.
Mixing Marketing Channels
Now that you have a plan, your content is ready and your store is optimized, it’s time to talk about your marketing campaigns. By marketing your BFCM promotion through several channels, this will allow you to reach many different audiences.
SEO is a great channel to build and optimize your store over time. With Google’s recommendations, it’s important to start your strategy early so that their crawlers can discover your BCFM content. Utilize the recurring URL as recommended to help build up your credibility over time. Leverage your newly created content as linkable assets to increase your authority. Lastly, make sure you opt in for Google Free listings as another organic channel to increase product awareness.
Don’t forget to utilize community and influencer marketing to increase brand awareness through social media channels. Your store can use social media to create urgency and spread holiday excitement. You should craft a tailored strategy for both organic and paid posting. Organic social media is said to be the most basic way to connect with your primary audience and it’s the most direct method for you to establish brand voice and personality.
Through paid ads, you can reach more customers. Paid social media is trending today and both small and large businesses are harnessing it to create brand awareness and drive conversions. You can also utilize retargeting ads to bring customers back to your store and promote your new sale.
Lastly, you want to make sure you personalize your outreach through email and SMS campaigns. Email and SMS allows you as the store owner to achieve enviable ROI when compared to some of your other marketing channels. For example, abandoned cart flows can get triggered as soon as the user leaves your store. In this abandoned cart email, you could offer an additional $10 off if they purchase in the next 12 hours. Or you could rely on SMS marketing to create a sense of urgency and immediacy for your customer to make a purchase.
Are You Ready For Black Friday & Cyber Monday?
To summarize, if you want to make a strong brand impression on your customers and drive sales during this year’s BFCM, our advice is to start early on your marketing plan, pay attention to how you develop and manage BFCM content, use a UX checklist to provide the best customer experience, and also to utilize a mix of marketing channels to cover your bases. We wish you roaring sales in the upcoming BFCM!