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How to stand out this Black Friday | The ultimate Black Friday guide for businesses in 2023

Black Friday is arguably one of the biggest sales events of the year, and for many consumers, it’s an opportunity to snap up a deal before Christmas. However, Black Friday sales can be overwhelming, with a swarm of promotional emails flooding your inbox and too many brands offering discounts.

For small businesses, it can also be overwhelming and it’s normal to feel a bit of pressure to offer discounts. Black Friday weekend is one that often feels like it’s snuck up on you, and there’s usually a last-minute panic and quick decision of what your offer will be.

However, it’s crucial that you don’t leave your Black Friday planning to the last minute.

It’s important to plan and prepare, well ahead of time, implement a well-thought-out strategy, and have a successful Black Friday weekend.

In this blog, we take you through the ultimate guide to Black Friday sales for small businesses. From our top tips on how to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday early, to crafting your unique offer and standing out amongst competitors, and some great examples of brands who have Black Friday differently in the past.

Prior preparation prevents poor performance.

We’ve all heard that saying before (probably from your dad), and in the case of any promotions it is very true. Unless you are an extremely established brand with a large, and loyal customer base, offering discounts and promotions on the fly, isn’t going to get you very far.

One of our favourite analogies for marketing is the marriage example. You wouldn’t go up to someone on the street and ask them to marry you straight away, would you? You would get to know them first, date them for a while, and then after a time you would propose to them.

Marketing is very similar.

If you’re walking through a shopping centre and you get approached by those annoying salespeople standing in the middle of the walkway with flyers, trying to get you to donate or sign up or buy a car, you feel annoyed and uncomfortable.

You don’t want to buy from them.

However, if you’ve followed a brand for a long time on socials, engaged with their content, bought some things from them in the past, subscribed to their mailing list, kept up to date with them and have a good sentiment towards them, then when they send you a Black Friday promotional email, it doesn’t feel so out of the blue. It feels right.

You know them, you want their products, so the promotion is an extra bonus and feels like a reward.

This is how you want your customers to feel. So, to prepare for Black Friday, here are our top tips:

1. Decide on your offer.

There’s no point preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday ahead of time, if you don’t even know what you’re going to offer. So step one is to decide. The most common offer is a big discount.

However, this isn’t the only option, and in recent years we have seen brands really push the norms and create unique, stand out offers that add more value to their customers than a discount.

For example, instead of 50% off, you could offer your customers an epic bundle of your products that is slightly cheaper than buying all of the products separately.

You could offer a free gift with purchases over a certain amount (often brands use older stock as their gifts so you’re moving old stock, whilst making a sale at a low cost to the business).

You could do a free shipping offer or a 2-for-1 deal.

Or, you could even bring out an exclusive collection for Black Friday.

Later in the blog, we share some examples of some really cool brands who have created some unique offers for Black Friday weekend in the past. So stay tuned for that!

Ensure you decide on your offer well in advance. Ideally, for any big campaign, you want to give it at least three months to build momentum.

So we recommend deciding on your offer by the end of August. Get to that drawing board!

2. Plan your campaign strategy.

After you’ve decided what your offer is, you need to craft a campaign strategy. Over the next three months, how are you going to warm up your audience so they are ready to receive your Black Friday offer?

Side note: not sure what a warm audience is. Warm audiences are people who have previously engaged with or purchased from your brand. They are familiar with your brand and would be most likely to purchase from your brand. In comparison, cold audiences are people who have never heard of your brand before, so selling to them is difficult as it’s like the stranger street proposal.

Now, we know not all small businesses can afford a full, multi-channel marketing campaign, so at the bare minimum make sure you are using these three channels:

Instagram: An invaluable, free tool, to not only be found by your target audience but to build connections with them through authentic conversations and educational and entertaining content. Instagram shop allows you to connect your Shopify store so your followers can directly shop via Instagram posts. Instagram Stories are also a great promotional tool to update your followers on promotions and being able to share links directly to your website. Use Instagram to build an engaged, interested audience (using our metaphor, this is your dating phase).

Meta / Facebook: Make sure you’re posting on Facebook. Even if you’re just cross-posting a few Instagram posts per week across to Facebook, keep it active. Why? Organic Facebook posting tells Meta that your account is active, people follow you and that you’re credible. So if you decide to run a paid Meta ads campaign down the track, you already have a credible account and a warm audience.

Email Marketing: We believe that email marketing is one of the most vital tools in these kinds of big campaigns. Anything that has to do with your website making sales, needs email marketing. At its simplest, it can be used for flows such as abandoned cart emails. If a user adds your products to cart but doesn’t finalise their purchase, your abandoned cart flow will send them follow-up emails to remind them. 65.7% of carts are abandoned for a multitude of reasons, so you need a chance to recover those sales where you can. Email marketing is also vital in these Black Friday sales to build up to, and communicate your offers to your audience. Work on building up your email list leading up to Black Friday weekend, so when the time comes to send your offer you have a big audience of engaged, excited people ready to buy from you. Read our carousel posts on how to stand out in inboxes.

Bonus: If you are a product business, we highly recommend being active on TikTok. It’s such a great tool for organic reach and growing your audience and brand awareness. Plus, it’s fun!

If you have a larger budget, we do recommend a good mix of organic and paid marketing strategies. At dash. agency our packages combine the two as we believe they complement each other perfectly in campaigns.

We focus on search marketing with our Search Savvy package that offers paid Google Ads combined with organic SEO so your brand will be found on Google by users who are actively searching for your products or services.

We also offer the Social Savvy package that pairs organic social media with paid Meta ads, which again, builds that warm audience in your social following and can then strategically retarget them with your ads, encouraging them to purchase from you.

If you are running Ads for Black Friday weekend, remember this: during the peak advertising times when many businesses are running ads, the review periods from Meta can take longer.

So don’t leave your ads to the last minute, or you may miss out on having them live over the Black Friday weekend.

Aim to put your ads live at least 5 days prior to Black Friday to ensure they will be approved in time.

3. Optimise your website.

Your offer and your promotional campaign will be absolutely useless if your website isn’t optimised to convert your traffic into sales. We see this all the time from brands of all sizes, where they’re running ad campaigns but when you click on their website it lets them down. Either their website looks outdated or not appealing, or their links don’t work, or their checkout process is overcomplicated.

First of all, ensure your website is mobile-friendly and looks just as good, if not better, on mobile. Why?

Last year, over 56% of all online sales worldwide came from users on mobile devices. This year, we predict a higher increase of online shoppers will use their mobile devices for Black Friday sales as it becomes more prevalent in the digital world.

This means the mobile version of your website needs to look the part, and also function well.

The checkout process needs to be seamless on both mobile and desktop. Ensure all your links work, the customer details section is quick and easy to complete, you have all the popular payment options on offer and there are no hidden costs at checkout.

Consider shipping costs. Are you able to offer free shipping over certain amounts? Can you offer a flat rate for shipping that’s appealing to all?

Make sure your website content and policies are ready to go – are you using high quality images? Do you have detailed product descriptions for your products? Do you have a return policy mapped out? Have you got clear call-to-actions throughout your website? Do all your links go to the right place? Have you got clear information on what’s on sale or what your offer is for Black Friday?

Three brand examples of unique Black Friday offerings.

As mentioned above, you don’t have to offer crazy discounts that are potentially going to set your business back. Instead, focus on a unique offering that benefits your business revenue and adds value to your customers.

Whether this is a bundle deal or an exclusive collection release, the possibilities are endless. As promised, here are three examples of some cool brands crafting unique Black Friday offers in the past:

1. Naked Harvest exclusive product offer.

Naked Harvest is a supplement brand that aims to revolutionise the standard of women’s active health supplements in the health industry. Created by a brother and sister duo who are always innovating with their marketing and offers, Naked Harvest offers a range of protein shake blends, wellness drinks, healthy snacks and more. They also run regular events to promote women’s health and wellness. For their unique Black Friday offer last year, they released an exclusive product that was only available via their mobile app during Black Friday weekend with limited stock available. This was a great marketing tactic as it not only encouraged new app downloads and sign-ups, but it also created hype around their new product. They didn’t have to heavily discount all their products, instead, they offered a completely new one in a unique way.

2. Conscious Consumerism.

One of our incredible clients, Bare Roots, is a sustainable and certified organic skincare brand. They create natural skincare products that are good for your skin and not harmful to the planet. Sustainability and ethical consumerism are both high values of theirs, so for Black Friday they didn’t feel right in offering mass discounts. Instead, they created a movement called Conscious Consumerism. This encouraged their followers to avoid participating in the temptation of Black Friday which comes with panic buying, buyer’s remorse, and overconsumption that isn’t sustainable. Bare Roots crafted a bundle for their customers that added value instead of offering discounts. They promoted reusable items, eco-friendly products and sustainable living.

3. Green Friday.

This isn’t just one brand, but many, who come together as a part of Green Friday. Green Friday is an Australian sustainability initiative that brings together over 150 Australian brands with sustainable products. This initiative aims to promote and celebrate sustainability and encourage Australians to shop more ethically. It runs on the same weekend as Black Friday to counteract the fast fashion and over-consumption that occurs. Not only that, but Green Friday gives back to patterned organisations such as Good360, 1% for the Planet, Carbon Neutral and Sustainable Choice. All of these organisations push sustainable movements to help the planet be greener.

Are you ready for Black Friday?

So, we hope this blog has given you the tools to have a successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. Remember, you don’t have to go overboard on discounts, you can create a unique offer that benefits both your brand and your customers.

Follow our steps for website optimisation and take time to plan your marketing strategy to promote your offer.

You’ve got this – we believe in you!

And if you want a supportive team of marketing experts to assist you with your Black Friday campaign, don’t be afraid to reach out to us and we can chat through how we can best support you during this crazy period. Chat with us today.

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