Black Friday – marketing phenomenon or self-fulfilling prophecy
by Dean Enon
on Nov 23, 2017
Whatever the origins of Black Friday may be, and there are a number of explanations behind it from stock-market chancers trying to hike the price of gold to retailers pulling out all the stops to finally go into “the black”, it has, in recent years, become a marketing phenomenon.
Nobody owns Black Friday and, unlike seasonal highlights, national holidays and often dubious awareness days where marketers clamber over each other for a share of the space, the only clambering that’s done on this day is by housewives and dads making a bee-line for the “latest” flat screen or SMART device.
Or is it? Is there in fact more behind this day - traditionally the day after Thanksgiving in America since 1952 - than meets the eye? And, are there a bunch of gurus pulling the strings?
You bet your bottom dollar, if you still have one after forking out for that “not to be missed” deal, there is.
So, who pulls the strings?
After Christmas, Black Friday has become the single-most busiest day in the retail calendar – even outstripping the traditional Boxing Day sales. It’s important to both recognise this and to maximise your potential as a marketing professional or a retail outlet.
The key thing is that, like all inbound strategies, you’re not necessarily going to get your sale in one hit. The nurturing of lost leads is as crucial as the call to action that hooked them in the first place.
This way, an e-commerce strategy around Black Friday should help to increase sales, enhance brand engagement and bring your product or service to a new, wider audience.
It seems we’ve moved on a mile from the days of BOGOF, Blue Cross Sales and “Up to” 75% off. Here, we examine what has worked well in our experience and why an inbound campaign for ANY event should maintain engagement with an audience and keep them interested throughout the whole process – including post-event.
So all is not lost. If like me you feel you may have left it a bit late to get involved (I’m still editing this with just days to go) Black Friday marketing should be treated like any other event.
There is so much more work to do post-event to ensure prospects remain engaged and are nurtured towards their next big buying decision.
Alert your customers early
They may put purchases off for the sole purpose of waiting to nab a bargain come the big day. Consequently, it’s important to make sure you are talking to them once they already have a product or purchase, and this day, on their mind.
Use your customer data carefully, once you establish some key trends you’ll be able to target them more closely and have interaction that really resonates with them.
Likewise, early engagement may be the catalyst for your subscribers to become interested in you, regardless of them being in the market for something or not. So if you don’t convert them now, you may later – more on this later...
Keep them keen
Many e-commerce sites see a dip in sales leading up to Black Friday, so it’s important to let your customers, and prospects, know what’s coming their way. Use every tool available including social media for regular updates and sneak previews. Create rich content on best buying tips and comparison guides for example, and signpost reviews that help the consumer make an informed decision.
Deliver on your promise
Make sure you give them exactly what they are asking for – and more. There’s not much point in creating the perfect pre-sales inbound strategy to then not back it up with the best possible customer experience.
In 2016, it was reported a mob of bargain hunters rioted over cheap toilet paper as Black Friday madness descended on a South African shopping mall. I’m not suggesting you entice a riot, but something clearly worked here. Aim for the same frenzy but I suggest, in a way that doesn’t incite violence.
The one that got away
The sale ends and you’re counting your profits, but it shouldn’t end there. It is likely you failed to convert about 90% of those that responded to your initial campaign launch. It’s also highly likely that you’ve engaged with a whole host of people who may not have found what they were looking for or, perhaps, countless self-confessed bargain hunters on the lookout for the next, unmissable deal.
Consider what problems they have and examine where they visited you in their journey through whichever analytics you use. And this is when you’ll be happy that they signed up to engage with you because you can keep them close to other offers you may be running or, impart some knowledge on a subject that they are concerned with.
You may wish to create an exclusive members’ club that gives them that warm glow, but most of all you’ll be nurturing, engaging, and keeping them in tune with you and the subjects that matter to them.
Whatever you do, remember that you’ll continue to operate when Saturday comes – as will your new, engaged audience. And, you don’t need to copy what everyone else on the planet is doing. This can be a blue-print for any sales event, on any day of the year.