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14 Black Friday marketing ideas to skyrocket your sales

Black Friday Marketing Ideas
5 creative Black Friday marketing ideas
5 traditional marketing strategies with a twist
4 ways to optimize your online presence for Black Friday
Laying the foundation for a successful Black Friday campaign
Final thoughts

Every year, small businesses face the challenge of standing out in the Black Friday frenzy. Countless brands vying for consumer attention make it easy to get lost in the noise.

To get the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, you need a strategic marketing plan that checks all the boxes, from promotions to customer experience.

In this guide, we’ll share some creative and original Black Friday marketing ideas, along with the sales strategies and techniques to get the most out of the biggest online shopping event of the year.

5 creative Black Friday marketing ideas

While you might’ve got away with just offering a 10% discount across your e-commerce business on previous Black Fridays, it’ll take more than that to stand out now.

You’ll need creative ways to keep prospects engaged.

Here are the best Black Friday promotion ideas to grab your customers’ attention.

1. Augmented reality showrooms

Whether you’re a business-to-customer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) retailer, you can use augmented reality (AR) technology.

AR is a new way to showcase physical products and give customers a better idea of what they’ll look like in their homes or offices. With so many promotions over Black Friday, AR will help customers feel more confident about their purchases.

For example, IKEA allows customers to virtually place furniture items in their homes and offices using AR.

Idea Black Friday Marketing

With smartphones, shoppers can navigate the aisles, explore different products and even interact with items from online retailers almost like they were in-store.

For example, a remote office equipment supplier could help employees who work from home see how a desk or chair would fit in their home office.

Collaborate with experienced AR developers to create an app or integrate AR features into your existing app, then promote your new experience weeks ahead of Black Friday to build anticipation.

2. Virtual scavenger hunts

Turn the traditional Black Friday shopping spree into an exciting online game. With a virtual scavenger hunt, prospects search your website, app or social media channels for hidden pictures, clues or promo codes. Once found, these items unlock flash sales and gifts.

For example, BIC launched a virtual scavenger hunt where website visitors could try and find the “missing lighter” on an interactive map. Successful searchers automatically entered into a giveaway to win exclusive merchandise.

In the run-up to Black Friday, host a digital scavenger hunt where customers can unlock early bird access to the sale or other exclusive discounts. Begin promoting the virtual scavenger hunt in the lead-up to Black Friday with teaser campaigns, social media posts and email marketing.

3. Mystery product promotions

Use a mystery box promotion to allow customers to buy one or more products in a sealed package for a fixed price. The catch? Customers don’t know what’s inside until they open it. While they’re guaranteed to receive items worth more than they paid, the specifics remain a mystery.

For example, Fenix Xcell offered a mystery box for $199.99, with a total value of over $550.

Private Estate Black Friday Marketing

You can use this same marketing tactic over Black Friday, adding a limited quantity of mystery boxes for one day only to create a sense of urgency.

A B2B office supplies company could offer mystery boxes filled with high-quality office essentials, from ergonomic accessories to premium stationery, giving businesses a taste of their best products.

Offering different types of mystery boxes allows customers to choose a category they’re interested in while keeping the contents a surprise. Because you can add any items you like, these promotions also allow you to shift stock and clear the way for new items while delivering outstanding value.

Some customers will naturally feel cautious about buying something without knowing exactly what they’re getting. To overcome any hesitation, reassure them of how much the box is worth (without ruining the surprise). For instance: “Guaranteed $100 value inside!”

Design attractive, sealed packaging and encourage customers to share their unboxing on social media.

4. Golden tickets

Take a leaf out of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and offer customers the chance to win their very own golden ticket – a special voucher, with limited availability, that offers holders exclusive benefits.

While you could use golden tickets to offer discounts or gift cards, consider bigger incentives like a personalized shopping assistant for the day or a behind-the-scenes tour of your facility.

For example, Carling hid 20 golden tickets in promotional packs, each offering the “ultimate home match day experience” worth over £4,500 (approx. $5,500).

Carling Black Friday Marketing Email

Golden tickets also work well in brand partnerships and sales incentive programs. programs. For example, loyalty and reward marketing agency Incremental organized a promotion for Unilever Food Solutions, where distributors who hit their sales targets received a golden ticket. Once they’d accumulated enough tickets, they were exchangeable for a trip to Australia.

Decide how you’ll distribute your golden tickets. For example, you might include physical vouchers in random deliveries leading up to Black Friday or send a digital ticket to the first customers to purchase from your online store during your pre-sale.

If you operate exclusively online, you could put your client or email list through a random selector tool and choose a lucky prize winner that way. No newsletter list? Let your website visitors or social media followers sign up specifically for this prize draw, then use that as an opportunity to ask if they’d like to stay on your mailing list for future promotions.

The idea behind golden ticket promotions is to create a buzz and build excitement to ensure prospective customers know what they can win. Tease these golden tickets on your social media, email campaigns and other marketing channels.

5. Sustainability pledges

For some customers, the consumerism associated with Black Friday just doesn’t resonate.

According to one study, 69% of global consumers said that sustainability is more important to them than it was two years ago. Integrating sustainability into your Black Friday promotions will impress eco-conscious consumers.

For example, along with a site-wide 25% discount, the environmentally-friendly brand Wild pledged to plant two trees for specific purchases.

Wild Black Friday Marketing Email

You could offer special Black Friday discounts to customers who pledge to recycle or upcycle their old items. Alternatively, pledge to offset a certain amount of carbon emissions for every purchase made on Black Friday.

For small businesses that aren’t able to offer the same size discounts as their bigger competitors, a donation to a charity that aligns with their values is a more viable option.

Communicate how the pledges translate to real-world actions. If you’re committing to carbon offsets, detail the projects you’re supporting. If you’re going to plant trees for every purchase, share how many trees you’ve planted so far.

5 traditional marketing strategies with a twist

Creative ideas are a great way to stand out but proven strategies should still be an integral part of your Black Friday campaign.

Upgrade your traditional marketing with the following Black Friday marketing strategies.

1. Interactive email marketing campaigns

Consumers are inundated with promotional emails during the Black Friday season. Use your email marketing software to add interactive elements to your emails and help them stand out. Quizzes, polls or mini-games can increase engagement, click-through rates and sales.

For example, Forever 21’s Black Friday email gave recipients three panels to choose from, which they could “scratch” to reveal their discount.

Forever 21 Black Friday Marketing Email

You could also ask your email list to vote on potential Black Friday deals or share real-time countdown timers in your emails to build anticipation and urgency.

Since many users check emails on their phones, ensure all interactive elements are mobile-responsive. Don’t forget to include a clear and compelling call to action (CTA) guiding recipients to your website or store.

2. Limited-time collaborations

Boost your Black Friday holiday sales by partnering with other brands, influencers or creators to offer special discounts or other experiences.

For example, a clothing brand might team up with a celebrity designer for a limited-edition product, while a beauty brand might collaborate with an environmental organization for a “green beauty” line.

Choose brands or individuals that align with your values and resonate with your target audience, then work closely with them to create something that amplifies both of your unique strengths. Customers should feel excited about the collaboration, not confused.

When your strengths and values match, the partnership feels authentic and adds more value.

Remember to promote the collaboration on both party’s marketing channels with consistent messaging to build anticipation for the big day.

3. Bonus loyalty programs

Loyalty programs are a popular way of increasing customer retention and encouraging repeat purchases. Build on your regular loyalty scheme with a bonus program that offers additional points, exclusive rewards or special privileges during the Black Friday period.

For example, Pizza Ranch offered double loyalty points for purchases made on Black Friday.

Pizza Ranch Black Friday marketing example

Another possibility is allowing customers to “jump” loyalty tiers faster during Black Friday.

For instance, spending a certain amount could upgrade them to a premium membership with added benefits. Alternatively, you could offer limited-edition products or experiences available exclusively to loyalty members.

Inform loyalty program members about the enhanced benefits in advance through targeted emails, app notifications or personalized messages. Specify the start and end times of the offer to create a sense of urgency.

4. Shoppable social media stories

You should use social media platforms to promote your Black Friday deals but shoppable stories can also be an effective sales channel.

If viewers see something they like, redirect them to product pages in just one tap to make the customer journey from discovery to purchase seamless.

Use stories to announce exclusive deals or give followers a sneak peek of Black Friday offerings, with direct links to pre-order or wishlist items. Showcase products in action, highlighting their features and benefits, and provide a direct shopping link within the story.

For example, a jewelry brand could use its Instagram Stories to share a gift guide with its fans, allowing direct purchases from the story.

Ensure your e-commerce store integrates with your social media channels and that each shoppable story has a clear and compelling CTA, like “Swipe up to shop” or “Tap to buy”. Platforms like Shopify let you easily connect to Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube and TikTok.

5. Pop-up virtual events

Most Black Friday campaigns aim to deliver a quick, short-term boost to sales. However, virtual events allow you to engage more with potential customers and forge long-term connections.

How about debuting a new product line via an exclusive virtual launch party? Give your most loyal customers and followers early access to shop the collection before it goes public.

Alternatively, consider hosting a webinar masterclass to help your customers. Share your top tips, techniques and tutorials. For example, a cloud storage solution could hold a virtual workshop on data security, helping businesses secure their data (while also showing off its features).

The key is crafting engaging digital experiences that provide value beyond discounts. Highlight your products organically through activities versus overt sales pitches. These events position your brand as an educator versus purely a seller, creating a unique Black Friday experience.

4 ways to optimize your online presence for Black Friday

Hopefully, you now have plenty of ideas on how to make this Black Friday a memorable event. By correctly setting up your website and social media to attract and manage the extra traffic, you can ensure you’re ready for Black Friday with these tips.

1. Advanced SEO techniques

Consumers are always actively searching for deals and offers so increase your website’s chances of being found over your competitors by improving your SEO (search engine optimization). This is an important tactic whether you’re adding new pages for Black Friday or updating existing pages with Black Friday content.

Make sure you have the basics in place with on-page optimization. Update your website’s landing pages to include relevant Black Friday-specific keywords, like “Black Friday tech deals” or “Black Friday fashion discounts”.

Ensure your meta tags, headers and alt text are also up to date with the relevant keywords. These are all attributes of your web pages that tell search engines what’s on the page.

For even better results, use schema markup (a form of microdata that helps search engines provide more informative results) to create enhanced descriptions with ratings, product availability and special Black Friday prices.

Schema.org explains schema markup like this:

“Your web pages have an underlying meaning that people understand when they read the web pages. But search engines have a limited understanding of what is being discussed on those pages.

By adding additional tags to the HTML of your web pages – tags that say, “Hey search engine, this information describes this specific movie, or place, or person, or video” – you can help search engines and other applications better understand your content and display it in a useful, relevant way.

Microdata is a set of tags, introduced with HTML5, that allows you to do this.”

Check your website’s technical performance, looking out for issues like site speed, mobile optimization and canonical tags. For example, you could implement AMP (previously referred to as accelerated mobile pages) for faster mobile loading – important for sites with heavy graphics.

These strategies might all sound very complex but thanks to tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Mobile-Friendly Test, it’s easy to run a test and quickly identify any areas that might need improvement.

Pipedrive Core Web Vitals

2. Chatbot integration

Black Friday can be an overwhelming and confusing experience for shoppers. Which product is the best deal? How do these different products compare? If your website visitors can’t easily find the information they need, they will likely leave and never come back.

You may not be able to answer your customers’ questions 24/7 but a marketing chatbot can. A chatbot answers their biggest questions and streamlines the customer journey just by engaging with your prospects and sharing information about your products.

Pipedrive AI Chatbot

Set up your chatbot to address common queries about deals, shipping, returns or product specifications without users having to search the site. You can also use your chatbot to provide exclusive Black Friday discount codes or flash deals to engaged users, incentivizing immediate purchases.

Pipedrive’s Chatbot enables users to automatically engage with visitors and save them as leads in your CRM system.

You can customize your conversations, adjusting your chatbot’s behavior, questions, responses and actions to serve your customers better. If a conversation will benefit from the human touch, step in and take over from your laptop, desktop or smartphone.

3. Retargeting campaigns

Just because someone doesn’t immediately buy, it doesn’t mean they won’t purchase in the future. Given the competitive nature of Black Friday, retargeting is crucial to recapturing the attention of users who might’ve been distracted or hesitant.

Retargeting campaigns enable you to connect with individuals who’ve previously interacted with your website or app but didn’t make a purchase. By displaying tailored ads based on their browsing behavior, you can remind these potential customers about products they’d shown interest in and incentivize them to complete a transaction.

Offer unique Black Friday coupon codes to retargeted users, making them feel valued and encouraging a return visit. Cart abandonment reminders are also effective. Use ads or an abandoned cart email to reach out to users who added products to their cart but didn’t check out.

Ensure retargeting pixels (like the Facebook Pixel or Google Ads remarketing tag) are correctly placed on your website to track user behavior. For best results, categorize your audience based on their interactions, such as product views, cart additions or time spent on site.

4. Social proof and reviews

During Black Friday, as companies bombard customers with deals and offers, trust is key. According to one study, 71% of UK consumers said they’d buy more from brands they trust.

Build that trust through social proof.

The most common forms of social proof are customer reviews, testimonials and other types of user-generated content.

Take advantage of your existing social proof, showcasing your top-rated product reviews on product pages, especially for Black Friday specials. Share photos or videos from customers using the products (with their permission), offering a real-world perspective and building trust.

Use tools like Trustpilot or other neutral review platforms to display ratings and reviews on your site, adding an extra element of confidence.

Pipedrive Reviews

If you don’t have enough social proof, reach out to your customers and encourage them to leave reviews. Automatically send a message post-purchase, asking them if they’re happy with their product and asking them to share their feedback.

Ensure all reviews and user content are genuine. Avoid using fake reviews as they can severely damage brand trust and reputation.

Laying the foundation for a successful Black Friday campaign

A well-planned foundation is key to executing a smooth and profitable Black Friday. Take care of the fundamental best practices to ensure your Black Friday marketing campaign gets the best results.

Begin by refining your buyer personas, ensuring they’re both complete and up to date. Knowing your different targets allows for effective audience segmentation, enabling you to tailor your Black Friday offers based on demographics, purchase behavior and interests.

Don’t forget to review your past Black Friday campaigns. What were your best-selling products? What kind of offer was the most effective?

Look at customer feedback from previous Black Friday sales to identify where to focus this year, as well as areas of improvement. Data from past campaigns can also help you forecast sales and ensure you have sufficient inventory to meet demand.

Keep all of your customer-facing teams in the loop. Outline key dates leading up to Black Friday, including teaser campaigns, pre-sales and main event promotions. Your sales and customer support teams should have all the details for your Black Friday deals and campaigns, as well as any common customer queries they might face.

Finally, set your sales targets for the Black Friday weekend. These objectives can include engagement targets, like website traffic and email open rates but they should also include conversion goals.

Work out your objectives for conversion rates, customer numbers and overall revenue. Having established sales goals will give your team something to aim for and help drive more sales.

Final thoughts

Navigating the holiday shopping season can be daunting. Still, with the right preparation and strategies, Black Friday can be the most profitable day on your marketing calendar.

As you reflect on the above marketing ideas, consider how they align with your brand’s goals and resources. Start planning early, engage with your team and be ready to adapt.

Remember, Black Friday doesn’t have to be just about one-off sales; it’s a chance to build lasting customer relationships. By connecting with your audience and creating memorable experiences, you build genuine connections that drive sales, on Black Friday and for years to come.

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