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Black Friday sale ideas: How to boost revenue in 2023

Black Friday Sales Ideas
Topics
Why business owners should care about Black Friday
16 Black Friday sales and marketing ideas to boost revenue
1Build anticipation with countdown timers
2Stagger your deals throughout the day
3Deliver value beyond Black Friday
4Bundle products together
5Offer a blanket discount
6Give away premium after-sales services
7Offer free gifts with purchases
8Launch a new product
9Offer discounts across multiple pricing tiers
10Promote gift cards ahead of Black Friday
11Employ affiliate marketing
12Offer free or discounted shipping
13Use Black Friday themes in your marketing content
14Encourage referrals
15Gamify your discounts
16Create a sense of last-minute urgency
FAQs
Final thoughts

The build-up to Black Friday is an ideal time to hone your marketing tactics and generate fresh promotional ideas.

It’s a colossal shopping event that only happens once a year and failure to prepare could cause you to miss out on some serious revenue.

In this article, we’ll explain why this holiday event matters and list 16 Black Friday sale ideas to get your creativity flowing this Fall.


Why business owners should care about Black Friday

Navigate it well and Black Friday can be a goldmine of extra revenue for any small business.

It consistently ranks among the United States’ busiest retail events, with huge numbers of Americans hunting for great deals.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 87.2 million people shopped online on Black Friday 2022, while 72.9 million bought in stores – both record figures.

The day’s spending keeps growing, too. Adobe reported record online sales worth $9.12 billion in 2022, up 2.3% from the previous year. Shoppers in other regions are also on board, including in the UK.

All this means that any business owner who ignores the much-hyped event risks missing out on some significant sales and growth opportunities.

However, it’s not enough to drop a few prices and hope buyers will notice. To excel at one of the busiest buying times of the year, you’ll need to adopt some fresh sales tactics.


16 Black Friday sales and marketing ideas to boost revenue

It only takes a few creative Black Friday marketing ideas to distinguish your brand from others targeting your ideal customers.

Here are 16 simple tips and tricks to help you grab attention, nurture leads and secure your share of the extra holiday revenue.


1. Build anticipation with countdown timers

Placing countdown timers in your email and website content can build excitement around an upcoming Black Friday sale.

These animated GIF (graphics interchange format) files count to a specific time, like the start of your promotion.

For example, Google counted down to a Black Friday sale in an email, letting subscribers preview some enticing smartphone deals.

Google Black Friday Sales Ideas


The email puts Google in subscribers’ minds over a week before the big day, giving them time to consider, plan and get excited about their order. It used the email subject line “The Black Friday countdown has begun” to build extra anticipation.

Email timers also leverage shoppers’ fear of missing out (FOMO) to inspire conversions. It’s linked to the psychological concept of regret aversion, which is when a person makes one decision to avoid regretting another. For instance, buying a product when it’s discounted to avoid paying full price in the future.

If your email marketing software doesn’t have a countdown timer option, you can use a third-party app like Sendtric, MotionMail or CountdownMail, then paste the code into your email template.


2. Stagger your deals throughout the day

Publishing new deals at regular intervals (e.g., hourly) will help you keep customers engaged throughout Black Friday rather than just for one moment.

Enticing shoppers to check in frequently for updates keeps your brand in their minds, which is important when many other companies will try to attract their attention, too.

Promote and publish the deals on your website and social media profiles to reach the biggest audience. Be clear about your deal timings so people know when to check in and ensure your website can cope with repeated spikes in traffic throughout the day.


3. Deliver value beyond Black Friday

Extending the value of your Black Friday sale beyond the day itself can lead to lasting customer loyalty.

You don’t have to run your Black Friday sale for longer than 24 hours, you can simply discount products that deliver monthly or yearly benefits – like a software subscription.

For example, Document360 discounted all of its annual plans for Black Friday 2022.

Document360 Black Friday Sales Ideas


If your discount brings enough new customers on board, some will likely renew their deals at full price when the year ends. As a result, you’ll increase your average customer lifetime value (CLV).


4. Bundle products together

Bundling products is a win-win for customers and businesses. It lets buyers save money and helps sellers increase their average transaction values.

The main advantage is that customers perceive added value from getting more products at a reduced rate, which can boost sales and profitability.

For example, a tech retailer could bundle software with its laptops to make them more appealing to customers. The deal benefits both parties as long as the retailer’s cost of giving the software away doesn’t cancel out its laptop profits.

Check your customer relationship management (CRM) software or website analytics tool to see which specific products people buy together most often. Bundling these will create the most appealing deals.


5. Offer a blanket discount

Blanket discounts simplify the Black Friday shopping experience. They’re easy to understand and, as they apply to a wide range of products, have broad appeal.

For example, you could offer 10% off all items in your online store or $10 off all orders over $100.

Retailer Tarla offered 30% off all its baking kits and promoted the deal with this email:

Tarla Black Friday Sales Ideas


A tactic like this can drive customers looking for a discount on Black Friday to your site. These are price-driven buyers who always want a better deal than the standard price.

Knowing they can choose any product and save money, your discount customers will be more inclined to fill their carts, increasing your revenue and average deal value.

Build anticipation for your blanket deal in social media posts, website content and email marketing messages ahead of Black Friday. You could also limit the discount to “one order per customer” to prevent shoppers from taking advantage and reducing your profit.


6. Give away premium after-sales services

Premium after-sales services improve conversion rates because they help you gain buyers’ trust faster, something that’s especially helpful for converting first-time customers who don’t yet have a strong connection to your brand.

For example, if a tech e-commerce brand offers a three-year warranty on its laptops instead of the usual 12 months, customers know they’ll be protected for longer if anything goes wrong. Reducing the risk makes their buying decision much easier.

Extended warranties aren’t your only option. You can also offer:

  • VIP support packages (e.g., 24/7 tech support)

  • Early access to new features

  • Free installation

  • A dedicated account manager

Track sales conversations in your CRM to learn which after-sales services new customers inquire about the most, then discount or bundle these with your products as part of your Black Friday sale.


7. Offer free gifts with purchases

Giving away promotional gifts is another cost-effective way to increase the perceived value of your products and encourage immediate action from buyers.

For example, as part of its Black Friday marketing campaign, Oral-B gives away accessories with its premium toothbrushes.

Oral B Black Friday Sales Ideas


The gifts are only basic accessories, such as replacement toothbrush heads, toothpaste and mouthwash. However, getting them for free means customers can maintain their oral health without incurring additional expenses.

There’s data to back this up. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing found that, on average, consumers’ appreciation of promotional gifts is 2.4 times the estimated cost to sellers.

Consider which inexpensive accessories customers usually add to their baskets when buying high-ticket items. Bundling them for free will reassure hesitant shoppers that they’re making a great decision.


8. Launch a new product

Many shoppers actively look for exciting deals around Black Friday, so it’s an ideal time for launching new products.

Extra eyes on your website and e-commerce store give you a better chance to build awareness. Holiday shoppers are generally more willing to spend, too, meaning they’re more likely to take a chance on something new at this time of year.

Create marketing content to build anticipation around the launch. Otherwise, you risk the new product going unseen.

You could run a month-long Black Friday email marketing campaign, for example, counting down to launch day with each new message.

Alternatively, post “sneak peek” content on social media with images previewing your new product. You may even catch the attention of some early Christmas shoppers.


9. Offer discounts across multiple pricing tiers

Discounting products across multiple pricing tiers helps you cater to different customer segments around Black Friday.

A holiday sale like this has a broad appeal as it allows all customers to find deals within their budgets.

The simplest method is to offer a blanket percentage discount across all your usual packages. For example, a SaaS company could reduce its basic, intermediate and advanced plans by 15%.

Or you could use a dynamic discounting strategy to encourage bigger purchases like collaboration software company Chanty did with this Black Friday deal:

Chanty Black Friday Sales Ideas


The company offered 15% off its monthly plan or 50% off its annual one, encouraging users to commit for longer (and ultimately spend more). It’s a great way to turn Black Friday’s impulse buyers into loyal customers.


10. Promote gift cards ahead of Black Friday

Promoting and selling gift cards ahead of Black Friday helps companies boost sales in several ways.

First and foremost, it locks in revenue without affecting stock levels. Any gift cards you sell leading up to Black Friday act as pre-sold inventory still to be redeemed. This builds up a bank of guaranteed future revenue.

Moreover, research tells us gift card users are more likely than cash buyers to spend on products typical of their retailers, which often means higher ticket prices. It’s part of a psychological concept called mental accounting.

For example, someone with a Dr. Martens gift card is more likely to buy a pair of boots (what the brand’s known for) than they are a cheaper accessory, like a bag or socks.

Lastly, gift cards are made to be shareable. People may buy them for friends and family members who have never bought from your brand, so they can help you build brand awareness and expand your customer base.


11. Employ affiliate marketing

Expand your Black Friday promotion’s reach by recruiting influencers and affiliate partners to share your deals with their audiences in exchange for commissions on any sales they drive. The broader exposure should benefit you both.

As well as gaining access to your collaborators’ audiences, which may be larger than or different from your own, you can borrow any trust they’ve built with loyal followers.

For example, a software startup could work with established industry media like TechRadar to promote its products.

TechRadar Black Friday Sales Ideas


TechRadar’s regular readers trust its output and opinions, so they’re likely to take extra interest in the products it features.

Find potential affiliates with a Google search for product-related terms and see which sites appear first.

If you sell cloud storage, for instance, you could search “best cloud storage providers 2023” to find the most prominent publishers in your field. Then, build a shortlist of the top sites and check each one for organized affiliate programs.


12. Offer free or discounted shipping

Shipping prices heavily influence buying decisions. In a Digital Commerce 360 poll, 76% of consumers ranked free shipping as one of the three most important factors in online shopping, more than any other option.

Offering free deliveries all year round may not be profitable, but removing or reducing charges around Black Friday can give you a short-term sales boost with long-term effects.

The main goal is to have people buy your products for the first time. Once leads become new customers, you can work on strengthening their trust through thoughtful after-sales services, like easy returns, installation, support and upgrades.

Encourage buyers to spend more with a conditional shipping discount (e.g., “Free delivery on all orders over $100”).

In a Shippo survey, almost half (47%) of the consumers questioned said they’d meet a minimum payment to qualify for free shipping. That means they’re more likely to add products to their carts (increasing their order value) than pay even a small fee.


13. Use Black Friday themes in your marketing content

Promote your Black Friday offers to ensure customers know to check your website or store for deals. Despite the benefits, not all businesses take part, so this is an important thing to do.

You can get the word out through various channels, including:

  • Website content. Add banners to your site’s homepage to signal participation.

  • Email marketing. Unveil your Black Friday plans to people on your email list throughout October and November.

  • Online advertising. Pay to promote your sale on search engines and social media channels (Google Ads is a great place to start, given the platform’s reach).

  • Social media marketing. Preview exclusive deals on the platforms your ideal customers use most (e.g., Instagram, LinkedIn or TikTok).

For example, online retailer ASOS published this banner and message on its website ahead of Black Friday 2023:

ASOS Black Friday Sales Ideas


It tells visitors what to expect (“850+ massive discounts on designer brands”) and when to expect it (“from Friday 24 November through to Cyber Monday”), building anticipation and giving people time to plan.


14. Encourage referrals

A simple referral plan can help you capitalize on the social aspect of Black Friday.

It’s a time when people and companies often share deals on social media, tell friends and family about their bargains and publish articles listing the “best deals” – so there’s even more potential than usual to expand your reach.

For example, you could offer a 20% off discount code to anyone who brings a new customer to your business via their unique “refer-a-friend” link.

Airbnb uses a similar tactic throughout the year to find new accommodation hosts:

AirBnB Black Friday Sales Ideas


If you already operate a referral scheme outside of the holiday shopping season, consider enhancing your incentives for the holiday. For example, you could replace your 10% off coupon incentive with a 20% off one for the two weeks surrounding Black Friday.


15. Gamify your discounts

Gamifying your Black Friday offers, such as using a spinning wheel to reveal limited-time deals and giveaways, adds an element of fun to the retail experience.

Enhancing shoppers’ enjoyment while they browse, can:

  • Keep them on your website for longer

  • Encourage multiple purchases

  • Inspire them to share your content

In November 2022, Amazon’s “Spin & Win” campaign allowed app users to spin a virtual wheel and win credit to spend on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Amazon Black Friday Sales Ideas


The interactive giveaway benefited Amazon in three ways:

  • It increased app downloads (users needed the app to play)

  • It promoted Amazon’s deals through online shares and media coverage. For example, tech site CNET included the promotion in its Cyber Monday coverage.

  • It enticed winners to visit the Amazon website, where they’d likely spend more than the value of their prize

You don’t necessarily need to design an interactive game to make your Black Friday promo more engaging like this. You could run a social media contest, encouraging followers to submit entries using branded hashtags.


16. Create a sense of last-minute urgency

As Black Friday draws to a close, create a sense of urgency to drive some last-minute purchases.

As well as building anticipation, countdown timers help show how long buyers have left to get a great deal. Place them on your website and in email marketing content to convey your time-sensitive message to visitors and email subscribers.

You can also send abandoned cart notifications and emails to re-engage buyers who didn’t quite make it to the checkout.

For maximum impact, include special discounts in your cart abandonment messaging. A pop-up offering “an extra 5% off” could be all it takes to convert someone late in the day.

FAQs

  • What are the origins of Black Friday?
  • How long do Black Friday sales typically last?
  • Which countries have Black Friday events?
  • What is Cyber Monday?


Final thoughts

The strength of your Black Friday marketing strategy will help determine your success before, during and even after this incredibly busy shopping event.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to offer drastic discounts to engage your target audience.

A more sustainable approach is to provide small, creative incentives and promote them effectively. Doing this means you can capitalize on some of Black Friday’s excitement without underselling your products.

Driving business growth