Holiday Marketing Part 1: Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: The most gratifying and simultaneously terrifying holidays. They are the busiest shopping days of the entire year. Black Friday is always the day after Thanksgiving (24 November this year) and Cyber Monday is the Monday following Black Friday ( November 27th this year).

These holidays take a lot of preparation so give yourself enough time to prep – we suggest getting started at least one month in advance, (this year that means getting started no later than October 24th).

Being prepared for this kind of consumer traffic is easier said than done.  Not to worry though! Below are some tips to make sure that your Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday go as smoothly as possible.

black Friday shopping cart filled with snacks

Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday?

The first thing you’ll need to decide is whether your company will participate in Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or both. If most of your sales occur in  in-store, then you should participate in Black Friday. If you do most of your sales online, then Cyber Monday may be a  better option.

However, if you have a robust in-store and online sales presence, you should consider doing both;  while this means a little more planning, it could yield even greater results. If this is the route you decide to go, then how will these two sales differ? Will you have different products on sale? Different discounts? Or will you they be the same? Another idea is to have the two work together – maybe offer Black Friday deals that market Cyber Monday sales for double the discounts.

The choice between these three options will rely on your company’s needs and goals. An important part of this step is fully understanding the specifics of what your goals are for these holiday sales:

  • Are you hoping to generate more sales?
  • What are your specific monetary goals for these holidays?
  • Are you trying to move old product?
  • Or are you trying to promote new products?

These questions, and others, can help you to determine what exactly you are hoping to accomplish by participating in Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday and can lead you to the next step in the planning process.

What Will Be on Sale?

It’s a good idea to make a sale planner. This would be a place where you can figure out the wholesale price, the regular retail price, and the sale price. Doing this early is key to ensuring you order enough product.

This is a good time to start looking at your inventory and deciding what would make sense to be on sale.

  • Do you have any product to move off the floor?
  • Do you have any hot items that could bring in more attention and traffic?
  • Do you have any items that people may want in preparations for the upcoming holiday season? (Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years Eve, etc…)

In addition, making a list of your competitors and researching what they are selling/ what their sales will be can give you some insight on what to do or to avoid. For example, if you are a clothing company and all of your competitors are doing a BOGO sale on jeans maybe doing a sale on sweaters would be a good point of difference.

Do you Have Enough?

If you’re selling from a physical location, will you have enough  stock to meet Black Friday and Cyber Monday demand? If not, then maybe that’s not the right item to have on sale. Or, if you’re worried about running out of specific items then it may be a good idea to have a store-wide sale like a percentage off, or BOGO or something similar.

If you’re a company that does most/all of their business online you’re not completely in the clear. Even major retailers can sometimes have trouble keeping their sites from crashing on Black Friday/Cyber Monday. If you’re expecting an increase in traffic on your website then your website is in danger of crashing – a possibility that you need to prepare for. There are many different tools that you can use that test the capacity that your site can handle such as Load Impact.

Start Advertising Early

People are going to be bombarded more and more by Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads the closer the holidays become. So, the earlier you can start advertising the better. Luckily, you have advertising options. As a digital marketing agency we’re partial to SEO, email, and social media advertising (if you’re feeling a little lost we have a blog post that will help you decide which social media platforms to advertise on).

We are also huge fans of Unbounce, a website that allows you to create landing pages specifically for sales promotions. Start working on this a couple weeks before Black Friday – this will give you enough time to build the page and advertise effectively.

Get Ready to Remarket

The people already shopping at your store are more likely to   be your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers. Create remarketing campaigns so you can remarket to your current audience as you get closer to these holiday sales.

When you have a decent idea of who your repeat customers are, start sending them special deals. For example, send them special discount via email to to use on Black Friday. You could also add a special promotional banner to your website’s homepage.

Social media is another great way to get the word out about sales to repeat customers, especially around Black Friday when people are on the lookout for deals. A little tip from us: promotion codes that are specific to the social media platform and deal can be a good way to track where people are finding promotions. For example, if you have a 25% off deal and you are advertising it on Twitter you could tweet something like “Shop our store on Black Friday and use code 25Twitter for 25% off of your whole purchase!”

Be Specific in Your Ads

While it is important to make sure that you are advertising that your company is having a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale, one important thing that may set you apart is what is going to be on sale. Determine the most popular and exciting sale items and go to town advertising the upcoming sale. These ads should start at least two weeks before these holidays to build hype.

And don’t forget to get creative with these sales and ads. As we said previously, consumers will see a lot of ads, so having unique items and  unique advertisements can really set you apart. Again, research what other people in your industry are doing, and what you could do differently while staying true to your brand. Being unique is important but so is staying true to your brand and what you stand for.

Collect Metrics and Analyze

Hindsight is 20/20. Being able to see specifically what worked and what didn’t is critical to prepare for next year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales –

  • Where did most of your visitors come from? Email? Social media? What social media?
  • What sales worked and what didn’t?
  • What time did your store get the most traffic? GTM campaign url tracker is an awesome tool to check and track these metrics.

Use your data from Black Friday to edit your Cyber Monday sales (if you’re doing both). Be prepared to be flexible and change up your Cyber Monday plan accordingly.

Not sure how to answer all of these questions? Let us help by performing a web presence audit. Good luck on your Black Friday Ventures!