Black Friday & Cyber Monday Guide: Holiday Business Tips

    October 12 2020  |  Best Practices , Marketing

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    The two biggest shopping days of the year for online retailers are fast approaching: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Yet like with everything that’s taken place in 2020, the shopping holidays will look and feel different than ever before.

    According to a recent study by Visa, only 20% of Americans plan to experience holiday shopping in the traditional sense by shopping in stores. The rest of us will explore online retailers and lean on digital creatives for our shopping needs. This places a large emphasis on small business owners and the way they’re interacting and communicating with their customers. 

    Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020 may very well chart the course for our shopping habits in the years to come. Will we finally fully immerse ourselves in e-commerce and digital retailers? Will this holiday season mark the transition when online retailers completely overtake the in-store shopping experience? Only time will tell. 

    For digital brands, online retailers, and creatives, Black Friday and Cyber Monday tends to inform and shape financial wellness in the upcoming year. And with so much on the line for the growth and visibility of your business, you can’t afford to not plan and plan well. 

    In our Black Friday/Cyber Monday guide, we’ll dive into all the preparation you should take in the month leading up to Black Friday (November 27th) and Cyber Monday (November 30th). We’ll also offer some helpful tips for you to promote your Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals!

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    Black Friday Cyber Monday Countdown

    One Month Away

    Buildout Your E-Commerce: With the large majority of Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping going digital, it’s critical to make sure that your e-commerce is optimized to handle increased web traffic, highlight all available products and services, clearly and concisely promote sales and discounts, and most of all, provides a seamless user experience for the shopper. You also want to make sure your e-shop is optimized for mobile viewing, shopping, and offers a seamless checkout process. It’s projected that mobile e-commerce retailers will do more than $71 billion in sales this season.

    Related: How sellit converts browsers into buyers with one click.

    Confirm Product Inventory: Ensuring you have the proper inventory to support increased shopping needs is of central importance. Start by analyzing last year’s sales and be sure to stock up on popular items, promotional deals, and seasonal goods. You’ll also want to write out product names, descriptions, SKU numbers, update retail and sale pricing, and have an accurate inventory count of each item. 

    Optimize Webpages: Site load time is critical when it comes to keeping shoppers on your website. So to effectively convert browsers into buyers, your webpages should load in approximately 3 seconds. There are several free tools to help you achieve this optimal site speed including Google PageSpeed Insights, GTMetrix, and Site 24*7. Use any of these tools to test your page speed and follow their recommendations to improve that speed before a traffic spike during the holidays.

    Evaluate & Update Logistics: Make sure your shipping logistics strategy is ready for increased volume during the holiday season. Make sure you have boxes, postage, and all other necessary items to fill orders quickly and efficiently. Free two-day shipping has become commonplace with the likes of Amazon Prime and others. So while it may be tough, do the best you can to offer free shipping. If it comes down to you and a competitor, during the holidays, perks matter - free shipping ranks high on that list.

    Three Weeks Away 

    Influencer Partnerships: With more than 500K active influencers on Instagram, partnering with an influencer during the holidays will undoubtedly amplify your reach. As an SMB, think about micro-influencers–10k followers or less–that will align with your brand. After you’ve budgeted for this partnership, create a shortlist of potential partners, and begin outreach. Once you have confirmed your partner, start breaking out a campaign – focus on visual content, make use of every platform's buying features, use the partnership to promote sales announcements, and finally, make sure there’s an end goal in mind for your influencer campaign.

    Increase Advertising Budget: No one is truly getting by on just organic outreach anymore. Ads spends are extremely important to get your brand in front of unique consumers in a crowded marketplace. Nearly 30% of all internet users say they discover new brands or products through social media ads. Which is why this year is the prime time to up your ad spending with the influx of online shoppers due to the global pandemic. Spread your ad money across social media to get more bang for your buck. Think first about reach and second about relevance. Balance your ability to get your ads in front of as many people as possible, then consider the level of engagement you can create based on that reach. Increased ad spends are an investment. Sure, your Cost Per Click (CPC) will be higher, but potentially, so will your return on investment.

    Promote Sales & Deals: Arguably the most important aspect of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is promotion. To manage any level of success, planning your promotion requires in-depth analysis and even better execution. Here are a few promotion tips to explore during the holidays:

    • Create a Gift Guide - curate a collection in your link in bio with sellit
    • Offer a Free Gift with Purchase - Bundle a purchase with a free gift to intense your customers to shop
    • Offer Exclusives - Give loyal customers early access to popular products or offer discounts to those who’ve shopped with you before
    • Segment Your Email Marketing - Offer special VIP discounts to existing customers and send daily updates throughout the Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday cycle to potential customers
    • Provide an Early Look - Give shoppers a peek behind the curtain by previewing products that will release on Black Friday/Cyber Monday
    • Post Carousels - Engage your followers and potential customers with Grid posts that showcase upcoming products for sale and make use of tags and hashtags
    • Use Stories & Go Live - Leverage Instagram Stories and IG Live to showcase items that will be for sale during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Provide giveaways and offer viewers exclusive deals 
    • Mystery Deals - Create mystery bundle packs at a set cost to add a little excitement and intrigue into your customers' buyer experience
    • Extend Sales - Make sure you extend your Black Friday sales to Cyber Monday. And if you have the inventory, stretch out those Cyber Monday deals a few extra days too.
    • Optimize Checkout - Allow customers to checkout without registration, remove unnecessary fields, offer several payment options, and make everything mobile-friendly

    Two Weeks Away

    Create Brand Assets: Great visual content is how you win Black Friday/Cyber Monday. It’s the engagement clincher that will captivate consumers and drive them to your products and services. Boosting your sales with great graphics, sales banners, and thoughtfully designed ads should be in the preparation stage with a few weeks to spare. You’ll want time to iterate, make changes, and of course, begin marketing well before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Our StoriesEdit design app offers great free templates to create brand assets for your grid and Instagram Stories that will quickly and effectively enhance your social media marketing.

    Write Campaign Copy: Great editorial content for your holiday blogs, brand assets, ads, and product descriptions is the perfect one-two punch to your brand assets. Start writing engaging brand copy for all your holiday-related campaigns. Keep your brand voice in mind while tapping into the spirit of the holidays. If necessary, outsource this work to a good freelancer or contractor if you’re overwhelmed.

    Related: The ultimate guide to writing better captions.

    Email Marketing Prep: Email marketing is one of the best ways to keep your existing and potential customers informed. Emails and newsletters are HUGE during promotional periods. Make sure they’re packed with all pertinent information related to your promotion, offer links to buy pages, highlight coupon codes, and provide details on sales dates & times. Be sure to segment these emails so that VIP customers receive special deals or early access to products, and potential customers are offered inciting deals that will make them become loyal customers after the shopping holidays.

    Setup Analytics Tracker: One of the things you’ll need to do to gauge your success and help plan for next year, is activating an analytics tracker. Be sure to set up a great tracking tool like Google Analytics before your holiday campaign kicks off. Google Analytics will keep you track of how your web traffic influences sales and which aspects of your campaign performed the best. Additionally, if you’re a paid PLANOLY user, your analytics tool is already built into your plan and is viewable at any time. This will give you insight into the impact of your social media strategy and how your engagement levels increased, where they've increased, and where/how you can be more impactful in future campaigns.

    One Week Away

    Activate Loyalty Program: One week removed from Black Friday is when you want to activate your loyalty program. Start offering early access to pre-orders or sales to your VIP customers. Make sure they feel loyalty to you and your brand. Create digital coupon codes or open up sales pages early and let preferred customers shop before anyone else. This is how you continue to build trust within your community and strengthen your brand appreciation.

    Create Contingencies: No matter how great you plan for these shopping holidays, you have to expect some things to go wrong. That’s just what happens when you’re running a business. Start forecasting what might go wrong. What if you run out of inventory on a certain product, or if one of your coupon codes is defective, or your website starts experiencing issues. Think about how soon you can get more stock from your supplier, or how you can deal with web issues, and ways to troubleshoot server issues. Think about what could happen and create contingency plans just in case you run into any unexpected issues.

    Schedule Your Content: With just a week ahead of your busiest season of the year – start scheduling your content! Get out in front of the work you won’t have time to do when November 27th hits. Our entire mission with PLANOLY is to simplify social marketing for small businesses and creatives by providing a tool that helps them get ahead and gives time back for a change. And there won’t be another time over the next year where you’ll need every free second you can get. Take advantage of our scheduling tool and auto-post feature so that you can focus on fulfilling orders, managing customers, and bookkeeping. Simply add all your holiday campaign content to your PLANOLY mobile app or web dashboard, schedule a date and time to post, and that’s it – it’s that simple.

    So there you have it! A month-long guide to prep your business for Black Friday and Cyber Monday like a pro! Thoughtful strategic planning ahead of major holidays is a sure-fire way to net the results that will grow your brand and expand your customer base. 

     

    During this extremely busy time of the year, make certain you’re leveraging all the tools at your disposal – including ours! Be sure to schedule all your Black Friday/Cyber Monday content with PLANOLY and upgrade your link in bio by creating your digital storefront with sellit today!