Preparing your business for Black Friday
It’s that time of year when the nights roll in and the trees shed their leaves. Your customers are sitting in woolly socks around the flickering fire, debating whether the start of November is too early to put the Christmas tree up. But as their minds start looking toward the yuletide holidays, one event stands in their way like a kissing gate on their winter walk.
Black Friday, the sales event of the year.
But is your business ready to take full advantage? Here we look at some of the ways in which your business can prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and drive revenue and traffic to your store.
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is the colloquial term given to the Friday following the American Thanksgiving celebration, where stores offer large discounts, originally intended to move unwanted stock before Christmas. It is now seen as the beginning of the critical Christmas shopping season. Originally very much an unofficial American holiday, Black Friday has seen a recent surge in popularity within the UK, drawing it in line, and in some places overtaking Boxing day as the biggest shopping day of the year. In 2014, Black Friday even helped John Lewis to its highest ever weekly sales.
What does Black Friday mean for your business?
It’s suggested that the total spend over the Black Friday weekend will top £4 billion, with the average consumer spending £275. But it’s important not to think of yourself as competing with the big brands, but instead to look at what you can offer the consumer that they can’t. One survey revealed that whilst 27% of consumers thought that discounts were appealing, they would in fact be more interested in unique products, loyalty and referral bonuses, free shipping or extended returns. Shoppers want to feel involved in the shopping process, to be seen as an individual and not just faceless entities. This helps to establish a lasting relationship with your consumers that generate and maintain business.
61% of marketers believe that SEO is the key to success, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the only method available to you and your business. Below we have collated what we believe to be the most effective marketing strategies for directing people to your business, and how to convert those clicks into revenue.
What can your business use to make it easier for consumers to find you?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
68% of all online activities start with a search engine. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the main marketing channels in use today. SEO is important for small businesses as it allows customers to reach you first. Indeed, 72% of users who did a Google search visited a store within 8km of their location.
But what is SEO? SEO means taking online content and optimizing it so that search engines – Google, Bing, Ecosia – show it towards the top of the page when searching for something. The importance of this cannot be underestimated. Research suggests that less than 4% of people view page two of Google. So if you’re not on the first page, you’re nowhere.
Whilst there are few sure-fire techniques for reaching the top of Google, there are ways that will make it easier. First, are your search terms relevant? Have you created an organic search in which the main words are a part of the average question? It’s important here to know what consumers are looking for. These can be called moments, and are generally Go/Buy/Do/Know. Where to buy shoes?; where to go for dinner?; what is there to know about K-pop?; how do you tie a knot?. Implementing these terms into your search results will clearly help you reach more people. However, this is changing, albeit slowly. In America, Google is trialling continuous scrolling. This has removed the need for page two, as the page stays continuous. However, you still want to aim to be high up the list, because, as the saying goes, first come first served.
Video Marketing is fast becoming an integral form of business marketing. Not only do studies show that 54% of consumers want to see more video content from businesses they support, but also businesses that use video grow their revenue 49% faster than those who don’t. This alone should persuade you that creating a dynamic presence using video is a must-have.
But what do consumers want to see and what makes a good video? Reviews of products and testimonials are always a great place to start. By using testimonials from existing consumers, you are creating a trusting dynamic between you and possible future consumers. People want to be able to trust those people they shop with, so creating vlogs (video blogs) that depitct who you are as a business will help create that personal relationship between you and the consumer. You can also include how you source your stock, the people you supply and the suppliers you use and in turn show that you’re a sustainable and ecological business. Consumers are much more eco-conscious in recent times, and by showing that you have the same ideals as them, you are one step closer to getting their business.
It is difficult to know the optimal video length. For example, it is generally believed that for beauty videos the average length is five mins whilst the average length of the top ten videos on Youtube is three minutes. The key is to make sure that what comes across is relevant, concise, and honest.
Social Media can go hand in hand with video marketing. Instagram Stories are a great way to showcase your business and products, Facebook ads will target a different demographic to Tiktok, and using Twitter to engage with consumers and the public is a must. As a business owner, before starting a Social Media marketing blitz, ask yourself four questions.
- Why am I using this channel?
- Who will I engage with on this platform?
- What posts are best suited to this channel?
- What makes my posts unique?
Once you’ve answered these questions then you’re able to begin creating a strategy. The top three Social Media channels are Facebook, Youtube and Instagram, but each one will require a different approach and will reach a different audience. Young people are leaving Facebook in droves, whilst Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation are daily users. Instagram is popular with Gen Z and Millennials but attracts very little traffic from the older generations.
Regardless of who uses what, more pertinent is what they use their channel of choice for. 54% of social browsers use social media to review products and learn about a brand. Having a strong social media presence is clearly integral to the success of your business. And let us not forget, 71% of people who have a positive engagement with a brand on social media are likely to recommend it to their friends and family. Social Media is not just a marketing tool, it’s a way of showing your business in the best light, creating lasting relationships, and letting your personal side take centre stage.
Each of the above strategies can be placed under the content marketing umbrella. Everything your business puts out in the world is content. But how that content is received can dramatically change how your business is viewed. The most important thing is to ensure your content’s tone reflects the business. Light-hearted or formal? Conversational or serious? Colloquial or technical? Let the tone of your content show the consumer who you are as a business. It’s your chance to show off, to dazzle and impress and draw people into your world.
It is also a good idea to create a calendar in order to constantly upload new content, whether it be vlogs, blogs, Social Media interviews and reviews or even behind-the-scenes photos. By constantly uploading content, you’re always in the public domain, keeping your name in the conversation and in your customer’s minds.
Life doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and the same is true for your business. Using any of the above strategies will help your business grow, but combining them all will create an even stronger presence and can only pay dividends for you and your business.
Whilst there are no guarantees in life, if you follow these trends and keep your business moving forward, then hopefully you’ll be able to grab yourself a big piece of the Black Friday bonanza, whilst showing your customers that you’re the right business to put their faith in.