You know what sucks about Black Friday? Besides the whole being trampled by a mob thing...
Black Friday doesn’t last long enough.
If you sell anything, you know how much money comes in that day. And it’s not just your business raking in the money -- 1/5th of ALL retail sales come from Black Friday and December.
There’s money to be made. And Black Friday is your gold mine.
If you believe everything I just wrote, then close out of this article right now and start preparing for Black Friday.
Because if you keep reading, you won’t like what you see.
Turns out more and more people are starting to ignore Black Friday. Black Friday as we know it is slowly but surely dying out.
Why? Two big reasons:
Deals Aren’t Limited to Black Friday: Companies are creating their own days for big sales. Steam has two massive sales each year (and they aren’t on Black Friday), and other companies are following suit. Plus, daily sites like Slickdeals and apps like Honey give you the best deals throughout the year.
No One Likes Waiting in Line: Many stores offer great deals online (with the exception of those tantalizing doorbusters). Why would people wait outside mere hours after Thanksgiving when they can wake up at their leisure and shop online for basically the same deals?
So it’s time for us to shift our mindsets on Black Friday. The question isn’t what you can do on Black Friday to get more sales -- you’ll still get some pretty good sales if you discount your products.
It’s what you can do during Black Friday to set you up for more sales throughout the year.
That means you need to treat Black Friday as a springboard. Sales now are great, but if you take the right steps, you can consistently get sales the other 364 days of the year.
But you have to put in the work right now before Black Friday comes and goes. So let me show you 5 ways to make Black Friday work harder for you.
When it comes to ecommerce, you could do a lot worse than copying the killer tactics of Amazon:
Those are the top ecommerce retailers in the US, and the disparity in total sales is pretty glaring. Amazon has a $66 billion lead over the next closest retailer. They’re the LeBron James of selling stuff online.
One page to steal from their playbook? Prime Day.
If you’re not familiar, Prime Day is when thousands of products get significantly discounted and only Prime members (Amazon’s paid membership program) get access to those deals. It’s the most successful day of the year for the retail giant. And that’s saying something.
You know daddy needs that LOTR trilogy
Some might think this is just another Black Friday in disguise. Offer enough great deals and everyone will buy, right?
Wrong-o. The real magic comes from exclusivity.
Think about it. This is a group of people that get deals before anyone else. If you’re not in the Prime club, you miss out. And to the people that do see the deals, it creates a powerful feeling of “we get something others don’t."
That’s the prime motivator behind Prime Day. And you can create that same exclusivity, too -- be it monthly, quarterly or once a year.
You just have to be straight-up with the offer on Black Friday. It can look a bit like this:
The Confident template in List Builder. Make this popup for free.
It’s a straightforward offer, and it’s up to you how often you have this deal. But the main focus is creating a community of people interested in your products. Then, each month/quarter/time you’ve got a “Black Friday” deal, you email that group of people and let them know about it.
That consistent loop of exclusivity and value keep people buying no matter what time of year.
Remember the first time you visited a site and saw a banner ad for a product you almost bought on a previous site?
You Internet wizards HOW DID YOU KNOW I WANTED THESE?!
You might have bought something from these ads because, seemingly by magic, they’d appear at the most opportune moment. I know I’ve booked a flight this way ($100 round trip to Milwaukee, anyone?).
It’s an effective method still used today -- so effective it made its way to email marketing. With advanced tagging methods, email marketers can send automated emails whenever a person visits a particular section of a site.
But good lord, you’ve got to be a pro or have a lot of time to set that up. And you already need that visitor’s email address to make it happen.
So here’s a way to get the same results AND capture an email address without having to set up any tags or be an email pro.
First, write down your biggest categories on your site. If you’re a bigger site, you might have overarching categories like “shoes” or “books.” If you’re a smaller site, you may have more focused pages for the few products you offer.
Next, think of an offer for each of these categories. You could do a content upgrade for each category (i.e. a free recipe book for people looking at your protein powders), or offer a small deal like an extra 10% off or free shipping when someone signs up:
The Imagine template in List Builder. Make this popup for free.
Here’s where the real magic happens. What you’ll do is set these popups to appear on pages within that specific category. If you had a running shoes category, it’d look like this:
Here’s why that display rule is so important. When you create these pop-ups, you’ll create lists for each category in your email service provider:
If you don’t know how to set up an automated email, read this guide.
When a visitor opts-in on a page, they’ll be sorted into those lists. Know what that means?
You know their exact interests and can hit them with highly relevant sales messages in the future.
It’s all the benefits of highly professional tagging and categorization for 1/10th the time and expertise. From now until next Black Friday you can talk to your subscribers about what interests them. The more interested they are, the more likely they are to buy.
(Check out this guide on display rules to see more rules for targeting your visitors.)
Black Friday is full of discounts already -- they’re basically expected. No one is going to bat an eye if you offer 50% off an item.
But if you promise a big discount every month? Hellooo, repeat customers.
It’s not hard to do, either. It just takes a Scroll Box on the side of your page with a message like this:
The Headline template in List Builder. Make this popup for free.
This is much more straightforward than a promise of “Sign up and get exclusive offers and discounts.” If you have an actual intent to give a discount in the future, make it blatantly obvious in your pop-up.
You are more than the products you offer.
Man, that really sounded Fight Club-ish, didn’t it. Here’s what I mean by that.
It’s easy to offer your products to someone. It’s hard to get them to buy. You can pour all the money you want into advertising, pretty product photos and a slick website. But if you’re relying on those peripherals to influence a decision, then you’re kind of screwed.
So instead, be more than the products you offer and tell a story.
You started your company with a purpose. Share that purpose with your visitors with a story. Your story can be shared anywhere -- YouTube videos, Instagram posts, Facebook Live, etc.
But those are a bit after the fact. Someone has to be a fan of your product before they see those consistently. Instead, think about giving away a great content upgrade to your visitors.
The content upgrade will tell your story and provide the visitor value even if they don’t buy your products. A few examples:
You’re selling fitness gear. Put together a video of fitness routines (with the people using your gear).
You’re selling clothes. Create a seasonal style guide (with your clothes in every shot).
You’re selling coaching or a program. Make a tool (based on/that ties into your program).
You’re selling alcohol. Contact me (I’ll buy it, no need for a content upgrade).
Naturally, you give these away on your site in exchange for emails. It looks like this:
Once that visitor opts-in, you can email them and send them to other channels for your story like social media and blog posts. The more you tell your story, the more invested your subscribers become.
At that point, you’re not asking a stranger to buy. You’re asking someone who is engaged with your brand. Those are the people more likely to buy your products throughout the year.
We really underestimate the power of a thank you. The best example of this comes from business badass Gary Vaynerchuck.
When he ran Wine Library, he had a high-profile customer buy $4,000 worth of wine. For most retail owners, the story stops there. Great purchase and definitely bumps revenue up.
But that’s not where this story stops. Gary searched Twitter and found out the customer was a big Bears fan. So, to thank him for a big order, he sent that guy a jersey -- total cost of $120 with shipping.
The response? The customer said he’d only buy from Wine Library going forward. He’d spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years at his local wine store….and they didn’t even know his first name.
Not only did Gary land a loyal, high-profile customer, but four other sales came from that jersey story totalling over $70,000.
Here’s the moral of that story. A simple thank you gesture that cost $120 ended up bringing back an insane return on investment.
Could you find a simple way to thank people?
I bet you can. Let me show you four ways to thank people this Black Friday:
I’m not talking about those nice, styled ones you usually send to customers. I’m talking the plain-text ones you send back and forth to individuals every day.
All you have to do is reach out and send a quick email to everyone that buys your product(s). Here’s any easy script to follow:
“Hey [Customer Name],
[Your Name] from [Your Company]. Just wanted to thank you for buying [Product]. We spent a lot of time [Something about how it will help them], so I know you’ll enjoy it.
And honestly, let me know what you think of it. It might seem weird for a [Your Title] to ask that, but I really do care about feedback (and I read every email).
Anyways, enjoy [Product],
If you want to include more of your own tone or anything in there, do it. But this is a good starting point
If you’re a smaller company, you can absolutely take the time to send these out after Black Friday. If you’re a bigger company, hire a virtual assistant to fill in these blanks and send them on your behalf.
In the end, it’s the thought that matters. And a personal email will show you care about your customer.
But, then again, how many emails do you have in your inbox right now? When was the last time you hit “Inbox 0?” Was it during the Hoover administration?
Now, think about the mail sitting in your physical mailbox. What’s in there? Probably a few bills, a credit card offer and some flyer with coupons to a pizza joint (probably Dominos).
What if you had a personalized thank you card waiting for you?
Don’t lie. That’d make your day. As a company, you can send a card out after a customer gets their purchase. They don’t have to be long, either. It can be as simple as:
Just wanted to say thanks for buying [the specific product]. Thanks for supporting us. [Something witty that’s unique to your company].
And look. If you don’t have the time or have terrible doctor-esque handwriting, you can use card writing services to write them on your behalf.
Have you seen how people go absolutely bonkers over free t-shirts?
Here’s Paul McCartney (he of so much money) trying not to look heartbroken when he didn’t get a free t-shirt at a sporting event:
It’s the little things like that (free shirts, stickers, etc) that feel like a nice bonus in life. So this Black Friday, include a little bonus in your orders that act as a thank you.
We randomly send out a Sumo sticker and shirt to our customers. Sujan Patel gives away t-shirts on the regular (and made 500k doing so). It’s a win-win, because the customer gets something they didn’t expect and you get another way to get some product exposure.
No matter which one of these options you choose, make sure you say thanks this Black Friday. Remember -- that simple thank you could turn into a lifelong customer.
Here’s the thing. I’ve given you the tools and strategies to win on and after Black Friday.
But you’ll need a bigger plan to crush your competition the other 364 days of the year.
That’s why you’ll need this Black Friday Marketing Toolkit we put together. Inside, you’ll find some of the most valuable tools we’ve used at Sumo to get hundreds of thousands of visitors a month.
In this toolkit, we’ll give you:
This is the largest bundle of resources we’ve ever given away at a time on this blog. Click here to grab the bundle and FOR FREE and take your business to the next level.