9 Black Friday Strategies (That Work Like a Charm)

The busiest shopping day of the year is rapidly approaching. According to Shopify, merchants on the platform earned more than $2.9 billion in revenue throughout last year’s shopping weekend.

In 2021, things are only going to get more hectic—but in a unique and unexpected way.

Many brick-and-mortar shops wisely moved Black Friday online during a worldwide epidemic. This year, more consumers will line up in virtual stores to avoid close contact that usually is unavoidable in a physical store holiday frenzy.

This means a significant increase in internet Black Friday traffic and, for any size e-commerce business, a lot of potential income.

I rounded up nine tried-and-true Black Friday marketing tactics for 2021 to help you get ready for the most unusual Black Friday ever.

Black Friday Marketing Ideas

1. Build Your Black Friday Email List

2. Schedule Your Popups

3. Play Around with the Timing

4. Make Your Sale Memorable

5. Use the Element of Surprise

6. Offer More Benefits

7. Make Your Subject Line Stand Out

8. Redefine Black Friday

9. Tease Your Next Campaign

1. Build Your Black Friday Email List

I’m certain you’re familiar with the power of email marketing in pushing Black Friday sales. However, to make your email marketing effective, you’ll need to attract subscribers who are interested in your upcoming offers.

How to do it: A few weeks before the big shopping day, create an email popup targeting new visitors who are interested in your Black Friday deals.

(Messaging: Sign up for our newsletter and get access to our Black Friday offers before anyone else.)

You can incentivize new signups even more by offering them an additional discount, free shipping, or a gift, depending on your budget

As Black Friday gets nearer, you can thank those subscribers with an extra discount or early access email.

Leverage the time before Black Friday with an email popup and collect leads you can send promotional emails to—before, during, and after Black Friday.

2. Schedule Your Popups

Newsflash! Popups are for more than collecting emails. Whether you want to guide visitors to your best Black Friday offers, reduce cart abandonment, or give information about your delivery times, you can create a popup for each purpose and schedule them in advance.

Shoppers have too many options and little patience on Black Friday. Make sure to convey your most important messages to the right people at the right time with multiple well-targeted popups.

3. Play Around with the Timing

On Black Friday, there are thousands of online stores competing for your attention. Unsurprisingly, customers can become numb after receiving the same kind of marketing messages over and over again.

This year, try changing your timing—slightly or dramatically—so your messages don’t get lost among a million other distractors.

How early or late should you be? That’s up to you.

i. Act Early

Small or big—everyone’s doing Black Friday.

Fortunately, there are innovative methods to capture the attention of prospective customers before they become weary of e-commerce behemoths’ Black Friday advertisements.

Act early – this way, they have a head start in your subscribers’ inboxes (and wallets.

Typically, Black Friday emails consist of a simple sale announcement and a scarcity-driven CTA. However, Wool and the Gang does something different in the remainder of this email:

They recommend items that are on sale, so you know where to start shopping. It’s a smart tactic that can help convert your subscribers who don’t know what to buy.

Kate Spade is another Black Friday early bird:

Mailed by the sender name “kate spade surprise,” the company announces its early Black Friday sale by triggering your impatience.

Most of us like surprises, especially if we’ll gain something from it. Knowing this, Kate Spade runs a surprise sale before Black Friday so that you don’t have to wait another day.

With the value-driven CTA button “Shop Gifts $100 and Under,” they aim to lure you to the site, where they can later cross-sell or upsell you with higher-priced items.

Knowing that Black Friday is a time when consumers are looking for a bargain, they focus on their more affordable products, instead of the bestsellers or limited editions.

ii. Act Late

Catching early birds is one Black Friday tactic to increase your holiday sales—and converting latecomers is another.

Since consumers associate the words “Black Friday” with unmissable offers, you can use them during the year to imply too-good-to-miss deals.

Claiming that they’re bringing Black Friday back implies that their customers will get enticing discounts. Even if the company’s offers don’t reach beyond 25%, they are still able to create a perception of Black Friday.

4. Make Your Sale Memorable

You may be able to get the lowest prices and have your items sent out the fastest, but you won’t be the first one making these claims.

The competition to win your prospects’ attention only grows more intense during Black Friday for every retailer.

Customers, too, may struggle with finding the right deal. They must navigate between numerous stores, compare products and make shopping lists in order to purchase their favorite goods before they miss out.

This is a great opportunity for you to stand out and make your site memorable on Black Friday.

See how Glossier does that in their Black Friday emails:

Sometime before Black Friday, they send their subscribers this email and help them to “be prepared.”

In addition to writing down the big sale’s beginning date and time, they give you the option to add the event to your calendar by clicking the “Add to Cal” button.

When you download the .ics file in the email and add the event to your calendar, this is what you see:

Glossier’s selfless-appearing email successfully keeps the company top of mind throughout a hectic shopping season while also increasing email conversions.

5. Use the Element of Surprise

While every other online store kills the element of surprise by adding their Black Friday discounts to their subject lines, there are a handful of successful e-tailers that know the magic of surprises.

Those are the companies that stand out in a crowded inbox on Black Friday and get their emails read.

Instead of telling you that you’ll receive X percent off, they tease their Black Friday offer by asking you to get excited because you’re getting a discount.

Although the straightforward approach with numbers typically performs well in email subject lines, avoiding them is a smart strategy if you want to be different on Black Friday. 

6. Offer More Benefits

You might be thinking that Black Friday is only about discounts…

You have a point in part. Consumers are looking for a significant discount during the Black Friday weekend, but that isn’t all they want.

From Black Friday through Cyber Monday, now is a good time to go above and beyond discounts in order to provide your consumers with additional perks like free delivery, returns, or bonuses.

Estee Lauder knows this well and offers its Black Friday customers additional benefits:

They combine Black Friday deals with their loyalty program and give 2x more points for purchases made on this day.

It’s a smart tactic to increase the number of your loyalty program members and Black Friday customers. (And it costs you zero dollars.)

You can also opt to incentivize Black Friday purchases with free gifts:

It’s a clever marketing technique to improve average order value without jeopardizing your profit margins on Black Friday.

7. Make Your Subject Line Stand Out

Black Friday is not a battle of discounting, it’s a battle of attention.

Your first goal should be getting noticed in your subscribers’ inboxes. And you know by now that crafting well-written email subject lines is the first condition to it.

While a typical Black Friday inbox looks like this…

…smart marketers play the game at a whole other level.

Check this email Chubbies sent last Black Friday:

Known for their humour, Chubbies sends an email that certainly stands out in your Black Friday inbox. (Also, notice the hilarious sender address “[email protected]”)

If you’re wondering how and why Chubbies canceled Black Friday, you have to open the email. 

8. Redefine Black Friday

Every year, most businesses do the same thing on Black Friday nowadays: discount their items, send out a promotional email, and wait for the results.

But there’s a reason why some retailers win Black Friday: They go above and beyond to redefine Black Friday.

As a part of the long shopping weekend, Chubbies owns Cyber Monday and turns it into a branded day that they call “Thighber Monday.”

Besides being fun and memorable, they offer customers gifts on this day. And they make sure to tease Thighber Monday at the bottom of their Black Friday emails.

Even if your brand voice isn’t as humorous as Chubbies’, you can still turn Black Friday into your own holiday.

If you want to undertake a more substantial transformation, consider moving away from the extreme discounting model as Everlane has:

Everlane’s Black Friday Fund redefines the greedy shopping mania as a day of charity.

The company’s email states that they contribute their Black Friday profits to a program to clean the seas. And because one purchase equals one less pound of plastic, they subtly entice you to shop on their site—all for a good cause.

9. Tease Your Next Campaign

If you want to make the most out of the holiday shopping season, try teasing your next big shopping day when Black Friday ends.

You can already start promoting Cyber Monday, Christmas, or a local holiday and hint that a compelling offer is around the corner.

Check out the email Man Crates sends after Black Friday:

When Black Friday is over, the company teases its Cyber Monday sale with a humorous tone.

Man Crates lets you know that they extended their Black Friday sale into Cyber Monday, which is the online shopping day of the year.

This way, the company converts the prospects that they couldn’t convince on Black Friday and increases their overall sales.

No matter what your next campaign is about, make sure to tease it after Black Friday, so you can convert the prospects who didn’t buy from you at this time.

Important note! Be careful when extending your sale, though. If you go overboard, you’ll lose credibility.

Stand Out This Black Friday!

Whether you’re searching for innovative Black Friday campaign ideas or new ways to enhance your Black Friday sales, I hope this article has given you some fast wins to implement in your business this year.

Make certain to utilize your Black Friday marketing to create urgency and scarcity, but don’t drive your prospects into a frenzy like many e-tailers do. (This year has already been difficult for us.)

The silly season is nearly upon us!

This year is going to be a big year for online retail, so having a solid marketing plan is more important than ever.

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