As two of the most important days for holiday shopping approach, procrastinating ecommerce marketers could be feeling the pressure to increase sales. Planning for Black Friday and Cyber Monday should have started months ago. But there is still hope for marketing dawdlers, thanks to five tips that could save your holiday marketing.
The National Retail Federation estimated that 2015 holiday retail sales could reach $630 billion in the United States. The average American shopper might spend as much as $600.
Although some shoppers have already made their initial holiday purchases, Christmas sales — which may account for 19 percent of total U.S. retail sales this year, excluding gas, groceries, and travel — will start in earnest on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.
Planning for Black Friday and Cyber Monday should have started months ago, but there is still hope for marketing dawdlers …
Online retailers that have waited to focus on marketing for these days may still have hope if they are willing to send email fearlessly, offer smart discounts, be active on social media sites, speak directly to top customers, and spend money on advertising.
1. Send Email Fearlessly
On Sept. 3, 2015, this publication advised merchants to “Plan Cyber Monday 2015 Email Now.” The article recommended to have offers prepared, build a list specifically for Cyber Monday, and plan segmented, targeted messages.
Now that there is no time left, the plan is to blast them.
According to published reports, nearly half of American shoppers will learn about Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals from email. Armed with a couple of freshly minted Black Friday and Cyber Monday discount offers (see tip 2., below), plan to start emailing immediately.
Back in 2013, A Better Lemonade Stand founder Richard Lazazzera suggested an email schedule that went something like this.
- Monday before Thanksgiving. Send an anticipation email, letting folks know that your Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale is coming. If you have time, have a landing page ready.
- Thanksgiving Day. Reveal your Black Friday or Cyber Monday offer and remind folks that the sale will start soon.
- Black Friday. Use strong calls to action to get sales immediately.
- Cyber Monday. Similar to your Black Friday ad, get sales right now.
- Tuesday after Cyber Monday. Send a sale extension offer, earning a few more hours or days of sales.
2. Offer Smart Discounts
The best Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers are planned. Do not make crazy offers. Instead, offer smart discounts. Find overstock items, things you would likely close out in January, and offer those closeout prices now.
Or make a general offer, like $10 off of any $50 purchase. If your shopper spent exactly $50, you’d be giving a 20 percent discount, but don’t be surprised if the average order value is as much as $80, making the discount percentage much less.
If you sell gift cards, another option is to offer a free gift card with purchase, such as a free $25 gift card with every $100 purchase.
And free shipping is mandatory.
3. Be Active on Social Media
If you’d planned ahead, you could spend Thanksgiving Day eating turkey, spending time with family and friends, or watching football. Instead, you need to be tweeting, pinning, and posting actively.
You have two goals for your last minute social media marketing.
First, without completely annoying your followers and social media friends, post about your offers. Use a schedule similar to the one described above for email.
Second, respond to customer posts. It is that simple.
4. Send a Message to Top Customers
The folks at Springbot, an ecommerce marketing platform, suggest that you “take a cue from individuals who send special holiday greetings to their friends and family and do the same for your customers.”
Using purchase history, select your top customers. This might be 10 folks for a very small business. A mid-sized ecommerce retailer might have 1,000 or 2,000.
For each of these customers, send a special shopping invitation with a special offer. Keep two things in mind.
First, the special offer really needs to be special. It should be better than the offer you are sharing with the masses via email and social media.
Second, personalize this message. Rather than just sending another email, consider sending a card or handwritten note via mail. If you start scribbling now, you’ll still have time.
… “take a cue from individuals who send special holiday greetings to their friends and family and do the same for your customers.”
5. Buy Ads, Especially on Facebook
If you can afford it, buy online ads. Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers are going to be looking for sales and offers. In many cases, they will search for those deals on search engines or on social media.
You want your Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads to show up when they search.