Online Marketing for Black Friday – The Ultimate Guide

Black-Friday

Since 2005, Black Friday has been the largest retail shopping day of the year in the United States. The term was coined in the early 1960s in Philadelphia to describe the large crowds and traffic that happened to be out the day after Thanksgiving—putting most stores’ finances “in the black.” However, it has since matured to be America’s retail Super Bowl Friday.

Traditionally, Black Friday shoppers line up at the stores all across town, waiting anxiously for the doors to open. These are the people who camp out, sometimes days in advance, to have a chance at the year’s ultimate discounts.

In recent years, a new trend has taken off on Black Friday, and online retail revenue growth is growing at an incredible rate year after year. In 2011 Black Friday saw $816 million in online sales. In 2012, the growth was significant: $1.047 billion was raked in on Black Friday. This meant that online sales grew 32%, while in-store retail sales only saw a 2% increase. If we look back even further, back to 2010, the Black Friday online revenue was just $648 million, which means that online sales have nearly doubled in the last two years.

Convenience is certainly one of the reasons online shopping is increasing so rapidly. On top of that, many consumers would love to get a chance at some of those deals, but they don’t want to deal with the long lines and commuting around town. Big businesses are answering this demand online and are profiting big time, but small businesses can also capitalize on this retail Super Bowl if they strategize on some insights into Black Friday marketing.

Black-Friday (1)

The Unique Online Strategy for Black Friday

Marketing for the Thanksgiving weekend is very unique because you’re focusing so much on one specific weekend. It is all about focusing on this short timeframe, so you must act quickly to funnel momentum and create excitement. On top of that, timing will play an even more critical role.

Continuing with the Super Bowl metaphor, this would be the aggressive blitzing strategy that’s necessary as we go into the 4th quarter. Creativity and ingenuity play an even more important role as push with everything you’ve got. Traditional marketing still has an effect, but digital online marketing has the speed and adaptability to push across the line more effectively at the end of the day.

Marketing the Deal

With Christmas around the corner, consumers are discount hungry. The first principle to understand about Black Friday online marketing is cost leadership. Cost leadership is a strategy in which the business offers the product for the most affordable price. Around the holidays, cost leadership becomes extremely important because the average consumer is looking for a way to buy many gifts to buy for loved ones while still paying all the bills. The average consumer is looking for any opportunity to save some money. Even if they don’t mind paying a heavier price most of the year, they tend to fall into the discount-hungry mindset when Black Friday comes around.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult for small businesses to compete with the national chains in this area. Most small startups simply don’t have the buying power to have much leeway with their pricing structure. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on this strategy, though. You simply have to focus your marketing efforts on those products or services that you can discount and become the cost leader.

Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

What trends more Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

According to Google trends, Black Friday is the way to go if you’re a marketer! Cyber Monday was more designed for technology sales. This will give you an idea if you think it’s better to market for Black Friday or for Cyber Monday. Go Big!

Web Deal Ecommerce Page Development

With web deal marketing, there’s no need to go in and change all of the shopping cart pages for your big weekends deals. To save time and money a good option to consider would be to make specific deal landing pages just for the thanksgiving weekend. Companies do this all of the time with their special discounted marketing campaigns. Once the weekend is over, you can go in and kill the pages. Every CMS is different so there’s no one size fits all websites in this world.  Websites that only have specific deal landing pages can also face a great deal of traffic leaving without buying, if they can’t find your deal. Consider all of your options with your CMS and execute the best strategy that will bring you the highest return on investment. You can also hire an agency to make all of your website changes if you don’t have time.

Deal and Coupon Websites

Online consumers can jump from business to business in seconds, and deal websites or search engines like Google Shopping giving consumers the ability to compare deals side by side. In other words, consumers can quickly and easily find and zero in on the best deals online.

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Now that you’ve discounted some products to become a cost leader, you need to make sure that as many people as possible see your special offers for Black Friday.

Pushing seasonal deals out onto deal-focused – and more especially Black-Friday-focused websites – will also drive traffic and sales. These sites rank very high for valuable Black Friday related keywords. If you can’t beat them in the search rankings, join them!

A list of Black Friday deal websites to consider:

Other deal and coupon websites to consider:

Deal of the Day Websites

There are also traditional newspapers across the country that have large audiences for the deal of the day. If you’re going to offer a product with a huge discount, it might be worth it to have a newspaper help spread the word.

Search Engine Marketing for Black Friday

Organic Search

A lot of keywords receive an extremely high volume of search queries in very specific months, which then drops off for the rest of the year. For example, the word ‘Superbowl’ gets around 3 million searches every February, but come June it might only receive 9 thousand searches. ‘NBA Finals’ receives 2.7 million searches in June, but in February it struggles to get 7 thousand searches.

Just like those other seasonal events, Black Friday terms turn it up in search volume throughout November, but won’t mean much the rest of the year.

Consider this keyword research breakdown for November:

Keyword    November       Dec-Oct (average)
Black Friday 5 Million 30,000
Black Friday Sales 873,000 460
Black Friday Deals 2.2 million 1,000
Black Friday Ads 1.8 Million 6,000
Black Friday Specials 110,000 200
Black Friday Coupons 40,500 170
Black Friday Online 90,500 70

 

Branded Retail Store Keyword Research

Keyword                      November     Dec-Oct (average)
Bestbuy Black Friday    246,000           210
Shopko Black Friday     12,000             50
Walmart Black Friday    2.7 million         3,000
Kohls Black Friday        246,000           170
Amazon Black Friday    165,000           350
Target Black Friday       1.3 million         1,500
Apple Black Friday       160,000             320

 

Online Black Friday Keywords

Keyword   November       Dec-Oct (average)
Black Friday Online 110,000 100
Black Friday Online Deals 105,000 95
Online Black Friday Deals 74,000 70
Black Friday Online Sales 49,500 40
Online Black Friday 33,100 40
Black Friday Online Shopping 8,100 40
Black Friday Online Specials 2,400 20

 

What we don’t see here are all of the hundreds of thousands of long tail searches based around Black Friday that will drive significant amounts of traffic to small websites. You may not rank for ‘Black Friday,’ but you could attract a lot of new visitors that are looking for something more specific. All you have to do is provide the relevant content.

As a small business, one of the most effective strategies for organic search this November is to publish really impressive and sharable content, relevant to Black Friday. Keep conversion optimization in mind as you develop this content so your customers know exactly how good your deal is, and, more importantly, how they can get it.

PPC/Adwords

When there isn’t enough time to climb the natural search engine rankings, paid listings may be the way to go. A lot of the big companies out there will be targeting those branded and general terms – and probably paying a lot for every single click – but there are still plenty of opportunities for the small business to get noticed.

The cost per click for most Black Friday keywords will likely in the $15 range, which is probably out of reach for many smaller companies, but you can tailor your efforts to fit a different niche. You could, for example, target local-based words, long-tail words, and product-discount words related to the holiday keywords this November.

Local Based Keyword Examples:

  • Draper UT Black Friday
  • Black Friday Deals Utah
  • Anaheim Black Friday Discounts
  • Las Vegas Online Black Friday Deals

Product Based Keyword Examples:

  • Discounted Blenders on sale in Florida
  • Computers Black Friday discounted
  • Baseball gloves Black Friday Discount

When targeting the long tail, you can bid on more than a hundred keywords to make it a really valuable strategy. Maybe even a thousand, depending on how ambitious you feel. This may seem like too much at first, but if you set a maximum spend limit, and make sure Google/Bing don’t go above it, you won’t have to spend too much. You’ll have a greater chance of being noticed for different search terms, and your set budget will keep you from going broke in the process.

A Pay-Per-Click campaign can be a little complicated, and if you really want to maximize your returns, you might consider hiring a PPC marketing company. If you set your limits pretty low, you won’t have to worry about losing too much money, but if you don’t set it high enough you may be missing some great opportunities. A pro can help you determine what will have the most impact this holiday season.

Digital Advertising for the Holidays

The internet has really paved the way for small businesses to be more successful. Now a small retail shop can sell a product nationwide through their website and make a larger profit on Black Friday. Digital ad space has created a real opportunity for small businesses, and it can be an effective tool for this holiday season. Not all digital ads are expensive, and there’s a variety of digital ad networks that can help you spread your wonderful Black Friday Discounts to newer and larger audiences.

Here’s a list of most of the major ad networks:

  • Google Display Ads
  • AdBlade
  • AD.com
  • Chitika
  • Clicksor
  • Vibrant Media
  • Tribal Fusion
  • PulsePoint
  • Kontera
  • Media.net

Key points to digital advertising around the holidays:

  • Be sure to advertise the percentage off (40% off compared to $40 off)
  • Advertise on relevant sites, but not those owned by competitors
  • Blitz! Time is running out!
  • Run the ads the whole month of November. If you start Thanksgiving Day it’s too late, and you missed out on highest possible profits.
  • Keep them going through Cyber Monday. It’s just as big as Black Friday.

Social Media Marketing for the Holidays

Your small business should’ve been building an audience on at least one or two of the major social networks throughout the year. Now is the time to reward your audience with the best possible deals. They’ve been following you for a while, so offer them a special discount through a landing page that’s not open to the general public. Good marketing consists of sustaining high valuable relationships, and this is a great way to show your love as a business this holiday season.

Another great strategy this holiday season is to share some of that amazing content you build that complements your search engine marketing efforts. This time of the year we see all sorts of statistics, information on products and prices, problems and answers, and your small business can reach out and offer value in this ocean of information by developing and publishing really impressive and useful content through your businesses social channels.

Hashtag Marketing/Trends for November

Don’t forget to hashtag your content when it’s published. Hashtag marketing is not a fad. In fact Target bought the ad rights to #blackfriday on Twitter for a reason. Your social impressions can really skyrocket if you hashtag the right words at the right time.

Why? Because just as there will be millions of searches this month for these major November keywords, there will always be searches performed on all of the social networks that offer hashtag searches (Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, Twitter, and Pinterest). This is a way to catch the attention of people who aren’t already following you and are just interested in a specific product or deal this year.

Here are some ideas for your hashtag marketing efforts:

  • Post pictures in your social media posts.
  • Post your best and most impressive deals.
  • Pay attention to what the big retailers are hashtagging. They spent money researching the most effective hashtags at the most effective times, so it can’t hurt to follow the trend.
  • Be different.
  • Timing is everything. Between 6am and 8am on Black Friday the tweets will be blasting off.
  • Don’t be annoying, be effective. The 50+ hashtag post is not attractive and spam will not endear you to anyone.

graph

  • #BlackFriday
  • #BlackFridayAds
  • #BlackFridayDeals
  • #Doorbusters
  • #Macys
  • #Amazon
  • #Walmart
  • #Deals
  • #Discounts
  • #BestBuy
  • #Target
  • #Overstock

In Conclusion

Small businesses have a great potential to thrive on Black Friday through the marketing channels available on the internet. The ecommerce revenues can be higher for every business that uses an effective online marketing strategy. If you’re a small business and you’re looking to take revenues to a new level this holiday season remember to have fun and be very creative and different with your strategy. You’ve been preparing all year for this retail Super Bowl, so use all your resources and play hard until the game is over for another year.

Questions Answered in this Article

  • How do you market a business for Black Friday?
  • What hashtags trend on Black Friday?
  • What were the Black Friday online revenues for businesses in 2012?
  • What companies get searched for the most on Black Friday?
  • Are digital ads still effective for marketing?
  • Should businesses use deal/coupon based websites to market discounts?


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5 Comments

  1. Nicole Bullock says

    Jon – A very solid marketing guide for Black Friday. You touched on all of the points that are important – keywords, social media, and a great list of websites. Sharing this all over :)

  2. says

    I love this time of year for web marketing. I’ve had great success the last 2 Black Fridays as well as Cyber Monday. It’s a great time if you have an ecommerce website.

    • Jonathan Goudy says

      Nate, it really is a great time in the year, not only are the leaves falling but it’s putting your marketing skills to the test.

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