black friday ecommerce

15 Black Friday strategies for small businesses that skyrocket sales

11 MINS
Web.com Team

While brick-and-mortar retailers can still expect their stores to be buzzing with eager holiday shoppers on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the real money to be made on Black Friday season is online. Despite the fear of recession, Black Friday sales in 2022 were up 2.3% compared to the previous year.

SMBs that don’t take the proper steps to ensure that they’re ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the days in between, do so at their own peril as there is a lot of money to be made.

From utilizing flash sales to early access deals to email marketing, this article offers Black Friday marketing strategies that work to your small business’s advantage.

Black Friday and what it means for your eCommerce biz

Though the term “Black Friday” hasn’t become prevalent until recent years, the tradition of using the day after Thanksgiving to get an early jump on holiday shopping has been in place for decades. It seems to be linked to Santa Claus making appearances at Thanksgiving Day parades that were sponsored by popular department stores — Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City being the most well-known. 

The term “Black Friday” started to appear in the 1960s and 70s in reference to the number of people who called in sick the day after Thanksgiving and, later, to describe the traffic problems that occurred as a result of so many people hitting the stores to get an early jump on their shopping. 

Eventually, it became a term of endearment to describe what had become the busiest shopping day of the year — one that saw stores offering enticing deals and opening their doors early to accommodate the throngs of shoppers who often lined up outside.

In the age of eCommerce, Black Friday went digital and so did the opportunities for online retailers and small businesses to sell their products on their site. Today, the phenomenon has grown to the point where these businesses must think about their Black Friday strategy all year long.

Below, we have compiled a list of Black Friday marketing ideas that all small businesses should consider if they’re hoping to get in on the action.

15 Black Friday marketing ideas that boost sales

1. Start the holiday shopping season early

Let’s face it: Black Friday is no longer just a Friday. It starts well before that — think of it as Black November. Businesses need to highlight their new items or services on their websites with an online product catalog starting as early as October.

Your site should feature products that are more popular around the holidays at the top of your online store and offer specials, bundles, and exclusive deals all month long. Create a buzz by getting started early with ads and promotions. Be sure to include the words “Black Friday” in all of your promos to boost click-through rates. Other businesses will be promoting their deals, so you should, too!

2. Get your website ready

If everything goes according to plan, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will give your website a significant traffic boost. That’s great news, provided your system is ready to handle it.

In the days leading up to Black Friday, make sure you give your site a once over. If you notice it’s loading slowly or working irregularly, make a call to your hosting provider, get it looked at, and even consider increasing your hosting bandwidth as necessary.

Finally, ensure your eCommerce store is protected with a robust SSL certificate and install the secure site seal on your website to show you can be trusted.

Don’t have a website yet? Partner with a trusted web hosting provider like Web.com to build your own eCommerce website or have professional designers do it for you.

3. Create a Black Friday Sale landing page

Now that you’ve got your website sorted, consider making a landing page dedicated to your Black Friday sale. This ensures that visitors are immediately aware of the special offers, discounts, and promotions you’re offering. Plus, it eliminates distractions, guiding visitors toward your Black Friday deals without the clutter of a full website.

To ensure you get the most holiday sales from your landing page, take note of the following tips:

  • Clear call-to-action buttons, compelling product descriptions, and persuasive visuals can encourage visitors to make a purchase.
  • Direct traffic from your promotional emails and social posts directly to the landing page, increasing the chances of conversions.
  • Use the landing page to collect valuable customer data. Offer incentives in exchange for email sign-ups, helping you build your email list for future marketing efforts (more on this later!).
  • After a customer makes a purchase through the landing page, you can implement post-purchase upsells or cross-sell offers to maximize the value of each transaction.

What kind of business did your online store do on Black Friday last year? How about the year before that? Which products sold the most? Anybody looking to cash in on the post-Thanksgiving shopping boom would be well-served to run analyses of their own business’s sales data for the last couple of years.

If you’re selling on platforms like Amazon, tools like Algopix help you run bulk-product analyses to determine which products to buy, how much to buy, where to sell and where to invest your ad dollars. It’s also smart to know your competition by learning market prices and shipping fees and looking at product recommendations. Learning relevant search phrases can help boost your site traffic as well.

5. Offer bundle discounts

According to Prospect Theory, people tend to make decisions based on perceived gains and losses rather than the absolute value of something. Customers perceive the bundle as a better deal compared to buying individual items separately.

So, offering bundled deals is a great way to attract customers to buy more of your products.

This usually requires some creativity to determine which products make sense to sell together. Consider it a good opportunity to go through your inventory and decide which lower-cost items might go with a bigger-ticket product and offer them as a package. 

6. Be ready to ship — immediately

Consumers have come to depend on eCommerce for their holiday shopping needs, making shipping and ease of receipt of purchased items almost as important as the products themselves.

Talk to your couriers ahead of the big weekend to learn if anything is changing in terms of schedules or deadlines. Also, take the time to pre-pack as much as you can — and take your bundled deals into account. The more items you have in boxes and ready to go beforehand, the easier it will be to slap a label on them and get them out the door.

And if you really want to stand out, offer free shipping with a low minimum spend. Holiday online shoppers are always looking for ways to save. 

7. Build your Black Friday email list

It’s no news how email marketing rakes in more revenue than any marketing channel out there. Aside from enticing new customers by encouraging newsletter sign-ups, email is a great platform to attract repeat business.

If you haven’t yet, start building your email list in time for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday holidays. Learn from these quickstart tips:

Optimize Sign-Up Forms

  • Keep forms simple and easy to fill.
  • Use clear and enticing language.
  • Include fields for essential information only.

Utilize Pop-ups and Banners

  • Use exit-intent pop-ups and banners to capture visitors before they leave your site.

Offer Exclusive Deals

  • Provide a free gift, special discounts, or offers exclusively to subscribers and loyal customers.

Leverage Social Media

  • Promote sign-ups through your social media channels.

Use Lead Magnets

  • Offer free resources like templates, checklists, or tools in exchange for email addresses.

But, first, you’ll need a professional business email to kick off your marketing strategy. There are plenty of options to choose from, so it’s best to assess your business needs beforehand.

8. Create a sense of urgency

Feel free to emphasize when deals are “limited time only” or if there are only a “few stocks left” for a certain product. Urgency triggers FOMO, or the fear of missing out, and scarcity suggests that people perceive items to be more valuable when they are limited in quantity or availability.

Here are other tips you can apply to your small business:

  • Conduct flash sales for a short duration, like a few hours or a day.
  • Send reminder emails or notifications about expiring offers.
  • Offer escalating discounts for a limited time (e.g., 20% off for the first hour, 15% off for the next two hours).

9. Promote Black Friday deals on social media

Social media marketing is another excellent way to boost Black Friday sales. Build anticipation among your audience. Tease your upcoming Black Friday promotions by posting sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes glimpses, or cryptic hints.

When it comes to the actual promotion, craft eye-catching and informative content. Design visually appealing graphics or videos and ensure your captions are concise and persuasive. Don’t forget to include relevant Black Friday hashtags, such as #BlackFridayDeals or #LimitedTimeOffer, to expand the reach of your posts.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are another world of their own, so be sure to tread each channel wisely. Only post on platforms where your target audience is. Learning the perfect time and days to post on social can go a long way in boosting your engagement.

10. Optimize your website for shoppers searching on Google

98% of consumers browse, research, and shop products online. So if you’re not optimizing your website for search, you’ll be missing out on a lot of Black Friday online sales!

Improving your website’s online visibility means using search engine optimization (SEO) methods. In a nutshell, SEO leads to more organic traffic, higher engagement, and ultimately, more sales.

While SEO is a broad concept that involves many strategies, here are quick tips to get started:

  • Keyword research. Use keyword research tools to identify relevant keywords. Incorporate these keywords naturally into your website’s content, titles, headings, and meta descriptions.
  • Quality content. Google values high-quality, informative, and engaging content that provides value to users. Create compelling product descriptions, blog posts, and other content related to your offerings.
  • Mobile-friendly design. Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites since a significant portion of searches happens on mobile devices. So, if you’re letting pros handle your website creation, ensure to get one from a provider that has mobile responsiveness as a top priority.
  • Use SEO tools. If you’re new to SEO, you can optimize your site without hassle by using SEO tools that do the work for you. Platforms like Web.com’s Simple SEO let you know exactly how to optimize your site for search. Think of it as having your very own SEO specialist at a fraction of the cost!

11. Use SMS marketing

Don’t forget about SMS! SMS messages have an open rate of around 98% and click-through rates of up to 20%. Raking in a potentially high ROI, it’s safe to say SMS is one of the Black Friday marketing strategies you shouldn’t miss out on.

Whether you’re running a clothing store or a gym, you can send SMS messages to customers with alerts about Black Friday sales or seasonal subscription discounts.

12. Share a Black Friday gift guide

Provide a curated selection of products that cater to different needs and preferences, making it easier for potential customers to browse and find suitable gifts.

Gift guides enable you to target specific customer segments, such as “Black Friday Gifts for Tech Enthusiasts” or “Holiday Gifts for Moms.” By tailoring your guide to specific demographics or interests, you attract a more engaged audience, increasing the likelihood of conversions.

Pro-tip for extra sales: Gift guides allow you to pair complementary products or suggest higher-priced items alongside budget-friendly options. By strategically placing products together or cross-selling, you can entice customers to buy multiple items or upgrade to premium versions, boosting your average transaction value.

13. Install a chatbot on your website

Want to ramp up your customers’ online shopping experience on Black Friday weekend? Consider installing a chatbot on your site.

Chatbots provide plenty of advantages for your eCommerce store, peak season or not:

  • Help manage the influx of Black Friday customer queries efficiently, ensuring a seamless user experience
  • Provide round-the-clock customer support, addressing queries even outside regular business hours
  • Answer frequently asked questions instantly, saving potential customers time
  • Increases the likelihood of sales by suggesting relevant products, enhancing customer engagement

AI marketing is all the rage with the boom of generative AI. Don’t hesitate to keep up with the trends and learn new ways to boost your Black Friday marketing campaigns!

14. Offer extended Black Friday deals

Many shoppers wait until the last minute to make their purchases. Extending your Black Friday deals gives these latecomers an opportunity to participate in your Black Friday promotions. This allows you to continue generating sales and revenue, maximizing the profitability of your promotions.

Got excess inventory? Extending your Black Friday sale can help you sell more products, reducing the need for post-holiday clearance sales. Plus, customers who made purchases during the Black Friday rush might return for more if the deals are extended, fostering loyalty and repeat business.

15. Create a holiday marketing calendar

After the hustle and bustle of your Black Friday campaign, be prepared for the upcoming holiday shopping frenzy ahead. A holiday marketing calendar helps you organize your marketing campaigns, ensuring timely execution. Being prepared in advance reduces the last-minute rush, allowing you to focus on creating high-quality marketing materials.

With a calendar in place, you have the opportunity to experiment with various marketing channels, messaging styles, and promotional offers. Analyzing the results helps you refine your approach for future campaigns.

People love holidays — and online deals! Holiday-themed promotions can encourage repeat business. Special offers and exclusive discounts during specific occasions entice previous Black Friday customers to return, increasing customer retention.

Have a smashing Black Friday marketing campaign!

The Black Friday shopping experience may be a decades-old phenomenon, but it has traditionally held the greatest benefits for big-box retail chains. Unlike small businesses, businesses are able to afford the best deals that bring shoppers to their stores in droves.

The eCommerce age has leveled the playing field by allowing smaller players to get in on the action. Make sure you take the necessary steps to optimize your business for the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Don’t forget to partner with a reliable online solutions provider like Web.com for your website needs!

  • Web.com Team

    Our goal is to be your go-to partner in today’s always-on digital world.

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