Black Friday marketing: 11 experts share tips on how to fuel growth this holiday season

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Ah, yes. 'Tis the season of Black Friday and Cyber Monday—the Superbowl of ecommerce, as some like to say. 

Whether or not you're ready, there's still time to implement some new strategies for your Black Friday marketing campaigns. Because you can never get enough of those this time of year, right? 😉

To add one more guide into the blogging universe, we decided to take a bit of a different approach by asking 11 ecommerce experts to share their number one tip—in video format—on how brands can have a successful BF/CM.

So listen up (or read along if you prefer), and check out these ideas on how you can improve your campaigns and your internal processes before Black Friday comes.

1. Start to collect data as soon as possible

Every brand is fighting equally for the attention of consumers during BF/CM, so inboxes get flooded and consumer attention gets divided. One way to stand out is by personalizing your content, and to do this you need customer data—we recommend zero-party and first-party data.

But the key is to collect this data early on, and not just a couple of weeks before BF/CM. If you start collecting customer data now, you’ll have more insights to work with when the holiday season actually approaches, giving you confidence that your campaigns will be effective.

You can collect data the following ways:

  • Targeted pop-ups
  • Spin to wins
  • On-site quizzes & surveys 
  • Email preference centers 
  • BF/CM landing pages with forms that ask about your customer’s preferences
  • UTM tracking on pages with email opt-ins

Key takeaway: Collect customer data to personalize your campaigns and stand out, drive higher engagement, and increase conversions.

2. Complement your emails with SMS

There's no denying that Black Friday is the most important time of the year for ecommerce brands to deliver sales. Competition is fierce, especially on popular channels like email.

This is why Adam Zlatkus, Partner Success Manager at Klaviyo, suggests complementing your email efforts with SMS marketing. As a less saturated channel than email, SMS is a great way to see higher deliverability, open rates, and click-through rates. 

Adam also recommends using SMS for your abandoned cart flow. Since a high number of carts are abandoned during Black Friday and Cyber Monday (around 77%!), using SMS to deliver abandoned cart messages can reach customers immediately to remind them about the products they're leaving behind.

Key Takeaway: Email is still one of the strongest marketing channels, but don't forget about the other ways you can engage with customers over the holiday weekend. Email will always be saturated, so try engaging via SMS too.

3. Clean and manage your email list

For brands that rely on email to communicate with customers (so, like, 99% of brands), having a low deliverability rate won't help you during Black Friday. 

We suggest cleaning and managing your list ahead of time. Start sending content to remind your current customers about the value of your brand—like product education or information about your brand's mission. This will get people excited about shopping with you again.

When sending these campaigns, target your most engaged subscribers and exclude ones who haven't opened any emails for a while. This will help you have higher deliverability when the time comes to send your promotions on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Key takeaway: Avoid the spam folder and stay top-of-mind for shoppers this year by doing your due diligence and taking care of your email list before Black Friday arrives.

4. Run a loyalty program bonus campaign

When we asked Tim Peckover, the Senior Community and Marketing Manager at Smile Rewards, about his number one tip, he said, "Use a loyalty program bonus campaign to bring customers to your store without having to use huge discounts to get them there."

Remember, your promotions for Black Friday don't have to be entirely sales-based. There are other ways to delight customers, and a bonus loyalty points campaign is a great way to do it.

Not only does this kind of campaign get more customers to sign up and engage with your loyalty program, but they’ll likely rack up enough points for a discount on their next purchase. So you can re-market to customers with a point redemption campaign as a way to bring them back again in the future.

Key Takeaway: Consider other ways you can delight customers over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend without just running deep discounts. Things like bonus loyalty points and free shipping can make sure you're still profitable.

5. Lean into your unique strengths

​​It's so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday that you can forget to focus on what your brand is good at. 

We suggest to lean into your strengths this holiday season. You know your business, your customers, and your products better than anyone else, so find ways to strategize something unique based on that. 

Just because your competitor is running a 35% off discount doesn't mean it's the right option for you. Leveraging your own knowledge of your business and the data you have behind it will resonate with your customers more than anything else. 

Key takeaway: Don't just follow what everyone else is doing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Use your internal knowledge to be strategic about your offers this year.

6. Personalize your emails and SMS

During the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, you're going to collect a lot of email addresses. And each new customer that subscribes should receive a welcome email. 

So, Ben Parr, Co-Founder of Octane AI, suggests sending personalized emails rather than the same welcome flow to every new subscriber. How can you do this? By collecting zero-party data.

Through tools like quizzes and conversational pop-ups, you can ask customers key questions about their shopping preferences, concerns, needs, or dislikes to learn what type of content you should serve them in a welcome flow.

Key takeaway: Set up data collection tools so they're working for the Black Friday weekend, and create personalized experiences for every customer following the holiday to keep them engaged.

7. Let data drive your Black Friday marketing decisions

Before you make any decisions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, look at your data. While your competitors can give you many promotional ideas, it's more important to understand what your customers want—and cater your promotions, messaging, and product assortment to their needs.

Now is a great time to review your customer data by looking at product sales trends and seeing how different pages on your site perform. Also, run any final testing around promotional messaging, shipping offers, and conversion elements to make sure your site is optimized for the uptick in traffic you’re going to have.

Finally, keep track of the data you collect over the BF/CM weekend—this will help you prepare for the next year. You’ll know what promotions to use, which items to keep a larger stock of, and when you can expect an increase in website traffic, sales, and support requests. 

Imagine how much easier next year will be when you have data from the previous year to use. 

Key Takeaway: Dive into your data to discover patterns and areas of opportunity. Then, keep track of the data you pull from the weekend to leverage next year.

8. Focus on retention as part of your Black Friday marketing strategy

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be the biggest sales period for ecommerce brands, but that doesn't mean the months after don't matter.

Unfortunately, your work isn't done after Cyber Monday, which is why Sarah Leitz  (the head of marketing at Malomo) wants brands to remember to also focus on retention during the holiday season.

Consider what post-purchase experiences you can give customers to delight them all the way until their order arrives. Be helpful in your emails and SMS messages, and keep customers excited about your brand. 

Key takeaway: By focusing on retention at the same time as acquisition, you'll keep customers coming back after the holiday rush because you'll have built a relationship with them.

9. Sync your off-site and on-site channels

With so many marketing channels, it can be hard to keep track of all your campaigns and data. This is why Justuno suggests synchronizing your off-site marketing channels and your on-site experience. 

Using advanced targeting rules on your campaigns, you can show unique visuals and content to visitors on your website that come from your off-site channels. Not only will this serve a more personalized and relevant experience for customers, but it will help you convert more over the holiday weekend. 

Key takeaway: Sync up your off-site and on-site channels to increase the ROI of your campaigns—and improve the shopping experience. 

10. Focus on being human with customers

If there’s one thing BF/CM time does well, it’s making brands feel inhuman to shoppers. With all of the noise, the promotions, and the businesses eagerly trying to grab customers’ attention, the holiday shadows parts of the brand that really stand out to customers—like their community and mission. 

Here are few ways to focus on nurturing relationships during BF/CM and be human: 

  • Call attention to your brand’s mission
  • Talk about any charities you support
  • Send a message directly from the founder
  • Send “just because” emails, which could be thanking your customers, giving subscribers an update on anything personal to the founder or the brand, or sharing where you want to company to go in the near future

Also, be helpful and kind with customer support inquiries, and make sure your customers know you appreciate them as much as they appreciate you. 

Key takeaway: Customers don't just care about your sales—your history, mission, and goals are important to them too, so don’t forget to add a bit of humanization into your campaigns this year. 

11. Connect your entire app stack

One tactic for Black Friday that you can set up within minutes is connecting all of your app stack, which is suggested by Alloy

Why? Because having all of your apps talking to each other in the back-end can help you create a really great front-end experience for customers.

So head to each app's integrations page, and make sure they're all connected with each other (if possible). This will make sure any data you collect during the weekend flows from one app to another, which can save you from a headache when you have customers making support requests on both email and live chat at the same time. 

Key Takeaway: Turn on all your app integrations and make sure they're working properly. You can also invest in an ecommerce automation tool to make sure data is flowing between all your apps.

Additional Black Friday marketing resources

Whether you're prepared or not, there are always ways to improve your campaigns—even right before Black Friday.

To keep you inspired (and help you have a record-breaking BF/CM), here are some additional resources to check out:

Hopefully these tips help you skyrocket your sales and grow your customer base for the months and years to come after this holiday season. Good luck!