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8 engaging Black Friday marketing ideas to drive sales

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The biggest retail sales and marketing event of the year is just around the corner – Black Friday. This is the time to meet big sales goals and earn large chunks of your annual revenue. But the results of all of your hard work largely hinges on how well you get the attention of your potential customers. That means implementing some effective Black Friday campaign ideas as part of your digital strategy.  

Why, you ask? Well, with great marketing opportunities comes fierce competition. And that doesn’t just refer to your direct competitors. You’re also competing simply to be seen amid the many other real-life distractions that persist during the holiday shopping season.  

Developing attention-getting and engaging marketing campaigns and tactics for Black Friday promotions will ensure you get through the holiday season achieving and hopefully exceeding your revenue goals for the year. This is the time to make it happen.

What is Black Friday marketing?

Black Friday refers to the day after Thanksgiving, a U.S. holiday that comes on a Thursday about a month before Christmas. The marketing for this day often extends beyond the Black Friday sales to the following Cyber Monday, and sometimes through that entire week. It’s the biggest shopping weekend of the entire year. In 2022, consumers spent over $9 billion just in the realm of e-commerce, and more than half of this online shopping took place on a mobile device.  

Most Black Friday marketing examples you might find online focus on advertisements and offers. And naturally, these should play a crucial role in your campaign this year too.

However, when it comes to actually engaging and winning customers on Black Friday, you need something more than just a price war with your competition. Trust us, engaging in a relentless race to the bottom for who can offer the lowest prices (and throwing in a free shipping coupon) is not where you want to be.

Black Friday marketing is first about getting attention. If you want more than just fleeting, one-time customers, you need advanced engagement strategies and an omnichannel approach. That means using mobile technology so you can meet your customers where they are.

So, let’s look at some Black Friday campaign ideas, geared to help you reach your target audience and ring in those lucrative 2023 sales.

1. Personalize everything

Demonstrating genuine care for individual preferences and interests is paramount for building loyal customer relationships after a lead or contact has given you their personal information. Beyond the content that you deliver, personalization also includes reaching out on their preferred communication channels. 

This is one reason that a multichannel approach is so effective. If you don’t know which channels your customers prefer, you can gain insights by observing the ones they engage with.  

For example, by using SMS, Facebook Messenger, and email marketing channels on Black Friday, you’ll quickly see which channels your audience favors. This combination works particularly well for holiday messaging because while email does well at communicating details and setting the stage for holiday sales, SMS and Messenger work better for alerts, flash deals, and last-minute reminders about key incentives.  

Not sure what to send? Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Personalized countdown timer messages leading up to Black Friday that also factor in time zones, if applicable. 

  • Sneak peaks about exclusive deals for your text and email subscribers – featuring products aligned with their interests and demographics. 

  • Reminders of prior purchases featuring Black Friday deals on related items. 

For some inspiration, watch this video interview of a Nordic online retailer, Parfym.se, and how they used email and SMS to send personalized Black Friday campaigns that boosted engagement by nearly 100%!

2. Create a sense of urgency

Black Friday shopping inherently has a compelling, unique sense of urgency, so you can easily capitalize on that during this time of year. Here are some ways to reach people on their mobile devices:  

  • Send time-sensitive alerts about a giveaway or flash sale to tease a chance for consumers to snag a can’t-miss deal. 
  • Push out a series of SMS messages that count down the days until Black Friday. 
  • Update subscribers about limited-time or expiring deals like free gifts, or on how much inventory is left for a hot item. 
Black Friday marketing deal to create a sense of urgency

Mobile marketing can help create a sense of urgency for Black Friday deals.

You can do this with SMS/MMS, email, and with messaging channels like WhatsApp. To fine-tune your approach, learn the differences between SMS and MMS marketing.

3. Holiday gift guides 

You can create personalized holiday gift guides featuring product recommendations that align with the customer’s stated interests or demographics. Send these out via channels like email, text, and WhatsApp, which bypass all the mass media marketing that’s so easy to miss and ignore. That way, more of your customers will engage with your promo or deal.

You can make your mobile marketing messages be even more engaging using RCS – Rich Communications Services – which is sort of like an enhanced version of MMS. With RCS, your messages can be interactive, connect with other apps, and include large video and image files.

For example, RCS makes it possible to send subscribers a high-resolution gift catalog that lights up their inbox. It can showcase multiple products at once, prompting recipients to swipe through product images and complete a purchase. All of this can happen within their native Android messages inbox.

4. Re-engage previous customers with exclusive deals 

It’s typically much easier to sell to loyal customers again than to win new ones. So engage your previous customers directly using your existing communication channels. Send them special offers and exclusive deals based on their previous purchases.

Here’s an easy way to get that done: Use MMS or RCS to include high-quality product images sent to subscribers who haven’t purchased something in a while. Since these potential Black Friday shoppers have opted in to hear from you, make these deals exclusive to subscribers of whatever channels you use so they’ll be motivated to remain subscribed. Here are some tips for growing your SMS/MMS subscriber list.

5. Make it really, really easy for customers to reply 

When customers have questions, they want a reply and an easy way to continue the conversation until they have the information they need to make a decision. They also prefer being able to quickly find what they’re looking for, which is an ongoing challenge for online businesses and e-commerce. The problem is, you can’t afford to keep a huge number of reps on staff to handle so many interactions for just a single Black Friday weekend.

RCS makes this much easier because it delivers a conversational marketing experience. RCS features reply buttons that customers can use to get quick responses, which enables the retailer to customize the shopping experience. As the conversation continues, they find what they want with the least amount of effort.

Our research found that customers want to interact with mobile messages from their favorite brands. Here are a few ways to work towards meeting that desire:  

  • Send order confirmations and shipping updates, and encourage customers to reply to these with questions or requests for assistance related to their efforts.  
  • Give real-time updates on inventory, allowing customers to place orders or reserve items (and if you do this with RCS, you can include images and quick replies directly in their inbox!). 
  • Inform customers about in-store events, early bird sales, or promotions, and let them reply to RSVP or ask for event details. 
  • Communicate loyalty program updates and encourage customers to inquire about their loyalty status or redeem rewards through replies. 
  • Continue the support post-purchase by following up with customers to ensure their satisfaction, and allow them to provide feedback if they encountered issues.  

Here’s an example of how frozen food retailer Picard used RCS to deliver a conversational customer experience that led to a 42% increase in customer engagement – a huge win for their holiday marketing campaign!

6. Make your customers feel like VIPs

Email has long made it possible to deliver exclusive and personalized content to subscribers. People feel special and experience delight when they get deals and offers that no one else gets. Black Friday is a great time to deliver this type of experience, because you can tell customers in advance what’s coming so they can get excited about it and plan to purchase from you. 

For instance, in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, send an email with a subject line like, “A Black Friday treat just for you, [First name].” A personalized email subject line draws customers in, making them feel like insiders. Meanwhile, the offer inside should give them a special discount or offer, reinforcing that sense of being truly special to your brand. 

In addition to reaching subscribers on your SMS or email list, you can use social messaging channels like Facebook Messenger and Instagram Messages. These channels are distinct from social media marketing, and allow you to deliver personalized messages to anyone who has opted in to hear from you.

For even more exclusive content, you can send videos using RCS, something that particularly stands out when not amidst a flurry of social media posts.

7. Use a chatbot

Chatbots allow customers to get answers to their questions right on the spot, when they’re in the midst of making a buying decision. Conversational AI chatbots can integrate with your website, product inventory, and conversational messaging channels to help customers find what they want quickly and easily.

Chatbot conversation inspiration for Black Friday marketing campaigns

Orion Mall built a conversational AI chatbot integrated with WhatsApp to drive more customers to the mall. They expect the chatbot to double the number of visitors during the busy holiday season. 

Chatbots can integrate with conversational channels like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, so each customer can engage with you in the way they most prefer and can get the quickest answers. See more conversational messaging tips

8. Send cart abandonment reminders

Black Friday is a busy time for holiday shoppers. Even with all the deals and engaging experiences you may try to deliver, some customers will still end up leaving items in their shopping carts. They may have found something else to buy instead or have chosen a competitor. But it’s just as likely that they simply meant to checkout later.  

Send abandoned cart emails to make sure that more of these customers return to complete their purchases. This is one of the highest-ROI marketing tactics you can use. Automated abandoned cart emails cost almost nothing to produce and seem less intrusive than typical promotional emails, and yet they can result in tons of easy revenue you would have otherwise missed.  

In addition to emails, you can also send abandoned cart SMS messages to boost sales. And whether using text or email, sometimes a small discount code or gift card can motivate the shopper to complete their purchase, too. Here are more ways to use SMS for retail marketing.

Get started with your Black Friday marketing campaign

Winning new customers on Black Friday isn’t all about partnering with the right influencers, discovering winning hashtags, or even beating the competition with the best Black Friday offers.

Much of it is simply about reaching your audience effectively. The companies and brands that get creative in using a multichannel approach to target customers during Black Friday will have the most success. Otherwise, it’s just too easy to be forgotten, missed, or ignored on the big day.

As you’ve seen, conversational marketing is an experience few companies are delivering as part of their Black Friday marketing strategy. You can get ahead of them by preparing to use it throughout your holiday marketing.

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Check out this conversational messaging guide and learn how to upgrade your customer experience. Or, if you're ready to implement a conversational messaging strategy, let's chat. Our team is ready to help you build an experience your customers will love!