Planning a thoughtful PR and marketing strategy that converts is top of mind at this time of year, that's why this post lays out elements that work.
It’s November, which for some people means the fall, harvest time and Thanksgiving are on their way, but to others, November means one thing: Black Friday shopping. If you’ve ever wondered where and when Black Friday began, here are some theories from History.com.
Black Friday’s origins date back hundreds of years and include interesting stories. Some believe Black Friday was started by two notoriously ruthless Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, who worked together to buy up as much as they could of the nation’s gold, hoping to drive the price sky-high and sell it for astonishing profits. On a Friday in September, the conspiracy finally unraveled, sending the stock market into free-fall and bankrupting everyone from Wall Street barons to farmers.
Another interesting theory to how Black Friday began is after an entire year of operating at a loss, stores would supposedly earn a profit on the day after Thanksgiving, because holiday shoppers spent so much money on discounted merchandise. Though it’s true that retail companies used to record losses in red and profits in black, this theory is inaccurate.
Finally, the real origin story of “Black Friday” that most historians believe to be true takes place in Philadelphia. Back in the 1950s, police in the city of Philadelphia used the term to describe the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year. Not only would Philly cops not be able to take the day off, but they would have to work extra-long shifts dealing with the additional crowds and traffic.
Black Friday has an interesting past, but today, it is known as one of the biggest and most important shopping days of the year. If your business wants to get in on the game or simply learn tips and tricks to apply to your marketing strategy, keep reading for more information on what your enterprise can do and use from the “retail holiday” - in terms of brick-and-mortar shopping as well as eCommerce.
3 Black Friday Marketing Strategies
If you are thinking of getting your business’ name out there this shopping season, you may want to engage in marketing your Black Friday sales. Here are three tips to help you out:
- Know Your Audience: Whether your business is hoping to acquire new customers or keep past clients loyal, knowing exactly who is in your target market is vital for a successful holiday shopping season. If you are going to offer discounts, take a look at your best and worst selling products. Reduce those two prices or even combine them for a 2-for-1 sale in hope customers will get both. This is a great opportunity to hook people with a product they already love and then expose them to a product they may not be familiar with.
- Be Transparent: Thanks to the implementation of technology in advertising and marketing, customers are empowered to know where the best Black Friday deals are. Reeling in shoppers with false advertising could present a bad image of your company to the public regarding marketing ethics and standards. Save time by being upfront and honest about what deals are and aren’t included on Black Friday this year.
- Take Risks: While being transparent with your marketing is important, being ready to take a risk can help boost business this holiday season. Whether it’s implementing an innovative social marketing plan or participating in a giveaway, calculated risks can lead to high rewards for your small business.
Be sure to keep in mind that Black Friday is followed by newer traditions such as Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. These newer holidays target shoppers that like to support local companies, accommodate online shoppers and philanthropic giving, and can provide an additional way to reach out to customers during the holiday season!
3 Black Friday Marketing Strategies for PR
As retailers think about how they are going to tackle the Black Friday madness, sometimes it is important to get in the mind of the consumer. Here are some public relations tips that can help you think like shopper:
- Create a Strategy: Before shoppers head to the mall and try to browse through the shopping chaos, planning ahead and creating a strategy will better their efforts. It is suggested that retail shoppers study the special sale ads and make a plan of attack. As in a public relations campaign, writing down all of your goals and objectives will create an easy path of execution when it is kickoff time.
- Use Technology: Have you ever Googled “Black Friday?” There are pages and pages of tips and tricks to making the most out of the sales. Some sites and apps compare discounts at different stores so the consumer can be assured they pay the least for the product of their desire. While your business may not need to know where to find the cheapest iPhone, technology can be an essential tool in any public relations campaign that uses social platforms. Tools like Meltwater Engage allow for content to be scheduled out ahead of time and will publish post automatically when it is supposed to. These sites allow for better planning and timing.
- Reflect: As consumers make it back to their homes, they check those receipts and bask in the glory of discounts that were 40%-60% off – or more. These are the times to think: “Was it worth it? What went well? What went wrong?” Examining public relations triumphs and failures will provide invaluable insight to help your business’ next campaign. Focus on the goals and objectives that were originally set and decide if they were executed fully or if certain areas need to be paid closer attention next time.
Black Friday can be fun for anyone daring enough to leave the house after a big meal. Use these public relations lessons from Black Friday shopping to improve your company’s next campaign.
3 Black Friday Social Media Strategies
Social media is one of the biggest tools a business of any size has going for it; especially small businesses. With a single post you have the opportunity to reach a multitude of people in your community and outside of it. Here are three benefits of social media marketing for Black Friday:
- Plan Ahead: As we mentioned above, creating a strategy is important, but so is planning ahead. One way retailers can plan ahead in social media is by creating a social media calendar. On social media, an editorial calendar is used to create a plan for their posts and updates. These calendars include notable events of the upcoming weeks and months that they want to include. Creating an editorial calendar is a great way stay organized and help you to not forget an important date. If you are going to tease promotions, make a new post each week leading up to the day after Thanksgiving. Follow this guide to learn what to include and templates to help you create your own calendar.
- Stay On Trends: If you want to know what your customers are talking about, keep your eyes on what is trending on social media. Hashtags are a great way to engage the followers you already have as well as get the attention of other potential customers.
- Use Influencers: Influencer marketing is about providing product context and expertise through an influential person; you use established industry experts to help share and information about your brand, business or product to their followers. You can also use the trusted insights of an influencer to keep track of changes and new developments that are going on in your industry.
Preparing for Black Friday
Make sure your Black Friday marketing plan is ready in time, along with your public relations and social media strategies for the biggest retail event of the year. By using even some of the tips I provided (taking a marketing risk, using technology and making an editorial calendar), you are well on your way to success.
Planning and executing a PR campaign includes research before the launch and reporting after the campaign is complete, to make sure you know how to use Black Friday to meet your business goals, read our top 10 PR campaign tips and myths to avoid.