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3D Illustration of items bought at Black Friday for our blog about how to prepare for Black Friday Sales

How To Prepare for Black Friday To Generate More Sales

Katherine McInnes

Oct 24, 2023

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The year is nearing its end. The holidays are around the corner - and so are Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As the biggest retail weekend on the calendar, it’s important to have the necessary plans in place to cater to customers and succeed in sales.

In this blog, we'll look at some Black Friday basics and discuss strategies on how to prepare for Black Friday properly and for companies to make more sales:

Tip: Also take a look at our Black Friday Report: Black Friday by the Numbers

What Is Black Friday?

Black Friday is a popular shopping event that takes place on the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, which is the fourth Thursday of November. It is often regarded as the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Black Friday is characterized by significant discounts, special sales, and promotions offered by retailers, both in physical stores and online.

Black Friday deals typically include deep discounts on a wide range of products, from electronics and appliances to clothing, toys, and more. Many people camp out in front of stores, often for hours or even days in advance, to be among the first to take advantage of these deals. In recent years, online shopping has become increasingly popular on Black Friday, with many retailers offering their discounts and promotions on their websites, and this has led to the rise of "Cyber Monday," the Monday following Black Friday, which focuses on online sales.

Black Friday has also extended beyond the United States and is now observed in many other countries, although the specific date and traditions may vary. The concept of major shopping events, with deep discounts, has become a global phenomenon in the retail industry.

How Did Black Friday Originate?

There are several theories around the origin of Black Friday, some of which can be found here. The leading theory is that it came from the 1950s, when shoppers and tourists would flood the city of Philadelphia the day after Thanksgiving to watch the Army-Navy football game. The crowds resulted in chaos around the city, but retailer sales spiked with the increase in foot traffic.

Whatever the true origin, Black Friday now holds enormous weight in its potential to make or break not only a retailer’s November but also their year. Both brick-and-mortar and click-and-order stores benefit immensely from annual Black Friday sales, making an average of 3.6x in sales when compared to any other day in the month.

But enough of the basics - let's jump into some Black Friday strategies:

Illustration of shopping for our blog on how to prepare for Black Friday sales

How To Prepare for Black Friday in Your Marketing

Being prepared for any Black Friday outcome or scenario is imperative to the success of the weekend. The key to really reaping the rewards is to prepare your marketing efforts: preparation, planning, systems, and strategies:

1. Identify your Black Friday audience

Before planning a Black Friday marketing campaign, you should know who your target market is. By establishing your Black Friday audience in advance, you can offer deals on products that you know your target market is more likely to be interested in.

Tip: Read our Ultimate Guide to Market Segmentation & Personas and learn How to Create a Successful Marketing Campaign.

2. Identify your sales products

If there are some products that don’t sell as well and you want to move them off the shelves, consider adding them as part of a deal with your best-selling products.

Your customers will be looking out for their favourites - and by teaming up the best-sellers with the lower-moving products, you can almost incentivise the sale while introducing customers to new products.

3. Build your Black Friday mailing list

Over the Black Friday period, email marketing is one of the top strategies for converting leads to sales. Emails and newsletters appeal to customers 4x more than search, direct or social media marketing. Before the big sales days, make sure you are maximising email marketing as a channel.

There are a number of ways to create and grow a specific Black Friday marketing list. You can leverage your social channels with giveaways and competitions to drive sign-ups to your newsletter, create an on-site newsletter pop-up with a welcome offer, or run lead-generation ads.

The purpose of a dedicated Black Friday mailing list and schedule so to not overload your regular subscriber base with communication.

Tip: Learn how to measure your email campaign performance.

4. Map out your social media calendar for Black Friday

An illustration of a woman and a man standing next to a giant calendar filled with emojis that correspond to different National Days or holidays that social media managers can use when planning their content.

Social media is a powerful tool to drive new and loyal customers to your website and increase online traffic over Black Friday. 

Planning your social media Black Friday strategy ahead of time helps you stay on top of trends.

With a social media calendar mapped out in advance, you can tease upcoming deals and create hype for the holiday. If your audience is prepared to expect good deals, they’re more likely to come to your website. Having social media management tools like the Meltwater Social Media Management Suite in place allows you to schedule and automate your posting process as well seamlessly track the performance of your channels.

Tip: Download a free social media calendar and learn how to create a social media content calendar.

How To Use Technology and Tools To Prepare for Black Friday

3D illustration of a toolstack to prepare for Black Friday

By using social media monitoring tools aka. social listening tools, companies can prepare well for Black Friday:

1. Use relevant hashtags and keywords

One of the easiest routes to Black Friday success is to make it simple for your audience to find your content.

Use relevant hashtags that stand out and are related to your products or promotions. Incorporate keywords like "Black Friday deals," "special discounts," or "holiday shopping" in your online content and product write-ups to increase the discoverability of your content.

This way, when people search for these terms, your content should be among the top results.

2. Analyse historical data

Use social media monitoring tools like the Meltwater Suite to pre-empt conversations by analysing historical data.

Meltwater Explore social listening product banner

This historical information can help you tailor your campaign efforts to align with past consumer interests.

3. Improve negative sentiments from previous years

While it has the potential for high profit, Black Friday isn't always associated with positive sentiments. You can also use social listening to uncover negative sentiments from previous years, linked to both your brand and your competitors.

Address these concerns and incorporate the feedback into your planning. By learning from past issues, you can build trust and credibility among your customers.

Tip: Learn more about The What, Why And How of Sentiment Analysis and How a Sentiment Analysis API can Transform Business Decision Making.

Image of smileys demonstrating how to prepare for Black Friday

4. Set up custom searches

Prepare for Black Friday early by setting up custom searches on your social listening platform.

These custom searches should be around topics relevant to your industry and can provide you with valuable insights into customer expectations and pain points, helping you fine-tune your offerings and services.

5. Manage any crisis using spike detection

Black Friday can be a volatile time, with spikes and high volumes of online conversations. Meltwater's spike detection tool enables you to stay ahead of the conversation and manage issues before they flare up.

Being proactive rather than reactive is the key to crisis management. Instant real-time dashboard updates can help you assess the severity of any issue and respond accordingly, differentiating between minor problems and full-blown crises.

6. Monitor your competitors

Leverage social listening to gain a competitive edge by monitoring historical conversations about what your competitors have done.

Using social media management tools, you can jump into conversations where competitors have been mentioned or where they may be falling short. This offers you a chance to highlight your USPs and capture potential customers' attention.

Tip: Learn more about competitive intelligence and understand how competitor monitoring will help you gain a sustainable competitive advantage.

7. Identify your audience's needs and wants

Discover who is talking about your brand and your products using audience segmentation tools and customer intelligence platforms like Meltwater Consumer Insights.

Meltwater consumer insights and consumer intelligence product banner

These tools help you differentiate between customers who primarily discuss your product and those who mention your competitors' products.

Consumer insights data generated through consumer insights tools is powerful as it allows you to create a targeted campaign strategy, tailoring your approach to specific audience segments for maximum impact.

8. Control the narrative

Social listening platforms also help you influence the narrative around your brand and Black Friday.

Find, contact, and collaborate with authentic brand ambassadors and influencers who align with your brand values and products. Encourage user-generated content through competitions and engagement campaigns.

Influencer marketing platforms like the Meltwater influencer marketing suite streamline this process by simplifying the vetting process as well as allowing you to effectively manage and measure the success and impact of your influencer campaign

This not only drives interest and captures attention, but it also generates organic content that can be shared across social platforms. People buy into authenticity now more than ever, so capitalising on the human element in your marketing campaigns can make a massive difference on the day.

Tip: Take a look at the best user-generated content examples.

9. Track your brand's performance

Track your brand's performance using social listening metrics, including sentiment analysis, engagement, reach, mentions, and the distinction between organic and paid mentions.

These insights provide a comprehensive view of how your Black Friday campaign is performing and where improvements can be made.

Tip: Learn more about brand tracking, about brand monitoring, and about the best brand tracking software and tools.

How To Prepare for Black Friday in Your Branding

3D Illustration of pink bricks showing unbranded products to be rebranded for Black Friday

Talking to customers with a clear and familiar voice can set you apart and give you an edge without doing anything. While other brands are making Black Friday noise, aim to stay true to your brand with your customer communication.

There are a number of ways to positively work Black Friday messaging into your branding without completely overhauling your business’ look and feel:

Tip: Learn how to design a new brand identity for your business.

1. Ensure any Black Friday deals reflect your brand

With technology and deal sites available for customers to see the best deals across the board, any hint of false or inflated advertising can paint a bad image for your brand.

Being open and honest with what deals will and won’t be available in your Black Friday campaign can save you bad press down the line. Good business practices go far during a time when people are naturally suspicious about brand behaviour.

2. Consider your USPs

Taking the risk of offering something different or unique can lead to high rewards. People know what to expect with Black Friday, so offering them something unexpected can give you a competitive edge.

Let your brand stand out with a fresh campaign that cuts the noise and highlights one of your USPs. This might look like a giveaway, offering a 100% off deal, or running a Black Friday campaign on every Friday of November.

3. Stay on brand with your Black Friday marketing

It’s easy to overlook brand consistency when deals and discounts take the forefront of your marketing messaging. It’s important to remember that when consumers are faced with choices and countless advertisements leading up to Black Friday, your brand identity is your North Star.

Consistency in your messaging, tone of voice, and design creates a cohesive and trustworthy customer experience. Staying on brand with all marketing material reinforces your unique identity and leaves a long-lasting impression with both new and loyal customers.

How To Prepare Your Website for Black Friday Traffic

Photo of a woman analysing her website traffic to prepare for Black Friday

Black Friday traffic is one of the biggest benefits that the holiday brings, but it can also cause problems if you’re not prepared:

1. How to prepare your website back-end for Black Friday

Black Friday is not only the busiest sales day on the calendar, it also signifies the opening of holiday shopping. During this season, your site will experience more traffic than the rest of the year. It is critical to have the right processes in place to deal with this increased volume of customers.

Make sure your website can handle volume spikes and can maintain high performance. Any time the site goes down, even for a minute, it leads to dissatisfied customers and lost revenue. Ideally, have a developer (or team of devs) on hand during the day and over the weekend to keep your website running smoothly in the face of increased traffic.

2. How to prepare your website front-end for Black Friday

Make sure your homepage and websites follow best design practices to ensure people are inclined to stay on the site for as long as possible.

Small things like having a Black Friday-specific design (an on-brand Black Friday-specific design) can elevate your interface. Prioritise the customer experience design above all, so that checking in and checking out is seamless.

Tip: Customer experience management software as well as these customer experience examples, CX trends, and CX statistics will inform your customer experience strategy and help you get inspired to find the best Black Friday designs.

Think About The Whole Customer Journey

Illustration of different shapes demonstrating the different steps of the customer journey

While Black Friday is often manic and it can be difficult to manage and support customers across their customer journey, offering them an excellent overall experience - not just the buying experience - can set you up against your competitors long after Black Friday has ended:

1. The pre-purchase Black Friday experience

Offer customers quality content across different channels to attract them to your website. Provide support, answer questions in a consistent tone, and engage whenever it makes sense.

A good pre-sale experience helps convert the curious to the customer when your Black Friday deals are revealed.

2. The Black Friday buying experience

Creating an exceptional buying experience involves more than just offering product discounts.

The ideal customer experience involves a seamless process from every element; searching, selecting, and checking out. Fine-tuning all of the elements in the customer journey can convert a first-time Black Friday customer into a loyal shopper.

Tip: Learn more about the importance of customer journey mapping for brands and learn how to map and visualise your customer journey.

3. The Black Friday post-purchase experience

Follow up with your customers after the sale, asking them for feedback. Letting them know that they are important to your brand after the sale can lead to future sales and help you develop a larger customer base after November.

Automating the process of a seamless, consistent post-sale experience saves you time while still making your new or loyal customers feel seen and appreciated.

Be Prepared for Black Friday with Meltwater

Get the edge on your competitors with your Black Friday strategy with the best tools and technology.

Request a demo by filling out the form below to see how your brand can benefit from the Meltwater suite and our adaptive products: