Building buzz for Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales among Canadian shoppers

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Prep your business for holiday shoppers

A change in season means more than flipping your inventory and refreshing your stock. For your customers, the period between November 1 and the 27th is a frenzy of flagging emails, favouriting web pages and making lists of the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

All of it in preparation for the two days when Canadians kick off their winter holiday shopping in search of big savings.

Business owners, are you ready?

If not, don’t fret! Here’s everything you need to know.

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Get ready in 5 easy steps

Person holding red holiday ornament
Photo: Ben White on Unsplash

Step 1: Put the following dates in your calendar

  • Black Friday: November 27, 2020
  • Cyber Monday: November 30, 2020

Step 2: Carve out time to strategize

Next you’ll want to identify your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale items. Your marketing strategy depends on this.

Spend a few days looking at your inventory and making decisions about what items you’d like to feature.

Take into consideration current trends and research what your competitors are doing. Think about your last Black Friday and Cyber Monday experience. If you participated as a customer, reflect on what drew you to some retailers and not others. Apply your personal intel to your sales strategy.

Here are a few options to consider:

Generic reduction

If you’re selling apparel, you could decide to give 50% off on all T-shirts.

Individual item reduction

Select your individual items and adjust prices accordingly.

Combo reduction

Show your customers how they can continue to save by packaging relevant products such as running shoes and socks. So if they purchase both, for example, they save an additional 5% off.

Your Top 10

If you’re a very small business and can’t reduce costs, pick 10 items you want to feature — five for Black Friday and five for Cyber Monday sales. Instead of a price reduction, you may wish to offer free shipping or hold the sales tax on those items.

For details on how to set discounts that will still make you money, read this post.

Step 3: Pick three platforms

On a shoestring budget? You’re going to want to focus on just three places to spread the word about your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

For example:

  1. Your website
  2. Email
  3. Social media

It may seem hard to believe, but many small business owners overlook the selling power of their websites. It’s your most powerful resource and all of your email and social media marketing campaigns should drive people there. Get your website in top shape for the holidays with these five steps.

 Holiday packages wrapped with red string and snow
Capitalise on the excitement of surprising loved ones in your messaging this year.
Photo:Nathan Lemon on Unsplash

Pro Tip: Already have your holiday website and email marketing nailed down? Take your game up a notch with these six ideas.

Step 4: Create compelling content for your sales

Now that you know what you’re selling and have identified where you’re going to be focusing your marketing energy, you’re ready to create articles, posts and videos that get the word out.

Start with your website and ask yourself, is this the biggest Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale you’ve ever hosted? If so, lead with that.

You can say, “Our Biggest Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sale Ever!”

 

You’re going to need the same elements, just worded slightly differently, for your website, emails and social media posts.

Let your customers know they can get sale updates from you by providing their email addresses. This will grow your email list and feed into your email marketing strategy. The bigger the list, the more the contacts you have for your winter holiday promotions (and beyond).

Pro Tip: Attract attention by counting down to your big Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales reveal announcement.

Promo graphics

Create two sets of promotional images, one for Black Friday and one for Cyber Monday.

Here’s an example of how SportChek called out their Black Friday deals in 2019:

Pro Tip: Already have your holiday website and email marketing<https://ca.godaddy.com/online-marketing/email-marketing> nailed down? Take your game up a notch with these six ideas<https://www.ucanwest.ca/blog/business-management/6-digital-marketing-trends-to-look-out-for-in-2020>. <h3>Step 4: Create compelling content for your Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales</h3> Now that you know what you’re selling and have identified where you’re going to be focusing your marketing energy, you’re ready to create articles, posts and videos that get the word out. Start with your website and ask yourself, is this the biggest Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale you’ve ever hosted? If so, lead with that. <div class="callout">You can say, “Our Biggest Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sale Ever!” </div> You’re going to need the same elements, just worded slightly differently, for your website, emails<https://ca.godaddy.com/blog/how-not-to-fail-at-email-marketing/> and social media posts. Let your customers know they can get sale updates from you by providing their email addresses. This will grow your email list and feed into your email marketing strategy. The bigger the list, the more the contacts you have for your winter holiday promotions (and beyond). Pro Tip: Attract attention by counting down to your big Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales reveal announcement. <h4>Promo graphics</h4> Create two sets of promotional images, one for Black Friday and one for Cyber Monday. Here’s an example of how Sport Chek<https://www.sportchek.ca/seasonal/black-friday-cyber-monday.html> called out their Black Friday deals in 2019:
Highlight the most appealing element of your sale (% off, free shipping, etc).

Brief write ups about your sales

Attention-grabbing write ups will bring email and social media readers to your website to browse your sale offerings.

Keep in mind that your audience scans content quickly, so if you’re having big sales up to 70% off, you’re going to want to use graphics with your writeups to draw attention to the savings, like in the SportCheck banner above.

Step 5: Set your schedule and launch your campaign!

To create a schedule, ask yourself these three questions:

  • How many emails am I going to send in the three weeks before Black Friday/Cyber Monday?
  • How many social media posts am I going to publish during that period?
  • How many paid social media ads do I want to run (if any)?

You will need to create fresh content for every piece of marketing (perhaps highlighting a different product in each), so once you decide how much content you’ll be creating, you can plug these into your schedule.

For social media, be sure to use location-based hashtags. If you’re running ads, be specific when targeting your audience.

Start sending emails at least three weeks in advance of your sales.

 

Remember, customers are already on the lookout for these deals. If you wait too long, they may have already decided to shop elsewhere.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday recap

Just as with any other sale, it takes a bit of planning to surpass last year’s Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales performances. Remember to:

  • Start planning your Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing strategy as soon as possible.
  • Assess your inventory and decide what items you want to advertise.
  • Decide where you want to invest your marketing cash, be it in email marketing, social media marketing or digital advertising.
  • Create all of your articles, posts and videos (including your graphics) in advance and schedule each for distribution.

The more prepared you are for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, the more successful you’ll be.

Ashliegh Gehl
Ashliegh Gehl is a creative multimedia marketing and communications professional who specialises in art direction, strategy and story. Her writing has appeared in the Montreal Gazette, Quill & Quire, Women's Post and a handful of Canadian community newspapers. When Ashliegh isn’t dreaming up creative campaigns, she’s travelling and writing works of fiction.