I know it's only October, and to speak of Black Friday 2021 might seem as if I am ushering time to move faster and bring the holiday season crashing down around us....
But stirring up panic is not my intention, I assure you.
Instead, I hope this article's contents provides you with some peace-of-mind, because following it will mean...
- You've taken care of your Black Friday Marketing Strategy as soon as possible, which means you can start your promo earlier (which is KEY this year as you'll find out below)
- With a proven strategy in place, you can save stress while beginning the end-of-year holiday season with strong numbers in your pocket.
Black Friday 2021 will be on November 26th, but major retailers will begin promoting deals much earlier.
Here's what you can expect...
Let's get into my Black Friday Marketing Strategy, revised and updated with my "Predictions and Tips for 2021!"
2021 Black Friday Prediction #1:
Expect MORE record-breaking online sales due to COVID.
Last year solidified online shopping as THE place to go for Black Friday Deals.
Yes, COVID last year changed A LOT.
But even before the pandemic hit the holiday season, more and more consumers were already choosing to shop for Black Friday Deals online (which is why I've been using tailored versions of this strategy for years!).
In-person holiday shopping decreased by 25% from 2015-2019. In 2019, the most common reason cited for avoiding in-person shopping was: stores were simply TOO BUSY! (Amen, to that!)
So, shoppers were already moving to online shopping before COVID.
And last year, when most retailers closed for in-store shopping on Thanksgiving Day, consumers who would have been crawling the aisles in the early morning of Thanksgiving or Black Friday were forced to go online, pushing online shopping numbers up by $50 Billion more.
We can expect the same this year -- continued record-breaking online sales.
Even if stores are open, I predict the majority of people will stay home and do their shopping online. No one will want to go in the stores before the holidays and be exposed.
2021 Black Friday Strategy Tip #1:
Data published last year showed that 38% of consumers are most likely to begin holiday shopping before the end of October.
Looking at the end of year as a whole, 83% of holiday shopping in the United States happens before November ends!
The earlier the better is key for an impactful Black Friday marketing strategy for 2021.
Start planning for your Black Friday Strategy early! Statista published data last year showing 38% of consumers are most likely to begin holiday shopping before the end of October.
Black Friday Prediction #2:
Health & Immunity Will Continue To Reign
Holiday time has always been a notorious time of year for the flu, cold, and other viruses -- now, it's even more under the microscope. Normal worry about health and immunity has skyrocketed.
People will be seeking ways to prevent illness, have meaningful moments with others, and, as always, improve their life.
Black Friday Strategy Tip #2:
If Relevant, Focus On Health Benefits
So, if your product can benefit health or immunity, drive a talk track about that! Whether it indirectly benefits health, such as relieving mental stress or exhaustion (which has an effect on immune response) or it directly affects health, such as a supplement, highlighting the benefits to health will only help your product stand out this Black Friday season.
If your product isn't related to health or immune system care, don't worry -- you still have plenty of angles to work.
Which brings us to my next Black Friday Prediction for 2021...
Black Friday Prediction #3:
People Will Be Looking For Hope
It's been a hard couple of years for everyone.
So much has been out of our control, that many people have been turning inward to find the things that they actually do have control over.
Regardless of individual tragedies or storylines that have been playing out in people's lives, most will be looking for hope and ways to improve their lives.
Black Friday Strategy Tip#3:
Highlight A Better Life And New Year
Utilitarian products should highlight how you can contribute to their quest to have a better life and new year in 2022.
People will be looking for bright spots, so if you're able to deliver on hope, do so!
Be sure to drive a talk track about how your products or services will help them reach their goals, do better in daily life, or improve whatever it is that will help them have a better life and New Year.
Black Friday Prediction #4:
People Are Tired Of Separation
Again, it's been a hard couple of years that has been full of division. People are lonely and tired of separation -- either physical, political, ideological or otherwise.
In fact, a report by a Harvard group released in February this year said that 43% percent of young adults in their survey reported increases in loneliness since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Ironically, loneliness is in EVERY demographic group. The same study cited NO significant differences in rates of loneliness "based on race or ethnicity, gender, level of education, income, religion, or urbanicity" or even political party -- meaning it is one of the things that unifies us the most!
Black Friday Strategy #4:
Fun Products Should Focus On Unity
Unity and connection are needed more than ever.
If you are offering a product that's fun or involves multiple people, drive a talk track about creating joy, magical moments, and unity.
Black Friday Prediction #5:
People Will Be Looking For Deals
Black Friday Tip #5:
Instead, you should bundle or provide BOGO (Buy One Get One) offers to stir up perceived value.
If you are a meal prep company, gym, or related diet product, you could offer an “Ultimate Abs Package,” and "Ultimate Weight Loss Package," and "Ultimate Arms Package" as three different options.
Another example: “Pets in Paradise” package for a kennel. This could include a week-long stay with a premium kennel plan, plus bath and grooming and complete wellness checkup.
Black Friday Prediction #6:
Shoppers Will Be Overwhelmed
Black Friday Prediction #6:
Focus On the Outcomes Your Products Deliver
Black Friday Prediction #7:
Purchases Will Be Based On Emotion
Lastly, remember people buy first on emotions and second on logic. You can learn about the details of that in this previous article.
But to stay on point here, I predict that those shopping this year will be driven by emotion even more.
Black Friday Strategy Tip #7:
Lead With Emotion
So always remember in your messaging that you need to drive on the emotion of your product, the problem it solves, and what it adds to the prospect's life. Speak to overcoming their insecurities, or bonding them with others, or making them better.
And then, as they're leaning into your solution, support their emotional decision with logic.
You do this by affirming urgency and scarcity.
Affirm the choice to buy with reminders that these are limited time offers, never-seen-before-or-again savings, limited supply, and will sell out!.
With those tips out of the way, let's dig into our proven Black Friday Marketing Strategy for 2021.
The whole reason my Black Friday Strategy works is because it starts early. I've made a few small updates for it to work with 2021's continuing COVID conditions.
Timing has always been its strength, which is vital in the last two years of month-long Black Friday Sales and primarily all-online shopping fiascos.
Speaking of timing...
Almost ANY Business Can Leverage This Strategy!
While Black Friday weekend is traditionally associated with in-person retail and ecommerce, even if those aren't your primary industries, you can still take advantage of this strategy.
My digital marketing agency, Built by Love, has a case study digging into how we helped one of our non-retail clients win $100,000 over the weekend with this strategy! You can click here to read it, but I'll give you the short-and-sweet below.
This client worked in landscaping and hardscaping -- they transformed backyards into beautiful outdoor living spaces with kitchens, pools, fire pits and more.
Winter was their "off-season," so they had NEVER run a Black Friday sale. They would wait until early Spring, and then start booking orders.
But then we applied this strategy, using it to sell pre-orders for Spring.
This way, the client could use a Black Friday sale to get their production schedule stocked and ready to roll by Spring! Plus, what a great present for their customers to give to their family for the holidays.
And, as you know, it worked. They won $100,000 in sales over that weekend alone.
So, remember! Just because you're not the "typical" company with a Black Friday sale, doesn’t mean you can’t try a new approach.
Now, let's get into the strategy!!
The first email you send out will ask your customers what THEY would like to see deals on.
You can even suggest a variety of options and see what they like best. You don't have to give away details of how much or anything else, but you can just give them a simple survey of products or ideas to see what they say.
No one does this!
Most people love to provide their opinion, and asking your audience engages them before the actual "big sale," making sure that your business is on their radar.
And with the number of sales happening during the month of "Black Friday," it's smart to get creative!
By asking for your audience's input, you are already crafting orders and sales they want to see. And depending on their answers, you can adjust your bundles or offers accordingly.
In this email, if someone hasn't answered your question, you want to incentivize them to engage.
And just repeating your question is an easy way to bubble back into their inbox.
- Repeat the request to answer the question.
- Remind of incentive for answering.
- It's because "I want to help make you better at __________________ and solves _______________.
If you use intelligent automation such as HubSpot, then you will have automation that will make this easy as you'll be able to see who has answered it and who has not.
At this point, you're excited to share some of the details about the sale with your audience, but you don’t want to give it all away.
You’ll want to leave out some key details to intrigue them and pique their curiosity, also while letting them know there’s some scarcity. This offer isn't going to last forever!
- Share some interesting details about the sale
- Create curiosity, mystery and intrigue
- Emphasize the exclusivity
- Products make you better at __________________ and solve __________________.
This email should continue to build hype, curiosity, and momentum.
By providing a "sneak peek," you will continue to stoke your reader's excitement all the way up to when your sale finally launches.
Some tips for your sneak peek:
- Reveal some of the products included
- Share actual savings for some of the offers (numbers are better than percentages)
- Continue to emphasize limited quantity and timing
The point of this email is to make all the shopping details of the sale as easy to find out as possible.
Always remove obstacles to purchase by answering fairly simple questions.
- What time the sale starts (be sure to list multiple time zones)
- Payment options
- Return/refund policies
Momentum is building and your audience has been getting offers from your competitors, as well.
At this point, our timing will be getting more aggressive.
This email keeps your audience's mindset in mind: they're busy, they're overwhelmed, their inbox is overflowing.
So, we want to keep it short and sweet and just remind them...
- LINE 1: Early bird starts soon
- LINE 2: Here’s the date
- LINE 3: Here’s the time (always give a few time zones unless you are strictly local)
We're Halfway Through!
We've made it through the "hype" part of the Black Friday Strategy and now we're ready for the actual sale to begin.
If you want to get the downloadable guide for this strategy and a webinar recording of me walking through it, click the button below to be taken to my marketing agency's free Learning Center.
You will want to launch your Black Friday Sale BEFORE Black Friday.
Remember, you're competing for a finite share of resources, as well as mental space.
You don't want to launch your Black Friday Sale on November 1st, because that's too early. You don't want to get lost in the exhaustion.
But you also don't want to wait until after Thanksgiving, either, because this day in age, that's just too late.
So, you want to hit during the week of Thanksgiving! Either the Monday of, or Wednesday, the day before.
These are the days people tend to be really settling in for the holiday week and doing some browsing.
In the email, you'll want to tell them that the sale is live and give them an obvious link to click.
Mention products and savings in dollars and then give them a button link to the same page.
In between your first few days of your sale and Black Friday, you will hit Thanksgiving.
Even though it's a day committed to relaxing with family, it is also a day committed to online shopping.
In 2020, shoppers spent $5.1 billion, up from 2019's $4.2 billion, and up again from 2018's $3.7 billion.
So, in the Thanksgiving email, you'll want to wish your readers a Happy Thanksgiving and remind them you have great sales going on.
Give them an obvious link and say they should check out after dinner and fun with family and friends.
Send the email a little later in the day, too. This thoughtful touch can go a long way.
Black Friday is here!
By now, we're already several days into our sale...
Which means if someone hasn't purchased yet, then they're probably not going to.
Remember, they're getting tons of promo emails from everyone and their mother at this time.
So, what you want to do is introduce NEW offers.
This will freshen up the sale and keep it interesting.
Just make sure you call out the new offer in the subject line to entice those who haven't bought yet to take a look.
As its name indicates, "Small Business Saturday" is intended to highlight small businesses.
On this day, I like to incorporate another strategy that is designed to address your customer's objections.
You do this through Frequently Asked Questions.
By asking specific questions about common concerns, doubts, or hesitations to buy, you can directly answer that question with a slight sales slant.
For example, one question and answer could be:
- QUESTION: "How long will it take for me to receive Product XYZ?"
- ANSWER: "With our quick fulfillment, you can be enjoying your new Product XYZ within the week!"
And, as always, be sure to link to your landing pages or website product/services pages.
I like to accomplish this step by asking and answering the below:
- QUESTION: "Where can I find out more?"
- ANSWER: Click here (link to landing page) to find out more, or contact us at (email address) to get all your questions answered.
This is the last day of the Black Friday sale, so you'll want to push scarcity in this email, e.g. only a few hours left, last time you'll see this sale, once-in-a-lifetime offer, etc.
Keep it short and of course, have an obvious button or link they can click to shop.
No Black Friday Strategy is complete without a Cyber Monday promotion.
While plenty of competitors will be taking advantage of this day, you can too.
My recommendation is to repeat what we did on Black Friday.
Introduce more NEW offers.
You do this for 2 reasons.
- You want to keep things intriguing.
- Yesterday you told your prospect it was the last day they were going to see that sale. You don't want to give reason for distrust, so you'll want to change up this bundle or offer something brand new.
WE MADE IT!
Congrats! You now have a 2021 Black Friday Marketing Strategy designed for success.
Don't forget, you can get the entire strategy completely free inside my agency's learning portal by clicking the button below.