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Why ‘Black Friday’ is more than 1 day for digital marketers

Digital Marketing

Shana Bull is a marketing educator and digital storyteller, working with wine, food, hospitality businesses, teaching classes on marketing, and freelance writing. Reach her with your questions about digital marketing at shana@shanabull.com, @sharayray on Instagram or at shanabull.com.

Read Shana’s past columns.

Just before “Black Friday” can be a hectic time for marketers. With the right strategy and time to plan ahead of the holiday chaos, you can create successful holiday marketing campaigns that will help drive connections and boost your sales.

People in the marketing industry joke that Black Friday should be called "Unsubscribe Day,” because this is often a day that customers unsubscribe from email newsletters that they don't even remember signing up for.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

If you want to get your holiday marketing campaign off on the right foot this year, there are a few strategies that you can use to boost your results and engage your customers.

Note, in the past few years, “Black Friday” feels more like a state of mind than an actual day for many businesses. (Amazon’s Prime Day happens twice a year now.) Consumers are shopping more and more on their own schedules rather than waiting until the day after Thanksgiving to do all their holiday shopping.

This means that a successful holiday marketing strategy is not just about having great offers on Black Friday or Cyber Monday; it's also about creating an engaging experience for your customers throughout the entire holiday season.

“It’s the season of giving. Offer two to three gift sets featuring popular wines at tiered prices, and fuel corporate orders with gift sets under $100 that can be shipped to multiple recipients,” says Stephanie Wycoff, regional estate director, Crimson Wine Group (with Sonoma/ Napa wineries like Segnehsio and Pine Ridge Estates) crimsonwinegroup.com.

If you didn't start planning for the holidays in July, now is the perfect time to get creative with your marketing. Here are some things you can do right now to prepare for the holiday season:

Connect NOW!

If it's been a while, send a non-promotional email or two before sending an email announcing your Black Friday deals.

This could be an answer to an FAQ or something exciting happening behind the scenes. You want people to remember who you are and feel interested in what you have to say! A surefire way to encourage someone to hit "spam" on your email blast is to only message them once a year.

It's important to keep the lines of communication open so they don't forget about you when making a purchase.

In addition to emails, now is the time to ramp up your social media community engagement.

Again, you want your connections to remember that you exist when they see your Black Friday content in their feed. This can be as simple as responding to comments, tagging relevant people or brands in posts, or joining in on Twitter chats.

Make it easy

On Black Friday, people are looking for deals and they're looking for them fast.

Make sure your website is easy to navigate and your deals are clearly marked. Do a quick overview of your website to check that everything is working as it should be.

Look at your current customer journey and see if any holes need to be fixed before you head into the "online shopping" season. If a customer has a poor experience on your website, they're not likely to come back, no matter how good the deal is.

If you're running a sale in your brick-and-mortar store, ensure that people can easily find and understand the details. The simpler you make it for people to take advantage of your deals, the more likely they are to do so.

Also, people are busy, and their attention spans are short. Your message needs to be clear and concise.

Google your business and see what comes up first. Is it your website? Your social media profiles?

The most relevant information for customers should be easy to find. If there are any unanswered negative reviews, now is the time to start working on fixing them. Are your hours wrong? Edit that in your Yelp and Google My Business listing.

Plan your marketing strategy

A clear understanding of your target audience is the heart of any successful marketing strategy. Who are they, and what do they care about?

Can you identify their pain points and challenges, and how can your product or service solve them? By understanding your audience clearly, you can create content that resonates with them and drives conversions.

Yes, wine can help your customers, for example, a pain point might be that they are invited to a last-minute holiday party but aren't sure what wine to bring! If you plan ahead, you can create content to speak to those people looking for last-minute host gift.

Now is also the time to plan any holiday-specific content you want to create.

Brainstorm your content strategy and social media posts ahead of time so you're not scrambling at the last minute.

Also, have a plan for the customers who don't convert right away. Just because someone doesn't buy something from you on Black Friday doesn't mean they’ll never buy from you. Determine how you’ll nurture those leads and turn them into customers down the road.

Focus on just one or two tactics

Although you cannot do everything, you can still make a large impact during the holidays by keeping your marketing campaign simple.

Wycoff from Crimsom Wine had some great advice for marketers who may be feeling the crunch of the holiday season, “prioritize one or two marketing campaigns that you can execute thoughtfully via email and social media and then focus on delivering a seamless purchasing journey.”

These are just a few ideas of what you can start immediately, but there are other things to keep in mind.

1. Use your data with emails and digital ads. Use customer data to your advantage and segment your email list. This way you can send highly personalized emails with relevant messages to each individual.

The more personalized an email is, the more likely it is to be opened and acted upon. You can also get very specific with who your ads target on social media. For example, Facebook allows you to target users by interests, demographics, and behaviors.

2. Use scarcity. Someone who feels like they might miss out on a good deal is more likely to take action.

Use phrases like "limited time only" or "while supplies last" to create urgency and encourage people to take advantage of your deals before they're gone.

“Wine club memberships also makes a great gift, especially for last-minute shoppers,” says Wycoff.

3. Create a sense of excitement. Your subject line is the first thing people will see when they receive your email, so make it count! Use emojis, all caps, or exclamation points to make your subject line stand out and get people excited about what's inside.

4. Get personal. One way to stand out from the crowd on Black Friday is to get personal with your marketing.

This could mean anything from addressing your customers by name in your emails to sending them a handwritten note with their purchase. Anything that makes your customer feel like more than just a number will go a long way in building loyalty and creating lasting relationships.

5. Have fun. The holidays can be hectic, but that doesn't mean that your marketing has to be all business.

Have some fun with your campaigns, and let your personality shine through. This is a great time to get creative and think outside the box. Be playful, be tongue-in-cheek, and most importantly, have fun!

By following these simple tips, you'll be well on your way to creating successful Holiday marketing campaigns that will bring in lots of business. So get out there and start planning your strategy!

Digital Marketing

Shana Bull is a marketing educator and digital storyteller, working with wine, food, hospitality businesses, teaching classes on marketing, and freelance writing. Reach her with your questions about digital marketing at shana@shanabull.com, @sharayray on Instagram or at shanabull.com.

Read Shana’s past columns.

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