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The biggest retail event of the year is almost upon us and if you haven’t sorted out your digital marketing strategy it’s time to get organised. Originally named after the chaos caused by post-Thanksgiving traffic in Philadelphia in the 1950s, Black Friday is now a multi-day shopping frenzy that has been rapidly growing in popularity on this side of the Atlantic since Amazon first introduced the concept in 2010. Last year, UK online shoppers spent a reported £1.49bn over the Black Friday weekend; an increase on the £1.39bn spent online in 2017. Here’s how to get your marketing plan ready for this year’s cyber rush.

Consult last year’s data

Google Analytics is a goldmine of useful marketing information. If you want to know the best strategies to adopt this year, look at last year’s data to see what worked and what didn’t. Which keywords, content, ads, and promotions got the highest conversion rates? Where did the majority of your visitors come from? What time of day/night were most of your customers online? These stats should give you a good starting point for the types of campaigns you should be running this year.

Tailor your PPC campaigns

You may be competing with numerous other online marketers, but a PPC or Facebook ad is still a worthwhile investment for Black Friday – clicks and conversion rates often double and you should adjust your ad budget accordingly. If your budget is higher than usual, consider changing the setting to ‘accelerated delivery’ at the campaign level so ads appear as often as possible. Make sure you tailor your copy to include key holiday search terms and create a sense of urgency with dynamic countdown timers and calls to action (e.g. ‘Shop Now’, ‘Save Today, or ‘Get Offer’). Use last year’s data to plan your bids according to which keywords were most successful. You can learn more about how to get the best possible conversion rates for your ad campaigns in our recent blog post.

Check your tech

If you are running a Black Friday deal, heavy demand and volume in searches and web traffic can quickly overload servers. Talk to your developer to make sure your site is prepared for a spike in traffic and check you have a contingency plan should the server become overloaded (for example, a customised error page that collects customers’ email addresses to let them know when it’s running again). Make sure someone is monitoring your site throughout the duration of the sale and have a PR/social media representative ready to handle enquiries if the site goes down for any length of time. The second biggest potential tech disaster is a slow loading site – every additional second it takes for a page to load, the worse the bounce rate gets, so slower ecommerce sites will always lose out to faster competitors. Online shoppers are notoriously impatient, and many mobile users rank slow pages as their number one annoyance, ahead even of site crashes.

Get social

Social media should be a major part of your Black Friday marketing campaign – use relevant hashtags (e.g. #blackfriday, #blackfridaydeals, #cybermonday, #cybermondaysales) to build anticipation in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and promote your themed content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Make sure you take your audience’s spending habits into account when scheduling your posts. For example, peak online shopping activity in the UK last year took place between 5pm-7pm, but you can use Google Analytics to better predict the behaviour of your specific customers. Optimise your social media accounts with custom Black Friday cover photos, pin a sale announcement to the top of your timelines, and update your bio to include a direct link to your Black Friday sale landing page. Keep an eye on which posts are performing best so you can reschedule them for maximum engagement.

Optimise for mobile

According to last year’s Black Friday data, more than half (54.9%) of British customers used smartphones to make their purchases, compared with 38.6% on desktops and 6.4% on tablets. Ensuring that users have a good mobile shopping experience is vital for maximising your Black Friday profits and this starts with a mobile-friendly website. If you’re not sure whether your current site is optimised, you can use Google’s mobile-friendly tool to see how well it scores. Sending personalised offers or coupons tailored to a customer’s mobile device with a clear call to action is a good way of boosting mobile sales.

Need some help with your digital marketing? HookedOnMedia can drive relevant traffic to your website and increase brand awareness through paid search, social, and content marketing. For more information about the services we offer or to arrange a free consultation, fill out a contact form or give us a call on 01872 248376.

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