5 Tips for Beating Black Friday

Lorna Gill Posted by Lorna Gill

smiling woman holding lots of shopping bags

If it’s not in your diary yet, write it in, circle it with a thick red pen, and put a bookmark in the page. Black Friday is coming, and if you’re not prepared yet, the time to start getting ready is now.

According to the Koozai’s Samantha Noble, speaking at September’s Brighton SEO, Black Friday 2014 was the biggest ever day for online sales in the UK, with many businesses simply unable to cope with demand. What began as a traditional day for shopping in the US, thanks to the long weekend brought on by Thanksgiving, has now become a retail phenomenon, with news reports last year full of crowds fighting over discounted goods. The following Monday, known as Cyber Monday, is similarly huge, with electrical firms slashing prices on their stock. Black Friday this year, on November 23rd, will likely be even bigger, meaning there’s a huge opportunity for marketers to get involved in the madness, and enjoy the potential rewards. With that in mind, here’s five tips to keep in mind as Black Friday approaches.

Start Planning Yesterday

There’s an old Chinese proverb that says the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is today. The big retail players will have already got their strategies in place, but if you haven’t begun, there’s no time like the present. There’s still time to liaise with your product and sales teams, work out your campaigns, and get your ads up and running. A quick search on Google for “Black Friday Deals” shows that businesses are already up and running with their own ads, but check out the last one on in the column, which isn’t actually offering what its headline promises at all – with a quality ad and decent CPC, you could be competing with these before you know it:

Learn from the Past

What was your approach for Black Friday last year? How did it work? How did the overall market perform, and what can you take from that? Adthena looked at share of voice on Black Friday terms last year, and found something that might at first seem surprising – retail giant Amazon actually saw its share of impressions decline over Black Friday, something that might seem counter-intuitive. However, when looked at from a broader, strategic point of view, the tactic can make sense – knowing that it was closely associated with Black Friday, Amazon could slash spending on things like its own brand terms, and rely on organic search and its remaining PPC to bring in traffic, enjoying the huge sales boost while also cutting costs, with a massive boost for its bottom line. Make sure you do your own research, studying what worked and didn’t work last year, to ensure your own campaign is finely tuned.

Know Your Market Inside Out

Like with Christmas and other key sales periods, competition will be fierce over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with retailers of all shapes and sizes trying to jump on the bandwagon. You’re probably aware of your day-to-day competitors, but could you see new entrants taking advantage of the huge upswing in searches during the period? Likewise, you probably have a good grasp of what the standard offers and discounts in your industry are, but have you accounted for the kind of deals that rivals might use to tempt in customers in the Black Friday frenzy? Predicting the actions of others is always going to be tricky, but at the very least you need to know your own plans – what promotions you will be offering, how you will be getting that across in your ad copy, and the keywords you want to appear next to. Imagine a normal day in the AdWords world – just ramp up the intensity.

Don’t Neglect Your SEO

In order to thrive on the madness of Black Friday, smart digital marketers will have to use everything in their tool box, and that means going above and beyond. Finely tuning your PPC campaigns will stand you in good stead, but don’t overlook the benefits that can come with aligning your PPC strategy with your SEO. As Adthena has shown before, there are huge advantages to making the two different disciplines work in harmony, and there’s no better time for it to come together than at one of the busiest and most high profile times of the year. As we can see from Amazon’s example last year, it felt confident enough to cut back on its PPC spend and rely on coordinated SEO – when it works, it works well.

Competitive intelligence

While the four other tips will make sure you’re up and running, this one will get you off to a flying start. Adthena’s full competitive intelligence solution can complement any serious investment in PPC, showing you your position within the market compared to your most relevant competitors, keyword opportunities, ad copy analysis and brand infringements. It gives you the evidence and insights you need to navigate even the most hectic periods, and come out with winning results.

Black Friday is coming: don’t be caught in the stampede.

About the author

Lorna Gill
Lorna Gill
Lorna is responsible for acquisition marketing at Adthena, communicating their award-winning product and generating demand. She has developed her career in fast-paced, start-up environments, including two tech track 100 companies and is passionate about translating technical information into stories that excite and delight.