How to Plan and Execute Your End of Year Sale Marketing
It’s that time of year again. Around the world, companies are rolling out their Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and holiday sales events earlier than ever. Arguably one of the biggest sales seasons of the year, end of the year sales can make or break your annual revenue goals. After all, according to Shelley E. Kohan of forbes.com, consumers spent $9 billion on Black Friday alone in 2020. That’s a 21.6% increase over spending in 2019!
As of the publication date of this article, Black Friday 2021 is exactly 28 days away. And if you haven’t started your marketing push for the holiday season, the time is now! No matter what industry you’re in, if you sell or offer anything online, take advantage of this wonderful time of the year called Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Continuing reading for a step-by-step guide from the professionals at West County Net to get you on the path to success this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
1. Plan, Plan, Plan Your Marketing Timeline
Obviously, since you didn’t start your end of the year marketing in July or August, get on it now!
Hold a retrospective on previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales
Review data from previous sales to figure out which campaigns were successful and which were failures (or less successful). Of those successful sales, what do you see as contributing factors? Were your Black Friday graphics particularly eye-catching? What platforms did you market on? And of those sales that weren’t so successful, what do you think caused you to come up short? Was your audience too specific or too broad? Was your campaign message clear and engaging? Use these successes and failures to inform decisions for this year’s marketing plan.
Determine what your sale will be. Are you going to have a flat discount sitewide? Is this a BOGO situation? Will only specific products or services be on sale? Whatever your sale, make sure to have all specifics explained in detail. Have this information available in writing for anyone involved in the sale. Everyone—your marketing team, associates, customer service representatives, etc.—should know the specifics of your sale.
Find your audience
While Black Friday is a great opportunity to reach new customers with splurge-worthy savings, remember that this is also a great opportunity to re-engage loyal customers. Many loyal customers hold off on end of the year spending to take advantage of holiday sales. Decide whether or not you’re going to focus marketing efforts on attracting new customers or retargeting existing customers or if you’ll host separate campaigns for both. Campaigns for one audience will not work for the other so do not try to market to both using the same message and resources.
Set your budget, staff, resources, and goals
Your budget is a huge factor in determining the size and scope of your Black Friday marketing plan. Your budget will decide how much staff you can assign to the project, how many hours you can dedicate to planning and execution, and what resources you can afford. So before deciding on a $500 daily spend Facebook Ads campaign, know what your limitations are. And whatever your final budget is, calculate your target return-on-investment to inform what your target campaign goal will be.
Know your Black Friday or Cyber Monday team members. Every team member should be aware of their own tasks and responsibilities as well as those of their fellow team members. The best offense is a good defense. If everyone is aware and accountable to the team, it’s far less likely for mistakes to occur.
Budget for any assets, resources, or third-party applications or consultants that you will need. If you plan to use stock photos, be sure to include the cost of those photos in your budget. If you plan to hire an outside marketing firm to create HTML5 ads, know how much they charge.
Decide what your goals are. Are you aiming for increased revenue year over year? Are you looking to generate leads? Whatever your goal is, use previous sales’ data and your target ROI to make informed SMART goals.
Create your timelines
Make your Black Friday marketing plan effortless by implementing a timeline and sticking to it. Decide when ideas must be drafted and finalized. Have a clear deadline for when marketing resources must be submitted. And be sure everyone knows when each part of the marketing plan is scheduled to start and finish. Below you can find a rough outline of a marketing timeline for Black Friday:
7-8 weeks out
Begin planning and strategizing
5-7 weeks out
Draft and finalize all marketing resources
3-4 weeks out
Start advertising across all platforms especially display and SEM advertising
2 weeks out
Push “teaser” email and social media announcements
The week of
Increase frequency of email, MMS, and social media marketing
The day before
Send a single email reminder emphasizing the “limited-time” aspect of the sale
The day of
If the sale is one day only, be sure to send at least one email in morning and one towards the end of the sale
Promote across all social media platforms
Update any and all website resources (hero images, banner text, navigation, etc.) to reflect the sale
2. Prepare Your Black Friday and Cyber Monday Marketing Assets
Create a shared folder where all sale resources will live
Cloud-based storage makes sharing and organizing files amongst multiple team members easier than ever. Whatever platform you’re using, whether Google drive, iCloud, or a private server, choose a single location for all sale resources to live. This is important for a number of reasons.
First, it ensures that all team members will be able to access all files. Second, it makes it easy to collaborate on materials that need to be thematically similar such as graphics, fonts, and copy. Third, a shared folder makes linking to the correct files easy; if something is in the wrong folder, it’s probably not meant for this sale.
Design your resources: videos, graphics, content, etc.
Whether you have someone in-house, or consult a graphic designer, be sure to have a clear cut idea of what your sale should look, read, and sound like. Be specific at the onset and check in with the designer/design team to make sure drafting goes as discussed. If something turns out wrong or off, it’s better to catch the miscommunication early than 2 days before the sale starts.
Build your Black Friday and Cyber Monday landing page
Landing pages are extremely important to the success of your sale. Not only do they serve as a destination for marketing-targeted audiences, but they also act as your most important conversion point. A professional web designer and developer will know how best to organize this unique web page to leverage call-to-actions, distinct and engaging language, and products to maximize conversion.
3. Launch Your Sales
The step in planning and executing your Black Friday marketing is of course executing it. That does not mean however that it’s hands-off from this point on. In fact, more than ever you should be checking in on the progress of any SEM, SEO, display, or email advertisement campaigns. Keep an eye on your designated KPI. Make sure they fall within expected ranges, and if not, workshop how to improve them. Expert digital marketers will know exactly how to address issues like suboptimal impressions, or high acquisition costs, or low CTR.
Skip the hassle of planning for Black Friday marketing on your own
Owning and managing a small business is already hard enough without the added pressure of planning and marketing for Black Friday and other end-of-the-year sales. Rather than risk your time, money, and effort on a gamble, invest in a professional digital marketing firm like West County Net. We’ve worked with multiple clients across diverse industries throughout Sonoma County, northern California, and beyond. We have the experience and skills necessary to build a marketing campaign that works for your objectives, your budget, and your business.