Our Guide to ECommerce and Marketing for Black Friday

Of course it’s not! In fact, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great opportunities for your brand to make some money – and lots of it if you play your cards right. Last year on Black Friday, American consumers spent $2.4 billion online. This year, it’s projected that Black Friday will be the biggest spending day to have ever taken place on the Internet. You certainly don’t want to throw away the opportunity to generate more sales, but it’s not always clear how you should prepare for the massive amount of traffic and sales.

To help business owners like you out, we’ve created a checklist to prepare your ecommerce site for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This checklist will help secure a position for your business so that you can capitalize on these big spending days. By having clear steps to follow, we hope that it will reduce some of the stress you may be feeling.

Let’s get prepared to sell!

Get Your Website Up to Code

 Update Your Homepage. Consumers are already looking for hot products to buy, so let visitors know what items you will have on sale. Place these items on your homepage with countdown tickers, relevant banners and call to actions.

 Simplify the Checkout Process. Do a dry run of your checkout process and identify ways to simplify it such as by minimizing clicks and removing form fields. Shoppers will be in a hurry, so you don’t want them to drop out because of a complicated checkout process.

 Test for Mobile Friendliness. By now you know that your website needs to look good on mobile devices. Even if you have a responsive website, test your pages using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to ensure that your pages are up to speed for Black Friday.  

 Set Up Live Chat. Use HTML code on the pages where you want the chat window to appear. Live chat is worth having so that customers can get quick responses and not drop out of the buying funnel.

 Establish a Returns Policy. Get your returns policy in check so that customers know what to expect. Returning items should be fast, easy and flexible so customers aren’t afraid to buy.


Start Your Email Engines

 Create Anticipatory Emails. To build interest, send out a series of emails to subscribers. The first email should be an initial announcement and the others should build on this suspense such as by revealing Black Friday products or prices.

 Write Copy for Transactional Emails. Create emails for order confirmations, abandoned cart notices and other automated responses. Also create emails regarding upcoming holiday sales so customers are encouraged to return.

 Segment Lists. Segment email subscribers who have not purchased anything and remind them that your Black Friday sale is limited.

 Align Landing Pages. Create landing pages that align with the emails being sent. This way, visitors stay on target and aren’t distracted by something else when clicking on the CTA.


3 Seconds or Less

 Check Site Speed. Use the Site Speed tab in Google Analytics to check the load times of your pages. If any of your load times are over 3 seconds, fix them. Shoppers won’t wait for your pages to load.

 Optimize Content. Use words like “Black Friday” in your title tags, header tags and content to optimize them for holiday shopping. This will help users find your website more easily when searching for certain keywords.

 Use Long-Tail Keywords. Research long-tail keywords that users will be searching for. There’s less competition, and these keywords will attract people who are searching specifically for your products.

 Claim Your Listings. If you have a brick-and-mortar store in addition to your online store, go through and claim your business listings. Make sure all information is correct and up to date.


Keywording and Beyond

 Plan Your Ads. Remember that PPC ads can be costly at this time of the year. To get the most out of your ad budget, choose keywords that are most likely to lead to conversions. A PPC professional can help with this.

 Launch Ads in Advance. Consumers will be researching Black Friday sales before the big day, so launch ads that are tailored to the research phase.

 Retarget Users. Remarket to those who have visited your website but have had yet to convert. This is a good way to keep your brand on their mind for Black Friday shopping.


Tweet, Post and Gram

 Create Exclusive Offers. Reward your followers on social media by offering them exclusive discounts. Or give them access to sales earlier than regular shoppers.

 Have One Doorbuster. It’s smart to have at least one doorbuster sale that lures customers in. Pick an item that you can offer at a heavily discounted price and market it on social media.

 Generate Holiday Content. Whether it’s a gift guide or tips for choosing the perfect gift, create holiday-related content and share it on your social media pages.

 Monitor Social Chatter. There should be at least one person listening on social media on Black Friday. This way, your brand can respond quickly to questions, concerns or feedback.


Heat up Your Tracking Maps

 Set Up Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a great way to track your success, so make sure that your business is setup for tracking.

 Use Heatmaps. Heatmaps tell you where visitors are clicking. It’s a nice addition to Google Analytics because it tells you more about what’s motivating users to click.

 Watch Your Competition. Spy on your competitors in the coming weeks to see how they’re gearing up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Sign up for their email lists to see what they’re sending out to customers.

When Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, try turning those seasonal customers into loyal brand advocates. Take the appropriate steps to nurture your relationship with these customers by sending them emails or remarketing to them with relevant ads. Also be sure to reflect on what strategies were effective and which ones were not. This will help you build a stronger marketing campaign next year.