Black Friday is the most popular shopping day of the season in the US, with almost $13 billion in online sales this past Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We’re marking our calendars with the big days this year for both marketing and shopping efforts.
Black Friday: November 29th
Cyber Monday: December 3rd
According to Swirl McGarryBowen, “Global shoppers buy earlier throughout Black Friday Week, and 50% of holiday shopping was completed by December 3rd, 2018.” Skipping the prep is not an option when it comes to planning your marketing strategy for these major shopping days. Today, we’re sharing our Holiday Marketing Checklist for you to get down and plan!
Here’s a timeline of how to prepare for these shopping holidays – start early to help you get the best results from your sales and campaigns.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BF/CM) Countdown
One Month Ahead
- Create a product inventory list: Make a spreadsheet of all of the products you’ll be selling over the holidays. Write out the product name, description, item (SKU) number, product cost, number in stock, and the net value of each item’s stock.
- Decide on your BF/CM sales & offers: Having a clear strategy of the sales and offers you’ll provide for Black Friday and Cyber Monday will help you plan out your content ahead of time. Write out your ideas and make a list of content you’ll need to create based on that list.
- Reach out to nano influencers: Influencer marketing is a fantastic way to reach new consumers with the same affinity to your product or service. Identify nano influencers (under 10k) who can naturally advocate for you. While influencers with a higher following are expensive and hard to track, nano influencers can be more impactful to drive sales through their intimate network. A study from MuseFind revealed that “92% of consumers trust influencers more than an advertisement.” Decide which influencers would represent your brand, and reach out to them!
Three Weeks Ahead
- Test & optimize your website for a traffic spike: According to digital marketing entrepreneur Neil Patel, “40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.” You don’t want to lose potential sales due to a slow site, so make this a priority. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential when it comes to website optimization – read this article for SEO tips. There are many ways to make your website faster, check out this article or this YouTube video for a complete in-depth guide on how to speed up your website and improve conversion.
Aside from optimization, it’s also a good idea to update your website and make it festive. Incorporating shipping discounts (ex: free two-day shipping) is another way to boost holiday sales and decrease abandoned carts.
- Make your website is mobile-friendly: A statistic from 99firms confirmed that “49% of consumers use mobile phones for shopping.” Ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly can be a gamechanger for your sales! This helpful guide will assist you in optimizing your site for mobile.
- Create your holiday graphics for social media: Visual content is key when it comes to boosting sales and grabbing the attention of potential customers. Create visual content for your Instagram grid, IG Stories, Pinterest, and Facebook. Twitter isn’t a visual platform, but sharing evergreen content to Twitter is a great way to boost engagement. Our StoriesEdit app is a great tool to design and create Instagram Story content! Create content that’s in line with your brand, incorporate fun holiday designs, and include a call to action (CTA) wherever you can to link your followers to your online store.
- Choose a platform to run ads on: Decide where to spend your ad dollars. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin, but you also don’t want to put all of your digital eggs in one basket. Knowing where your future audience lives online is the first step to running successful ads. If they’re primarily on Instagram, run one or two ads on IG Stories and one as a post as well. Sponsoring user-generated content is another compelling way to gain a consumer’s trust and.
- Plan out your ad images & copy: Once you’ve decided which platform(s) you’re running ads on, start planning your content and copy. Incorporating video into your ad content expands engagement. The stats are in: “87% of consumers say they’d like to see more video from brands in 2019.” Adding video into your ad strategy should be a priority. If you don’t have an inhouse graphic designer, hiring a temporary freelancer or videographer to help you create amazing holiday content would be well worth it.
Two Weeks Ahead
- Write a holiday sales newsletter to send to your followers: Newsletters are an effective way to reach your audience consistently. It’s all about getting your brand in their face, but also providing content that is visually appealing and relatable. If your newsletter needs some spice, take a look at this blog post to help you up your game. Create a few holiday-focused newsletters leading up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, or any other holidays that apply to your audience. Including discount codes will help to increase click-through rates – everyone loves a sale! Another fun newsletter content idea would be to include a video of a customer or influencer unboxing your products and showing people how they use them.
- Set up Google Analytics for your website & email marketing campaign: Keep an eye on stats across all social channels but also take this time frame to finally dive into Google Analytics. Setting up Google Analytics will allow you to dive even deeper into who your audience is, what they’re looking at, and which product or content is working performing. It’s easy to set up Google Analytics: go to this website to sign up and start seeing data on your site. We love Google Analytics’ real-time stats to monitor traffic against sales. Tracking analytics will also give you insight on which sales did better than others and, ultimately, adjust future campaigns and strategies. If you want to dig a little deeper, here are 6 Google Analytics tips for business insight.
One Week Ahead
- Start teasing your upcoming holiday sales to create buzz: Creating buzz around holiday sales or product releases will get your followers excited and build hype. You don’t want to start teasing the sales too early, but generally, a week out should be good. Be creative with your video content or social media posts when you’re teasing the upcoming sale or product to create some anticipation and engagement with your followers. You could even have a contest leading up to the announcement to amplify engagement and grow your followers.
- Create a loyalty program to boost repeat customers: During the holidays, you’ll likely receive a lot of new customers who have never purchased from you before. This makes it a great time to incorporate a loyalty program to encourage your holiday customers to come back! Starbucks, DSW, and Sephora are all examples of prime customer loyalty programs. The rewards are alluring during the holidays and keeps them coming back! You can tailor the program to what fits best with your business and your customers. However, steer clear loyalty “punch cards” – it’s all about the digital loyalty programs now.
- Schedule all of your posts in advance for your IG grid & IG Stories on PLANOLY: The best part of the holidays is when you get to take a break and relax – you can’t do that if you’re posting content and working throughout the holidays! PLANOLY is here to make your life as a business owner a little easier. Once you have all of your content created, simply add it into the PLANOLY mobile app or web dashboard, schedule a date and time to post, and your work is done! It gets even better if you have auto-post enabled because your content will automatically push to Instagram without you having to lift a finger. If you want to learn more about PLANOLY’s auto-post feature, check it out here!
The holidays can be a stressful time for small businesses, so we hope these tips and best practices will help you to run things a bit smoother! We’ve also created a Black Friday / Cyber Monday checklist that you can reference to make sure you’re staying on track. Happy holidays!