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Awesome ideas for Black Friday marketing campaigns

Author's avatar By Jessica Wade 25 Oct, 2017
Essential Essential topic

Inspiration for your Black Friday marketing campaign, to help you stand out from the crowd

With everyone shouting about the same thing, its hard to get your voice heard. Black Friday is no exception. Nearly every major retailer will promote Black Friday. Black Friday has become increasingly popular in the UK over the last few years, after originating in the US. Although it's a day hated by many, it has become a great way for retailers to increase profits.

Last year 154 million consumers made purchases, that’s about 3 million more than the previous year. Last year Black Friday surpassed the $3 billion mark for the first time, setting a new sales record. It was found that 76% of retailers will be taking part in Black Friday this year.

There is so much noise around Black Friday and brands competing to be heard, but often you need to do more than just drop your prices to see a good ROI. If you're looking for inspiration for your next Black Friday campaign use one of these tactics.

Social Media

Social Media plays a massive part around Black Friday. Consumers are most likely to share news of deals with friends than at any other time of year. According to one survey, social media is the most important channel for Black Friday promotion.

Chubbies decided to offer a new gift with purchase every hour for 12 hours. This campaign creates an incentive to buy and gets their followers to keep checking back in with Chubbies each hour to see what the latest gift is. They also created a trailer to accompany the offer.

Chubbies Facebook post about Thighber Monday

Sometimes using humor can be a great way to get through the noise and make your Black Friday messaging stand out. Amazon used humor in their last their campaign. They had clearly done their research to find a passionate group within their community and used humor to sell to them.

Amazon received a great response from their community.

One of the biggest reasons people avoid shopping online is because of high shipping costs. This Black Friday why not advertize free shipping or discounted shipping to help boost your ecommerce sales this year

Before you dive into a social media campaign start by considering your messaging and how you want to push your offers. Start by looking at which platform works best for your business. Then choose a strategy, this might be using humor to attract attention, sharing your offers, running a contest or using social advertising. Whatever it is, make sure you know your audience, your message is suitable and your content looks good.

Choose to not take part

There are some well-known retailers who have decided to sit it out the chaos of Black Friday, while their rivals offer discounts. In 2016 Asda choose not to take part, and has instead released a ‘mannequin challenge’ video spoofing the mayhem which hit its stores back in 2014.


The clothing retailer, Fat Face didn't take part but instead donated almost £200,000 of its profits to charity instead of discounting.

In 2015 REI closed its offices on Black Friday and paid its 12,000 Employees not to work that day. They said this was "so they can do what they love most—be outside." This was part of their campaign, called #OptOutside. They also decided to close all 143 retail locations, headquarters and two distribution centers as an attack on consumerism.

Although some brands will opt out of Black Friday many will capitalize on high levels of online traffic and to acquire new customers from their campaigns. There could be a massive missed opportunity for extra revenue. One survey by Sale Cycle reported that brands see a significant increase in spending on Black Friday compared to a normal day, making near 7k per hour.

Use email marketing

Email marketing is a great way to pre-warn your database of your upcoming offers and draw them into discounts. MailChimp reported that their users sent a record-breaking 1.5 billion emails on Black Friday.

But sending the email isn't the hard part, the aim of every Black Friday email is to get customers to click through and purchase.

Email marketing in 2014 was responsible for 27% of holiday sales. But, coming up with an amazing email campaign that will stand out from all of the other emails that your customers are receiving can be a challenge. You may want to consider trying one of Shopify's email marketing suggestion for this Black Friday:

  • Keep things simple and get right to the point, such as a discount and clear CTA
  • Use quirky animation like GIFs
  • Offer a free gift with every purchase
  • Extend your sale
  • Run a contest or giveaway
  • Use humor
  • Create urgency, such as scarcity in your inventory
  • Raise awareness for a cause, a charity, or your customer

Julep used last-minute extended deals to push their Black Friday campaign. Extending the sale last-second gives customers another chance to purchase from your store.

Sometimes less is better - why not use a simple offer email, this email clearly explains the offer and has a focused call to action. If you use this approach make sure you have a clear subject line with the sale or discount and include a call to action that brings customers to your discount landing page.

Email marketing is the second most popular way to promote your Black Friday campaign, therefore can be hugely valuable to your business. With the right amount of engaged subscribers and well-crafted emails, your business can have a very profitable Black Friday.

Target millennials

As many marketers will already know millennials are most likely to spend more compared to any other demographic. It was reported that 48% of 18- to 24-year-olds expected to spend more on gifts than the previous year. Brands who already target this group are in a strong position and will find it easier to reach out to this tech-savvy demographic on Black Friday. If you would like to expand your reach to this demographic consider the following methods.

Focus more on valuable written content instead of traditional ads. Millenials are the most tech-savvy generation and see hundreds of ads every day. To catch their attention use ads that offer something new or unique.

Millenials value authenticity and honesty. Be upfront with your offers and discounts. Don't promote misleading discounts or offers.

You could reach out to influencers, who would work alongside you to promote upcoming offers on black Friday. Millenials listen to influencers and value their opinion. Just ensure you are collaborating with the right ones. For more inspiration use this article on how to win over Millennials.

What not to do

We don't always get it right when it comes to Black Friday. Sometimes we are too aggressive with our messaging or just get it wrong.

Unfortunately, the Singapore-based fashion brand SuperGurl got it very wrong. On their website, they featured a Black Friday sale button labeled 'Rape Us Now,' which apparently was a reference to how low the prices were.

Make sure your message is right and not misleading. If you are offering a discount or offer make sure you see that offer through.

Offer something different

For some retailers, Black Friday just doesn’t work for them. Many luxury brands feel that discounting doesn't sit well with the brand values. Likewise, it has been found that travel brands tend to focus on different times of year which have proven to be more effective for them. If you want to use Black Friday as part of your strategy but don't want to encourage mass consumerism or feel it doesn't fit with your values, what's the alternative?

Consider donating some of your Black Friday sales to charity. Whether its 50%, 10% or 1%  why not use your profits for the greater good.

Uber is another good example of this, instead of taking part in Black Friday they looked to offer something unique. They offered discounts on 5 products over 5 days but don’t unveil what the gifts are until the day of. This keeps the reader coming back for more, creating engagement over a period of days.

Whatever strategy you plan to take, make sure you have a clear message and have a detailed plan in place to ensure you have a successful Black Friday. Why not start with our FREE Digital Marketing plan template, helping you build an effective, integrated strategy around the Smart Insights RACE planning system.

Author's avatar

By Jessica Wade

I was previously the Social Media Executive for Smart Insights and managed all of Smart Insights social media channels and social strategy. I love all things social, most of the time you will find me endlessly scrolling through Instagram. You can follow me on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

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