The Best 2019 Black Friday Prep Tips from the Experts

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No one needs to tell you how monumental Black Friday can be for an ecommerce business. While Cyber Monday and all of November see higher sales across the ecommerce industry, Black Friday is still the end-all-be-all of the holiday shopping season.

And Black Friday is drawing close. It’s drawing very close .

Don’t panic. You need to get your Black Friday emails and marketing in gear, but there’s still time.

Luckily, we reached out to 11 of the biggest ecommerce and digital marketing experts. We asked for their Black Friday prep tips and advice to help you get ready for the biggest shopping holiday of the year.

#1. Rytis Lauris- Omnisend

Rytis_1 (1)


twitter-1 @ RytisLauris | linkedin Rytis Lauris

My biggest Black Friday prep tip for online merchants looking to prepare is to not forget about the steps of the customer journey that come after acquisition. Yes, bring them in with doorbuster sales. Yes, give them an offer they can’t refuse. Yes, focus on acquisition like you should during Black Friday .

But make sure you follow up with that customer after Black Friday is over. Don’t just let them churn and sail off into the distance, instead, provide a customer experience they won’t forget, and transform them into lifelong customers.

Set up automation workflows that, yes, secure that initial purchase, but bring them back once the holidays are over by using all of your channels to send relevant messages. Black Friday doesn’t have to be a bunch of one-shot customers. You can increase your customer base significantly with the right strategies in place.

#2. Chloë Thomas- Ecommerce MasterPlan


twitter-1 @ecommasterplan | linkedin Chloë Thomas

For Black Friday it’s essential to remember my promotional golden rule “A promotion exists to get the customer to do what you want them to do as cheaply as possible.

What is it you want the customer to do this Black Friday? (it might be different for different customer segments, eg you want to get Enquirers to make their first purchase, you want to get those who’ve bought before to spend more this time).

Once you know what you want them to do what’s the cheapest way to get them to do it? Taking 20% off every single product on your website and taking out adverts in the national newspapers probably isn’t the answer.

“By considering my golden promotional rule you can make Black Friday work for you.

Maybe your Black Friday deals are only going to be available to those with certain voucher codes – then you can split the size of the offer between segments based on how hard it is to get them to convert.

Make Black Friday work for you.”

#3. Sam Hurley – OPTIM-EYEZ


twitter-1 @sam___hurley | linkedin Sam Hurley

A mistake I see all the time (especially by brands that also advertise on T.V.) is when they attempt to reward new customers much more than those returning — or they just forget about existing customers completely.

This is exaggerated even more so during the Black Friday period!

Rather than think of Black Friday as a mad rush to get as many sales as possible with a churn and burn mentality, focus on your loyal customers first — because 1) they are much easier to convert again, 2) they are much more inclined to spend MORE, and 3) they are likely to keep coming back long after Black Friday if you do it right.

  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%.- Clickz
  • Repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers. -Customer Thermometer
  • 80% of your future profits will come from just 20% of your existing customers. -Customer Thermometer

Segment your audience by those who have purchased before, and offer tiered (and time-sensitive) deals in alignment with how much they’ve spent and/or how often they have bought from you.

This can be done via any modern email marketing / CRM software, but should ideally be deployed in an omnichannel fashion —meeting customers at a time and channel that suits them best.

Bonus: Emojis are a powerful method to grab attention. In subject lines of emails, use the snowman emoji to boost open rates by 66% !

#4. Branden Moskwa -Nadimo


twitter-1 @bmoskwa | linkedin Branden Moskwa

So this is an interesting question for me to ponder. The reason is that I never tend to suggest offering products at discounts as it devalues the brand and the product you’re selling. What I mean here is your product should be priced fairly to begin with so by offering a discount you in essence tell your customers that “You pay too much for my product.”

That said, Black Friday & Cyber Monday are an exception, and if you choose to get in on the biggest day in retail you had better come swinging. Don’t throw up deals like 10% off or some lackluster offer. Make it 50, 70, 80…Better yet give it away FREE!

Yes, I said it, and I don’t mean free shipping I mean free product! I recently bought in on a promo I saw on Pinterest (a secret weapon for ecommerce stores by the way), they were giving away free watches all I had to do was pay for shipping!

It really is all about the experience. I love sites that can sell products for more than you would ever think you would pay for a given product just because they make it experiential and fun.

So while I could get into great detail my suggestion to you is to start putting the word out to your customers and potential customers via every channel at your disposal. Create a sense of excitement around the “Event” your planning on the big weekend or day and then deliver the best possible experience you can.

Make it something that people talk about, and can’t wait to get in on next year. Hey, this may also be a way you can get away without having to drastically slash prices. Maybe you can get away with 40% off deals.

#5. Richard Lazazzera -A Better Lemonade Stand

Richard Lazazzera, FOUNDER OF A Better Lemonade Stand

twitter-1 @RichardABLS | linkedin Richard Lazazzera

The best strategy you can have for your Black Friday marketing campaign is to be prepared. It might seem simple, but it’s true! Black Friday is a hugely competitive consumer holiday with so many ecommerce and brick-and-mortar stores participating, so if you’re not prepared ahead of time you could potentially miss out on the extra traffic and revenue.

If you haven’t already, start creating your Black Friday content now and develop a plan for your promotions, discounts, and offers. Will you stick to one offer throughout the entire Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend or will your offers change every day? Will you only offer a deal on the actual Black Friday day or will you participate in Cyber Monday too?

Plus, don’t forget to prepare th e emails , social media posts, copy, and images that you’ll be using for your campaign. Having these assets created ahead of time will help you execute a successful marketing campaign that your customers know about and can get excited for.

#6. Shayla Price

Shayla Price, Digital Marketing and Content Consultant

twitter-1 @shaylaprice | linkedin Shayla Price

Hyper-personalize your campaigns for the Black Friday shopping season. Customers are tired (and annoyed) of the one-size-fits-all messages. Be creative and start using your existing customer data to create one-of-a-kind campaigns.

For example, if your brand caters to US customers, try developing geographical campaigns, include different location-based phrases, and mention well-known landmarks. Tailor it even more with additional segments, like women between the ages of 25-35 in the Pacific Northwest.

You’ll earn more revenue through personalization. Because if your customers feel understood, they are more likely to purchase from a brand they consider a trusted friend.

#7. Raúl Galera – ReferralCandy


twitter-1 @raulgalerad | linkedin Raúl Galera

According to the IAB, more than $100B were spent on internet ads in 2018 , and about $6B during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend alone. This means that Black Friday can make a huge positive difference in a company’s financials, but also that brands need to be smart about their ad spend because of heavy competition: every other brand will be spending heavily.

As cost of acquisition continues to increase every year, brands need to look at ways to diversify their customer acquisition channels. One lower-cost channel is organic search. Consumers turn to Google to start their shopping; for example, last year on Black Friday, searches for ‘smartphone deals’ spiked to 800%:

By anticipating your potential customer search queries on Google, you can make sure that your brand is in front of people who are already looking for Black Friday deals even weeks in advance. Targeting the right keywords by doing proper keyword research and building backlinks to your Black Friday content you’ll be adding an extra push to your organic traffic during the weekend you need it the most.

Also know that comparison shopping will be happening – customers are going to have several tabs open, shopping for the best deal, maybe even having their friends browsing other sites on different devices. Be sure to give the final polish and write some product descriptions that sell so they don’t hesitate and click buy.

#8. Mollie Woolnough-Rai


twitter-1 @LoyaltyLionHQ | linkedin Mollie Woolnough-Rai

Our biggest Black Friday marketing tip for online sellers is not to forget the value of your existing customers during a time when acquisition is often the primary focus. Use the time before and after the event to retain high-value, loyal customers.

Over Black Friday 2018, merchants using LoyaltyLion saw their customers claim 2.65 times more rewards than on a regular weekend. This shows that customers save up rewards and spend them during Black Friday.

Before the big event, send out reward reminder emails that show them the outstanding points they can redeem against purchases to bag even bigger bargains. This way, they’ll be more likely to head to your store instead of shopping around.

For 64% of retailers, shoppers acquired during Black Friday have a much lower customer lifetime value. This shows that although Black Friday is a great time to acquire new customers, they’re unlikely to return to you in the new year. Discounts and sales only foster loyalty for so long.

After Black Friday, reach back out to your newly acquired customers with loyalty emails that make them feel special. Show the exclusive perks of your loyalty program (such as free shipping or early VIP-access to exclusive sales).

Or, if they haven’t become a member already, show them the instant points they’ll get for making an account with you that they can spend in the future.

You could also brighten up the new year by giving your new loyalty program members double points for spending with you a second time. This will remind them that you’re there and worth shopping with down the road.

#9. Steve Chou – My Wife Quit Her Job

Steve Chou, Founder of My Wife Quit Her Job

twitter-1 @mywifequit | linkedin Steve Chou

My biggest Black Friday marketing tip is to not skimp on sending emails. Every year, we run a 12 day of Christmas promotion where we email our customer list every day for 12 days and every email makes money. Despite the frequent mailings, our spam rate is 0%.

Because PPC advertising is especially expensive over the holidays, you should focus on the communication channels that are under your direct control. This includes email, Facebook Messenger and push notifications.

#10. Mike Glover


twitter-1 @themglover | linkedin Mike Glover

I think there are two particularly highly neglected elements of Black Friday and Q4 marketing.

Firstly, it shouldn’t be just about the short-term sales. There’s a real opportunity to drive repeat business throughout the New Year and beyond. Research from Retention Science suggests Black Friday customers have a 274% faster churn rate than regular customers, and are 19% less likely to buy from you again.

But is this because they’re not that interested in your products? Or due to a poor experience brought about by dealing with an underprepared company during an incredibly busy period?

So one of your greatest weapons during Black Friday is to make sure the influx of new customers actually enjoy engaging with and buying from your brand. Prepare your business to go the distance operationally – temp staff hired in advance, no website downtimes, technology and systems up to scratch, all orders get shipped on time, returns are handled positively, etc.

And, of course, make sure to store contact details of your Q4 buyers ready to then hit them with further (possibly more profitable) campaigns throughout the rest of the year.

Secondly, there’s a wholesale opportunity to consider as well. Other retailers want quality products to sell – especially when it comes to Black Friday. So consider developing a solid B2B ecommerce strategy specifically for Black Friday to get your foot in the door at a variety of outlets in time for the rest of Q4 and beyond.

#11. Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton , Editor in Chief of SaleCycle

twitter-1 @gcharlton | linkedin Graham Charlton

Give people reasons to return to your site over the Black Friday period. The Black Friday sales period now lasts longer than ever before. People spend time switching between sites before and during the sales period, looking for the best deals and promotions.

Offering daily deals provides customers with reasons to come back day after day over the sales period. Sites can use countdown timers to build urgency, counting down to the end of some deals, and highlighting when others will begin.

Biggest Takeaways

When it comes to huge shopping holidays, you need all the preparation tips you can get. These 11 experts have been through the rush, and know the trials and tribulations of dealing with Black Friday as an online seller.

Most of the expert contributors agreed on one major aspect: Don’t forget about your current customers.

Being customer-centric is critical all year round. However, it’s important to remember that loyal customers are more profitable long-term.

In addition to focusing on your already loyal customers, focus on bringing the customers you do acquire over Black Friday/Cyber Monday to that same level of loyalty. You can keep them coming back through loyalty programs, a great customer experience, or omnichannel marketing automation.

Treat these customers well—as if they’ll be yours for life. Doing so means that Black Friday won’t just be profitable over the holidays, but for many years to come.

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