Black Friday is right around the corner - again - just how prepared is your business?
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You might think of Black Friday as that crazy time of year when shoppers pour uncontrollably into high street stores and fight over TVs, but behind all the mayhem is a great opportunity for smaller ecommerce businesses.
As Black Friday becomes more entrenched in the UK calendar, many shoppers are turning their back on the high street crush, and looking to their screens instead. However, if you’re going to be successful this year, you need to prepare. With just a couple of weeks to go you still have a bit of time, but don’t leave it too long to get ready!
Learn what makes a good deal
Preparing for Black Friday starts with planning the deals that you’re going to offer your visitors. Remember, deals don’t succeed through discounts alone, but through the way that you talk about them. Thankfully, Black Friday shoppers have some psychological buttons that you can press to draw them in.
Exclusivity and the fear of missing out
Shoppers in 2016 want to find deals that no one else can, and they hate the thought of missing out on an offer. Those are the reasons why it’s a great idea to emphasise things like a limited time on a deal, or limited stock on one of your top products.
If you can put a customer under pressure, or they feel like they’re competing with other shoppers, they spend more - it’s the same principle that drives eBay auctions.
Christmas shoppers don't want to miss out on a deal
The language of the deal
The other thing to get right is the way you present the deal. The trick is to make the discount look as big as possible:
25% off a £20 product looks better than £5 off…
but £500 off a £2,000 product looks better than 25% off.
Another quick win is to throw free stuff into deals. Shoppers love Buy One Get One Free offers, and will often think they’re getting a better deal than they actually are if they get something for free.
Get your SEO right
No one’s going to buy from your site if they can’t find it on Black Friday. You need to make sure that your key pages are optimised for search.
Although SEO is a very broad discipline, there are some small changes that you can make to help your pages rank in the search results and to make people more likely to click through to your site.
Tools like Google Adwords can help you get an idea about the searches people are making, as can your own site data if you look at which pages people reach organically. Several paid research tools, like ahrefs and Moz Keyword Explorer offer free trials that might be worth taking advantage of for your Black Friday campaign.
Once you know what people are searching for, you need to make changes to your pages to reflect those searches and the intent behind them. This means making small changes such as making sure important keywords feature prominently near the start of the relevant page’s title tag. You should also consider including bit of copy on the category or product pages that talks about the product and tells customers useful information.
SEO is about showing both the search engines and your customers that your products are what they’re looking for with their searches. Bear that in mind when optimising for Black Friday.
Get social with it
All of your preparation will be for nothing if no one knows about it. It’s not enough to simply tweet about good deals on Black Friday itself; you need to be targeting as many potential customers as your budget allows in the weeks leading up to the 25th November.
Use your customer data to find out who has already bought from you and what they were buying, then show those customers specific products and give them deals that relate to their interests.
Make sure gift ideas are tailored to your customers
As you get closer to Black Friday, you should also look at your competitors, targeting their Twitter and Facebook followers with enticing deals. You could advertise deals on Facebook for people who like your page. If more people like the page, other potential customers will see you as trustworthy.
On Black Friday itself, you need to be on the ball. If you have limited time offers they need to be advertised, and your social media team needs to be ready to respond to people. Social media users expect fast responses to customer service enquiries made on platforms like Twitter.
To avoid something similar happening to your business, have a plan in place from the start for how you’ll react if your website crashes, and make sure you stay on top of real time customer feedback on your social channels.
As you respond to questions or negative comments, you should be retweeting positive comments. A great way to stand out from your competitors’ sales noise is to publish real stories from your customers who have had a great experience with your site on the day.
Social, like everything else mentioned in this article, needs to be planned in advance. Don’t miss out on Black Friday - make the most of the time you have until the 25th and prepare for a campaign that customers old and new will love.
Ben works for Impression, specialising in SEO and marketing. He writes about a range of topics, including local SEO, tips and tricks and content.