Is Your Gift Guide Ready for the Black Friday Shopping Season? Actionable Tips, Strategies, and More

 

Illustration of shopping labels with percentage discounts

Last year, the Black Friday holiday shopping season saw online sales volumes reach $9 BILLION, and this year is expected to be even BIGGER.

Overlapping with Cyber Monday, Black Friday has gone from what was just a few days of shopping sales — to an entire season of offers, deals, and discounts that stretch from the beginning of November and end sometime in December.

And the bulk of holiday sales now take place online and on mobile devices.

That's why it's essential to optimize your online store for mobile shopping and nail down your marketing automation and content strategies so that you can beat your competitors to the punch and maximize your sales volumes.

Last week we dove a bit deeper into these trends, but in this post, we share some actionable tips and strategies that you can implement into your Black Friday marketing over the coming weeks and months.

Offer mobile-friendly gift guides

Mobile shopping has become the preferred way for Black Friday bargain-hunters to shop, where last year, mobile accounted for 64-70% of all online traffic to retailers' stores.

And according to Adobe Analytics, that sheer volume of online mobile traffic accounted for 39% of all online sales between November 1st and 31st December.

If your gift guides are only available in PDF format, or if they’re only available through filters on your eCommerce store, shoppers may go to other stores that have less friction while browsing and conveniently show them gifts of interest.

Having a mobile-optimized gift guide that loads quickly and provides a convenient gift shopping experience (and syncs with your store's product inventory) ensures that you can convert those time-conscious gift hunters that want an easy online shopping experience.

If you want to know why gift guides are valuable or need some inspiration, check out our other posts on the topic:

Using gift guides to compete in search for Black Friday keywords

Competition for Black Friday keyword terms is fiercely competitive — with newspaper and online magazine publishers taking the top spots.

While some retailers can compete in the SERPs for the most common Black Friday keywords, many won't have a strong enough SEO profile; they will struggle to compete with publishers and other well-established retailers who have acquired years' worth of backlinks.

So, instead of creating new pages for each Black Friday season, re-use your Black Friday pages from last year to keep a hold of any backlinks you've acquired; this helps to satisfy Google's search algorithm, which ranks fresh and updated content more highly.

It can also help if you target long-tail keywords relevant to your niche, such as "android phones under $250" or "3-piece-suites under $1000".

With online gift guides, you can compete in search for your niche, enabling you to beat your competitors who only focus on the SEO of their webshop.

For example, if you publish a gift guide and optimize its content for keywords such as "fashion Black Friday flyer", "Black Friday Ad phones", or "holiday gift guide" you stand a better chance of reaching the top spots in search results.

This is reflected in the search performance for broader keyword terms around Black Friday gift guides:

Graphs showing that gift guides and black friday flyers trend heavily in November.

From the above Google trends report for "Black Friday Flyer", it's clear that online traffic begins to build the week before the day. So, by publishing and optimizing your Black Friday flyers early, your brand is ready on all fronts to capture shoppers who are on the hunt for holiday season bargains and discounts.

Start your gift guide email campaigns early

Email marketing is one of the most underrated channels, but there's potential for significant ROI if appropriately executed.

And for Black Friday, where retailers are already competing online in what's an immensely crowded marketplace, it's essential to get your emails into your subscribers' inboxes as early as possible.

By sending out your staged email flows early, you cut through the noise and reach shoppers before your competitors do, whose inboxes will soon be inundated with Black Friday sales emails.

You can send emails with personalized and targeted content to shoppers who are invariably at different stages in their journey; for example, retailers often email shoppers who abandoned their site, cart, or checkout pages.

And for Black Friday, abandonment emails are perfect for reminding customers of what they've left behind and are missing out on — and where you can highlight the limited time and urgency of your Black Friday sale to nudge more shoppers along their journey and sell more products.

So how do gift guides come in? Email is another channel where you can serve online gift guides, for example, to shoppers who abandoned their shopping journey.

Personalized gift guides that recommend products based on where they were in their journey and what they viewed can be put into your cart- or site abandonment emails.

Perhaps someone viewed some products in your online store but didn't add-to-cart, so you could target them with an email containing a personalized online gift guide that shows a selection of the products they were looking at.

Additionally, you can use gift guides in your emails for:

  • Sending Thank You emails after a purchase has been made and using it as an opportunity to upsell and cross-sell other products of interest.
  • Targeting shoppers who added items to their wish list; send them a personalized follow-up gift guide containing their wish-list items, where they can share it via email, Whatsapp, or other channels.
  • Targeting past and new customers with deals according to audience demographics and segmentation and using their browsing or past purchase behavior.
  • Offering existing or loyal customers early VIP access to your Black Friday flyers and gift guides; customers who feel valued can increase retention rates.

For more tips on using your catalogs or gift guides in your email campaigns, have a look at 8 Examples of How Catalogs Can Provide Value In Your Newsletters.

Entice and engage different shopper profiles with content-driven product recommendations

Your content is the online shopping window to your product offerings and defined brand image.

It's with stunning visuals, carefully crafted messages, and engaging video content that you can reel in more shoppers who are just browsing and looking for inspiration.

For example, your gift guide can serve as a personalized collection of shoppable content that’s easily shared across channels.

Moreover, if you adopt the principles of discovery marketing, where instead of customers finding your products — your products find them — you make it easier and more convenient for browsers to shop from where they're already browsing.

For example, on Instagram, you can engage with users who already have an interest in lifestyle topics related to your brand.

AI and content-driven product recommendations on social media platforms and in your gift guides also allow you to target specific shopper profiles with relevant and personalized content that's matched to the different stages a customer might be in during their journey.

For example, you might want to target potential customers at the beginning of their journey with inspirational video content; or previous customers, who only shopped in the sales, with content about your Black Friday discounts.

Want to know more about offering personalized Black Friday flyers? Feel free to contact us!

Some Black Friday bonus tips:

In addition to the above, you might want to use some of our bonus tips this Black Friday:

  • Don’t forget to use trending Black Friday hashtags e.g., #blackfriday #blackfridaysales, to get the word out about your brand and the deals you're running.
  • Make it as convenient as possible for shoppers to order and receive items with fulfillment options like BOPIS and curbside pick-up; these give a great omnichannel brand experience.
  • Need some ideas on what products and sections to add to your gift guide? Check out Think With Google's rising retail trends for the holiday shopping season.
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