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The Black Friday Survival Guide

We don’t want to scare anyone – but Black Friday is on the horizon.

You might be marking key dates in your calendar, scrambling to organise campaign timings, and brainstorming the best promotions to run.

It can all feel a little bit…chaotic.

Well, it’s true that Black Friday can present some challenges to advertisers. 

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But it also offers some valuable opportunities – if handled correctly.

To help you thrive in the sales madness, we’ve pulled together the ultimate Black Friday Survival Guide for e-commerce brands. 

These tips will help you to prepare effectively for the sales period, maximise the impact and revenue from your promotions, and reduce the number of stress-induced wrinkles that appear in November. 

Read on!

Firstly, you’ll need to sort out your strategic priorities 

Although Benjamin Franklin never had to manage an e-commerce business (as far as we know) he did nail one of the key elements of a successful Black Friday campaign:

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

Making the most of the Black Friday period requires a lot of strategic planning, and the right preparations are key to ensuring that you hit the ground running. 

Prepare your agency team

The earlier you inform your agency team about your Black Friday campaign plans and promotions, the better. 

You should ideally brief your agency contacts at least 1 month ahead of the sale, so that creative assets can be ready to go and last minute panic can be avoided.

Because the market is incredibly busy during Black Friday, campaign set-up processes and approvals will always take longer than usual. This means that quick turnarounds are often a no-go – and since you’re working with limited time to activate, having everything ready ahead of time is key. 

Stretch out the sale

It’s also important to build momentum heading into Black Friday. 

Getting ahead of the curve can be massively beneficial to your sales, and help to raise awareness of your promotions ahead of time. 

Special offers don’t need to be limited to Black Friday itself. Running promotions shortly before and after the weekend can help to drive more conversions, maximise store visibility, and boost your revenue. 

Consumers are savvy, and are often looking for discounts in the weeks leading up to the 26th November itself. 

The start date of your promotions can flex depending on your business, but don’t hesitate to stretch the sale and kick off in early November to gain momentum. 

Make sure that you’re active in this period to avoid missing out on potential sales, and try to rotate your creative messaging to avoid fatigue. 

Select the right offers

It’s vital to select the right promotions to run during Black Friday. After all, this is ultimately what hooks consumers and drives conversions.

Black Friday promotions can take many forms – from percentage sales, to flat discounts, to unique bundles and packages. Think about what makes the most sense for your individual products.

Don’t be afraid to test different offers and sales messages, particularly if you’ll be live for an extended period. 

This can help you to identify the most compelling promotions for customers, which will inform future sales and Black Friday campaigns. 

However, the golden rule is to keep things simple. It’s easy to overcomplicate the sales period with excessive discounts, complex messages and last minute activations. Select your strongest messages and focus on getting these ready. 

Nail down your logistics 

Black Friday will inevitably drive significantly higher volumes of sales.

This is great news. But only if you have the logistics to handle it.

Always ensure that you have sufficient resources and stock in place, ready to manage the flood of customer orders and queries. 

You might need to bolster your staff, provide some additional training, or put some extra thought into your supply chains. Just make sure that you’re ready! 

If possible, look back on previous years to try and anticipate demand and tighten up your logistics. 

Time to tighten up your campaign tactics 

The Black Friday marketplace is unique. 

With so many advertisers and competing promotions live, you’ll need to adjust your tactics to maintain efficient ad spend and profitable conversions. 

Keep an eye on your CPMs

CPMs are likely to inflate during Q4 due to the influx of competitors and sales campaigns. Unfortunately, this is unavoidable – but you can minimise the negative impact. 

Focus on your best performing tactics and key audiences to reduce wastage and ensure that your ad spend is working as hard as possible.

Closely monitoring your activity will allow you to quickly switch off any inefficient tactics and make the necessary optimisations.  

It might sound obvious, but it’s also important to ensure that you have some top-notch creatives in the market. 

You’ll need to stand out among the Black Friday clutter. Plus, you need to be confident that your assets will convert, since you’ll be paying a higher premium on these placements. 

Build out your customer lists 

Make sure that you’ve got your customers lists and audience segments ready for the big sale.

If you’ll be targeting certain segments with specific offers, plan all of this out in advance. 

The same goes for promotional emails, since you’ll likely run different messages or sequences based on different audiences.

You can also use the Black Friday build-up to boost your subscriber lists and encourage new sign ups. 

Entice prospects by teasing your special offers and promotions, and let them know that subscriber emails will keep them informed about sales and discounts.

This can be a great way to increase subscriber numbers ahead of the sale and boost your revenue.

How we helped Force Wear to thrive on Black Friday 

To show how these tips can make a dramatic difference to Black Friday performance, we’ve pulled together some insights from a recent case study.

Force Wear is a military-themed apparel store that offers high-quality clothing and accessories. Although the brand has grown a fiercely loyal following, they needed some support with running their first sales event for Black Friday.

We set up a range of discounts across the Force Wear store and produced a targeted campaign strategy, aiming to convert new prospects and maximise revenue.

The 2019 Black Friday activation delivered an incredible £65k in revenue – but we never like to rest on our laurels. In 2020 we built upon these 2019 learnings and delivered a record breaking £149k in revenue across the Black Friday weekend. 

How did we achieve this? We followed all of the principles above, focusing on effective preparations, compelling offers and laser-focused targeting. 

See? Black Friday isn’t so scary after all. 

Follow these tips and you’ll be enjoying all of the benefits that the sales period can offer. Just remember to keep things simple and always, always prepare in advance. We mean it.

Now, start cracking on with your Q4 plans and get ready to smash Black Friday out of the park!


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