Last year, the total profit from Black Friday online shopping amounted to a record $9.12 billion. It is expected to grow by almost 7.5% in 2023. This means that consumers will spend more, so you definitely don’t want to miss this opportunity to increase sales.

This time around, the main shopping event of the year falls on November 24. This means you have three more weeks to plan or change your holiday marketing campaign. After considering different nuances that need to be taken into account, we have created a list of mistakes that can bring your marketing efforts to naught. Explore what you should pay special attention to in order to succeed as a business this Black Friday!

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Don’ts of Black Friday marketing

1. Procrastinating with campaign planning

So, what is the best time to start planning a Black Friday campaign? The answer is very simple—the sooner the better. If you haven’t started developing a marketing strategy for the big event yet, it’s time to do so. With time to spare, you can think through all aspects of the campaign and launch it without unnecessary rush and the stress it causes.

First, decide on your holiday offer. Answer the following questions:

  • What exactly are you going to promote?
  • What discount are you willing to offer?
  • How long will the promotion period last?
  • How and where do you plan to attract potential customers?

Consumers expect to get the best Black Friday deals. So, be sure to not deceive them by positioning a standard discount as an exclusive one, as this information can be easily tracked and such manipulations can ruin brand reputation.

Once you’ve formulated your holiday offer, start piquing your audience’s interest. For example, add a countdown to the start of a sale on your website or post a teaser on social media that can create intrigue and trigger active user discussion. This will prevent your message from getting lost among numerous promotional offers launched just before Black Friday—when it will be much more difficult to stand out.

In recent years, more and more consumers often start their holiday shopping before Black Friday, so consider early sales. Firstly, the competition during this period is not as high. Secondly, you will be able to analyze the effectiveness of your campaign and, if necessary, adapt your Black Friday strategy. Examples of brands that actively use early sales are Amazon, Target, and Ulta.

Скріншот Amazon Чорна п'ятниця

Source: Amazon

2. Relying on discounts only

Of course, customers expect good discounts for Black Friday. According to statistics, American consumers save 24% on holiday sales. The opportunity to save money motivates audiences to wait for brand offers and look for the most favorable options. However, it’s important to understand that most companies, including your competitors, will count on favorable prices. But it is by far not the only advantage a business can offer its customers. Actually, several factors influence customer decisions to buy on Black Friday. Here they are:

  • free delivery;
  • package deals (for example, buy one product and get the second one for free, or with a 50% discount);
  • gifts for purchases (for example, a branded eco-bag or other merchandise);
  • increased bonuses (for online stores with a bonus system);
  • referral codes.

These are just a few examples of what you can offer your customers to save money besides discounts. These offers can become that very added value that will make your deal stand out. After all, the prospect of getting more for your money is quite attractive to many people. Gifts for purchases are often offered by beauty brands such as Estee Lauder and Philosophy, and package deals are common to product manufacturers such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. But any business can integrate such bonuses into its marketing activities. The Black Friday campaign is a great time for such experiments.

Скріншот Coca-Cola Store

Source: Coca-Cola Store

3. Ignoring personalized offers

An important success component for any marketing campaign, including Black Friday, is the creation of targeted offers for specific target groups. This approach ensures that your messages will be seen by those people who are most likely to respond to them, and at the most convenient time. To leverage data-driven marketing, gather valuable insights about your audience through various channels including website traffic, emails, social media, reviews, and surveys. Or, turn to customer segmentation tools like Twilio Segment or Amplitude.

These tools provide data for different types of segmentation:

  • demographic segmentation. You get an idea of what your target customers’ age, gender, education, income, etc are.
  • geographic segmentation. Gives you an understanding of the country or region/city your audience is concentrated in.
  • behavioral segmentation. It allows you to understand how users interact with your product or website, and how to provide them with a better experience.
  • psychographic segmentation. This way of segmenting is based on habits, interests, values, lifestyle, etc.

With segmentation, you can create and send personalized messages that will increase audience engagement and win their loyalty, which in turn can lead to more sales. You have a wide range of approaches, from addressing customers by name in emails to sending recommendations based on their browsing and purchase history. You can also turn to AI technologies, just like leading brands do. For example, Starbucks and Sephora use algorithms that analyze user behavior and offer them personalized promotional codes and discounts.

Want to understand your audience better? Check out our guide Generations Explained: Baby Boomers, Generations X, Y, Z, and Alpha with detailed characteristics of different age groups and tips on how to sell to them.

Скріншот сайт Sephora

Source: Sephora

4. Relying on only one communication channel

This mistake flows organically from the previous one. Since your audience is likely to consist of different target groups, you will hardly be able to reach them all using a single communication channel. You’ll be creating personalized offers, so make sure you communicate them to your recipients efficiently. There are a wide range of ways to do this, including the following::

  • website;
  • social media;
  • emails;
  • messengers;
  • SMS messages;
  • phone calls;
  • advertising;
  • online chats.

You don’t need to use all the channels, just focus on those relevant to your audience. For example, you can post a teaser on social media a couple of weeks before the start of sales, and send customers an email with the terms of your deals a week before. It is important to place information about deals on your website, because this is where visitors make a purchase decision. Also, consider customizing the ads displayed to users who have left your website without making a purchase. By using several high-potential channels at once, you can increase your reach and, consequently, your sales. For example, this approach has helped Nike generate 30% more revenue in their e-commerce business.

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5. Ignoring Cyber Monday

Remember, Black Friday is just the beginning of the holiday sales period. In recent years, Cyber Monday, which is focused on online sales, has surpassed it in terms of profit. In 2022, consumers spent about $11.3 billion on this day. According to forecasts, this year, the total amount will reach $13.7 billion. In other words, people buy even more on Cyber Monday than they do on Black Friday, which serves as an even better opportunity to increase sales.

The easiest marketing approach you can take for Cyber Monday is to continue the campaign you created for Black Friday. In addition, you will have the opportunity to review your deal and make changes if necessary. For example, to adapt the message or offer a larger discount. At the same time, it is a good idea to prepare a separate strategy. This can include:

  • exclusive deals for subscribers (flash sales or personal discounts). Selling to existing customers is much easier than attracting new ones. So, think of favorable deals “for your people” and communicate them through your preferred communication channels.
  • gift recommendations. Since many people are looking for gifts for the upcoming holidays during the sales period, you can create a list of options from your assortment. Focus on personalized recommendations and send them out via email or messengers.
  • upselling and cross-selling. If you want to maximize your profits on Cyber Monday, offer customers additional products or services to their main purchases. For example, if they are buying appliances, offer them accessories or an extended warranty.
  • social media advertising. This is a good way to retarget your website users and regular customers. You can show ads on Instagram and Facebook to users who have not completed a purchase.
  • gaming experience. To engage your audience more effectively, add a gaming element to your campaign. For example, use a wheel of fortune or a “Guess the Card” game to engage users and motivate them to take advantage of the discount.

Скріншот сайт Chanel

Source: Chanel

6. Not emphasizing a sense of urgency and scarcity

The desire to not miss a good opportunity is a powerful tool of influence. For this reason, it’s crucial to remind users about the urgency and scarcity of your offers using the following approaches:

  • create a limited-time offer. This is the easiest, yet most effective way. Given unlimited time, users are more likely to postpone a purchase, but time limits will force them to make a decision faster.
  • add a countdown timer. This approach is even more visual, as it makes it clear how much time is left until the end of the deal.
  • indicate a limited quantity of goods. You can add value to your offers if you create a scarcity effect by indicating that a certain product is limited. For example, specify the number of units in stock on your website.
  • emphasize the urgency in your message. Use phrases such as “limited-time offer”, “hot deal”, “hurry up to get”, and “only today” to motivate your audience to act quickly.

Скріншот Puma Чорна п'ятниця

7. Not getting your website ready for sales

The key to successful Black Friday campaigns is a high-quality customer experience. This means that your website should be ready for an influx of customers. After all, the higher the traffic, the greater the chance of technical problems that can ruin the experience. Ensure convenient and smooth shopping by taking care of the following things:

  • website optimization. Test traffic and make the necessary updates. Use browser caching and a content delivery network to ensure fast website loading.
  • streamlined payment process. Use a high-quality payment system to ensure that customers have no problems with transactions. We also recommend adding different payment options (card, transfer, e-wallets, PayPal, etc.).
  • convenient search. Users should easily find the products they need on your website. Also, consider integrating filters and auto-complete search functions.
  • simple checkout. Minimize the number of steps in the checkout process so that customers don’t have to perform a bunch of different actions.
  • adaptivity. Since 40% of profits during the sales period come from smartphone purchases, it is important to make your website mobile-friendly. Rely on adaptive design to ensure that your web pages display correctly regardless of user devices.

Check out our guide to creating an online store to find even more tips on the topic.


To wrap up

Even though Black Friday is just a few weeks away, you still have time to plan and launch a full-fledged marketing campaign. The key is to prepare a well-thought-out deal that will stand out from other promotions and offer additional value along with the traditional discount. Create personalized offers that will resonate with potential customers and distribute these offers through various communication channels. Use the effect of urgency to motivate customers to make purchases, and be sure to check whether your website is ready for the influx of traffic. We wish you a successful sales season!


Other articles you might find interesting:

2022 Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Key Insights and Essential Preparations

Get Ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Marketing Checklist to Drive Sales

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Survival Kit 2020



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