In the early years of its arrival to the UK, all retailers had to do to drive sales during Black Friday was serve big discounts. Today’s consumers, however, are so spoilt for choice during Cyber Week that retailers need more than big red sale signs to stand out from the competition and protect profit margins.

With so many marketing tactics available, it can be hard to know which ones to choose. Selecting repetitive or generic offers risks taking a hit on the bottom line and overloading shoppers with irrelevant deals that aren’t going to resonate.

Here are some tips to help marketers take a smart and personal approach to maximise the effectiveness of their Black Fiveday sale.

Make the most of behavioural targeting

Behavioural targeting can be used to minimise the effect of discounting on profit margins. Don’t offer the same discounts or deals to everyone. You’ve likely split your customer base into behaviour-based segments: big spenders, bargain hunters, and so on. Leveraging these segments to inform which offers you push to which shoppers can have a huge impact on the overall success of your Black Friday marketing.

For example, the products with the biggest discounts should be promoted to shoppers profiled to be bargain hunters. Similarly, high spenders can be encouraged to buy more by offering them money off when they spend over a certain amount. Category-specific deals are a great way to shift excess stock and can be targeted to shoppers who tend to purchase products from the given category.

Reengage website visitors with targeted emails

The peak trading season brings many new visitors to your site – some searching for deals, some curating wish lists and some looking for gifts. Triggering popovers based on shopper behaviour can drive email acquisition. Then nurturing hesitant shoppers with targeted email marketing will encourage that first purchase.

Triggering a data capture popover when a visitor has viewed a web page for a certain time can entice shoppers to sign up for the newsletter to be the first to know about your Black Friday deals. An exit intent pop-up offering to send a list of the viewed or carted products when the customer is about to leave the website is a helpful way to help them stay on top of their wish list.

Black Friday shoppers are on the hunt for deals and might be hopping between several different websites and devices. If a shopper adds an item to their basket but doesn’t complete the purchase, they’re likely to be in the decision stage of their purchase journey. Be sure that cart and browse abandonment emails are sent quickly to seal the deal before they move on to another retailer.

To stand out in the busy inbox, personalise the email hero image with the carted product category or brand. Displaying rating stars for the carted products will help build purchase confidence while product recommendations based on the carted products increase the shopper’s chances to find an item they like.

FOMO is your friend

One of the most effective ways to drive conversions is to tap into shoppers’ propensity for FOMO. Creating a sense of urgency compels shoppers to complete their purchases sooner rather than later.

Hourly deals are a clever way to soften the hit on profit margins with offers on selected products instead of a blanket discount across the whole product range. They also boost engagement as shoppers are likely to check for new deals every hour. At the same time, you create a sense of excitement that can entice lapsed customers to start spending again and your biggest spenders to buy even more.

Countdown timers within emails and websites help drum up excitement in the run up to and during Black Friday. Highlighting how much time is left to bag a certain deal or until the next deal will be launched can help move purchases over the finish line.

However, marketers should be mindful of how often they use countdown clocks within their campaigns. If customers are presented with a timer each time they open an email, it will quickly be ignored and fail to deliver the intended call to action. Identifying the occasions where a countdown timer will have a significant role in boosting sales will help keep customers engaged.

When planning Black Friday strategies, it can be tempting to use every trick in the marketing book to attract shoppers and drive sales. By combining behavioural insights with real-time content, marketers can serve shoppers the offers most relevant for their needs. Presented in a way that drives conversions, marketers will be able to cut through the noise and unlock a more profitable shopping peak.


Mike Austin

Mike Austin


Mike Austin is the co-founder and CEO at Fresh Relevance.