The Content Marketer’s Guide To Black Friday

Originally written for Visually and Entrepreneur.com. 

With Thanksgiving and the holiday shopping season quickly approaching, retailers and marketers must establish a game plan for arguably the two biggest shopping days of the year. Shoppers will be ready to spend on Black Friday (November 28) and Cyber Monday (December 1). Utilizing content marketing best practices can lead to big time wins. Follow these four best practices, and note one cautionary tale, to make the most out of the early holiday rush.

Shapchat Can Help Build Tension and Reward Engagement among Younger Consumers

Snapchat boasts a user base 30 million strong that heavily caters to the younger crowd – over 80% of users are aged 13-24, according to the company. With over 700 million photos and videos shared per day, the visual click-to-reveal platform shows no sign of slowing down. Brands are using the platform to interact with consumers, but some of the best, such as Sephora, are taking it one step further. By revealing Black Friday sales to their Snapchat friends first, Sephora is both building tension rewarding its most engaged fans.

Videos are More Engaging and More Cost Effective than Paid Search Tactics

In 2013, photo sharing and printing service Snapfish utilized YouTube TrueView videos to boost their Black Friday and Cyber Monday strategy. It’s no secret that online video is more effective than competing ad formats, and Snapfish’s YouTube partnership proved this yet again. The campaign’s CPC rate was 14% cheaper than paid search CPC over the same time period, as well.

Make Your Emails Urgent

Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales exist for a limited time only, and the smartest marketers can use this to their advantage. Online electronics retailer TigerDirect included a live countdown clock in their Black Friday promotional emails to play to this sense of urgency. Furthermore, adding interactive and engaging elements to marketing emails can help reverse the trend of falling open rates and click-through rates.

Mobile is Taking Over, and the Holiday Season is No Exception

In 2010, mobile transactions were responsible for only 2% of all Cyber Monday sales, according to AppLovin. This number is expected to rise to nearly 30% in 2014. Consumers have smartphones glued to their hands and marketers are wisely investing in mobile-first marketing strategies. Best Buy built an opt-in service to deliver deal notifications via text messages in 2013 to clue consumers in on their best deals.

Risks Are Fine, but Don’t Lose Sight of What’s Important

While Best Buy succeeded with its text message service, their other mobile play fell flat. The company encouraged Black Friday shoppers to use Vine and the hashtag #VineInLine to document their shopping experience, which was called a“creative gamble” and a “PR disaster waiting to happen.” While there was no overwhelmingly negative backlash, Vines using the hashtag were few and far between and failed to help promote the brand. In this case, Best Buy failed to link the social promotion to their Black Friday sales and forced a social promotion where it wasn’t needed.