Q4 is also the gateway into one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. In preparation, businesses in all industries must bolster their marketing strategies to better invite consumers away from the comfort of turkey and a couch and into the depths of their stores.
The Value of Black Friday and Cyber Monday
The appeal of Black Friday is more manufactured than you might think. It was President Franklin Roosevelt, in fact, who started up the shopping tradition. In the wake of the Great Depression in 1939, Roosevelt changed the date of Thanksgiving to promote more sales towards the year’s end. After the Great Depression, this seemed an adept move, as it made consumerism more appealing and accessible.
Nowadays, though, Black Friday and Cyber Monday – another new addition to the shopping tradition – are less about economic booms and more about industry competition. The business that out-maneuvers its peers and draws in the most revenue over the weekend may not be a victor in the traditional sense, but their books certainly make them look like winners.
Think of it this way: in 2017, Black Friday shoppers spent $5 billion in a mere 24 hours. This national revenue intake increased from the previous year’s numbers by nearly 17 percent. It’s worth it on a number of sound business levels to try and get even a slice of that pie.
Modern Black Friday
As mentioned, though, the nature of Black Friday is changing. With increased used of the Internet, foot traffic on Black Friday has actually decreased by 4 percent, even as related spending has continued to rise.
Why? Consumers are shopping online. More so than ever, consumers are shopping from their phones, with 64 percent foregoing in-store purchase.
The stretch between Thanksgiving evening and a few days post-Christmas is, perhaps, the most stressful time of the year for business owners and employees alike, generating 30 percent of annual retail sales.
It doesn’t matter whether the business in question operates as a brick-and-mortar front or solely online. Nearly 54 percent of consumers in the United States start their holiday shopping before Black Friday. That shopping tends to continue into the post-winter sales that arise as businesses barrel towards the new year, and all businesses benefit.
Leveraging it to Your Advantage
To draw in that elusive online audience, though, your business needs unconventional marketing strategies. Everyone knows Black Friday and Cyber Monday are some of the best days to start shopping – but why should they shop with you?
This is where the rising social media influencer comes into play. Influencers, while already prominent figures in the marketing community, share 51 percent more purchasable products with their audiences in the lead-up to Black Friday. This is often because the influencers themselves can generate increased revenue from their posts or videos, with more consumers looking for advice on what products to buy.
The point is, though, that a clever marketer can collaborate with a pre-Black Friday influencer to spread the word about her business’s product. With the right strategy in place, this process can cut a slice of Black Friday’s revenue off for both parties involved.
What does that strategy look like?
1. Focus on Visual Content
According to a number of sources, video has easily become one of consumers’ favorite types of content to view on social media, regardless of the social media platform. Thus, Instagram has invested its time and resources in IGTV, a move that’s contributed to its status as one of the fastest-growing social media platforms operating online.
Instagram is also one of the largest platforms driving purchases via video. With a glut of influencers operating on the platform, could you imagine a more perfect marketing combination?
This Black Friday season, consider reaching out to influencers operating on Instagram and investing in the holiday spirit. By supporting these influencers’ creation of video content, you can market your brand while:
- Sharing holiday looks
- Creating holiday recipes
- Building meal guides
- Brainstorming family gifts
- Preparing travelers for the road
- Providing packing tips
2. Utilize Each Platform’s Buying Feature
Whatever form of content you choose to utilize, you’ll need to work with influencers to integrate product tags and swipe-ups into their content.
The Big Four social media platforms all come equipped with buying features, nowadays. If you want to take advantage of Instagram’s rapid growth, you can collaborate with influencers who already use the creator profile’s many features to further drive conversions.
3. Sale Announcement
It may not seem like you need sales announcements, now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are so integrated into the consumer psyche. That kind of thought process might cut you out of the day’s profits, though.
Talk with the influencers in your marketing stable about the kinds of content that will best embody the sales your business will run. From there, see if you can’t spread consumer awareness by offering influencer-specific discount codes. Not only will these codes draw in more consumers, but they’ll help you track your influencer’s reach via tangible conversions.
4. Try Something Contrarian
You can take another approach to Black Friday, if you feel like taking a risk. Consider following in REI’s footsteps and opting out of the Black Friday madness.
In 2018, REI closed their stores to consumers throughout Black Friday and Cyber Monday. During that time, employees were encouraged to spend time with their families and outdoors. Over 1.4 million consumers loved the effort, to the point where 170 additional organizations shut down their businesses in favor of #OptOutside.
Why do this? Because after Black Friday’s hype wore off, consumers were still looking for a chance to purchase holiday presents. REI had already built up the goodwill it needed to draw those consumers in at a more reasonable time.
It’s a risky move, but it’s worked well for REI thus far. If you feel like using some reverse psychology on your consumer audience, why not give it a go?
Ready to make influencer marketing part of your Q4 strategy? Chat with one of our Sideqik team members on how our platform can take your strategy to the next level this holiday season.