5 things you need to start thinking about now, so you can implement before holiday shopping starts this fall.
In February of 2019 I launched my first ever crowdfunding campaign where I was able to raise enough capital to manufacture goods in China and ship them to the US to start my board game company.
While this took a lot of planning to pull off – it actually made the launch of my first game incredibly easy. So easy, I thought I was forgetting something the entire time but it turned out I could actually just relax and let my marketing automations do the work for me.
Today I want to share how you can use the same strategies to automate your sales and marketing for the Black Friday/Holiday shopping weekend and make money without stressing yourself out.
Design Landing Pages
First things first: design any landing pages. Landing pages are a way to highlight products & content specific to a campaign, sale, or interest. Not all stores need landing pages but if you have certain products heavily discounted it’s worth putting them all on one page so visitors can view the best deals, get interested in your store, and then start adding things to their cart.
Unless you only have one or two key products, landing pages are one of the best places to send your fans. And if you plan on doing any advertising or newsletter blasts (hint – you should be thinking about both of these) then a landing page is one of the best places to send them. And it’s why you should start with this a month or so before the sale.
Create Tracking Links
I’m a big fan of tracking & measuring everything possible so that I can figure out what worked and in future years double down on the strategies that made me money and ignore the ones that didn’t work. And since each industry is so different in ecommerce what makes perfect sense for one industry may not work at all in another so you will have to try various strategies and learn and improve each year.
One of the ways to monitor this is with UTM parameters. You can create UTM parameters using a generator for any campaign you’re running and in tracking software like Google Analytics you can see where people are coming from.
As an example I created custom links for all of the influencers who made videos about my products. And while many of them sent over dozens of people who ended up purchasing the product one of the influencers only had one confirmed sale.
In future years I wouldn’t use this influencer again. Since my product is only $15 getting one sale isn’t worth all the admin time spent emailing back and forth and sending them a demo product.
Here’s a few custom links you could create for your site:
- Links from Twitter
- Links from Facebook
- Links from your newsletter
- Links from influencers
- Links from forums / discussion groups
- Links from your email signature
Schedule Sale Prices
Once you have all of your landing pages & links set up it is time to schedule the sale prices. Whether you use WooCommerce, Magento, BigCommerce, or another online store just about all of them let you schedule both the start & end of sale prices.
Here’s what it looks like in WooCommerce.
If you’re doing a storewide discount, discount an entire category, or other more complicated setups, this isn’t typically included in the core software but there’s almost always apps, extensions, and modules that let you do this.
Plan Your Ad Strategy
Every retailer knows that Black Friday is one of the biggest sales opportunities of the year and many retailers go all out with advertising right before Black Friday. That means ad prices soar right before Black Friday so you’ll quickly find your self spending more than you make if you don’t plan in advance.
Image from AdEspresso
One of my favorite strategies is to come up with new ad concepts in spring, A/B test them throughout the summer, and wind them down in the fall. When Black Friday comes around you can retarget your existing audience which is far cheaper than targeting new people who are probably overwhelmed by the amount of ads and will be unlikely to trust a new company.
If you haven’t started ads and you’re reading this today, there’s still plenty of time. Get some ads out there next week and start building your audience so you can retarget them down the line.
Schedule Email Blasts
You have landing pages, tracking links, and all of your products are discounted. Now comes arguably the most important piece. Letting people know!
And yes, you can and should announce things on social media & on your website but today we’re going to talk about your #1 asset and that’s your email list.
These are easy to schedule in any email marketing tool. And what you want to do is setup a bunch of emails and you can send them to segments of your email list based on how active & how much they spend on your store.
- Here’s what’s coming on Black Friday (7 days ahead)
- Here’s what’s coming tomorrow (1 day ahead) – For people who regularly open your emails
- Black Friday is here (Black Friday)
- Don’t Forget Black Friday (Saturday) – For people who didn’t open yesterdays email
- Don’t Miss the Best Sale of the Year – For people who have made multiple purchases
And you can create even more than this and if you have a large list with even more data you can continue segmenting your list and writing emails for those segments.
Preparation is Key
At the end of the day it’s all about coming up with a plan. Almost all of the tools out there have scheduling functionality so once you make a plan, write a few emails or lines of ad copy go ahead and get it scheduled.
I planned my crowdfunding campaign for 6 months and raised $10,000 off a non-existent product. With a few months to go you have plenty of time to build your audience, come up with attractive deals, and let your audience know about those deals.
Patrick Rauland is obsessed with ecommerce. He’s built ecommerce websites for clients, worked for WooCommerce doing support, development, product management, and helped plan their yearly conference (WooConf).
Patrick is also the co-founder of WooSesh, an online conference for WooCommerce developers and store owners.
Patrick lives in Denver Colorado where you can probably find him at a local coffee shop typing away.