The Only Ecommerce & Affiliate Black Friday Marketing Guide You’ll Ever Need (2023)

36 Best Black Friday Marketing Strategies for eCommerce in 2020

November is a perfect time to run ecommerce campaigns. Why? Because around Black Weekend people want to spend their time buying online. They’re looking for gift recommendations, exclusive deals, product comparisons, and reviews. They click on multiple Black Friday ads and go through numerous landing pages. 

But the actual work has to be put earlier on. If Black Friday usually takes place at the end of November, you should start thinking about your strategy and begin preparations as early as the beginning of October.

Black Friday can be your golden moment as a marketer. And I’m here today to help you make it! In this post, you’ll find all the hottest ideas, tips, and strategies for a successful “Black November”. 

No time to waste, so let’s get to it.

Before Black Friday

The weekend after Thanksgiving is the official beginning of the Christmas shopping season welcomed with all-night-sales, discount offers, and miles-long lines. Except for one tiny detail: the preparations for Black Week(end) start way earlier and, for the past couple of years, so do some of the sales. So why wait till everyone is offering discounts if you could lead the movement? 

Plan your Black Friday marketing strategy ahead… meaning start ASAP!

This year, with the economic instability affecting consumer behavior around the globe, we can expect the shopping madness even earlier.  All in all, the sooner you start, the better you do.

1. Research your competition

The first thing on your list should be competition review. 

  • Start with Google search. You may already know some of the top competitors in your niche. If not, simply type in “best Black Friday deals in [your niche]” to see who is ranking high. What kind of offers are in the top results? What are the angles top affiliates use to get people to click on them?  
  • Create a list of Black Weekend keywords your competitors are ranking for. To do so, you can use tools like SEMrush. Investigate their backlinks. What pages are they linking to & from? See if you can get similar or better links. 
  • Subscribe to your competitors’ email lists. Analyze how they are promoting their affiliate products during special days. Is there something that could be useful for you? Maybe you can spot what they are doing wrong, and fix it? 
Black friday newsletter example

Once you know your competitors’ Black Friday affiliate strategies, you can gain better visibility, rankings, and as a result, conversions.  

And remember, your competitors are doing the same things. They are also spying on you. If you want to make it a little bit harder for them (and you should), use Voluum’s Lander Protection Script to hide your PHP landing pages from your competitor’s eyes.

2. Select the products you’ll be promoting wisely

It can be very tempting to apply a certain discount to your entire e-store supply and watch the world burn. But if you want to profit from Black Week, I’m afraid your marketing strategy will need a bit more effort than that. There are generally 4 categories of products you could be promoting:

  • Full Stock: the ones you have the most of 
  • Old Junk: the ones you want to get rid of 
  • Bestsellers: not to confuse them with the Full Stock 
  • Inflation angle: budget-friendly goods inspired by the world’s lates economic downturn
  1. Promote products you have the most of

The easiest way to clear your warehouse is to get rid of whatever you have stocked the most. That’s if you have a warehouse in the first place. 

For smaller eCommerce stores, this approach translates into pushing the stuff that is the easiest/the fastest to make/acquire (e.g. if you run a home bakery, promote cupcakes, not layered cakes). 

Finally, if you’re just looking for a juicy offer to advertise as a third party – forget what your momma told you and be like everyone else, jump on that bandwagon, and promote the hell out of it. 

  1. Add discounts for the goods you want to get rid of

This one is simple. Let’s say you’re a small eCom store specializing in knitwear. You hoped people would go nuts over your custom spooky-season-special orange scarfs, but COVID-19 came back with the second wave causing your entire business model to go South. An orange scarf may not be everyone’s go-to after Halloween. But you know what will sell really well? An orange scarf with a “now 80% off” label right next to it. 

  1. Advertise your best-selling products 

This approach is by far the most popular and is used by retailers, business owners, and third-party marketers alike. Here, you simply push what your customers want the most. 

  1. Create gift recommendations & guides 

Not everyone’s a big fan of shopping for presents. Make their lives a bit easier and select products that will work great as a semi-personalized holiday gift for their convenience buddies.

Prepare assets in advance

Don’t just sit there – grab a notebook and a pen (or better yet a laptop and a graphic tablet) and set your creativity free. Having a good ad copy and a couple of promo images ready a few weeks before launching your campaign won’t hurt anyone. You might even thank me later. 

3. Prepare content

Black Friday is a bit of a holiday, a bit of a state of mind, and a bit of a business model. Which is why it is important to utilize its power correctly to harness the best results off your campaigns.

To capitalize on the shopping craze you need to grab the attention of your audience. Here are our top Black Friday Marketing ideas. 

black friday marketing tips
  • Write in-depth product reviews product reviews and case studies about the products you use and recommend are the BEST affiliate marketing strategy for the Black week. Pro tip: Create product reviews with this angle: Don’t buy X before you watch this product review.
  • Record video reviews  Video reviews are even better. It’s like taking things to the next level. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, you can leverage this channel to generate more Black Friday & Cyber Monday conversions. Pro tip: Create video reviews. Take the risk of putting yourself out there. Most affiliates won’t take this step.
  • Prepare holiday packages – During this time, people are looking for deals and themed gifts. If possible, bundle your products or services for a limited-time holiday offer.
black friday tips frequently boight together
  • Create cheat sheets – A lot of people can feel overwhelmed by the amount of deals they see. To help them make the right choice, put out a list of the products that are hot in your niche. Add your links to the cheatsheet to make sure that they will use your link to make the purchase.
  • Write gift recommendations – Did you know that searches for “gifts for dad” have grown +80% in the past two years (Google)? Getting recommendations and endorsements from influencers is definitely a great Black Friday Marketing Strategy.
  • Offer free giftsOffering a free gift is a fun Black Friday deal for shoppers. Items that work best for this have free or cheap shipping. You’ll want to feature the free gift on your homepage banner to ensure visibility. You can set minimums such as ‘with every $50 purchase get a free gift’ or you can provide it to every customer who orders if you have high margins.
gift ideas - brlack friday tips

4. Create a sense of urgency with Black Friday headlines and catchy slogans

To increase your conversions, find a HOOK and create a sense of urgency in your Black Friday ads with temporary sales and shopping codes:  

  • One-Day Deals This is the ultimate touchdown. Launch offers with an expiration at midnight without stating it’s a one day deal. Leave it open for a day or two. Once it comes to an end, use Voluum to direct people to a different landing page with a different one-day deal.  
  • 1 hour deals  You can have one main offer that is active through all of the Black Friday sale, like 20 % off everything. But then offer 50 % off for a certain product or a service, that is valid only for an hour. After that, you select another product or a different deal.
  • Consider adding a Countdown for when your offers ends.
Black friday tips . -countdown

5. Don’t be afraid to use AI – other won’t be

If there’s one most notable change between this year’s Black Friday and last year’s ones is the prevalent use of AI in generating content & graphics.

This approach will not only save you time – but saving time is an argument of its own since your time is valuable – but also lets you prepare more personalized content. Imagine having landing pages in various languages (without hiring a translator), personalized for different user types working on different devices.

Additionally, AI enables you to A/B test and optimize your landing page to no end. Since you can quickly and cheaply prepare several variations of the same landing page, you can test them on your audience using Voluum’s A/B testing capabilities and determine the most performing one.

Use services such as ChatGPT or Jasper.AI to produce more text but don’t forget about other AIs. There are video generating services such as DeepBrain AI or image generators such as DALL-E or its free alternatives.

Take care of the technical side of you shopping funnel

It’s not the best idea to drive all of your traffic to your store’s homepage or worse, to a non-optimized product page that doesn’t showcase your product correctly. This is why you need to make sure that not only everything works correctly NOW but it will continue to work LATER under the huge load.

6. Optimize your landing pages

Create and optimize special landing pages titled “Best Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals and discounts on [enter your niche]:  

  • A perfect landing page should speak to the visitor. As Voluum fetches a lot of information about a visitor, such as a device type or brand, you can use this information to direct visitors to different landing pages according to the rules you set in Voluum.
  • Furthermore, you can use simple scripts to display this information on your landing page. A landing page designed specifically for iPhone users that displays a custom-tailored message such as “Best cases for your beloved [iPhone]” works better than a generic one.
  • Aim at updating your old pages annually, instead of creating new special pages every year. Google loves old content that is refreshed with new data. Plus, you get to leverage your old rankings for that page each year without having to build new backlinks etc. 
  • Once you have your landing pages in place, you need to determine which ones resonate best with your audience. You can use Voluum to automatically A/B test different flows and paths. This way you will save yourself lots of manual work. Testing is crucial so, don’t be afraid to work on different approaches, following the 80/20 rule.  

7. Optimize your checkout experience

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers are picky, to score a touchdown, you need to make your checkout process as smooth as possible. Once you make sure that your server can put up with increased traffic, go through the purchasing funnel yourself. 

black friday checkout optimizarion

Try to get in their shoes and ask yourself my top 10 questions to find out if your checkout process is ready for the Holiday Sales:

  1. Does your website look credible? You can show security badges and help info next to the checkout buttons.
  2. Is it clear that the product is or isn’t available? Show your stock availability. When something is in demand, people tend to be more interested.
  3. Do you show discounts in your cart view? Make sure your visitors know you applied the discounts.
  4. Are you offering your guest a checkout option? Make the checkout process smooth and painless. Don’t require creating an account to make a purchase.
  5. Is the shipment information clear? Don’t leave your visitors guessing or searching for delivery costs or time frames.
  6. Is there customer support at hand? They need to know that they can count on you if they need help.
  7. Are you offering standard payment methods? Many shoppers will simply not shop at a site without the option to pay by PayPal.
  8. Are there any tax surprises?  Show shipping costs and taxes as soon as possible, so the user knows what to expect.
  9. Do you offer a fair warranty and return policy?  Build trust by clearly showing return and charge-back policies.
  10. Last, but not least, are you rewarding customer loyalty? Give them something extra to make it clear that a purchase also earns them rewards.

8.Take special care of Black Friday mobile users

According to statistics, 53% of mobile shoppers will abandon a website if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds (Google marketing Platform). Site speed is even more important in countries from tier 2 and tier 3. If your CDN is not optimized, you will lose many clicks due to page loading. 

This is why you need to make sure your landing page is responsive, so your layouts and content will adapt based on the size of the screen they are presented on. 

“Mobile devices accounted for 67% of all digital traffic on Black Friday 2018, that’s 61% more than the previous year”. 

Make sure that your page can handle the additional traffic that’s bound to come your way. Performance tests are the best way to know whether your system will or will not be able to support your expected load. You can run tests using different tools like: Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom or Dareboost. 

Mobile users are impatient and demanding, so give them what they want. No muss no fuss:

  • Simplify your mobile form interactions by minimizing the number of fields requesting information from the user.
  • Eliminate unnecessary words from your page.
  • Serve only the most relevant information to the user, based on his current stage in the buying cycle.

9. Make sure your affiliate links are working and you’ve set up everything correctly

This is a very important task. The worst thing can happen is doing everything right and then finding out that your affiliate links didn’t work properly… No one wants to end up like this: 

Check each of the affiliate links on your website manually to make sure they’re working as expected.

Pay special attention to these: 

  • Typos in one of the URLs.
  • A blank space inside a tracking token.
  • A wrong domain name in a click URL. 
  • A postback not passing a click ID value back. 
  • A landing page not displaying correctly on mobile devices. 
  • HTTP protocol instead of HTTPS that will be seen as a threat by browsers 
voluum notifications

We’re human, we make mistakes. How to prevent your Black Friday marketing campaigns from these? You can set up alerts in Voluum. Create the first custom alert to be launched when the number of conversions exceeds 1. Once you get the first notification you can rest easy knowing that your setup works fine. 

As a marketer, you should always be vigilant for sudden drops in your campaigns’ performance that can indicate that your landing page is down. Create more notifications that will alert you if the number of visits or CTR drops below a certain level within an hour.

Once you’ve got that right, it’s time to…

Put your Black Friday CPC campaigns in place

Writing a couple of words to frame your display Black Friday ad is easy. Cramping as much useful clickable info in 30 allowed symbols of Google Ads headline – that’s a different story. Plan your budget ahead, think every word in your copy through, and find something to stand out from the croud! 

10. Prepare paid ads strategy

Black Friday weekend is a special time period for PPC. The wrong ad, the wrong bid, the wrong settings, just a tiny mistake can really ruin it all for you. 

To make sure you do well, follow these 10 Black Friday CPC Marketing tips: 

  • Review Last Year’s Performance. What did you learn from the Black Friday ads you ran? What kind of messaging performed best? Did ads that described the product features bring you more than priced ads, shipping, and other specific info? Dig into your campaigns from last year and you’ll be able to do better this time. 
  • Come up with a clear strategy and set a budget based on your campaign goals. 
  • Set target goals for the important metrics to help your business reach its goals, like Revenue, ROAS, CPA, and conversion rate.
  • Set up your product catalog so you can run dynamic product ads for multiple products
black friday marketing tips gift ideas
  • Make sure your supplier can keep up with the demand. In case you decide to offer popular sales like a sitewide discount anywhere from 10-20% off.
  • Create a special high ticket offer to help you increase your average order value. This can include your most popular items or a massive bundle of all of your digital products. 
  • Come up with a bidding strategy. If you run any type of automated bidding, you’ll have to run bids manually for at least 1-2 weeks after Black Friday due to the influx of data. And of course, increase your budget accordingly. 
  • Start building your retargeting audiences at least 2 weeks ahead of time. Start a Black Friday campaign that targets your cold traffic ahead of time. This will allow you to take advantage of lower ad costs.
  • Set up at least 1 backup ad account in case your main account goes down.
  • Have your ads ready for review a few days before your campaign goes live so that they are approved in time.

11. Use various advertising channels.

There are literally thousands of new deals added to Amazon and other merchants during the sales season. This is why you need to be an active curator. Ideally, you should dedicate 2-3 hours each day updating your posts with the latest deals. 

Here are our top Black Friday marketing tips: 

  • Use your email list To drive more attention to your landing page, create exclusive Black Friday and Cyber Monday newsletters and email blasts. Many Holiday shoppers will gladly sign up for one in exchange for a deal, which you would offer them anyway. 
  • Post to Facebook groups, forums & online communities – Be social, make some buzz. Go to relevant Facebook groups, ask the owners if you can do a live review or watch party. Remember to be genuine about your promotion methods; focus on explaining how the product will be helpful for the user. You can also incentivize the audience with some special discounts.
  • Place banners on your pages with the most traffic – This is very easy to do. Hire a designer to create some graphics and use AdInserter to display on your site.
  •  Search for traffic beyond Google and Facebook Ads/Meta Ads. I know, I know, it’s very tempting. But it’s also crowded and very hard to get in and Facebook has declared war on third-party ads accounts. Instead, try your luck with lesser known yet just as effective traffic sources, you’d be surprised with the results! Check out this article on how to choose the best traffic source or just go with our Native Starter Pack and access the best offers from the best traffic sources effortlessly! 

Set your ecommerce store for success

Ecommerce store marketers should treat BF/CM weekend like a whole process, where each steps needs to be executed at a certain time. It’s a space mission: you have preparations, countdown, lift-off… and then keeping astronauts alive. So, don’t skip a step, do what others do – but better – and you should avoid explosions, catastrophic leaks, and aliens.

12. Launch early-bird discounts

A friendly discount offer goes a long way. And if placed strategically, it can even save you a couple of bucks in the long run. Say, you decided to drop prices up to 75% during the big Black Friday sale. Try tempting your clients with a good-old 30-40% discount on a Monday morning before the big day and see what happens. A great example of this is Amazon’s Holiday Dash:

13. Track & optimize your results on the go with Shopify integration

You only have one shot with Black Friday this year. So make sure you do everything you can to score the best performance. 

Between landing pages, your ads, and offers, in the midst of various links, there should be Voluum. Your command center, your eye into everything that is going on with your Black Friday campaigns. 

Voluum records each click, associates it with additional information that hides behind it and presents this data in real-time

Use it to assess the performance of your ads, offers, and landing pages, learn about your audience, drive traffic to specific destinations according to rules and conditions, track your costs and revenue down to a single cent and react instantly when something bad happens. 

With Voluum you’ll be able to optimize your campaigns with ease by adjusting bids, cutting non-performing targets, split testing LP’s and offers. 

To make the optimization process more effective try auto-optimization. It’s pretty easy to end up with a negative ROI when you have a lot of campaigns running simultaneously and you have to keep an eye on each one of them individually. That’s exactly why using auto-optimization features can be both life- and money-saving solution.

Lastly, don’t leave a gaming-changing feature like Voluum integration with Shopify on the table! This feature is built for you – yes, you! – to bring you more clarity by connecting all your paid advertising efforts and organic traffic to your store into one analytics tool. Thanks to integration, you can pass ‘purchase’ and ‘add to cart’ events to Voluum, along with information about the product. Only then you will be able to accurately assess, if you should keep paying Google for placing ads in people’s SERP pages, if Facebook is any good in driving traffic toward your pager or if you should focus on influencer traffic.

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday

So we’ve covered the pre-arrangements and it means it’s time to talk about the big day(s). At this stage you need to stay vigilant, make sure everything is going according to plan, and be ready to react in case something changes unexpectedly, 

You’ll notice that some of the categories are very similar to the ones from the previous part… That’s because a coherent marketing strategy always encompasses similar sources on different levels of depth.

14. Elevate your sales strategy

Let’s say you’ve listened to my advice and selected a specific few types of goods you’ll advertise this year. You made sure there’s plenty of them available in stock, the landing pages are ready, the ads are running. Here are a couple of ways you could make your promotion even more effective:

  • Cross-sell and upsell;
  • Run flash sales with countdowns;
  • Rotate your offers on a daily basis; 
  • Throw in a couple of freebies;
  • Offer free or discounted shipping

Cross-selling and upselling

Cross-selling is suggesting a customer to opt-in for complementary products in addition to the one they decided to buy (e.g. complementary accessories for a selected dress). Upselling is persuading a customer to purchase a more expensive (or more advanced) product model of the same category. Try adding cross-selling and upselling pop-ups with discounted offers to your Black Friday deals to increase sales.  

Free gifts

Everybody loves free stuff. Apple knew that and that’s how we ended up receiving earphones together with phones back in the day. They also knew you can’t keep giving the good stuff for free forever, which is why now some newer iPhone models come without any accessories included in the price. You’re not Apple (yet) and you most probably have some small gifts that won’t cost you that much but will make your customers feel loved and appreciated.

Save on shipping

Last year, 25% of online shoppers were expected to abandon their orders due to unexpected shipping costs added prior to check out. On top of that, almost half of all participants (49%) of last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales admit that having free shipping affects their purchase decision. So think the logistics through and give people what they want! 

15. Leverage social media & email

Remember how I told you not to be shy when it comes to email marketing? The advice still stands! Even more so, don’t post square pictures on Instagram and automatically share them across the rest of your accounts. Use social media like it’s 2020, not 2012! 

  • Send an email about the beginning of the sale
  • Remind your clients about the end of the discounted offers 
  • Livestream during the prime sales’ hours

Email your clients about the launch of Black Friday sales 

Where your paid ads won’t reach, email will pick up a slack. Don’t count on your loyal customers to check your offers themselves even if you decided to follow strategies #15 & #16 from this list. Let them know about the beginning of your sales, be extra! 

Send “Last Chance” emails

All things in life come to an end and so does Black Friday. Pair this farewell email with a flash sale or a countdown timer and catch the least certain parts of your audience before it’s too late. 

Black Friday: The Aftermath

There’s no denying that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge for marketers, but there is an actual life afterwards. There will be a big chunk of latecomers, who missed out on the biggest promotions and will be looking for gifts and presents at the last moment. Use the “afterparty” angle and go for them.  

16. Run remarketing campaigns

Reach out to clients with “abandoned baskets”

Find shoppers who visited your eCommerce website, selected some products, but didn’t finalize the purchase. Reach out to them with a special offer customized personally for them. This is also a good time to cross-sell some extras. 

Gather all the data together and analyze the hell out of it

This Black Friday will go down in history as the most unpredictable one. You may not build your next years’ budgets based on the profits received in 2020, but you can still learn from consumer behavior and see which parts of your Black Friday marketing strategy could use some adjustments. 

Looks like that’s it. Good job for sticking till the end! 

And once the black Friday madness ends…

…you’ll see a drop in traffic and clicks after November 31. But hey, don’t worry! As December approaches, it’s time to put on “Last Christmas”, wear your dandy reindeer sweater, and just give yourself a break before the sales pick up again before Christmas.

I hope the strategies we shared will skyrocket your profits. If you have some other tactics you would like to share, let me know! Good luck!! 

  1. A great article and great read. The top 10 questions to ask yourself, was something knew, thanks for sharing.

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