How to prepare for Black Friday: your last minute check-up before the biggest day in online shopping

How to prepare for Black Friday: increase online sales with our last minute Black Friday guide

Though technically still a month away, it’s never too early for retailers to start planning how to prepare for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the festive period in general. In fact, with the date inching closer and closer, it will soon be too late if you don’t start getting everything in place now.

Despite still being relatively new to the UK, Black Friday has continued to grow year-on-year to become the biggest day for online shopping. First introduced in 2010 by Amazon, it was reported that in 2014, retailers saw a 50% increase in traffic, and a 133% increase in revenues (Source: eMarketer).

With shoppers also spending £1.1 billion on Black Friday last year (an 126% increase from 2014), Black Friday’s growth has shown no sign of slowing down in 2016 and beyond.

Do you want to see a similar increase in your online sales and website traffic during the festive period? Keep reading for our last minute guide to getting the most out of Black Friday...

First thing’s first: research your budget

As research has shown, ‘Profit Driven Marketers’ (who adjust their budgets throughout the year) often outperform those that stick to a fixed budget for their PPC campaigns. One notable example is Airbnb, who connected with 101% more customers over a six-month period by using flexible budgets (source: Think With Google).

Thinking of adopting the same approach to your PPC budgets before Black Friday rolls around? Before you set anything, we’d advise looking at how well your campaigns performed during last year’s festive period. For example, on which days (and times) did you generate the most click throughs and the best conversion rates?

Once you have this information, you can determine where your budgets should be focussed.

Need more guidance when it comes to budget allocation? Just get in touch with the Traffic Jam Media team- we’d be happy to help!

Review your existing digital marketing campaigns

It’s a given that driving traffic to your website is important for generating conversions all-year-around, but it’s even more vital the closer you get to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the rest of the Christmas period.

As your second step to prepare for Black Friday, you should review your existing digital campaigns and how well they’ve been performing. If your CTR (Click Through Rates) and conversion rates are low, you should check out our 3 top tips below.

1. Carefully consider your keywords

Check that you are targeting the keywords that are not only relevant to your product(s) (and the copy in your advert), but are also likely to be actively searched for by your target audience.

Essential for increasing your CTR and attracting the right audience, using relevant keywords is also key when it comes to generating a high Quality Score (which will help to lower your advert’s cost per click and cost per conversion).

2. Make sure you’re using ad extensions in Google AdWords and Bing Ads!

Ad extensions are a great way of adding extra information to your ad without exceeding the character limit of your title and two-line description. This will make them more likely to generate relevant clicks, (and as a result, increase online sales), as well as help you stand out from your competitors by taking up more ‘real estate’ on the search engines result page (or SERP).

Not sure where to start with ad extensions? We’d recommend Call extensions (which enable users to call your business directly from the advert), Sitelinks, and Callout extensions. Sitelinks are great as they will broadcast your wider portfolio of products, while Callouts highlight key selling points such as ‘free delivery’, 24/7 customer service support’ and ‘10% student discount’.

For more information on this, check out our blog on the 4 ad extensions your business should be using.

Consider other ad types and platforms

If your business is already using Google AdWords, then you should be taking advantage of more than just basic text adverts. Here are the 2 ad types we’d recommend utilising in the run-up to Black Friday.

1. Shopping ads

Like regular text ads, you bid on target keywords and will be charged every time your ad is clicked on. However, Shopping ads are used for individual items and enable you to include additional information on the product in the search engine results. These can include the price, shipping costs and an image.

As they include the prices directly on the search results page (allowing for a quick comparison between items being featured), Shopping ads have been proven to generate a better CTR and Conversion Rate by reducing clicks from searchers that are unlikely to make a purchase. It’s important to remember though that Shopping ads are only suitable for ecommerce businesses.

2. Remarketing

It’s also important to have Remarketing set-up. These ads target users that have already visited your website and completed a specific action, such as adding a product to their online shopping basket.

By appearing on other websites the user visits, it’s a particularly great marketing tool in the run-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday as only around 2% of users convert the first time they visit a website.

Optimise your website to improve customer experience

It’s all well and good having ads that generate a lot of click throughs, but you need to ensure you don’t lose out on sales when users actually get to your website. Here are 4 things you should review as your business is preparing for Black Friday.

1. Review your ad copy and landing pages

Is it relevant to the ad copy? Are your adverts promoting expired offers? Users not being able to easily find the information they’re searching for is a key explanation for why they will ‘bounce’ off the page without making a conversion. As you can guess, though, this issue is simply fixed- put yourself in the mind of the user and ensure your ads are regularly updated to reflect current offers and promotions.

2. Check the loading speed of your website

When it comes to your website, another important factor to consider is the quality of the UX (or user experience). Black Friday and the surrounding days are set to be the biggest and busiest days in online shopping this year, and increased traffic will mean slower loading pages and even possible crashes.

This is a very easy way to lose sales, but it can be avoided. We recommend speaking to your dedicated web developer about the best ways to prepare for a high volume of traffic- they will be able to reduce any large or slow loading content on your website for you.

3. Consider the usability of your website’s layout

Is your website easy to navigate? Are your menus clearly labelled and can your contact details be easily found? Again, put yourself in the mind of the user- you probably wouldn’t spend a lot of time searching for basic information on a website, so why should they?

We’d recommend placing your company’s main phone number and email address at the top of every page, as well as ensuring full contact details are included in your footer (if they’re not already).

4. Avoid having too many pop-ups

Last but not least, make sure you don’t have too many pop-ups on your website. Although one or two promoting your best current offers (and even your newsletter) are fine, too many will overwhelm the user and cause them to bounce. If your website does use pop-ups, we advise making them as small as possible while also being easy to exit.

Don’t forget to include these ‘must have’ details!

One last thing we can’t stress the importance of enough is including ‘must have’ details in the copy of your text adverts and landing pages.

What are ‘must have’ details, we hear you ask? Linking back to the Callouts ad extension, these include any key selling points of your company’s service, such as free and/or fast delivery, a generous returns policy over the festive period, and any discounts you have available for the likes of students, NHS staff and those in the Armed Forces.

With 96% of users leaving a website without converting (and 70% of these abandoning their shopping carts before purchasing), having these key selling points clearly displayed could make all the difference between generating a sale or missing out to a competitor with a more attractive offer

Thank you for reading our last minute Black Friday guide for online retailers.

Need help understanding increased search volumes during the run-up to the festive period? Want some guidance on setting new budgets for your PPC accordingly? Get in touch with the Traffic Jam Media team here.