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Make Black Friday Your Best Friday

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How to Make Sure Black Friday Doesn’t Make You See Red

By Hector Cisneros

For more than a century, Americans have been engaged in what has now become a time-honored tradition where holiday shopping starts right after Thanksgiving. Today that event is called Black Friday. If you’re a retailer, my question for you is this; Is Black Friday your Best sales day or is Black Friday making you see red?  Are you able to generate sufficient local business versus the online competition? Or, are you seeing dwindling sales? If sales are dwindling, then it's time to take advantage of the internet to garner new sales and new customers! In this episode of Working the Web to Win we will explore Black Friday Marketing Tips to help local retailers compete with the online retail giants.

The First Black Friday - The first time I heard the term “Black Friday” I thought to myself, what a strange name for the first day of holiday shopping. I figured it must mean that this is the time of year where retailers get the bulk of their sales, “it puts them in the black.” According to the National Retail Federation, half of holiday sales happen the first day after Thanksgiving and the rest of holiday sales take place during the time leading up to Christmas. However, when I researched this, I was surprised to find out that Black Friday got its name not because of the great sales but because of all the car accidents, chaos and sometimes violence that occurred on that day. The name Black Friday was coined by the Philadelphia Police Department in 1966 as a way of describing the mayhem surrounding the congestion of pedestrian and auto traffic in downtown Philadelphia. It wasn’t rebranded to mean a good thing until later to showcase the success businesses were having on that day (i.e., being in the black). Check out the article; Why Is Black Friday Called Black Friday?

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Black Friday is a Huge Economic Factor - When we say Black Friday today, we must include the whole weekend and Monday (now called Cyber Monday). The whole weekend is where retailers put their loss-leader specials out to attract customers to their establishments, whether we’re talking a brick and mortar and/or online store.  Today, Black Friday sales (both online and in-store) are a huge part of our economy. That day accounts for anywhere between 30 to nearly 40% of retail sales! In 2016, the average spend was $935.58, and the total spent was 655.8 billion dollars in sales. This number has increased every year since 2002. The only exception was 2008 when the recession hit, and sales dropped by 4.6%. 2017 is projected to beat last year’s sales by 4%. On top of this, think of all the jobs that are created to handle this increase in sales.

What About Cyber Monday - Today when we talk about holiday shopping, we must include online shopping, because this shopping trend has been growing by leaps and bounds since the internet began. The best online and in-store deals happen on Black Friday, but Cyber Monday is the next biggest, where online sales eclipse in-store sales. Some have predicted that Cyber Monday (also called Green Monday) sales will exceed Black Sunday. In 2016 Cyber Monday hit an all-time high with e-commerce sales hitting $3.45 billion that day. This year Adobe Digital Insights Predicts that holiday shopper will spend 6.6 billion and that Cyber Monday will Exceed Black Friday as the biggest sales day of the year. We will have to wait and see, but even if it doesn’t exceed Black Friday, Cyber Monday is a huge deal for any online retailer.
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From a retailer perspective, you may be viewing all this online shopping as a good or bad thing, depending on whether you're engaged in eCommerce sales. The reality today is, there is no reason not to be involved in online marketing if not actual eCommerce sales. There are mainly two kinds of buyers, those for whom price is the most important issue and those whom place the overall value as most important!

Competing with Giants - If you feel online giants like Amazon, Walmart, Jet, and Target are stealing your business, ask yourself, why are they stealing my customers and what can I do about it? To compete with giants, you have to be better than they are at some aspect of marketing. Can you beat their price? Not likely. Can you deliver the products faster? Maybe (especially if you have it in stock and the customers need it today). Can you provide better customer service? Probably. A personal touch with great customer service, is easier to do, face to face than online. In order to win this battle, you must be a value-added retailer, have someone recommending you or have some exclusive ingredient that the giants just don’t have. For local retailers, the scary fact remains, if you’re not taking advantage of online sales, these sales will continue to eat your lunch, and instead of Black Friday, you will see red.

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Sales Trends - Having said this, online sales continue to grow, and there is no reason your business can’t capitalize on this trend as well. In the article;  2017 holiday shopping trends: How consumers plan to research & purchase gifts this season, Amy Gesenhues discusses the buying habits of four types of shoppers. The steady, shoppers (6%), the Early Bird Shoppers (10%), the Black Friday shoppers (16%) and the last-minute shoppers (28%).  The research in this article further shows that 45% of shoppers will be spending two or more hours researching Cyber Monday deals with 52% using their desktops and 36% using their smartphones!

Simple Strategies that Work - With this knowledge in mind, think about how you could market to the last-minute buyers by appealing to their need to be able to get something last minute! How can you add value to the transaction? You could engage in a last-minute email or direct mail campaign to bring shoppers in, or you could make it easy for them to reserve the order online and then come and pick up the product gift wrapped (a little value add). You can also engage in a last-minute Pay Per Click campaigns that offer value-add, a compelling offer, and convenience to your prospect. You could provide articles on your website or blog that help make holiday shopping easier. Here are a couple of examples; Best Black Friday Deals: 8 Tips That Save You Money and ten tips for delivering holiday magic. To attract visitors, your tips can be about Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, etc. -  in fact your tips could be about any holiday or anything that is useful and relevant to your prospect. 
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Blogging for Business - Blogging is a great way to build trust, increase credibility and add value to your company and products. Blogging is a type of branding, but your blog can be used to generate sales too. A blog website gives visitors a reason to return. If you're providing high quality, relevant and useful content on a regular basis, visitors will return to consume your content. While visiting your blog, you will get a shot at converting these prospects. Plus, you can easily set up eCommerce on your blog because a blog is a website.

I have only talked a little bit about strategy because serious time and effort should be devoted to this before a final strategy is put together. But there is another matter that can help you stay in the game (or could kill your efforts altogether if done poorly). And that, my friends, is, how well your web presence is set up. For example, have you taken the time to evaluate your web presence and compare it to your competition?

17 is a Magic Number - Here are some important questions you should be answering if you want your web presence to convert clicks into cash.

1.    Do you have focused landing pages for your cash cow products or services?
2.    Do you know if your web properties are correctly set up with the proper META elements to get you found?
3.    Do your web properties have all the conversion factors above the fold?
4.    Is the placement of all your sales elements maximized for converting visitors into customers?
5.    Do your web properties make it easy for the customer to find what they are looking for?
6.    Does your web property convey trust, confidence, and credibility for your company or product?
7.    Does your web property provide a value-added service of any kind?
8.    Does your web property have a compelling offer that provides perceived value?
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9.    Is your site linked to the manufacturer of all the products you sell?
10.  Do you have links to other authoritative vendors who recommend you?
11.  Are you listed in the top 100 search directories?
12.  Are you engaging in Pay-Per-Click Advertising?
13.  Is your Pay-Per-Click advertising optimized for ROI?
14.  Do you have a Blog attached to your website?
15.  Do  you have the top social networks attached to your website?
16.  Are you actively blogging and sharing this content on your social networks?
17.  Are you actively garnering testimonials and engaging prospects?

If your website or landing pages are not setup properly, they will not convert visitors into customers. Even if you're spending a lot of money on pay-per-click advertising to drive traffic to your landing pages, if they aren’t set up properly, you won’t convert visitors into customers. Assuming your website is getting found (which is a bad assumption if your META info is not set up properly), visitors will quickly bounce to the next site. If your content doesn’t quickly meet their search criteria, they will just click next! Even worse, you could be removed from the list of potential vendors to buy from altogether!

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Website Makeover - In our articles called; How to Keep Your eCommerce Dream from becoming a Nightmare and Extreme Website Makeovers – Fixes That Boost Traffic, Conversions and Rankings, we discussed how to create websites and landing pages that build visitor confidence and convert them to customers. These articles will provide lots of details about what is needed to maximize your return on your website marketing investment. There is an old saying that goes “cheap is expensive and expensive is cheap.” This means that there is no better solution than doing something right the first time. This is particularly true if you want your websites to convert visitors into customers. A couple of other articles I recommend are; SmartCommerce brings the impulse-buying experience online for CPG brands this holiday season and Offers they can’t refuse: Strategies to stand out on Black Friday

If you feel you're losing local sales to online competitors (big or small) and you would like to get a piece of the ecommerce pie, give us a call and let us provide you with a free web presence analysis and or a free pay per click audit. These two services will help you understand your strengths, challenges and your competition. It will also provide you with ideas, strategies, and options to help you reach your marketing goals. If you would like to talk to us, we also provide a free one-hour consultation as well. We hope your holiday sales this year will be your best year yet. If not, take the advice in the article to heart and make next year better than this one.
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That's my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.

This article provides more than two dozen tips on how to increase your holiday and online sales for Black Friday and beyond. It discusses how Black Friday got its name and how today's Black Friday’s and Cyber Monday sales trends are going this year. It also provides a slew of resource links for the reader to further their knowledge on this subject.

If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, give us a call at 904-410-2091, we are here to help. You can also fill out the form in the sidebar of this blog. It will allow us to provide you with a free marketing analysis to help you get better online results. Our claim to fame is that we are one of the few companies who actually provide ironclad written guarantees.

Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.” 

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