Marketing your business for annual events

If you haven’t started already, now is the time to begin planning your marketing campaign for some of the biggest events of the year. As a business, it’s crucial that you get in on all of the action that could lead to a boost of sales — whether this is participating in the Black Friday weekend madness or celebrating the entire Christmas period with your customers.

Putting a strategy in place now will allow you to get ahead of your competitors; but how do you do it?

Black Friday sales

We’ve had the luxury of Black Friday sales for almost eight years now — but many British consumers believe it’s only a recent trend. What once was an all-American holiday after celebrating Thanksgiving, Black Friday voyaged over the Atlantic in 2010 where ecommerce giant Amazon introduced ‘Black Friday Discounts’ to its British audience; which was soon picked up by other retailers in the UK.

Just like the battles we see of consumers running into stores to grab the best products, brands are also battling it out for the best advertising space. The main benefit of Black Friday is that it’s a date already in the mind of British consumers, proving the perfect opportunity to bring in more shoppers to your store.

November is practically the new December — as consumers shop discounted products that will potentially be bought for Christmas presents; it couldn’t be more ideal. Whatever the scenario may be, Black Friday has organically marketed itself in the minds of shoppers around the world.

Black Friday sales are only increasing year-on-year, which makes it a perfect opportunity for your business to bring in new customers. In 2017 alone, £1.4bn was reportedly spent online here in Britain; which was found to be a 11.7% increase on 2016.

As well as this, online sales were up by 3% (between 11am — 5pm) on Cyber Monday. However, reports have suggested that the peak minute for purchasing goods was at 4:38pm. These statistics show the importance of having a fully-optimised, working website with an equally good online presence.

Black Friday sales don’t just stop online; shoppers brave the high street too. 2017 in-store sales reportedly dropped with figures down by 3.6% too.

A notable trend last year was that retail stores were releasing their discounted products early, but many question the effectiveness of this. Although some major stores released their deals early, many consumers still waited on big brands like John Lewis to release theirs on the actual Friday so that they could compare prices of discounted products across different stores.

With more people switching online for Black Friday discounts, some websites weren’t prepared for all of the traffic. John Lewis admitted that their site crashed for a short period of time and shoppers weren’t able to access it — whereas Game said that their checkout process experienced some faults.

To put user traffic into perspective, Argos experienced more than two million visits within the four hours the website launched its Black Friday deals on Thursday night. More consumers expect that products will be available all day and companies won’t sell out; this led to 24% less shoppers online between midnight and 7am of the Black Friday and a 3% increase in shoppers after 17:30am.

Boxing Day sales

Brits are more familiar with Boxing Day sales — which were once the equivalent of the Black Friday deals. Putting an end to the festivities, Boxing Day sales allowed Brits to enter the new year with some of the best bargains around. However, many believe that the introduction of Black Friday has had a dampening effect on the day and led to a decrease in sales; or brand focus.

But do sale figures suggest the same and does the anticipation for post-Christmas deals still exist? The day has managed to market itself into the mind of British consumers which is a massive advantage for stores looking to get in on the action.

Barclaycard found that one in three (34%) Brits braved the streets last year on Boxing Day which was up from 23% on the previous year. Last year was the most notorious for sales too, with discounts up to 90% off their original price; with many businesses prepared to make a loss. With this, most large retailers’ profit margins were sat at around 50% or lower.

It was estimated that across the UK, a total of £4.3bn was spent which showed a 12% increase on 2016. This is probably down to the competitiveness of Black Friday, as stores slashed their discounts even further on a range of products on Boxing Day. For example, one product in Debenhams originally cost £99 which was then reduced to £15 — an 84% decrease.

Methods of advertising

Whatever sector you find yourself operating in, you must be prepared for these types of events to ensure that you take your fair share of consumer willingness. Although these events are extremely similar and focus on discounts, businesses must market differently but in a way that is incredibly similar — you must strike the perfect balance to capture the right audience at the right time.

hen the time comes, you must begin marketing through your email newsletter as this will notify your current customers that you plan on giving discounts and that they’re the first to find out. They’re part of your exclusive club and you want to offer them something special.

You must understand that this initial message will not resonate completely with who you’re targeting as consumers now expect businesses to take part in Black Friday and Boxing Day sales. Therefore, you must inform them that you’ll be sending out another email closer to the date. What makes this second email special is that you’re going to release a unique discount code for their use only; again, capitalising on that ‘exclusive club’ newsletter vibe.

As more people become informed with your plans, you’ll notice a spike in your newsletter sign-ups. As well as this, word-of-mouth will also reach a range of publications that promote discounts across stores; so, this could also help raise brand awareness for your business which could improve your SEO.

However, when you carry out email marketing for these two different events is different:Black Friday — beginning of November. Boxing Day — mid-December. According to Custora, 25.1% of Black Friday sales originated from email marketing.

If you’re an online business that has customers from around the world, it’s important that you send out your emails at a reasonable time so that your message doesn’t move down to the bottom of the customers inbox.

When creating the copy for your email, you must use language that equals an action; this can be anything from “Save the date!” or “Add this to your diary”. As well as this, your campaign can be targeted to different customers — offering a better deal to loyal subscribers.

As well as email marketing, you should be looking at social media. With 2.23 billion monthly active users on Facebook, one billion on Instagram and 335 million on Twitter; it’s a great and free tool to use if you’re looking to reach a great deal of people.

On social media, it’s important to start posting organically before the big event and then start with your paid promotions. As you don’t want to slow down sales ahead of the big days, promotions would usually happen a few days prior or on the actual days themselves.

However, on top of this, influencer marketing is a beneficial way to raise awareness. This can ensure your brand is at the forefront of your target audience’s mind. However, this type of marketing may only be relevant to certain sectors.

Although you may release your campaigns close to the date of the event, it’s important that you start preparing as early as you can. Once your brand comes at the top of a person’s timeline, they’ll become more familiar and begin looking at reviews. This is where online reputation becomes a critical aspect of your business as 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business and 88% of consumers trust online reviews as if they were coming from a friend.

Is having a negative public image worth it?

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