Every year, Black Friday presents an opportunity for retailers to look beyond driving sales to acquire high-quality customers who keep coming back. But with the event now an almost month-long affair, knowing how to navigate this peak sales period can be tricky.
To avoid a short-term spike in profit that quickly crashes, brands must prioritise engaging with consumers in a way that earns their trust and loyalty. This is especially true in the current cost-of-living crisis, with many consumers waiting for Black Friday deals to buy bigger ticket items. Investing marketing spend wisely to give customers genuine value this Black Friday is now crucial to brand survival.
Avoiding common Black Friday pitfalls
Often, the competitive nature of Black Friday sees brands in a race to the bottom as they slash prices to get new shoppers through the door. But this approach soon sends profits crashing as Black Friday bargain hunters disappear after their purchase.
Another short-term tactic for bolstering profit margins is chasing ‘bad profit’. Coined by NPS creator Fred Reichheld, bad profit extracts – rather than creates – value from customers (think unexpected shipping costs or paying to update your booking). While it drives immediate revenue, it also damages customer relationships and the prospect of future sales.
You need only to scan the countless headlines questioning the legitimacy of Black Friday deals to know it’s notorious for bad profit. Striking the balance between driving revenue while delivering genuine value is essential for brand success. Treating your customers well isn’t just the right thing to do; it makes them more likely to buy again, spend more and recommend your brand to friends and family.
Turning customers into loyal brand advocates
Black Friday this year will be different. Recycling campaign plans from previous years might seem like the safe option, but in reality, refusing to adapt risks severely stunting your brand’s long-term growth.
Instead of focussing on acquiring big spenders through expensive and unpredictable marketing channels, look instead to your brand advocates. They might have slipped under your radar so far, but these customers are truly your most valuable.
Consumers trust a brand recommendation from a friend or relative more than any other marketing channel. As the cost-of-living crisis tightens its grip on consumer purse strings, more Black Friday shoppers will be seeking their friends’ opinions before buying from brands. And when their friends tell them about a brand they love, they listen. On average, referred customers spend 11% more on their first order and are 5x more likely to refer onwards themselves, sparking a referral chain reaction that can exponentially grow your business.
Identify the brand fans in your customer base and treat them better than any other. Give them early access to your Black Friday sales and engage with them in ways that encourage them to buy again and introduce even more friends. Activate your brand fans in the right way, and you’ll have a steady stream of new customers heading directly to your checkout this Black Friday.
A personalised service for every customer
Instead of simply looking at your sales numbers, prioritise nurturing customer advocacy in the run-up to and during Black Friday.
One way of doing this is running a referral programme that rewards current customers and entices new ones with unmissable introductory offers. This way, you’re keeping existing customers happy and engaged while bringing new potential brand advocates through the door — creating an endless virtuous cycle of growth.
Instead of focusing solely on your Black Friday deals, shout about what makes your brand different to the competition. For example, one of our clients is a vegan meal delivery service that previously rebranded the event as ‘Green Friday’, planting extra trees for every referral. This perfectly aligned with the brand’s ethos and their customers’ desire to do good.
Brands that choose to nurture long-term customer love above short-term sales hikes will be the ones that emerge from the economic crisis thriving. Interacting with your customers in thoughtful and meaningful ways will turn them into your best marketers, creating organic, sustainable growth for your business. Putting customer advocacy at the heart of your strategy is essential for driving brand success that lasts long after your Black Friday sales end.
About the Author
Andy Cockburn is CEO of Mention Me. Mention Me is an award-winning referral marketing platform that fuels business growth.