Planning Your Black Friday Campaign Creative (Month by Month!)

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Black Friday is, by far, the biggest shopping event of the year:

Ecommerce stores with well-executed plans see 30% more revenue during this season than the rest of the year. Some stores create more revenue in these few critical weeks than they do the entire rest of the year!

To take advantage Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and be sure you’re making the most of it, one thing’s clear: your business needs a robust, well planned strategy. You’re not just planning for a single day; you’re orchestrating a series of targeted mini-campaigns leading up to these colossal shopping events.

How to Make the Most of the Holiday Shopping Season

Think of your strategy as maximizing Black Friday and Cyber Monday and then parlaying those new customers into momentum that will carry you forward into the New Year, to create your best year yet. 

Black Friday isn’t an isolated event that is over when it ends. Instead, it can be the catalyst that takes your ecommerce store to the next level. Here’s why:

First, customers are easier to acquire during Black Friday. A survey by Criteo found that globally 58% of consumers said they were more likely to try new online brands offering great deals. We’re all conditioned to think of this shopping holiday as the time when businesses are putting out their best deals. We’re all thinking about the upcoming holidays and everyone is on the lookout for that killer deal. You want to ensure your audience is exposed to your offer. 

Second, by launching retention strategies throughout December and January, and making sure you’re providing top notch service, you can drive loyalty, repeat purchases, and referrals from these new customers. That same survey found that consumers reported they’re more likely to make another purchase from brands that provided a positive experience and had high-quality customer service.

Where to Focus Your Time and Resources:

Most small ecommerce stores don’t have the luxury of a team of marketers in specialized roles focusing on maximizing sales across channels. Instead, they have to focus their resources into what’s most important and be wise about where they invest. 

If you have limited resources, invest heavily in paid advertising. While many small ecommerce stores will opt for free channels in an effort to save money, that comes at the cost of revenue and momentum.

Here’s why…

The marketing tactics that drove the most traffic during 2022 Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales:

  1. Paid Search: 28% (+2% YoY)
  2. Affiliates/Partners: 18% (+6% YoY)
  3. Email: 17% (+10% YoY)”

And these are the top marketing tactics by revenue:

  1. “29% of online sales were attributable to paid search.
  2. 19% were attributable to direct web visits
  3. 17% to organic search

Source: Adobe 2022 Holiday Shopping report

The message for ecommerce businesses is clear: paid search is the most important marketing channel to focus on and its importance is only increasing — it’s likely to be even more important this year. 

Now that you know how important Black Friday is to your business, let’s get down to the brass tacks — planning — so that you can execute from a solid strategic foundation and set yourself up for success…

The Five Stages of Black Friday Campaigns

Here’s a high-level breakdown of the multi-stage campaign you’ll execute:

  1. Pre-Holiday Warm-Up (October): This is your prospecting stage. It’s ideal for capturing email leads and gauging interest in your upcoming BFCM deals. You may even want to drop subtle reminders that your big Black Friday deals are coming!
  2. Pre-Black Friday (Early November): Introduce fresh creative assets like holiday gift guides that stoke demand and get your audience thinking about how your products fit into their holiday season. Focus on growing your email list so your critical email announcement campaigns drive maximum impact.
  3. Black Friday Frenzy (Late November): It begins! Deploy hard-hitting offers using urgency-based creative, with tactics like countdown timers to fuel conversions. Be sure to explicitly call out that these are your best deals of the year and NOW is the time to buy.
  4. Cyber Monday Surge (Late November): Shift gears with clean, impactful designs that introduce a new set of irresistible deals for Cyber Monday.
  5. Post-BFCM Transition (December): Wind down with ‘last-chance’ offers and switch focus to holiday gift guides and shipping cutoff promotions.

By focusing on each of these five distinct stages, you’ll be sure to cover all your bases and create promotions that address Black Friday holistically.

Now let’s get into the nitty gritty of what you should be doing and creating during each month…

Planning Your Campaigns: A Month-by-Month Guide

Now: Laying the Groundwork

Week 1: Break each of the above five campaign stages down into a series of campaigns you want to run and identify the creative assets you’ll need.

Week 2: Determine featured products for each campaign, and craft shot lists for photo and video content. Write your ad copy and create a template for your designs including color palettes and guidelines so your assets have a cohesive look and feel across channels.

Week 3: Complete the photo and video shoots. This is usually a big lift, so there’s not much else to do this week. Really invest into your product imagery — it’s a critical factor in attracting attention and creating conversions!

Week 4: Edit and finalize multimedia assets. Design the initial set of Pre-Holiday ads using tools like Tailwind to schedule your paid social campaigns.

September: Plan Your Products, Strategies and Photos

In order to give yourself enough time to plan without stressing, September is the time to sit down with a pen and paper and begin planning out all your campaign strategies for the coming holiday season.

During this stage, you’ll want to think about your campaign strategies for each of the five major segments of your promotion. What are you going to offer, and what creative will you need in order to build your ads, emails, and social media posts?

Then, you’ll get all of your photo and video content out of the way and create briefs for the first round of creative to pass off to your designer. Doing all of this prep work, in the beginning, means that you’ll have what you need on hand to create and launch your marketing campaign quickly.

Broken down week by week, here’s what you should be doing:

Week 2:

  • Determine your campaign strategies for Pre Holiday (October) Pre BFCM (November) Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Post BFCM and what creative you’ll need (5 days)

Week 3:

  • Determine products to be featured in each of your five holiday campaigns (1 day)
  • Create shot list and briefs for holiday photo and video content (1 day)
  • Shoot photo and video holiday content to be used in campaign creative (2 days)
  • Write briefs for your Pre-holiday ad creative (1 day)

Week 4:

  • Edit and retouch holiday shoot content as needed (1 day)
  • Design and create Pre-Holiday ad creative (1 day)

October: Create and Scale Your Ads for Pre-Holiday

Now, it’s go time. Instead of launching the same set of ads and creative during this month, you’ll want to pump out new pieces of creative each week to keep your offers and business top of mind as the holiday season approaches.

During this time frame, you’ll also want to test and record which type of offer works best to attract sales from your audience. This could look like testing out a product bundling offer, or a Buy One Get One Half Off one week, and a discount code the next.

The results from your offer tests can help you narrow down exactly what you should be promoting and when in order to maximize your sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Broken down week by week, here’s what you should be doing:

Week 1:

  • Launch pre-holiday campaigns, testing your first offer approach (think bundling, discount codes, discount stacking, etc. (1 day)

Week 2:

  • Design and Create More Pre-Holiday Ad Creative (1 day)

Week 3:

  • Concept Pre-BFCM ad creative (1 day)
  • Write Pre- BFCM ad creative briefs and submit to designer) (1 day)
  • Design and Create More Pre-Holiday Ad Creative (1 day)

Week 4: 

  • Design and Create More Pre-Holiday Ad Creative (1 day)
  • Design Pre-BFCM Ad Creative (3 days)

Week 5:

  • Concept Pre-BFCM ad creative (1 day)
  • Write Pre- BFCM ad creative briefs and submit to designer) (1 day)
  • Concept BFCM Ad Creative (1 day)
  • Write BFCM Ad Creative Briefs, submit to designer (1 day)

November: Prepare for the Rush

It’s officially go time. As Black Friday approaches, you should have enough insights from your pre-Holiday and pre-Black Friday campaigns to hone in on what offers work best for your business to maximize your sales. Most companies extend Black Friday through the weekend, so you’ll have the opportunity to offer something new each day (or every hour, if you’re feeling extra ambitious.)

During this month you and your design team are going to be busy, so make sure you know what’s coming each week and exactly what you need to be doing in order to hit the mark and not fall behind.

You’ll also want to design your post-Black Friday campaign creative for holiday gift shopping. Gift guides are the go-to here!

Broken down, here’s what you should be up to:

Week 1:

  • Design BFCM Ad Creative (3 Days)

Week 3:

  • Launch Pre- BFCM Ads that you build in October (1 day)

Week 4:

  • Build and Schedule Black Friday Ad Campaigns (Thursday)
  • Design Gift Giving Ad Creative (3 Days)
  • Build and Schedule Cyber Monday Campaigns (Saturday)

Week 5:

  • Finalize building CM Ads and schedule launch at midnight (Sunday)

December: Pivot to Gift Giving For Holiday Season

Whew, you made it through the rush. December gets a lot more tactical, as you launch Gift Giving campaign creative in order to catch shoppers still looking for items on their list. 

Another important part of December is building and launching a Shipping Cutoff campaign (read: the last day shoppers have to order for their gifts to arrive in time for the holidays.) This is both helpful and creates FOMO, maximizing sales as shoppers rush to get last-minute items before time runs out.

If you’re planning on running a campaign between the holidays and the New Year, you’ll also want to build that out too.

Here’s what December will look like:

Week 1:

  • Build Gift Giving  Ad Campaigns (1 Day)
  • Launch Gift Giving Ad Campaigns (1 Day)
  • Concept Shipping Cutoff Ad Creative (1 Day)
  • Write Shipping Cutoff Ad Creative Briefs, Submit to Designer (1 Day)

Week 2:

  • Design Shipping Cutoff Ad Creative (2 Days)
  • Build Ads for Shipping Cutoff (1 Day)
  • Launch Ads for Shipping Cutoff (1 Day)
  • Run ads for Shipping Cutoff (3 Days)

Week 3:

  • Run ads for Shipping Cutoff (2 Days)
  • Concept, Brief and Design Copy and Creative for Post-Holiday Ads (2 Days)
  • Pause all Holiday/ Shipping Cutoff Campaigns (1 Day)
  • Build and Schedule Ads for Post-Holiday Campaign (1 Day)
  • Launch Post Holiday Campaign (1 Day)

Streamline your campaigns and maximize your productivity

Hopefully looking at everything involved with Black Friday Cyber Monday promotions hasn’t left you feeling overwhelmed. Just remember, you have help! Using a multi-channel marketing tool like Tailwind will help you create everything needed with generative AI for writing copy, design tools for social posts, and AI generated and optimized ecommerce ads so you can produce high-quality campaigns for every stage of your promotions.

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