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How SMEs can create an effective customer comms calendar leading up to Black Friday 2020

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by Startacus Admin

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SME and starting to plan for Black Friday? These tips from Demi Edmunds at TextAnywherewill help you create an effective customer comms strategy in the lead-up...

pexels 919436This year Black Friday is on November 27th and given that many industries have been impacted by the pandemic and lockdown implementations, it’s important businesses capitalise on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

In the UK last year, when compared to a normal day, sales on Black Friday soared by 1708%. What’s more, Barclays reported that overall transaction values rose by 16.5% when compared to 2018 figures. This increase is significant, as it demonstrates that not only are more customers spending over Black Friday weekend, but the amount that each customer is spending is also increasing.

Additionally, while Black Friday is undeniably retail focused, more recently other industries have launched creative campaigns which aim to build on the buzz of the weekend. For instance, we have seen SMEs offering discounted rates on services such as beauty treatments to help customers relax post Black Friday weekend and many hospitality businesses extending food and drink deals to entice shoppers during and after their shopping experience.

Given the huge opportunity the weekend presents and the competition among brands, we have outlined some tips for SMEs wanting to ensure their communications stand out in the weeks leading up to Black Friday 2020.

Make customers feel special

As Mark Ritson puts it - “Customers’ benevolence won’t keep brands alive – we serve them, not the other way round”.

To be successful, businesses always need to offer value to their customers. However, the way in which this is achieved may need to change in light of the evolving pandemic.

pexels 4968634Brands that adapt to the ever changing customer and market behaviours, are able to show their audience that they know and understand them. SMEs are advised to segment communication lists and target customers based on previous purchases. More specific, personalised offers are likely to be better received than a simple blanket discount. What’s more, this tailored approach means communications are more likely to be opened and read by customers, as even the build up to Black Friday weekend, communications can become a frenzy of sales and offers. So brands should ensure customers are opening communications because their interest is peaked, not because they’re expecting cheap deals.

Determine what customers want

Consumer demand and behaviour has changed significantly since the beginning of the pandemic. Unsurprisingly there has been a boost to ecommerce, and George MacDonald, Executive Editor of Retail Week, has also been quoted saying we may be entering a golden age of retail localisation. Simply put, this is a chance for independent stores to strengthen and secure their unique place on the highstreet. For many SMEs this presents a great opportunity. But to go that one step further and ensure your brand is delivering campaigns which not only entice customers but actually create brand advocates, it makes sense to ask customers what they’d like to see come Black Friday weekend.

By asking for this kind of feedback, you can use the data collected to help your business make smarter decisions around how to segment your customer lists, determine what offers and discounts will add value to your customers and perhaps most importantly, enable businesses to operationally prepare for expected influxes. What’s more, it is exactly this kind of engagement which can help brands set themselves apart from the competition.

Prepare campaigns, mobile first

For quite some time now, Black Friday weekend has taken place largely online. But interestingly, in 2019 67% of all online traffic came from mobile and over half the orders placed by customers were also confirmed on a mobile device. So it’s vital that SMEs ensure their campaigns are created mobile first.

pexels 3059745Furthermore, as in 2018, brands sent nearly 3 billion emails to customers on Black Friday alone, it’s worthwhile exploring alternative communication channels to help make sure your customer communications aren’t lost in a sea of emails. With SMS, not only do businesses benefit from an average open rate of 95%, but SMS vouchers are also 10 times more likely to be redeemed than print and 90% of all text messages are read within just 3 minutes. So SMS could help give your business the edge over competitors.

Start communications early

Black Friday is a huge opportunity for businesses and competitors alike. In general, retailers begin their campaigns around a week prior to Black Friday and continue communications until Cyber Monday. This year however, in the retail sector in particular, to make the most of the peak season in the build up to Christmas it makes sense to start campaigns a little earlier, even if discounts aren't yet available. By communication with these customers ahead of time, you can ensure that your business is front of mind when it comes to Black Friday shopping.

Furthermore, as articles with titles such as ‘Best Amazon Black Friday 2020 deals’ have already been published, it’s fair to say, consumers are also starting to think of Black Friday and potentially plan their purchases. So for SMEs willing to communicate offers early, the benefits could be vast.

Ultimately, Black Friday presents SMEs with a real opportunity to boost sales and build momentum in the lead up to Christmas. As is the case with any customer communications, brands should ensure that the content adds values and is of genuine interest to their customers. So for businesses willing to get creative and provide offers and services which are a great fit for their customers, Black Friday can be fruitful and further help SMEs navigate their way through the challenging Covid-19 period.

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Published on: 29th September 2020

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