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Ecommerce holidays Marketing tips

The Procrastinator’s Guide to a Successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday

By Reading Time: 6 minutes

Let me guess—you’ve just realized Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are at an arm’s reach and you haven’t done much to polish your store? Worry not, procrastination can get the best of us.

I’ll guide you through 7 simple things you can do to tidy up your store right before the biggest sales events of the year. It’s going to be okay—we’ll get through this together!

Start with auditing your store

Before polishing your content or launching campaigns, make sure your store is in check. You wouldn’t invite a bunch of guests to a fancy last-minute dinner party without cleaning the kitchen, right?

1. Check if your store is easy to navigate

The first thing on your to-do list is to look at  your store with a fresh pair of eyes. Step into the customer’s shoes, explore your site as if you’re seeing it for the first time, and evaluate how easy it is to navigate. Think of it as an audit for your store. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it clear what I’m selling, and why?
  • Is my website layout simple enough to understand for new shoppers?
  • Are my deals and offers highlighted on the page?
  • Will my customers know how they can make a purchase, or how to return it?

Read more about return policies in our blog post Printful Policies Your Store Should Copy.

Normally, the best way to gather this feedback would be by asking your customers. But since BFCM is just around the corner, you probably don’t have the time for that. 

A quick solution—call up a friend, ask them to click around the page for a couple of minutes, and put down their feedback.

2. Speed up your site

Your site speed can be a make-or-break for new customers. Nobody has the patience anymore to wait for a page to load for more than a few seconds; it’s 2021—online shoppers expect quick loading speed and smooth site performance.

What you can do to speed up your site:

  • Get rid of plugins that you don’t use anymore
  • Reduce the page size—consider what’s essential and what needs to go
  • Optimize your images (we recommend keeping them under 200KB)
  • Compress all other data you can get your hands on

Read more on preparing your store for increased holiday traffic.

3. Review your checkout

Around 7 out of 10 shopping carts get abandoned. And with all the holiday noise going on at the end of the year, you want to secure a spot among those 3 lucky ones that close the sale. 

However, it’ll take more than luck to improve your checkout process, and here are a couple of things you can do right away:

  • Allow guest checkout—don’t bother the shopper with registration, or you might risk scaring them away
  • Remove distracting promos—help the soon-to-be customer to keep their eyes on the checkout process
  • Offer several payment options, such as credit card, PayPal, AfterPay—the more options you give, the easier it is for the customer to close the shopping cycle
  • Share extra costs like shipping, taxes upfront—that way, you’ll avoid pushing the shoppers away when they see a list of unexpected expenses

Provide a progress bar (like in the image below)—let your customers know how long the checkout process is going to take

Progress bar example
Source: Ere Perez

The less time and energy your customer has to invest in the checkout process, the more likely they are to complete the purchase.

Now that you’ve improved the tech on your website, it’s time to get to the fun part: marketing.

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Move on to marketing

If you’ve only started preparing just now, chances are you won’t be able to launch huge, elaborate campaigns. However, there’s plenty of simple yet effective things you can do to attract holiday shoppers.

4. Update your product descriptions

Having clear product descriptions enhances your customers’ user experience and helps shoppers find exactly what they’re looking for. 

Nobody knows your audience as you do, so make the product descriptions relatable for them.

If you’re selling a coffee mug, why not paint the picture of a sturdy mug for coffee lovers? Or if it’s a blanket, why not present it as a snuggly one to keep the cold winter days at bay? Try to describe your products in a way that makes people want them in their homes.

You can also go for humor—take a look at this anti-dandruff shampoo description from Dollar Shave Club.

Source: Dollar Shave Club

When updating your product descriptions, ask yourself:

  • How do my products bring value to my customers?
  • How is each of my products unique?
  • Is the description fun to read?

If you’ve managed to tick all the boxes, congratulations—you may now start spreading the word about your products!

5. Give out last-minute offers

The holidays are saturated with special offers, and that’s what customers expect from you, too. Here are some last-minute offer ideas to consider:

  • Free shipping (either for a limited time or for specific products)
  • % or $ off select products
  • A discount code
  • 2 for 1
  • Bulk discounts
  • A free gift card when buying specific products (this is what Apple usually does)

Take a look at this example by a vegan shoe brand Avesu. When entering their website, they immediately greet me with a popup of their offer, giving me 10% off with a coupon code. They’re also creating a sense of urgency with “24 hours only”. Better not miss out!

Avesu's vegan day banner
Source: Avesu

Now that you have decided on an offer, it’s time to let the world know about it. Keep scrolling to learn about launching quick ads and social media campaigns.

6. Launch a quick ad campaign

For someone who has left BFCM prep till the last minute, a quick ad campaign can truly help turn things around.

I recommend capitalizing on your existing audiences and people who are already interested in your brand.

The most common (and easiest) way to launch ads is through social media, like Facebook and Instagram. Here’s what I recommend when launching Facebook ad campaigns:

  1. Target existing customers. Gather a list of your customer emails, upload them to the Facebook Ads Manager, and start creating your campaign.
  2. Target the curious. When creating an ad campaign on Facebook, pick “people who engaged with any post or ad.” Enter the number of days, give the audience a name, and ta-da! You now have a segment of people who’ve engaged with your brand and are likely to appreciate your holiday deals.

When creating a Facebook ad, along the setup process you’ll be able to choose between different campaign goals: reach, awareness, traffic, etc. I recommend selecting “reach” or “traffic” for these campaigns rather than “conversions,” since “conversions” tend to be more expensive for smaller audiences. With “reach” or “traffic” as campaign goals, you’ll get a bigger audience at a lower cost.

As for the visual side of your ads, remember that:

  • It’s best to keep the texts short and sweet
  • Best-performing ads have an offer or a discount
  • The less busy your ad is, the more likely it will catch the user’s attention

Here’s a good ad example from Google: it’s short, straight to the point, and gives the  offer ($300) straight away.

Ad by Google
Source: WordStream

If you’d like to find out more about Facebook ads, check out their help section. And if you’re a Shopify user, see their guide on syncing your product catalog with Facebook ads and expanding your audience through campaigns

7. Throw a social media contest

A quick social media contest is a fast way to engage with your audience, and people will be especially interested in participating if you’re offering something for free. Deciding on a last-minute idea and drafting a quick copy won’t take much time, and will bring you exposure and extend your following.
To illustrate, let’s say you’re selling pillows.

Contest ideas:

  • Pop quiz. Post a fun pop quiz on social media and give the winner a 5% discount for your products.
  • Giveaway. Post a product showcase on Instagram or Facebook and ask people to a) follow you, b) tag their friends, c) and share the post for a chance to win a custom pillow.
  • Picture contest. Publish a short social media post asking your followers to share their favorite cozy holiday picture, and offer the winner a free premium pillow case from your store

Draw inspiration from this holiday-themed Starbucks contest. They’re asking their followers to upload a photo on Instagram with their custom hashtag.

Starbucks's holiday marketing campaign on Instagram
Source: Starbucks’s Instagram

And if custom pillows are not your jam, check out this guide to Gift-Worthy Print-on-Demand Products to Sell This Holiday Season and find what best suits your niche.

Note that people engage more with content that requires the least amount of effort possible. 

If you want quick results on Instagram, go for quizzes or story polls, because it takes one click to enter your contest. You could also post a picture of an outfit and ask your followers which one they like best. Pick a winner (or multiple, if you can afford to) and give them free merch, coupons, or anything else you can offer. 

And did you know there are certain times of day that are more favorable for posting your contest promos? Overall, it’s best to post on social media around 10 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, but know that this could vary by region.

Relax—it’s going to be okay

Is last-minute prep stressful? Yes.

Is it worth it? Yes.

Should you start preparing earlier next year? Also yes. 

Holidays are a tense time for everyone, so the sooner you prepare, the less pressure you experience. I hope these last-minute tips will be useful for you, and even though BFCM is almost here, don’t worry—you got this. 

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Have a kickass holiday season, make lots of new customers, have fun, and enjoy the holidays. Good luck!

Vinsenta is a Marketing Project Manager at Printful. She has a degree in Translation & Interpreting, as well as an MBA. Her passions include storytelling, business administration, and self-development.


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