Black Friday is a huge opportunity for ecommerce merchants to cash in on holiday shoppers. Standing out from other stores is important, and preparing yourself for success should start early. As a Shopify merchant, the question is, where should you start when it comes to creating a marketing plan for the holidays?

First off, set some parameters on time and resources, and try to stick to them. Don’t try to do everything and spread yourself thin. Being organized, realistic, and strategic in your marketing will allow you to reach a wide audience of potential customers while still having time for the rest of the tasks on your to-do list.

In our must-dos below, we’ve outlined five important tasks that will give you the most holiday success without too many headaches along the way.

1. Create a marketing calendar (if you haven’t already)

Before you dive into blog posts, social content, ad copy, and everything else you’ve got planned for the holidays, take a deep breath and make time to get organized.

There are plenty of tools out there that make organizing these tasks a whole lot easier. If you haven’t fallen in love with one already, or if you’re looking for a little change in your life, try one of these: Notion (more of an all-in-one tool), CoSchedule (marketing-specific), or Airtable (scaleable for your needs).

Once you’ve settled into your new tool (here are some tips to get set up), pull up your fall calendar and start plotting out your marketing efforts. What will people engage with now vs. later? Ensure your social posts, ad campaigns, email blasts, and blog posts are working harmoniously to achieve the same results.

Once your marketing calendar is filled out to your satisfaction, you can move on to the following steps with purpose and a plan.

2. Build your email list

Email marketing is tried and tested. It may not pop out as the hottest new marketing trend, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Smart Insights reported that 23% of online sales during Black Friday 2017 came out of email campaigns.

Your first step should be implementing a tool to help you build your email list. Enter Pixelpop. Pixelpop is a popup app designed to drive website visitors to sign up for your newsletter. You can even entice browsers with one-time deals when they subscribe—e.g. “Sign up now and receive 25% off your first order!”

Although you should be building your email lists year round, the lead-up to BFCM can be an especially lucrative period for hooking new subscribers. When it comes to great deals, people want to feel like they have an edge on other shoppers (“You wouldn’t believe the deal I got…”).

Don’t be afraid to tease out some of your BFCM sales via email to give your subscribers an exclusive look into what’s in store for The Big Day.

3. Promote your deals early

It’s never too early to start promoting your deals. Consumers are in “buy-now mode” on BFCM, so make the research easy for them in the lead-up by sharing key information about your sales.

There are a few ways you can tease your sales before BFCM. You can try using an email campaign (as we mentioned) or a nice-looking banner right in your store.

Ultimate Special Offers is a great app that will help you create and monitor deals throughout the holiday season. Choose from discounts, quantity breaks, BOGO, and many more! We suggest testing out the app before BFCM so you’re familiar with it once the rush hits.

To get even more specific, a one-day sale (promoted with a countdown timer) is our preferred way of experimenting with sales and promotions.

4. Collaborate with your peers

Late summer/early fall is a great time to reach out to peers to plan guest blogs, partner on pop-up shops, and secure influencer marketers. It’s important to get a jump on this before your contacts inevitably get inundated with requests from other like-minded entrepreneurs.

Guest blogs are a great way of co-promoting products alongside other businesses in your industry. One of our favourite holiday go-tos is a “must-have” gift guide.

Collaborate with other merchants in your network and each select a product to feature. (Make sure it doesn’t compete with others in the gift guide). Create a distribution plan for the guide that entails each featured merchant sharing on their social networks, to their email list, and in other online communities.

Now you’ve just reached a whole slew of new potential customers and strengthened your network!

5. Do less, better

Although it’s tempting to dabble in the many available marketing channels, especially when your peers are hyping up a great new social platform (we’re looking at you, Vero) or ad technique, it’s not always realistic. Setting a budget, sticking to your marketing calendar, and promoting your deals early will help keep you on track.

That’s not to say you have to stay in your track and not adjust on the fly. Being able to pivot and react to how customers are engaging with your content and browsing your products is imperative. Be confident in your ability to call the shots when it comes down to big marketing decisions, and lean on your resources when possible.

Crushing a few key marketing tactics is going to go a lot further than stumbling through many.


Looking for more BFCM content? Get our free Holiday Handbook for Shopify Entrepreneurs.

To keep up with us this holiday season, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

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