Black Friday Marketing Ideas

Black Friday Marketing Ideas

6 Budget-Friendly Black Friday Marketing Ideas to Skyrocket Success This Year (With Examples, Templates & Best Practices)

A successful BFCM weekend isn't about slashing prices— it's about strategic marketing. Come along as we dissect Black Friday offers from top ecommerce brands, revealing six Black Friday marketing ideas you can try this year.

With the biggest shopping event of the year quickly approaching, it's time to get your marketing campaigns in order.

But to achieve success and stand out among the Amazons and Walmarts of the world, DTC ecommerce brands need to be savvier than just offering deep discounts across the store if they're going to be profitable.

Make the most of the holiday shopping season with these creative Black Friday marketing ideas that don’t require a monstrous budget or eliminate your profit margins. 

Stay tuned for the end where we'll share Black Friday marketing templates you can use to build your campaigns.

Black Friday marketing tips

Keep these essential best practices in mind as you plan your Black Friday campaigns:

  • Experiment with different types of offers. Different offers can be more compelling, and switching it up can spark your existing audience that has already seen the same types of offers from you throughout the year. Beyond standard discounts, you can try cashback, free gifts, product bundles, limited-edition products, loyalty and referral incentives, buy-one-get-one offers—or buy-two-get-one to increase AOV, extended trial or returns policies, etc.)
  • Craft sales-driving copy for your offer. Your customers are being advertised to left and right. So your copy should be clear and concise so they understand what the offer is. Use your limited word count to convey urgency and illicit desire and action with phrases like "Today only," "Get your offer now," and "Reach your goals."
  • Go against the crowd. You don’t need to follow the same formula as every other brand. In fact, it can be effective to do the exact opposite of what other brands are doing if it helps you stand out to your audience and resonates better with your values. For example, intimates brand, Thinx, didn’t offer a Black Friday discount. Instead, its team educated its audience on sustainable shopping.
  • Focus on your existing customers. Acquisition costs are higher than before the pandemic, but it gets worse during Q4. And with brands shouting at customers every which way, it's all the harder to earn first-time shoppers. Existing customers already know your brand and have experience with your products, so it'll be easier to get them to purchase—and purchase more—during Black Friday. So make use of email, SMS, retargeting ads, etc. to encourage people to shop with you again. Offer special VIP deals to thank returning shoppers for their loyalty. And get personalized campaigns in order that can surface products a shopper would be likely to purchase based on their purchase history, quiz answers, and other segmentation data.
  • Test your offers in advance. Save your best deals for BFCM, but use other holidays during the year to test different types of offers to understand what resonates with your audience and influences them to buy. Especially Labor Day since it's the last major holiday before Black Friday.

👉🏾 Want more Black Friday marketing tips? Learn 11 tactics recommended by the experts.

When is the best time to start Black Friday marketing? 

In 2020, brands started offering Black Friday deals much earlier. Many during the week leading up to Black Friday, but some even had their offers live at the beginning of November.

As brands continue to compete for customer attention, the trend of starting deals early is probably here to stay.

It's up to you if you experiment with early deals, but customers still expect the best you have to offer on BFCM weekend and plan to do their shopping then. So they may wait until Black Friday to take advantage of your offers anyways.

Whatever you do, tell shoppers what to expect leading up to Black Friday. If you're early deals aren't getting better, let them know. And build excitement for what you have planned with teasers and countdown clocks on your website, email newsletter, SMS messages, and social posts.

For early promos, you can announce those when they launch or a couple days in advance if you're going to have a short time window for an early sales event.

For Black Friday itself, you can start teasing it the weekend before. Ecommerce email expert Chase Dimond recommends sending at least two teaser emails. One the Tuesday before Black Friday and one on Thanksgiving:

6 successful Black Friday marketing ideas and examples

Now for a dose of inspiration from some real-world Black Friday marketing strategies from years past.

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1. Long Wknd's tiered discounts

Self-care brand Long Wknd boosts AOV with a tiered discount offer with this expandable sticky bar:

Long Wknd's sticky bar expands to show different tiers of discounts depending on how much a shopper buys ranging from 20% off three items up to 30% for eight items.
See full example

Shoppers get a better discount the more they buy, so it incentivizes them to purchase more.

And it's a tactic ecommerce expert Nik Sharma swears by for BFCM:

2. Girlfriend Collective's early access for VIPs

Athleticwear brand Girlfriend Collective values its loyalty program members throughout the year, usually with early access to product launches, and Black Friday is no exception.

For Black Friday 2022, the brand gave its VIPs early access to a sitewide sale five days before the rest of its audience:

Girlfriend Collective's early access Black Friday email reads "Your early access is here. The Black Friday sale starts now. 35% off sitewide. Up to 70% off select styles. There's a button to shop early access.
See full example

The email makes it clear what's on sale and how long early access lasts.

The full campaign included:

  • A teaser email three days in advance
  • An announcement the day the sale launched
  • Reminders two days before and on the last day of early access

But if you're giving VIPs early access, give them the best deals that you'll have on offer. So if you have a Black Friday sale for 30% off but for Cyber Monday you bump it up to 40%, give your VIPs that 40% off in their early access.

3. Ollie's subscription discount

If you have a consumable product with a high repurchase rate, you can afford to offer deep discounts—particularly if a qualification for the deal is to subscribe to recurring shipments.

Once someone falls in love with an item, it'll become part of their routine and you'll make up for the discount in repeat orders.

So dog food brand Ollie offered shoppers 75% off their first order on Cyber Monday:

Ollie's home page shows their Cyber Monday deal (75% off) and a countdown clock showing how much time shoppers have to take advantage of the deal.
See full example

The brand does a lot of things right with this campaign. The page is clean so the offer stands out without distraction. A prominent countdown clock and headline that reads, "The clock is ticking on our Cyber Monday deal" create urgency and compels shoppers to take action.

Then, the "Get Started" CTA leads to a quiz to find the right plan for a customer's dog:

Ollie's dog food recommendation quiz starts by asking what the dog's name is.

It's a seamless experience from seeing the offer to discovering the right products to checkout with a recurring two-week subscription that helps Ollie make back revenue.

4. Snow's gamified shopping cart

Teeth whitening brand Snow ups the ante when it comes to increasing AOV with a gamified shopping cart:

Snow's shopping cart has meter in the cart with different perks depending how much the shopper spends.
See full example

A meter at the top of the cart showcases the deals shoppers can unlock as they add more items to their cart starting with a mystery gift, then free shipping, and finally a free whitening toothpaste.

The visual nature of the campaign shows shoppers how close they are to the next offer, so it effectively increases AOV without aggressive discounts.

5. Bombas’ Black Friday give-back approach 

Beyond deals, consider how you're positioning your brand on Black Friday. Bombas offers a modest discount of 20%, but it also highlights the impact of every purchase with its donation program:

Bombas' website describes their giveback program: one pair of socks donated for each pair purchased.
See full example

To show the impact, the brand took to social media to share the number of donations made on Black Friday the previous year (11 million!).

6. Knix’s warehouse sale

Instead of a traditional Black Friday sale like intimates brand Knix has held in the past, it hosted a two-hour warehouse sale on November 10th—instilling FOMO the right way:

Knix's home page says "Black Friday warehouse sale. Up to 50% off." It includes a button to shop the sale.
See full example

CEO Joanna Griffiths was inspired to try a warehouse sale after seeing success in April that year.

The team announced to its audience that there would be no actual sale on Black Friday, so folks would have to shop early if they were going to get any deals.

Not only did the sale rake in more than $1 million in the first 15 minutes of the sale, it broke the brand's record for revenue made during any previous Black Friday sale—making it a perfect example of zigging when other brands are zagging.

A great way to support limited campaigns like this is to add exit-intent popups reminding shoppers that the deal won't last. This will illicit a feeling of scarcity and prevent abandonment.

Black Friday marketing templates

Inspired to create your Black Friday campaigns? The last thing you want is to waste time going back and forth with a developer to get your campaigns designed and launched.

Instead, use a no-code builder like ConvertFlow to give you complete control over your marketing campaigns.

In ConvertFlow, you can create all the on-site campaigns you'll need for a successful BFCM sale, like popups, landing pages, quizzes, embeds, and sticky bars.

And with campaign metrics and split-testing, you'll be able to adjust campaigns quickly and optimize them on the fly.

Here are a few templates to get started:

About the author
Angela Rollins
Content Marketing Manager, ConvertFlow
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Angela is the Content Marketing Manager at ConvertFlow. After marketing for ecommerce brands such as Tortuga, etee, and Dear Brightly, they found a passion in helping fellow ecommerce marketers through content. Angela's work has been featured in the blogs of Klaviyo, GoDaddy, Aspire, Emotive, Buffer, and more.