Black Friday is big business for eCommerce brands. Year on year it has grown and now Black Friday and Cyber Monday are hugely lucrative events that take up months of planning.
For businesses to be successful, they should utilise the whole marketing mix and often they will rely heavily on paid channels. Other powerful tactics include email marketing, influencer marketing, paid and organic social media, and more. For the wider marketing mix, there is so much to consider from focusing on mobile, to how to rescue abandoned shopping carts.
But, in this post, I will look at one of the simpler, more cost-effective ways to get promotion in key media and make sales - Digital PR. At the end of the day, all it takes is one strong offer linked by a national or trade media, and you will generate sales.
With every retailer and brand vying for customers’ attention, and the window of opportunity so small, digital PR strategies need to be planned as early as possible. Digital PR campaigns promoting specific product deals are successful and will drive sales and help to build brand awareness. Here we will take you through a few steps to help generate coverage ahead of a busy Black Friday weekend.
Step one - Key messaging and offers
Offers need to be finalised well in advance of November, and all the key messaging confirmed. Do you have an exclusive? What are the USPs of the product on sale? This needs to be agreed early. Take inspiration from Black Friday 2019, and agree the offers and messaging early.
We advise using emotive language and you can perhaps position the offer as scarce. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone!” One of Robert Cialdini’s influence factors is scarcity, and if there’s less of something, people want it more. Tap into this and use strong call to actions in your messaging.
Most of all, the incentive or offer needs to demand clicks and sales. In traditional marketing, you have a research stage of the funnel, but here consumers will make pure cost-driven decisions. Consumers go into the weekend with an idea of the products they want, and the budgets they have to play with. They then make impulse buys with offers “too good to be true”!
Step two - Create a compelling press release
Bring your key messaging and sales to life through a press release with your discounts to send on to key media contacts. You may need to create a series of press releases which highlight all your different Black Friday Deals. There will be round-ups, comparisons and guides that PR people should be targeting. Look at how the information was presented last year, and follow suit.
Journalists are time poor and want the information as quickly and succinctly as possible, so include everything in one easy to digest package.
Media often work to a longer lead time for the Black Friday round-ups, so send with an embargo, or if it’s a top target media, you can even offer exclusivity to secure the placement.
Don’t forget strong product images.
For more information on writing a press release see our tips here.
Step three - create media lists
Having a good knowledge of the media and strong relationships with journalists are vital to securing Black Friday coverage.
We use a media database, but through Googling, you can also find the key media that will cover your product. The media titles that rank the highest in Google are the best to secure as they naturally will achieve the most traffic. Emails are easy enough to find.
You need a list of target media which you need to work through.
Step four - pitch and convert
You have your press release and your target media. You now need to reach out to them ahead of the Black Friday weekend to make sure they know about your special offers.
Subject lines need to be strong, say what it is, and how much their readers can save. Why would the journalist open your email? Remember the savings and price are the main drivers for consumers.
The opening line needs to reinforce the offer and then you go into further information. You should have the journalist interested by now.
Paste the release and images into the body of the email. If images are high res, use WeTransfer or Dropbox links.
If you need a bit more direction, we have another article on writing media pitches that’s worth a read.
That’s not job done, working in PR you need to be tenacious, so follow up and ask for confirmation that they will be running it.
You should have media that will agree to include your offer before the big day. Then during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, you can then search for media who have featured similar offers and pitch over yours again to get the last-minute coverage.
Planning and executing a PR campaign includes research before the launch and reporting after the campaign is complete. If you want to use Black Friday to meet your business goals this year, there’s still time to plan.
We’re always happy to talk to businesses about optimising Black Friday PR campaigns. You can contact us here for a confidential and informal chat.