Guy Levine
Guy Levine 6 December 2018

Black Friday Bombed? Here’s How to Cash in on Christmas

Black Friday sales not gone to plan? Don’t worry, it’s more common than you might expect; even big-name brands can fall victim to a Black Friday fail. In this post we’re taking you through some of the biggest problems brands face on Black Friday, as well as offering some helpful advice on how to get your ducks in a row for your Christmas marketing campaigns.

Common Black Friday Fails

There’s plenty that can go wrong on Black Friday, and this list is in no way definitive. If you’ve fallen victim to problems this year, here’s some advice on how to avoid these issues in 2019:

High-volume traffic causing havoc with your servers

Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than a site crashing just as they’re about to buy their items at a discounted price. The key to avoiding server issues is carrying out a series of load tests before the big day to make sure your servers are ready for whatever Cyber Weekend throws at them. This will give you ample opportunity to remove any roadblocks and ensure a smoother user journey during the sale period.


Frustrating user journeys on mobile

The internet is now very much a mobile-first environment, with more than 60% of online sales taking place on a smartphone. With that in mind, it is essential to make sure that your site is fully optimised for mobile devices to avoid losing mobile business. Frustrations will run high if your customers’ path to purchase is slow and laggy on mobile; if they have to wait too long, they’ll probably just leave without making a purchase.

Slow service pages

Sluggish performance is a huge annoyance for Black Friday shoppers and tends to be caused by APIs and third-party components. To avoid this issue next year, try stripping your site down to core functionality, or even temporarily reducing your product lines to prevent a slow service. You should also consider ditching any pages that have a negative effect on page loading times; try to eliminate oversized pages and minimise CSS and JavaScript over busy periods.

Discounts that aren’t big enough

If you’re more of a luxury brand and don’t consider your products to be at ‘budget’ level, then Black Friday might not be for you, especially when you consider that cost per impression is significantly higher during this period. You don’t want to spend more money to promote products that are only marginally cheaper than their original price, as Black Friday shoppers are looking for massive discounts on the things they like.

When it comes to Black Friday, the bottom line is this: do the bulk of the legwork in advance. Your Black Friday campaigns need to be planned out before the event if you want to see big results. Although we’ve got another 12 months to go, check out our Quick and Easy Guide to Black Friday so you don’t experience any fails next year.


How to get your ducks in a row for Christmas

However well or badly your Black Friday went, it’s time to move on and focus on the next huge event on the marketing calendar. Christmas is just weeks away, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to start focusing on your festive marketing plan. Here are some pointers on how to get started (warning: if you’re offended by terrible festive puns, look away now!):

SEO-ho-ho! – give your website a Christmas focus

Ranking well for Christmas-themed queries is key to attracting festive shoppers. Having a dedicated Christmas section on your page makes it easy for customers to find exactly what they’re looking for, creating a smoother user experience.


It’s worth bearing in mind that searches carried out in the run up to Christmas will be different to those conducted in the summer months, so it goes without saying that keyword analysis is crucial for nailing your Christmas SEO. Implementing Christmas search terms into your meta titles, page copy and descriptions will help to improve rankings for the relevant festive terms.


Snow-cial media – make sure your social posts are festive-themed

When creating your marketing plan, think about your objectives. During this period, it’s preferable to use a mixture of post styles to cover each objective: engagement, sales and click-through links to your site. You can even encourage Christmas sales by offering promotional codes across your Facebook and Instagram accounts, such as free shipping or a free gift with every purchase.

Your social media posts need to build relationships with new customers by building brand awareness, and maintain existing customer relationships through building brand loyalty.


Email marketing-le bells – spread the word about your Christmas promotions

Email marketing is a powerful way to spread news of your Christmas deals to a mass audience. 

The first step in your email marketing Christmas campaign is to clean up your data to help you target your campaigns more sharply. When you’ve tidied your email list, work on your email copy. It’s always better to personalise where possible, particularly by looking at purchase history. For example, if you’re a home interiors brand and someone bought a Christmas bedding set from you last year, they may be interested in seeing this year’s festive range too.

It’s also a good idea to remind your audience of the benefits of buying online. They don’t need to trek out into chilly, adverse weather conditions or battle through throngs of shoppers to get their Christmas shopping done. Remind your mailing list that they can buy the products they need from you, all from the comfort of their own living room.

But remember to include deadlines in your email copy. Royal Mail’s last day for shipping in Britain is Tuesday, December 18th for 2nd class post, and Thursday 20th December for 1st class post. Not only is this useful information, but it will also promote a sense of urgency, compelling shoppers to buy now rather than cutting it fine.

PPC-easonal copy – create campaigns that are in line with the festive season

Giving your PPC ad copy a festive makeover is another way to get your products, services and Christmas promotions seen by a vast and relevant audience. To do this, you’ll need to conduct seasonal research so that you know precisely which terms to target in your campaigns. 

Your PPC ad copy needs to be engaging so that it attracts users’ attention. Use specific keywords, such as ‘Christmas gifts for men’ to target shoppers actively searching for a particular type of gift.


I really am sorry about those puns.

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