Updated for 2021.
From July right through to November there’s one major thing on the minds of ecommerce merchants and agencies alike - Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. Despite challenges to retail in 2020, Shopify merchants collectively made over $5.1 Billion in sales, up from $2.9 Billion in 2019. It's then no wonder everyone spends so much time preparing for it. With on-going supply chain issues causing challenges both to available inventory and fulfillment, it will be interesting to see how ecommerce merchants adapt to make for another record breaking year.
Developing a strategy for BFCM is a big task on top of your day-to-day, from product development to marketing to SEO and beyond. If you find yourself wondering what tasks you could be doing to put yourself that inch ahead of your competitors, then help is at hand.
In this series of four blogs, we're going to help you along in marrying your marketing strategy to your store's SEO. The first two will focus on immediately actionable tasks you can do before BFCM, and the latter two on what you can do afterwards to carry that momentum through to the Holidays.
To kick things off, we’re looking at ways you can help your SEO and marketing efforts work in tandem to create an experience that flows for your customers, and drives traffic to your store.
Stay on trend
Every industry has their own market trends, and the same will be true for your store’s own niche. Pay attention to your competitors and your audience so you can continue to identify trends that develop in the run up to BFCM weekend, and adapt to suit. Now we don’t mean you should totally redo your strategy based on a trend popping up a couple of weeks before Black Friday, far from it! Instead, work these trends into your existing content strategy. Incorporate them into your plans for blogs and social media, and figure out how your products and store fit into that trend to make sure you’re using it in a genuine and relevant way.
Focus on festive link-building
You’ve probably got a lot of different products that you want to push in the run up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so it’s tempting to just share links to individual products and include Black Friday deal details in post captions and blogs to try and drive traffic to those products. Here’s what to do:
- Have a Black Friday/Cyber Monday landing page on your store.
- Use this landing page as your key link.
- Whenever you talk about different deals or individual products or collections in relation to BFCM, use this link.
Driving traffic to a more centralized location plays in better with your overall SEO strategy outside of the festive shopping season and starts to build authority over time the more you use them. Use this link across blogs, submit it to aggregate sites, and request it be used if someone approaches you for a link when writing their own blog that includes your brand.
And bonus - you can still use this page to drive sales outside of BFCM. Throughout the rest of the year, have some placeholder content along the lines of “You’re a bit early/late for Black Friday, but check out the current deals we’ve got on!” displaying some product bundles and any clearance stock you’ve got in your catalog.
Optimize your social media
Before things kick off, make sure all your social media accounts are optimized. Here’s your checklist:
- Review your profiles across platforms - make sure your names and bios match up, and that the main link is your BFCM landing page
- Track your performance
- Perform ongoing keyword research
- Use trending and suitable hashtags
- Follow a consistent posting schedule - you can automate this ahead of time
- Always have a CTA in each post
Social media can go ignored at times when it comes to SEO, but well planned content can act as a boost to your SEO strategy.
Create shareable content
You’re going to have a lot going on around BFCM, so why not get your audience to do some of the leg work for you? Shareable content is your best friend when it comes to lining up SEO with your marketing efforts off your website. It’s exactly as it sounds - content that people feel compelled to share.
This is easier said than done, so if you’re not sure where to start then the best place is looking to your competitor brands to see what content was successful for them last BFCM weekend. Whilst you can’t see how social media performance related to conversions for them, you can still see what content was shared and what wasn’t. This gives you a good starting point for reviewing your own content plans.
Your next step is to create content that hits a few key touch-points:
Make it worthwhile for people to share; this might be a new product launch, a particularly great deal you plan to offer, a gift guide, a video etc.
Make it relevant; work it around those trends you researched earlier, and include keywords that you’ve identified as important.
- Put your landing page in the spotlight; any content you hope will be shared widely should include key links to get more traffic to your store.
It is important to remember that you’re not going to completely overhaul or change your marketing plans this close to BFCM, you’re just going to tweak them.
Stuck for where to begin? Here are a few ideas of what you can put together now in anticipation of Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.
Gift Guides are easy pieces of content that will serve you long after BFCM is over, so they’re perfect to start getting up ahead of the weekend itself. Right now consumers are researching for their holiday shopping, and some are already making purchases. Gift guides help target a lot of customers in that researching phase who maybe don’t know a lot about a product category but are buying for someone who does. They also help target user intent; instead of just “puppy toys”, you can target people who are looking for “best chew toys for puppies” or “top toy gifts for puppy parents”.
Seasonal Landing Pages
If you don’t have one already, get yourself a seasonal landing page for BFCM. Keep the URL simple for this and include your target keywords. This gives you a centralized location to direct potential customers to that summarizes your offering. You should keep this landing page on your store throughout the year, updating it as needed so you can continue to build momentum and authority with it throughout the year. If you had a landing page last year, use the same link this year updated with trending keywords and relevant products and promotions.
Videos have been proven time and time again to be incredibly engaging when it comes to creative content. It’s memorable, it’s eye-catching, and it’s highly shareable. Create videos that focus on your BFCM offering in the same vein as gift guides. These can be created fairly easily and can be included in the main gift guide blog, posted to social media, shared across other stores etc. It’s essentially a TL;DR version of your gift guide blogs.
Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend can get pretty crazy. Customers are scouring the internet and their social media feeds for the best deals and the most exciting offers they can find, and you want to make sure you grab their attention first. By creating engaging, shareable content and matching it up with your SEO strategy, you can snap those customers up and grab yourself a healthy slice of that BFCM pie.