Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, but to take advantage of it, you need to plan ahead. Many shoppers start deciding where they will go on Black Friday days if not weeks in advance, so you need solid Black Friday marketing campaigns that get the word out. Your strategies should also set you apart from the competition, as every store will be trying to attract customers.

Black Friday infographics Cyber Monday


What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is considered the start of the holiday shopping season. It’s easy to remember when Black Friday is, as it always falls on the Friday immediately after Thanksgiving.

Over the years, Black Friday has evolved from just being that Friday to being an entire weekend. Many stores start Black Friday sales on Thursday. On top of that, it now includes Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

The first time the term Black Friday was used was during the 1960s. It began in Philadelphia. The name came from the complaints of police about the number of people searching for shopping deals and going to the football game between the Army and Navy.

It later took on a different meaning, referring to the colors used in ledgers. Red indicates a loss while black indicates a profit, and Black Friday marked the switch from red to black as people began holiday shopping. In fact, this Friday being the start of shopping started with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924.

Cyber Monday officially made its debut in 2005, with Small Business Saturday joining the weekend in 2010.

Why your business needs a Black Friday marketing strategy

5 Black Friday marketing ideas

To get you started with your advertising plans, consider the following five Black Friday marketing strategies that can help get shoppers excited and boost your sales.

1. Giveaways or mystery savings

One of the best Black Friday marketing ideas to get people in your doors is to offer a giveaway or some type of mystery saving. For example, offer a free gift with any purchase.

If the idea of mystery savings is confusing, picture a digital or physical wheel that customers can spin to get an extra discount or freebie. Or even a scratch-off prize or other game-of-luck to determine their savings.

Prize Wheel

You may not realize it, but if someone is unsure about buying something, the mystery and element of surprise may be enough to convince them.

Bundle products

On a similar note, consider the Black Friday marketing strategy of bundling some of your most popular products. This will encourage shoppers to buy more.

For example, if you sell furniture, you could offer a living room set along with side tables and a coffee table for less than it would cost to buy each separately. If you sell bath products, maybe bundle a few bath bombs together or a set of soap, shampoo, and conditioner.

Of course, you should also keep this marketing strategy in mind throughout the year. It just happens to be especially effective at the beginning of the holiday season when spending is on everyone’s mind.

2. VIP program

VIP or loyalty programs are a great idea any time of the year, but especially during Black Friday. If you get it ready beforehand, your Black Friday marketing can include early access and extra-special discounts for VIP members. To get the VIP program started, collect opt-ins through email or SMS marketing.

Early access

As mentioned, Black Friday starts earlier at some stores than it used to. This is important as shoppers increasingly like to take care of their holiday shopping early. You can appeal to this desire by offering early access to your discounts or specialty items to VIPs.

Sneak peaks

You don’t even have to give your VIPs early access. Just incorporating Black Friday marketing that shows them what to look forward to ahead of time can do the trick. This will get them excited for holiday sales and encourage them to plan to buy from you before they get the chance to see offers from competitors.

Partner with influencers

Instead of a customer VIP program, you can also make an affiliate or influencer marketing program. Social media influencers are a particularly popular option. Just give each influencer or affiliate a unique link to share. The influencers will post about your products and business on social media and earn a small commission in return.

3. Don’t forget about Small Business Saturday

While Black Friday marketing is important, don’t forget to also promote your company for Small Business Saturday. This day is all about supporting small, local businesses, so if that describes you, you should take advantage of it.

This is the time to highlight that you are a part of the community and owned by a person, not an international corporation.

Small business saturday logo

Warehouse sale

If you need specific Black Friday marketing strategies for Small Business Saturday, consider a warehouse sale. This type of sale will do wonders for driving in-person visits to your store. That’s important as in-person visits encourage impulse purchases. As a bonus, a warehouse sale can also help you sell items that haven’t sold as well as you hoped.

Create a gift guide

Part of Small Business Saturday is the community feeling that goes along with it. Increase that community relationship by helping shoppers figure out what to buy for their loved ones.

A simple way to do this is with a gift guide. You can make a digital gift guide or a paper one to hand out in stores. You can even make a display in your store highlighting “The best gifts for ___” and filling in the blanks with various categories, such as your parents, best friends, or neighbor.

4. Drive online sales with Cyber Monday

Black Friday doesn’t end until the following Monday, Cyber Monday. Over the years, Cyber Monday has grown, and now shoppers expect most businesses to offer Cyber Monday deals. This is true even if you already offered in-person or online deals on Black Friday.

Cyber Monday Promo Graphic

The only challenge can be figuring out how to stand out. After all, with online shopping, you have to compete with the entire world, not just other local stores like you would for in-store sales.

You can try incorporating some of the already-mentioned strategies, such as a digital wheel of bonus savings or highlighting that you are a small, local business to drive sales. Or try one of the following.

Offer discounts every hour

Consider offering a different set of discounts every hour. This will keep shoppers going back to your website to see if anything they want to buy is on sale. As such, it can lead to multiple purchases from the same person.

At the very least, having discounts every hour should drive more repeat visitors to your website. Even if they don’t buy the items that are discounted that hour, they may see something else they love. The more times they visit your page and see it, the more likely they are to buy it.

Of course, hourly discounts also play on the fear of missing out, which brings us to another great strategy.

Flash sales

Flash sales are among the best ways to incorporate the fear of missing out into your Black Friday marketing. You also take advantage of the sense of urgency that encourages purchases.

As a refresher, a flash sale is a sale that only lasts for a limited amount of time.

As with rotating hourly discounts, this method brings people back to your website again and again. That gives them more chances to buy something and add an impulse purchase.

It also gives you yet another chance to gather their contact information and consent for SMS or email marketing.

5. Get the word out

No matter how many great sales you have for Black Friday, you aren’t likely to see results without solid Black Friday marketing that announces your deals.

At the minimum, be sure to include the following channels as you announce your sales.

SMS marketing

Stay compliant with all relevant laws by ensuring you have opt-ins before sending any SMS marketing messages.


Increase your open rate by including a catchy subject line. Email marketing also requires opt-ins.

The following offers an example of an enticing subject line.

Kate Spade Black Friday Subject Line

Social media

There are multiple Black Friday marketing ideas involving social media. At the very least, make posts about the upcoming sales. On top of that, engage with people on social media, whether they are potential customers or already loyal customers.

You should also strongly consider running Facebook ads.

Don’t forget to consider working with influencers as well, as mentioned in the VIP idea above.


Get your website ready for Black Friday marketing by adding banners on your website. If you don’t already have a dedicated page for discounts and offers, consider adding one. Or, if you do already have one, add a temporary additional page for Black Friday. For example, consider something like the following image:

A countdown showing the duration of a flash sale.

Increase ad spend

You also want to stick to some of the most basic Black Friday marketing strategies, paid ads. Allocate a larger portion of your budget than normal for your ad spend during the holiday season. You hopefully already planned for this with your long-term marketing budget.

Remember that this ad spend is for both social media ads and paid search engine ads.

Conclusion: Why Black Friday marketing is relevant to your business

With the proper Black Friday marketing, you will get shoppers excited for your sales and start the holiday season off on the right foot. Use the above Black Friday marketing ideas for inspiration and get the word out with SMS campaigns and other methods.

Logan Wooden
Logan Wooden Product Marketing Manager, Retail

Logan Wooden is a Product Marketing and Retail professional at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

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