With just one month from the start of the festive shopping season, Demi Edmunds from TextAnywhere provides tips to help SMEs create effective customer communications strategies which capitalise on the momentum and discussions leading up to Black Friday.
Since its introduction to the UK in 2013, Black Friday has become an essential date within the commercial calendar. So much so, that last year Barclaycard reported that transaction value increased by 16.2% when compared to 2018, with a 7.2% increase in the overall volume of transactions. Simply put, customers were not only buying more, but spending more.
But it’s important to note that this opportunity is not exclusive to the retail industry. In recent years, businesses from many different sectors have used the buzz around Black Friday to their advantage – offering discounts on everything from food and drink, to gym memberships.
This year Black Friday is on the 27th November and given that the weekend as a whole presents a huge opportunity for SMEs and their competitors, to be successful it’s vital that a brand’s communications stand out. To help SMEs create effective customer communications which capitalise on the momentum leading up to Black Friday, we have outlined some practical steps and considerations.
Consult your customers
The situation regarding the coronavirus has had a swift and significant impact on consumer behaviour and as the situation is still evolving, consumer demand continues to change at a rapid rate. With this in mind, now more so than ever before, it is worthwhile asking your customers for feedback. For instance, are your customers looking to get a jump start on Christmas shopping, or are they looking for items to entertain themselves in the coming months, for instance, exercise equipment, given that covid-19 restrictions are still likely to be in place. This kind of feedback can help ensure SMEs are able to are able to tailor both their offer and message to be relevant and valuable to their customers
What’s more, by obtaining this feedback in good time, businesses are able to operationally prepare for any expected influxes and manage the customer experience accordingly. For example, if your business is expecting a boost in sales this may impact delivery times, being able to advise customers of this prior to check out, can help ensure expectations are properly managed and reduce pressure on customer services teams.
Think about your brand community
As Izzy Ashton, deputy editor of insight puts it – “Marketing is now less about the hard sell, and more about pulling customers into a brand’s community”.
Black Friday weekend can be a frenzy of sales and offers, with the majority of customer sales being made on the Saturday. But your brand’s communications should aim to relay more than just the details of offers and discounts. Every customer is a potential brand advocate and every message is an opportunity to communicate why a customer should pick your business over that of a competitor. This doesn’t change over Black Friday weekend. Ensure all planned communications and content are done with your brand and target audience in mind and think about what is really going to add value. This approach ensures that customer communications steer clear of sounding too salesy and lessens the risk of customers switching off.
Start customer communications early
As Lisa Hooker, Leader of Industry for Consumer Markets at PwC states – “As Black Friday matures in the UK… there is plenty of opportunity for organised retailers who are brave enough to communicate offers to shoppers”.
Black Friday can be really competitive and SMEs will want to ensure they are top of mind when customers start thinking about potential purchases or deals they want to look for when Black Friday arrives. Given that articles titled ‘Best Amazon Black Friday 2020 deals’ have already been published, it’s worth being that little bit braver and communicating offers early.
Remember the importance of mobile
For quite some time now, Black Friday has been largely a mobile affair. Last year 76% of online traffic was from mobile and over half the orders placed over Black Friday weekend were done so via mobile.
Furthermore, particularly in industries which are more competitive, SMS is quickly becoming a more popular communication channel. Afterall, with text messages, brands are able to send messages directly to their customers’ mobile, which they pick up on average 58 times a day. So it’s unsurprising then that customers are 35 times more likely to see a business’ text message than their email.
As the UK enters the second wave of the pandemic, the busiest shopping weekend of the year presents SMEs a real opportunity to boost revenue and increase the number of loyal customers. Just remember when planning your campaigns, stay true to your brand, the situation and ensure communications add real value to your customers.
Demi is a Specialist at one of the UK’s leading SMS business communication services, TextAnywhere. She started her career in an event agency and benefits from experience across the marketing mix and in both B2C and B2B. Over the past couple of years, Demi has been driven to focus more on brand, concentrating on a customer-first approach to campaign creation and implementation. Today Demi works in the telecommunications industry, helping clients realise the full potential of SMS and bridge the gap between brands and their customers. Most recently, she was the driving force behind the TextAnywhere brand refresh and is proud to work for a company whose client community, includes over 300 charity and non-for-profit organisations.