Are you ready for Black Friday? Without local insights, your international efforts risk falling flat. Here’s how to make your Black Friday marketing stand out around the world.
Black Friday is just a few days away – are you ready for international success? It can be tricky.
Take the name. Although ‘Black Friday’ isn’t translated in many countries, there are a few exceptions.
In France, some retailers have renamed the holiday as ‘Jours XXL’, ‘Jours Discount’ or ‘Crazy Weekend’. They want to avoid any unintentional associations with another Black Friday – the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris on Friday 13 November 2015.
Similarly, in the Arab world, the holiday has been renamed ‘White Friday’. Friday is a holy day for Muslims and the colour black is associated with mourning, so combining the two concepts wouldn’t be appropriate.
Of course, not every country celebrates Black Friday. China has its own international shopping holiday – Singles Day on 11/11.
Nor is the holiday universally liked. Anti-Black Friday protests are growing, driven by concerns about sustainability, workers’ rights and creeping Americanization. In many countries, this has given rise to ‘shop local and support small business’ initiatives. Black Friday may not chime with your customers in every market.
Although there’s plenty to consider before launching your international Black Friday campaign, there’s no denying Black Friday represents an attractive opportunity. In 2019, shoppers around the world spent $20 billion. National lockdowns are expected to drive more shoppers online this year. Which means getting your international approach right is potentially more important and lucrative than ever. And worth the investment in marketing localization.
The best way to guarantee cross-border success is to consult local market experts. But time is tight. To help, here are our key considerations to help you plan a successful international campaign – this year and beyond.
TRUST IS PARAMOUNT
With events like Singles Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the retail calendar is increasingly crowded. That’s in addition to major festivals like Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas, as well as national/regional schemes like Click Frenzy in Australia. St Nicholas’ Day on 6 December and St Lucia’s Day on 13 December are also gift-giving occasions in some parts of Europe.
With so many annual events, shoppers will scrutinize deals to see if they’re value for money. In the Netherlands, 60% of shoppers compare deals carefully to see if they can get a better discount elsewhere. There’s also a risk of fatigue. In the UK, 49% of consumers said 2019 deals were ‘not exciting’ or didn’t ‘seem genuine’.
Building trust is therefore crucial. Long-term, that means working on online trust signals like customer reviews, social profiles and high-quality content. And taking local calendars and concerns into account. Short-term, it means taking a second look at your planned offers to make sure they offer genuine value and align with your brand.
CHOOSE YOUR CHANNELS
The coronavirus pandemic has driven commerce online. Global cross-border e-commerce is predicted to grow by 63% year-on-year in November and December 2020. Which means digital marketing is a must.
However, it’s worth reviewing your go-to channels. SMS boasts an open rate of 98%. Brands have recognized its potential, especially for Black Friday – they’re twice as likely to use it for this holiday than any other.
Email marketing is also a staple of the holiday, and not just on the day. Many shoppers plan Black Friday spending in advance. In Ireland, 42% start planning before November, along with 50% in South Africa and 39% in France. They’ll appreciate an email outlining your plans for Black Friday.
In the Netherlands, 80% of respondents had heard of Black Friday, but only 41% knew it takes place in November. Emailing customers personally with enticing offers on the day could help to drive purchase decisions. Creating specific landing pages will also help you to measure the success of your campaigns more easily.
Preparation will make a real difference to the international impact of your Black Friday campaign. And while it’s too late for these recommendations to help you this year, bearing them in mind will help you maximize your success from 2021:
- Create your landing page early so Google’s spiders have time to discover and index it. You can use the URL Inspection Tool to check that Google can see your page. The same applies to local engines in countries where Google isn’t the dominant search engine.
- Use the same Black Friday page every year, instead of creating a new one each time. This will consolidate your search ranking. Linking your landing page to your home page can also help users (and search engines) find it faster.
- Carry out local keyword research instead of translating your keywords. For more on this, have a look at our blog post on international keyword research here, which includes plenty of examples.
- Make your pages mobile-friendly.
STRUCTURE YOUR MESSAGING
To build effective campaigns, you need to understand what your local audience is looking for. For example, do they want to save on gifts? Or are they in it for the thrill of the bargain hunt?
Gender can also affect people’s motivations. In the UK, men are more interested in Black Friday than women. And they’re more likely to buy for themselves. Looking at particular product categories shows interesting contrasts, too. Men are significantly more likely to buy electronics (67% vs 39%), for example.
More generally, Black Friday represents a dilemma for many retailers. Sales are significant, especially in key sectors like electronics, fashion and gaming. Price and discounts are key marketing factors across Europe.
However, this risks alienating consumers who are put off by a hard sell. To mitigate the risk and maximize the opportunity, start with your target audience. Developing audience personas per market will help you shape your campaign more effectively. Then work with local experts in content, brand and marketing. They can provide the insights you need to build campaigns that work in every market.
Black Friday represents a great opportunity for brands with global aspirations. But you need in-depth knowledge of both your markets and your international customers to develop and implement a successful international campaign.
If you’d like another pair of eyes to look at your plans, or need some last-minute help executing a campaign, it isn’t too late. Please get in touch – our specialist teams are on-hand to help.
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