We’re getting down to crunch time ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as we rapidly approach November. While you’re finalizing your campaign structure for the opening of the holiday season, we want to make sure your marketing funnel is set up for success.
In this article, we’ll go into the three main points you should keep in mind in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and during those peak days following Thanksgiving. And if you’re already doing these, then your marketing funnel game is going strong!
A refresher on the marketing funnel
Before we dive into our Black Friday marketing funnel essentials, let’s briefly review the fundamentals of the funnel structure.
The buyer journey
Essentially, the funnel is built around the attitudes and behaviors that buyer’s show as they’re going through the purchase journey. There’s a ton of research that goes into marketing psychology, but at its core, the decision journey can be boiled down to the following:
The first step is the individual realizing that there is a problem and that they ought to be looking for a solution to fill that gap. Without this critical first step, there isn’t a need to be filled by whatever it is you’re selling
The next step in the decision-making process is gathering information. Here, they think about whether there are alternative solutions that may work better. They think about whether it’s truly worth the money and effort to invest in a solution altogether.
And finally, there is the decision to buy. The person weighs their options, looks at reviews, and decides whether or not to commit.
If you’ve ever made a purchase, then this probably makes perfect sense. Which is why the marketing funnel follows logically from here.
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The marketing funnel
Using this buyer journey as a foundation, the marketing funnel below complements this thought process, but from the viewpoint of the marketers whose goal is to get as many people through the funnel as possible.
At the top of the funnel, we want to bring in audiences who are unaware of our brand and products and warm them up to the idea of making a purchase. Here, we want to get them interested generally by presenting them with the problem that our product solves.
At the center of this is communicating the message of why they should change their current behavior.
The middle of funnel stage is all about telling your story and setting your brand apart. This audience is already “warmed up” and familiar with your products, so you want to show them more.
The core message here is to get the audience to recognize what makes your offering superior.
The final stage is the most critical, as this is where the decision to purchase comes into play. The people you’re targeting at the bottom of the funnel are already clearly interested in making a purchase, so you need to help them overcome any barriers.
Whether it’s highlighting your easy returns policy or giving them a limited time discount, you want to encourage this very “hot” audience to convert now.
This is a very high-level overview of the funnel structure, but if you’re looking for something a bit deeper, our CEO, Brendan Hughes wrote an eBook on it! Here is his presentation from Ecom World 2021, where he discusses the value of the marketing funnel with one of Optily’s long-time customers, Charles Chy of Soltech:
Now that we’ve got the basics covered, we’ll get into our 3-point checklist for making the most of your marketing funnel strategy for Black Friday.
1. Feed your funnel early
Right now is the period when you need to be building out your top of funnel audience to trickle down in the later days of the season. You should be testing and fine-tuning your audience targeting, keywords, and creative in October and the very beginning of November.
The people who engage with your ads will then build your middle and bottom funnel remarketing audiences.
A great tactic at this stage is to build up some anticipation. Earn people’s emails in exchange for exclusive offers that capitalize on people’s eagerness to be part of a select group. Even though we’re dealing with eCommerce and online sales, there’s still that excitement and association with early-bird discounts and doorbusters you can play on.
Once you earn an email, you know the person is very interested and you can target them with curated email blasts. But maybe even more importantly, you can use these emails, as well as those from existing loyal customers, to build your lookalike audiences and reach even more people in the weeks leading up to the big day.
2. Mind your budgets
Feeding the funnel is crucial and top of funnel campaigns for impressions are generally quite inexpensive. However, the bottom of the funnel is where you’re actually generating your revenue. So it can be a bit of a balancing act to figure out the best way to split your budget across your funnel.
Generally, research tells us to take your total budget and split it 60% for the top and middle of funnel awareness campaigns, and 40% for the bottom funnel conversion campaigns. However, if you’re confident in your preexisting top of funnel prospecting from earlier campaigns, it might pay off to shift a larger percentage to the bottom of your funnel during this period.
As we get closer to Thanksgiving and that weekend, keep in mind that the auction prices will skyrocket. Everyone is advertising during this period, so there’s going to be stiff competition. Our recommendation is to plan for about a 2x increase in your spend during this period.
If you’ve built out your retargeting lists well throughout October and early November, you should be in a good position to capitalize on the most interested audience.
3. Set up automation
Once it actually comes down to Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, it’s going to be a very busy time for your marketing team to manage multiple bottom of funnel campaigns. Our biggest recommendation here is to leverage the power of automation.
The main social and search platforms all have their own built-in automations, such as ad placements and bidding. That being said, calculating performance and moving budgets around across platforms can be very difficult as things will be moving extra fast during this time.
Of course, you don’t want to be making any big changes just before Black Friday to your process or software. This is why now is the best time to look into marketing optimization solutions that can help you keep up with your cross-channel campaigns in this busy period.
Try out Optily for free
The Optily software was developed by marketers who struggled with manual calculations and working out which cross-channel campaigns to prioritize. The algorithm is able to provide instant recommendations for how best to allocate your budget across Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube. You can then apply these recommendations with the click of a button, or employ automation so the software makes the optimizations while you sleep.
We’re offering a free 14-day trial, so you can try out our solution ahead of peak season. We are also currently offering our own Black Friday deal that locks in a special price of just $49/month for 3 months.
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