Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are two of the highest grossing shopping days of the year. While companies may think of BFCM as business-to-consumer (B2C) holidays, all companies can take advantage of this multi-billion dollar spending spree. In fact, B2B companies that skip this “holiday” may be missing out on connection opportunities, brand awareness, and revenue.
Why a Black Friday B2B Marketing Plan is Important
Non-retail businesses can leverage some aspects of BFCM sales that appeal to consumers — while beating their competition. If competitors don’t expect you to participate in a Black Friday B2B marketing plan, you will successfully be set apart from others in your niche.
One of the reasons that the weekend is such a flurry is that it generates a sense of urgency. BFCM inspires customers to act fast because the deals are so good and many people are vying for a limited quantity.
How to Leverage Black Friday
Of course, the sales cycle usually moves slower in B2B, but you can still take advantage of the scarcity mindset through low-cost offers or educational information sharing that expires after a short period of time.
B2B marketing may not involve sales, but instead goodwill and compassion. Take, for instance, REI. REI closes on Black Friday, but in turn grants employees a paid day off and encourages them to spend time outdoors. This does a few things: it boosts morale, highlights company values, and promotes company and brand loyalty among employees and customers alike because of the positive feelings associated with a company’s treatment of staff.
5 Steps for a Successful Black Friday B2B Marketing Plan
Before you jump into Black Friday marketing, it’s critical to define your primary goal doing so. Keep in mind that your goal may not be “more sales.” You might instead set goals (with metrics) around:
- Lead generation
- Customer service
- Growing an email marketing list
- Increasing social media engagement or brand awareness
To achieve these goals, here are some steps to consider including in your campaign:
- Start a Conversation
Starting a conversation on social media is a great first step to growing your community. Encouraging interaction is easy, especially if it involves giving away some valuable information in return. Host a Q&A session or interactive poll that promises to offer free, relevant learning materials at the conclusion. This will encourage interaction, create a new pool of contacts, and may also alert you of information that is needed from prospective clients thereby forming a need that you can fulfill.
- Give Something Away
A step beyond starting a social media conversation is offering a private consultation. This can take place over the phone or via email or chat, so the output is relatively low compared with the potential payback. Promote a free workshop, eBook, or session that directly relates to your services with the sign up of an email marketing campaign. That way your audience is free to spend BFCM how they wish, but you can follow up with them and start a relationship after the weekend is over. By offering something for free, you will be connected to new members of your target audience while also adding value to your existing relationship with current audience members.
- Promote Offers on LinkedIn
Just like targeted ads, you want your promotion to land in front of the right audience. According to MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 78 percent of B2B marketers said LinkedIn was the most successful social media platform when it comes to lead generation. That means it’s worth your time to promote current offers or even recycle old discounts and freebies by adding the term Black Friday or Cyber Monday as part of your BFCM marketing strategy.
There are a few options for raising awareness on LinkedIn, you can publish status updates with your offer link, send out offers through direct messaging, or write an article that has a call to action highlighting your services, educational materials, and promotions.
- Target Ads on Facebook and Instagram
Using targeted ads on social media is one of the best ways to get the exact target market eyes on your post any day of the year. Black Friday is no exception, but amping up your strategy on BFCM may be the ingredient that sets you apart from other B2B marketing campaigns.
Consider focusing on a unique aspect of your promotion instead of merely highlighting the lower price. What sets your promotion apart? You may also want to use Facebook Messenger as the first step to personal communication as part of the promotion that way you can follow up well after BFCM.
- Engage in Real Time
Because of the rushed urgency that comes along with BFCM weekend, many people are regularly checking in on social media for the latest deals. For this reason, you should make an effort to interact with your customers in real time. Post to Instagram stories, tweet, and keep the facebook posts rolling during BFCM. Your stories do not have to be solely deals and sales; they can be a tool to educate your audience about the brand and your initiatives. Creating interactive stories that allow customers to engage with the brand will promote brand awareness and ultimately lead generation and sales after the holiday has passed.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not limited to business to consumer marketing. Business to business marketing can also be successful when a clear goal is defined and a strategy determined. Capitalizing on the fast action that BFCM encourages, paired with the intentional use of story, information sharing, and brand education can result in a successful weekend of expanding audience size, lead generation, and overall connections for businesses.