Black Friday is a distinctly American tradition, but the shopping frenzy has been gaining in popularity in the UK over the past few years, with many businesses offering Black Friday social media campaigns and door-busting deals. Unlike its American counterpart, Black Friday in the UK typically isn’t tied to a single day; retailers often offer a period of several days to jump-start the buying season. Because this period is incredibly competitive, it’s important for retailers to get their Black Friday campaign ideas ready as early as possible.

To help smaller and local businesses compete, a “Small Business Saturday” grassroots campaign was implemented in the UK. This program encourages shoppers to purchase from local businesses in their communities. It offers marketing materials, a database of participating businesses, boosts participants’ campaigns online, as well as Small Business Saturday promotion ideas and strategies through its workshop series and case studies.

Small businesses have plenty of advantages over their bigger competitors when it comes to tailoring Black Friday campaigns. These businesses:

  • Know their customers well
  • Excel at personalized customer service
  • Have fewer hurdles in developing and executing a strategy

Even if your business isn’t set on prioritizing Black Friday this year, the period makes for a great way to experiment with and tweak tactics that you can use for the following month leading up to Christmas. Whether you’re hoping to rake in a boost of sales, increase awareness or optimize your marketing for the Christmas advent, it’s worth implementing some sort of omnichannel marketing strategy for Black Friday. Here are just a handful of Black Friday marketing ideas and tips to help you achieve your holiday season goals.

Host a Contest to Collect User Data

The benefits of contest data are two-fold: on one hand, information you ask for on an entry provide data to help generate leads and grow your list (email address, gender, location, etc.). They’re also an easy way to generate excitement and urgency leading up to the big day. But less obvious is that you can use a contest to aid in segmentation and market research based on buying preferences—which is essential for leading up to your Christmas campaign later.

For example, let’s say you set up a sweepstakes offering multiple prize packages. After collecting customers’ basic information on the entry/registration page, have them choose the prize they’re most excited to win. This helps you understand the types of products this customer is most interested in—which is essential if these customers are new to your business. With this data, you can segment new customers and target their preferences and interests.

The winners shouldn’t be the only ones having fun. Offer a small bonus to everyone, like a discount, voucher or other deal just for singing up and participating. This should be an instant reward to further entice customers to participate. To fully benefit from the deal, you should:

  • Point customers to social channels where the winner will be announced
  • Encourage or incentivize loyal customers to share with friends and family
  • Link to your store where participants can make use of their coupon right now.

With so many directions you can take your contest, this is one of the most versatile Black Friday campaign ideas.

Personalize Your Messaging for Greater Effect

Email segmentation is incredibly important—it increases open rates by 14% and decreases unsubscribe rates by 10%. And because Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are such frantic buying times, you want to ensure you’ve enticed your customers with exactly what they’ll want to buy. Ways you’ll want to segment include:

  • How often the customer has purchased from you (once, never, often?)
  • Their interests (what they buy/click, referrals from other websites or social media)

You should also consider making a separate list specifically for those who want a head-start on Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday deals, including push notifications if you have a mobile app.

Curate and Package Gifts Yourself

There’s nothing Black Friday shoppers enjoy more than an easy gift. By collecting some of your best-selling items into an attractive package or set, then advertising on social media and your email lists, you take away most of the work and stress in gift-giving. When your gifts are made as visually attractive as possible, you can share them on social platforms like Instagram to entice Black Friday buyers.

There’s a couple other things you can do with these gift packages. Making an interactive Twitter poll where users can vote on the package most attractive to them is another great way to expand reach while collecting data (tying into our contest strategy mentioned above). Because your gift packages should have a key demographic in mind when designing them, they’ll translate well to gift buying guides on your website. (For example, a shave kit would be a strong gift item for adult men).

To summarize, these gift packages are extremely versatile for your omnichannel strategy, including:

  • Social media (Twitter polls, Instagram shares)
  • Email blasts (taking advantage of Black Friday urgency by highlighting the ease of giving a curated gift set)
  • Website or newsletter content (gift buying guides)

By tying up all your channels together into a consistent experience, this is among the simplest but most powerful Small Business Saturday promotion ideas to take advantage of.

Prioritize Mobile

The best Black Friday marketing ideas must include a mobile strategy. Mobile is a powerful tool in the start of the holiday season; on Black Friday, mobile conversions jump 30%, and rise 50% on Cyber Monday. 2016’s Black Friday period in the UK experienced a 33% rise in mobile purchases over the year before, indicating a growing trend in mobile purchases for the holiday season. A dedicated mobile presence, then, is a must to take advantage of the growing importance consumers place on mobile shopping. Before the big weekend, ensure your website (and your emails) are optimized for mobile viewing. If you have the budget and resources, invest in a mobile app—either for your store in general, or one specifically dedicated to holiday shopping.

Another great mobile-friendly strategy is offering a “click and collect” service so shoppers can instantly make a purchase, then skip the lines to collect in-store. Take advantage of visual, retail-friendly platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to target local leads, encourage them to purchase, then bring them into the store. This effectively turns your Black Friday social media campaigns into a much-needed antidote from the stress of holiday shopping. While “click and collect” is convenient for the consumer, it’s convenient for small businesses, too, because these pickups will be expedited compared to walk-in purchases.