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Content Marketing

Published November 4th 2020

How to build a Black Friday campaign that works for your B2B business

Is it worth creating a last minute B2B Black Friday campaign this year?

Looking at the lead up to Black Friday in 2020, compared with the same period in 2019, we’re only slightly behind in terms of content engagement. But when it comes to the number of content pieces published, we’re far behind. This means there’s more opportunity in 2020 to market your Black Friday campaign, and get noticed.

In their 2020 retail trend report, Search intelligence company Pi Datametrics saw record levels of search volume across retail during the peak of the pandemic, which surpassed any previous Black Friday level.

We’ve all been at home buying gadgets to keep us entertained this year – so why would we need more?!

With Walmart and Target announcing that they’re shutting shop on Thanksgiving, it’s looking like Black Friday is going to be a modest affair in 2020 – but is this the case for B2B?

Although more businesses than ever are “Going digital”, many are also struggling to stay afloat and have had to cut costs.

Discounted B2B services may be just what they need to turn business around…

Decide whether your B2B business should be taking part

We’re not here to convince you that taking part in Black Friday is “The Right and Good Thing To Do”. That’s completely up to you (no pressure!) But what we can do is give you a few things to think about.

2020 is definitely not the year to chuck a discount out there and hope that it pays off. Here’s some things that you should consider before embracing the holiday…

What is the ultimate goal of your Black Friday campaign?

Yes, Black Friday is a sales holiday. But is there a secondary KPI that is just as important to your business? Are you trying to boosting awareness with a big advertising campaign? Are you upselling to your current customers to improve loyalty and retention? Knowing your overarching goals is key to your success on this holiday.

Ask yourself, can we afford to discount?

How much of a discount can you afford to offer on your product or service, without making a dent in your ROI?

Keep in mind that your costs will be higher than usual, especially when it comes to advertising – CPCs are higher and there’s more people bidding!

If you can’t discount, what can you offer?

If things are a bit tight, but you’re still keen to piggyback on the holiday, think about what you can offer with as little cost to you as possible.

In a B2B world, your core offering is likely to be a long-term, high cost investment, which may not discount well (i.e. you could lose a lot of money, over a long period of time).

If your main product or service is something you just can’t afford to cut, then think:

  • What about sideline offerings? Do you have any standalone services (i.e. expert support, strategy sessions, data bundles etc.) that you can offer? Can you apply a deal to only discount one element of your offering?
  • What about creating an entirely new, exclusive offering that better suits the Black Friday model?
  • Can you segment one small portion of your prospects and target an offer to them, and them only?
  • If you’re adding bigger discounts, can you upsell any of your other products and services on your Black Friday campaign landing pages?
  • Can you offer something for free to build loyalty?

Lisa Alexander from PR Secrets did just this. She had a think about how she could stand out on Black Friday, which resulted in her giving away a marketing bootcamp for free.

“This campaign allowed people to experience my brand in a way typically not available to prospects. Forty-one percent of the people who requested the free session had never engaged with my brand previously.”

Lisa N. Alexander

Think about fulfilment

Another huge consideration for participating in Black Friday is whether you have the (wo)manpower to deal with an influx of users.

  • Would you need to automate your support?
  • Are your training guides and help materials up-to-scratch and in place for an increase in questions?
  • If you’re offering an exclusive new product or service, do you have product education in place?

Is Black Friday the right day for you?

According to Henry Clifford-Jones of The Drum “B2B brands in the US may not get very far with targeting professional audiences around Black Friday since it’s a public holiday and most professionals will be at home with their families.”

With this in mind, ask yourself: is Black Friday definitely the right day for me to be launching my offer?

Some brands enjoy less competition and have been successful in building traction early on, while others surprise and delight their customers by extending their sale beyond the shopping weekend.

The Oberlo team think that the latter strategy can be very effective:

“Do this last-minute or when your competitors have ended their sales. When customers see you’re the only [one] offering them a second chance to save, they’re more likely to buy from your brand. However, make sure to associate a deadline with an extension. [This will create] a sense of urgency.”

Don’t feel pressured to jump on the Black Friday bandwagon, just because your competitors are.

Relying on seasonal or buying cycle expectations means you could be missing out on big, untapped opportunities. Look at trend data. Explore your customers’ search and social behavior throughout the year to assess whether Black Friday really is right for you.

YoY engagement trends for the customer query “Video tools” (in the BuzzSumo Content Analyzer tool) show that interest peaks around the months of September and October, rather than November.

Could there also be a better month for you to promote your deals, beyond Black Friday?

Decided a Black Friday campaign is right for you?

Once you’ve considered all of these questions, and are happy with the answers, you can get going on building your B2B Black Friday campaign.

Here’s some practical tips for making it a success…

Create deal content that hits the mark

What do your customers find engaging around Black Friday? What are they most receptive to?

Get to know them a little better. Start by jumping into the Keyword Tool to find out what kinds of things they search for.

In this instance, we’ve typed in ‘Black Friday Software’. As a SAAS business, this is the kind of thing we think our customers would search to find software like BuzzSumo on Black Friday.

With the Keyword Tool, we can see whether our keyword expectations match reality.

We can also get a bunch of longer-tail keywords ideas related to our topic in the ‘Similar keywords’ tab.

With 170 searches per month, and a CPC of $2.55 ‘Black Friday software deals’ looks like a great option.

Checking the context of a keyword is also super important. A quick look at the Question Tool helps us to confirm this keyword is the right focus for us, as many of the queries appearing on forums and online communities are from customers searching for Black Friday SAAS deals.

Make a mental note to bank some of these questions for later – answering them will help you promote your deal – whether that’s via a standalone blog post linking back to your deal page, or an FAQ section on the deal page itself.

When you’ve found your focus, take it over to the Content Analyzer to see how your customers are already engaging with content around this topic on social.

Once you’re there, add the B2B filter to prioritize the most relevant content.

From this we worked out that a deal compilation guide was the most popular piece of Black Friday content for ‘Black Friday software deals’.

In this case, it came from Entrepreneur.com. If you find that publishers, not direct competitors, are creating the most engaging content on social, why not reach out to notify them of your upcoming Black Friday campaign? A link can go a long way.

With this kind of insight, you might also decide you want to create your own deal-based advertorial guide, featuring your offer alongside other complementary deals.

Promote your deal to specific customers

Is there a certain type of customer you really want to hone in on this Black Friday? Why not find out where they’re already seeing mentions of you, and place your deal on that site?

This will help you be more selective in your discounts, and keep costs to a minimum.

Set up brand alerts

Simply set up Brand Alerts to find mentions that are driving your target customers to you.

One way of doing this is by monitoring mentions to your brand from articles that would appeal to your customer. For example, imagine at BuzzSumo we were targeting the SEO audience.

We’d start off by heading to our Monitoring Tools, setting up a Brand Alert, and prioritizing our Unlinked Mentions by Total Engagement.

This would enable us to find the most engaging content on websites that have referred to BuzzSumo, but haven’t yet linked to us.

Once we had our hands on that list, we would comb through it to find the top SEO related content, paying close attention to the websites with strong domain authority (this would help to boost our rankings, if the author linked back to our Black Friday campaign page).

In this case, our best article comes from Search Engine Journal.

  • Published recently ✅
  • Good engagement ✅
  • Tool mention ✅
  • Relates to our target customer (SEO audience)✅
  • Strong domain authority ✅

This would make for a good link for our Black Friday campaign. All we’d need to do is reach out to the author, and politely ask if she’d mention our deal with a link back to our deal page.

If you wanted to, you could repeat this process for Linked Mentions. In fact, publishers who have already linked to you may be even more willing to promote your offer.

Set up keyword alerts

Remember the keyword discovery process earlier on? This can inform the keyword alerts you set up.

Your keywords don’t always have to be Black Friday specific to return a good campaign placement opportunity.

For example, at BuzzSumo, we might want to set up a keyword alert for ‘SEO tools’, and contact publishers to request a mention of our B2B Black Friday offer in their tool guides.

Customers searching for ‘Tools’, ‘Software’, ‘Deals’ or more product / service specific keywords often have a higher intent to purchase. Setting up alerts around these keywords is a great way to promote your Black Friday B2B offer without having to spend a dime.

Get your alerts sent straight to your inbox, so you’re notified of new promotion opportunities as and when they’re published. You can also target those mentions with higher engagement rates, by applying a ‘Minimum engagement’ level during set up.

Get technical with your mentions

Run your mentions through GA to view past traffic and see whether they’ve already led to any conversions. This will help you focus your advertising efforts on the referral content that is most likely to convert on Black Friday.

If you wanted to be really smart, you could further target customers by activating pop-up promo codes or discount messaging when they visit you from your chosen referral site. Many good marketing automation tools offer this feature.

Create your deal content far in advance of peak purchase

It might be a bit late to do this in 2020, but if you’re planning on taking part in Black Friday every year, getting your year-round ‘Deals’ landing page up and running now will please Google, and put you in prime position for 2021.

Treat your B2B ‘Deals’ page as a pillar for your most valuable search term, and link between all related Black Friday content.

In some cases, internal links can be more important than backlinks, so make sure you’re using that focus keyword as anchor text, to direct authority to the main page and avoid content cannibalization.

Landing page content ideas:

  • Answer FAQs discovered in the Question Analyzer Tool to drive traffic to your page
  • Upsell other products and services on this page
  • Create a sense of urgency with a countdown timer

As well as being top of the SERPs, having your B2B deal page ready in advance means you can showcase your offer early, build interest in advance of peak purchase and set up ads before costs have sky-rocketed.

Despite this being a no-brainer, popular B2B Black Friday searches return hundreds of tool lists and affiliate sites, but very few brand owned landing pages.

Could this be a quick-win, low cost opportunity for your brand?

Spy on your competitor’s Black Friday content

Whether you’re B2B or B2C, on Black Friday the competition is fierce, and the stakes are high.

It’s vital you get your content and your message right. One way you can do this is by examining your B2B competitors’ Black Friday deal pages in the Content Analyzer.

Just enter their URL, examine the engagement and think about what you can do to overtake them and drive incremental engagement every year.

Can you distribute your content more widely on social media? Can you jump on the back of popular and enduring hashtags? Maybe prove the value of Black Friday cost savings with a case study?

Partner with Influencers

Finding authentic influencers to promote your B2B brand is a creative way to kickstart your Black Friday offer.

Think about creating content where your thought-leader test-drives your most popular service or product, and shares a discount code with their viewers.

This is an awesome way to get new audiences engaged with your brand.

To do this in BuzzSumo, you can just head to the Twitter Influencer tool. In our example, we were looking for SEO influencers, so we entered “SEO” into a Profile Includes search.

Adding quotation marks helps you to hone in on that keyword alone. This is especially useful to use when you’re searching for multiple keywords, and want to see the exact match phrase in your influencer search results.

We added a couple more filters to this search to make it extra specific, including a Location Filter for influencers based in ‘New York’, and an Activity Filter to eliminate broadcasters from our search results, and hone in on active influencers.

Prioritize your influencers by their activity

Discover influencers in a specific location

To find the influencers that engaged most with their audiences, we also sorted their activity by ‘Retweet ratio’.

Locating influencers in this way, and working with them to promote your Black Friday Campaign, will give you an edge that few B2B businesses have explored.

Let us know how your B2B Black Friday Campaign goes

If you’ve read this and decided that a Black Friday deal is right for your B2B business, let us know how you get along.

To apply any of the tips we’ve included in this article, you can make use of BuzzSumo’s newly extended 30 day free trial, and gain no-holds-barred access to the entire platform.

Already signed up? Find out how to use BuzzSumo in 30 days, and get the most out of your trial.

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