Thanksgiving may be a single day, but it kicks off a shopping period that lasts through the end of the year. Online spending alone over Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year are expected to top $5.5 billion. The first things that come to mind when you think of Black Friday might be stores like Best Buy or online retailers like Amazon, but when families finish eating turkey and stuffing, non-retailers (including sports teams, membership organizations, and event venues) have a huge opportunity to benefit from the holiday shopping season kickoff.
As the holiday approaches, consider these days to either generate revenue over the extended Thanksgiving weekend or get to know your audience better to reach them throughout the season.
Black Friday/Cyber Monday
Ten years ago, Black Friday and Cyber Monday had very distinct deals, but as more retailers have gone digital and fewer consumers are willing to stand hours in line for a potential deal, they’ve grown almost indistinguishable.
For non-retailers, the most obvious way to take advantage of the two days is to join the deal bandwagon. The Indiana Pacers, for example, ran a “Gold is the New Black” special on tickets during a limited two-hour block. Festivals like Day for Night have also run ticketing promotions to take advantage of the shopping excitement.
Membership organizations don’t have to be left out. The YMCA of Austin has run Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials offering a free month of membership—probably a good idea for any gyms or fitness clubs a day after potential customers gorge themselves on turkey and start thinking about New Year’s resolutions.
Of course, not everyone might be willing to plunk down for a membership or season tickets. They might’ve just spend a paycheck on a new 4K HDTV. So while everyone’s scrolling their feeds, you could promote a special Black Friday giveaway, either for a VIP ticket package, box seats to Saturday’s football game, or a free six month membership.
Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday is appropriately nowhere near as big in popularity as Black Friday, but has been heavily pushed by American Express as a day to “shop small” and celebrate local businesses after big box stores get their day on Friday.
For any small business, this is a great day to promote discounts as shoppers get away from malls and walk around local shops. Local venues or membership organizations can offer a discount similar to Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
But other organizations can get in on the fun, too. Sports teams, in particular, can tap into the local audience on Small Business Saturday in a few ways. They can use the day to activate with a local sponsor, offering a one day deal for fans following the team on their social channels (e.g., a 10% coupon for people who click on a post and offer up their email).
They can also run a campaign where fans vote for their favorite local business (and the team then announces the winner or even offers a prize to the winning business). Organizations can then learn what local businesses make sense to approach for sponsorship opportunities, as well as get contact information to reach local fans for future campaigns.
To take it a step further, by using social authentication, teams can learn more about local fans, including not just the business they voted for, but any other businesses fans may frequent. The team can then show the prospective sponsor that there’s already an overlapping audience, and then even show how that affinity grows after they run campaigns together.
Finally, a day shortly following Thanksgiving that’s not all about shopping. Entering its sixth year, #GivingTuesday is a national day of giving the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Donations are set to increase to over $200 million that day, 20% higher than in 2016. The incentive for memberships and nonprofits to make a marketing push on that day is clear, but it’s also a chance for organizations to impact and learn about their community.
For teams like the LA Clippers with their own charities, Giving Tuesday is a chance to promote the foundation. For the Clippers, donations go to either children attend games who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend, or supporting the Jr. Clippers program.
In addition to promoting donations, you could provide incentives for different levels, increasing the rewards if fans donate on #GivingTuesday.
If you have local nonprofits you already work with, you can run matching or sharing campaigns. These can take a few different forms: for example, your organization can donate some amount of money every time someone shares your post promoting a nonprofit. Or you’ll match local donations from fans who use your link on #GivingTuesday.
Don’t have a nonprofit partner in the area? You can use a voting campaign similar to the one we mentioned for Small Business Saturday, having fans vote for their favorite nonprofits, which will then get a donation from your nonprofit. Again, you can use social login data to find other causes that fans are passionate about, and reach out to partner with those organizations throughout the year.
Cutting through the noise
While these four days are massive opportunities, a lot of organizations will be flooding feeds and inboxes with promotions. Below are a few ways to make sure you get noticed:
- Maintain a consistent social posting schedule. If you want fans to see organic content, you can’t just post on days you’re promoting something. Leading up to the big weekend, make sure you’re posting engaging content, including leveraging videos or Facebook Live.
- Use your network. For sports teams, this can mean getting players to share any promotions or giveaways. Festivals can have performers doing the same. Memberships and nonprofits can encourage employees or large donors to share.
- #hashtags. Each of these days has corresponding hashtags (Small Business Saturday is #shopsmall). These can help surface your content as these start trending across any and all of the social channels.
- Add paid support. Regardless of your posting schedule, overall organic social reach is limited. Adding dollars behind posts on these days will increase the number of people that see your content.
Finally, whether you’re promoting content through social media or email, be selective about who you’re targeting. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, all offer targeting by geography, interests (e.g., apparel, causes, local businesses), income level, etc. You can combine these to reach the exact audience you want for any of these campaigns.
If you’re able to see that type of data (e.g., Facebook likes from social login, survey responses) for your other campaigns, you can have that same level of segmentation on your other channels to increase open rates, clickthroughs, and ultimately, conversions. Don’t have the data? Then this holiday weekend is a fantastic opportunity to gather it. Whether your goal is fan acquisition, learning more about your audience, or immediate revenue, it’s not too late to reach and engage your audience this holiday weekend.
Image source: Paging through the Black Friday ads by Gunter Hentschel