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November 2017

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After Black Friday Comes Giving Tuesday | Learn How Your Non-Profit Can Benefit

When the chaos that is Black Friday is over, and things are getting back to normal (or, normal for the holiday shopping season), it is time for an important day in your not-for-profit calendar: Giving Tuesday.

Set up as a reaction to the quite often literally rampant consumerism on Black Friday, Giving Tuesday is a day for individuals and businesses to give to charities. Unsurprisingly for a movement that prizes civility and public-spirited giving over macing your neighbours to get at a 70%-off waffle iron, the idea is big in Canada (you can read more about it here.) This year Giving Tuesday will be held on November 28th.

How can your non-profit use this time to encourage people to give back to the community, country and world?

Start Early (And Set Goals)

At the risk of repeating advice from our Black Friday blog post, starting the preparations for Giving Tuesday early is important. Giving yourself a few weeks or even months to plan, prepare and spread the word will reap dividends.

Shout It Out

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are guaranteed to be trending topics on any social platform you care to name for their respective days, so a good thing to do in the days and weeks preceding Giving Tuesday is get on your social platform and talk about it. People are more likely to engage with a not-for-profit with their wallets if the charity engages with their lives- give them the idea that they can (and probably should) give back on #GivingTuesday and they’ll associate you with a good thing in their life, and reward you accordingly.

Engage Locally

Your local community is a great source of exposure and networking, so make it a priority to promote there first. From a purely marketing standpoint, a ten-thousand-dollar donation to the Red Cross doesn’t have as much of an impact on local people as a fun run at a local park (which is not to say that you shouldn’t do it.) Try to find local events you can partner with on Giving Tuesday, and if you can’t find them, make them: wash cars, organize a #giveback day, partner with other local businesses. You don’t need to shout about it in more than a few blog or social media posts, but it will have an impact, especially if you can multiply that impact by…

Networking

Retailers are going to be in the same boat as you on the Black Friday week- their marketing efforts drowned out by the big stores, the discounts they can offer limited by their ability to buy in bulk. But, by joining together on Giving Tuesday with other smaller, local not-for-profits you can level the playing field. Team up to promote Giving Tuesday across your social media channels, organize a big charity event with local partners, design a poster for #GivingTuesday that can be in every store in town. Your ‘competitors’ are often not really your competitors when compared to Amazon and the like, so by joining together you can massively expand your reach.

Every Little Bit Helps

If you have retail partners then a donation box at the checkout can gather a few dollars for you, but why not expand on that? Businesses want to give back for PR purposes, so reach out and see if any are willing to organize a fundraising day or give a percentage of their profits over a period, and (depending on their POS system) can often add the option for customers to make a donation on top of their purchase. Businesses can also add this option to their online sales with apps like this one.

Make It Fun

Nobody likes feeling guilty about giving, so instead of plastering your building with pictures of starving orphans, come up with a fun name for your particular campaign, hire a dunk tank and make some money by dunking your boss, play music, hire a face painter for the kids.

Integrate It

If you’ve been working on a marketing message for the past year it doesn’t make sense for you to suddenly switch up your message when Giving Tuesday comes around. Keeping your tone and imagery consistent won’t just prevent tonal whiplash when you’re moving from one tone to another, it will enforce the idea that charitable giving is an intrinsic part of a successful community.

 

Giving Tuesday is getting bigger every year- $177 million was raised in 2016. You can contribute to breaking that record, and we want to see your non-profit succeed on this day!  If you’re ever looking for advice on not-for-profit marketing (or how you can access free advertising dollars as a registered charity) then get in touch with us 🙂

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday: Tips for Retail’s Biggest Week

So you’re looking for a Black Friday Idea…

People climbing over each other for a juicer, old ladies pushing children to the floor to get at a Swiffer mop, at least one fatality, and at the centre of it, all consumer goods priced low, low, low!  Black Friday is here again folks!

The biggest retail day of the year started as a distinctly US phenomenon but has now spread to the whole English-speaking world. Just like Christmas, it keeps getting earlier each year, with weeks of deals and flash-sales leading up to the big day itself, which has been joined by the eCommerce-centric Cyber Monday and self-explanatory Small Business Saturday.

So how do you come up with a Black Friday Idea that can benefit your retail business, hopefully to the point that people are camping outside your doors at5 am?

Realize That People Kind of Don’t Like Black Friday

Everybody complains about Christmas getting earlier every year… then put their lights on in mid-August anyway. Because of the riots and tramplings, Black Friday has not gotten a great reputation- but those deals though. You can connect with your customers by giving them a little wink via social media or in-store signage that says ‘hey, we know that this is crazy, we get it, but did you see this stand mixer?’ One company even completely boycotted Black Friday but paid their employees all the same.


Send emails and social posts out several weeks before the big day, even if you don’t know exactly what your plans are, then ratchet up from there as your plans become more concrete. You’ll be competing for a lot of attention on Black Friday itself, so make sure that you have a plan to grab as much attention as you can.

Start Early

Send emails and social posts out several weeks before the big day, even if you don’t know exactly what your plans are, then ratchet up from there as your plans become more concrete. You’ll be competing for a lot of attention on Black Friday itself, so make sure that you have a plan to grab as much attention as you can.

Be Funny

Sex is supposed to sell, but more often than not it makes people feel gross. Shock is supposed to wake people from their complacency, but really it makes 90% of people turn off. Sentiment should speak to universal human truths, but mostly it just sounds schmaltzy. That leaves humour: provided that you’re not punching down, being vulgar or just plain weird then humour is the best way to reach audiences on a gut level. Using consumer’s own uneasy relationship with Black Friday, a deep knowledge of your audience and whatever inspiration you can find you can craft something that people are going to remember.

Pay For It

If you’re already making deep cuts into your profit margins by offering staggering deals then paying more for advertising might have your accountant breaking out in a cold sweat, but in today’s competitive attention economy it might be the only way to get in front of enough eyeballs to get that coveted line-out-of-the-door. Facebook advertising allows you to create highly-targeted multimedia ads, and many other platforms offer similar functionality (although Facebook remains the largest.) Don’t discount traditional media either: plenty of people will still respond to a well-made newspaper insert.

How should you set up a great social media campaign for Black Friday? Here’s a sample idea:

  • Post a great video to your company’s Facebook page.
  • Pay to promote that video to your followers (no more than $100 of spend should be necessary here depending on the size of your market.)
  • Build a retargeting ad campaign- a type of Facebook ad campaign that shows ads to people who have already done something on your page or website. Here, you should create a campaign that targets anyone who watched more than half of your video.
  • Go hard and spend big to target those people with ads about your Black Friday deals- they’ve shown that they are engaged.

Tighten Up Your eCommerce

Cyber Monday is a huge day for eCommerce, and it’s not just the big players (or, rather, player- Amazon). Any company that sells online can jump on the bandwagon, but to do so you’ll need a rock-solid eCommerce solution. You may be able to attract more people, but the same rules still apply: make sure that there are no errors, make sure that it’s easy to add items and pay for your order, make sure that the shipping options are transparent- free shipping is a major incentive at any time of year. It’s probably the wrong time to switch from Shopify to Magento or vice-versa, but might be the right time to add some plug-ins that tighten up the checkout process- provided that you’ve got plenty of time to test it and work out any bugs.

Also, because you’ll have an influx of new customers, it’s important to convert them into fans instead of just taking their money once a year and hoping they come back the next. Follow-up emails, incentives to sign up for social media and add-ins for the packages that build goodwill- all of this will convert a few Black Friday bargain-hunters into regular customers.

6) Go Mobile

A large portion of shoppers will be browsing on their mobiles instead of a desktop, which offers a host of opportunities- and problems. Obviously, on a seven-inch screen, you’re not going to be able to show as much or incorporate the same level of text description- a couple of sentences should be sufficient. Mobile also allows you to employ push notifications: it may seem a little intrusive, but eCommerce vendors have found that a pop-up message about an abandoned shopping cart or a notification of a flash sale is a valuable addition to your company’s eCommerce operations.

Stay Small

On Black Friday you’ll be up against big box stores that can afford deep, deep discounts and pyramids of HD TVs; on Cyber Monday you’ll be up against Amazon, who has been taking on the high street and winning for the past twenty years. To level the playing field, consider skipping Black Friday/Cyber Monday altogether and going straight to Small Business Saturday. It might not have the small multi-billion dollar clout as its cousins earlier in the week, but it does allow you to leverage the goodwill people have towards small businesses and their antipathy towards the big retailers.

With a little imagination and the willingness to go the extra mile to provide compelling discounts for your customers, the Black Friday – Cyber Monday shopping period can be the most lucrative shopping period of the entire year. On or offline, you’ll be up against the big boys in retail, from Best Buy to Amazon, so come up with a great Black Friday idea and use what makes you special- you’re small, you’re local and you can build a following by going directly to your customers.

 

If you’re ever looking for marketing strategy advice, be sure to come by and visit our crew here at Octopus Creative!