Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are now well established, and for retailers have become one of the most anticipated events in their calendar.

The potential not only for a large spike in traffic, but also for customer engagement, is huge. To reap the benefits properly, planning a 360 joined up approach across the business is critical. A well thought out Black Friday marketing plan will have a tangible impact on customer retention and a business’s performance this November 23, as well as on Cyber Monday.

According to our own analysis, last year’s Black Friday saw an impressive 84 percent increase in new customers and a 67 percent increase in revenue delivered to our clients compared to the same week from the previous month.

These are impressive stats, even if they reflect one annual sales period. So how to plan for and make the most of this opportunity that Black Friday and Cyber Monday represents? Certainly it requires careful and considered strategising.

For retailers to truly harness the benefits of Black Friday, your marketing strategy needs to have a longer term goal. Don’t just be a one hit wonder on November 23. Give your customer a reason to revisit, purchase and recommend you to a friend.

Smart retailers approach Black Friday as part of their wider strategy and look at their customer lifetime value (LTV). Does this annual event attract long term customers to your brand, and if not, how can you turn these seasonal shoppers into brand advocates? Here are five top tips for using referral to make the most out of this impactful event.

1: Use a referral that ties into future events

Running a successful refer-a-friend programme that hooks into Black Friday will reward and engage existing customers, and encourage new customers to try your brand. Providing a referral offer that also ties into into future calendar events such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day, will encourage repeat purchase and drive customer loyalty. This approach might also encourage more sharing with others, as people love to share new discoveries and insights that would impress their friends.

2: Target Existing Customers 

Many successful retailers are now choosing to offer exclusive loyalty based Black Friday deals to existing customers, rather than simply offering big discounts to bargain hunters. A referral programme can help a retailer develop these tailored offers to their most valuable customers.

If existing loyal customers share an offer with friends on Black Friday, their friends are likely to see this as more exclusive, compared to the blanket deals available which struggle to be heard amongst the noise. Building in a referral offer is more likely to drive repeat purchase and increase loyalty.

3: Give an irresistible offer

Is your offer enticing enough? This doesn’t have to mean giving a 50 percent discount; it can be as simple as including a competition, or an exclusive giveaway for a limited time only. The trick here is to segment your customers according to their buying behaviour. Then review your AB test results for which offers and approaches resonated most. Once you’ve done that you’ll be in a position to present each customer segment with a relevant offer that they can’t resist.

4: Add to various touchpoints and design 

Customers naturally like to share relevant, exclusive, and impressive offers with friends and family, and so aim to make the process as simple and streamlined as possible. Ensure that your referral programme is visible and easily accessible across a cross section of customer touchpoints, including email and social channels.

It is important to consider the demographic, and ensure that the channel is tailored to them. For example, research we just conducted into people’s preferred method of communication with a brand revealed that 46 percent of people would choose email over channels such as mobile or social platforms.

5: Don’t run out of vouchers 

Ending on a simple, but crucial tip. Make sure that you have enough vouchers for the entire Black Friday weekend. Also don’t forget to include longer valid use dates too.

This level of detail will help turn a two-day event, into an annual longer term customer acquisition strategy.

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