Practical steps for online business owners to prepare for Black Friday

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      The biggest event in the shopping calendar requires some careful planning. Swoop’s SEO and Content Manager shares helpful tips.

      All businesses need sales, and for many, Black Friday is the date in the calendar when the tills don’t stop ringing. Every year, the numbers from the last Friday before Christmas seem to be getting bigger as customers rush out to kick start Advent with a bargain. 

      At Swoop we often say that businesses need to be prepared for customers who want to spend on Black Friday – but what practical steps can online business owners take in the run up to the big event?

      Ed Ziubrzynski, SEO and Content Manager at Swoop is a marketing guru . He says that how a business handles Black Friday can be crucial to the company’s health in the rest of the year:  

      “Black Friday often proves to be the ultimate stress test for a business: as a sales event, it is as big as Christmas in regard to the number of sales and revenue generated, and how a business anticipates and handles those sales tells you a lot about the health of the company over all.”

      Why can businesses struggle? Surely an influx of website visitors, hungry to spend their money is exactly what every business wants? Ed says the volume of traffic can cause problems:

      “The big problem that businesses have on Black Friday is that their platform cannot handle the traffic, leading to crashes, abandoned carts and damaging your brand.”

      Ed says that the most important thing is to ensure that your website is up to the challenge: 

      “The first thing to do is assess your site’s current load times and performance: what you can get away with during quiet times will not cut it on the busiest day of the year. Your website needs to load fast and function well at times of high traffic throughout the holidays. Ensuring a positive user experience and fast website is critical to ensure a successful sales period.”

      When the website is checked to remove potential bottlenecks from large numbers of visitors, Ed recommends that businesses look at trends from previous years and figure out where they might be leading in the future: 

      “Previous years of trading are perhaps your best source of the data that will be most helpful in shaping your marketing strategy. Was there an unexpected run on one item? Did something capture the imagination of customers? Did you have a product that was particularly of the moment? Reviewing search trends and frequencies from other websites will help shape the way that you position Black Friday on your own website.”

      SEO relies on “keywords” – search terms used by customers to locate our site in a search engine. Ed recommends using the data you gather to identify particularly strong keyword targets for your organisation. 

      This data can also create an “evergreen” page, as Ed explains: 

      “When it comes to organic search, consistency is key. We recommend creating a dedicated website page that will remain live for your Black Friday offering. This will allow any authority and visibility you have generated across previous years to be retained – meaning you don’t have to start from scratch each year, reducing the ongoing fight for visibility.”

      This strategy means you can take a long-term approach to a short-term rush to find your website:

      “This page can be marked as “Deals Coming Soon” throughout the remainder of the year, with the page not being visible in your main navigation. The page can then be re-added to your website’s navigation closer to the event – meaning that search engines acknowledge the existence of your page, without resulting in a ‘restart’ each year.”

      The best time to start getting in the habit with SEO is now: if you need funding support for your marketing, stock or online store, Swoop can help you access the money your business needs. Make sure you’re signed up to the Swoop platform.

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