by Aden Andrus November 13, 2019

Last-Minute Black Friday Marketing: A Survivor’s Guide

So, you waited too long, didn’t you? You didn’t make planning out your marketing strategy for Black Friday/Cyber Monday a priority and now you’re running out of time.

Or, maybe you just recently started your ecommerce business and amidst all the scramble, you didn’t have a chance to put a solid BFCM strategy in place.

Regardless of the reason, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and time is up! Yes, you should have started planning months ago, but now it’s too late for that. But does that mean it’s too late to take advantage of the holiday shopping season?

Lucky for you, there are still a few ways to capitalize on the holiday shopping frenzy…even without much prep time. It won’t be nearly as effective as if you’d started getting ready a few months ago, but it’s better than watching the holidays pass you by.

Last-Minute Holiday Marketing Prep

While holiday marketing always works better with more prep time, I do have some good news for you. 40% of holiday spending takes place in the 10 days before Christmas. And, since online holiday sales are expected to exceed $135 billion this year, that means there’s still a lot of money left to fight for.

The only question is, what can you do right now to get in the game?

Well, fortunately for you, there are several last-minute tactics that you can use to make the most of the holidays this year. These . aren’t necessarily “best practices”, but at this point, you have to take what you can get.

Take Advantage of Your Existing Customers

What’s the fastest, easiest group of people to market to in a pinch? Your existing customers! This is true at any time of year, but email marketing is a key part of any holiday marketing strategy. There’s simply too much competition around Black Friday/Cyber Monday to depend solely on ads alone to get people to your site.

As an added bonus, many of your existing customers are probably already looking for a BFCM email from you. If they love what you sell, they’re hoping for a great deal and the opportunity to buy more.

Under normal circumstances, you’d want to go through your customer database and segment by customer preference or previously purchased items. Right now, however, you probably don’t have time to create custom emails for a bunch of different segments, though, so you’ll want to focus on keeping things simple.

So, instead of creating a bunch of email drip campaigns, try creating one along the following lines:

1. Black Friday Anticipation Email

You’ve still got a little time before Black Friday, so if you jump on things right now, you can prep people for your upcoming sale. After all, if people don’t know about your offer, they can’t exactly take advantage of it. With that in mind, the goal of this email is to create awareness and excitement. If you can get people to check out your website to see what they want to buy on Black Friday, more power to you.

2. Black Friday Announcement Email

This email should go out on Black Friday morning and either remind people of your deal or announce what the sale is. Your goal here is to get people to your website, so you want your email to be at the top of their inbox when they wake up. Make sure to include a direct link to your website and/or your deals page.

3. Cyber Monday Anticipation Email

Once Black Friday is over, you want to get people excited about Cyber Monday. Not everyone will visit your site on Black Friday, but if you can get people who didn’t make it on Black Friday to check out your deals on Monday, that’s still a win. Just don’t send out an email discussing your Cyber Monday deals until after Black Friday. No need to rain on your own parade.

4. Cyber Monday Announcement Email

Just like your Black Friday morning email, you want to make sure that you have an email scheduled to go out on Cyber Monday morning. Again, the goal here is to stand out amidst all of the other Cyber Monday emails and get people to visit your website, take advantage of your deal and make a purchase.

5. Promotion Extension

These days, Black Friday doesn’t end at midnight. People have come to expect great deals through the weekend and even into the following week. If you plan on extending your sale(s) beyond Cyber Monday, make sure to create and schedule an email for Tuesday morning that announces the extension.

Obviously, there’s a lot more that you could do with your email marketing for Black Friday, but if this is all you have time for, a simple email drip like this shouldn’t take too long to set up and will hopefully land you a few extra customers come BFCM.

Look Off of Google/Facebook

Most businesses focus their online marketing efforts on Google Ads and Facebook Ads. There are a lot of good reasons for that, but when you don’t have a ton of time to dial in your BFCM campaigns, sometimes it pays to look into other options.

For example, you can try running ads on Twitter, Bing, Reddit or even eBay. The idea here is to try and run ads where the competition is less fierce and even a suboptimal strategy still has a chance to produce meaningful results.

These alternative channels might not be ideal for your business during most of the year, but on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there’s such a pro-shopping mindset that your audience is likely to respond to ads on almost any platform. And, if one of these alternative channels just happens to kill it for you during BFCM, you may just have discovered a winning new marketing channel for next year.

Create Lookalike/Similar Audiences

Like email marketing, remarketing is a great way to get people excited about your Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale. The easiest people to sell are the ones who are already aware of your business.

However, if you’re late to the Black Friday/Cyber Monday marketing game, you may not have a seasoned pixel and remarketing list to build around. But, that doesn’t mean that all is lost! You can still build a highly targeted audience that you can advertise your BFCM deals to. It won’t be as good as an official remarketing campaign, but it should still work.

To build your targeted audience, you’ll want to snag your list of customer emails and build out lookalike audiences in Facebook Ads and similar audiences in Google Ads.

What makes this tactic particularly useful is the fact that you don’t need thousands of emails to build a lookalike or similar audience. You only need 100 matching emails. So, even if your customer list is fairly small, you can still use this strategy to create a focus audience of people who are similar to your existing customers.

The bigger your list is, of course, the more accurately Facebook and Google will be able to identify similar users. But, even an audience built from 100 customers will probably be more useful than simply targeting people based on characteristics you think indicate a potential customer.

The downside to this approach, of course, is that you’re targeting a brand new audience. The people in your lookalike or similar audience probably aren’t familiar with your business or brand, so they won’t be nearly as likely to buy as a remarketing audience. But, since you’re promoting a great deal on something they probably want, there’s still a good chance that they’ll click on your ads and make a purchase.

Focus on the Whole Funnel

When you’re scrambling to get a last-minute BCFM strategy put together, it can be tempting to fixate on driving sales. That’s the whole point of the holiday shopping season, right?

However, if you really want to make the most of the holiday rush, it may be a good idea to look a bit further than Black Friday, Cyber Monday and even Christmas.

Many of the people who see your ads or read your emails won’t buy right now—no matter how good your deals are. If the timing isn’t right, it isn’t right.

But, just because they don’t buy during the holidays doesn’t mean that they won’t buy at all.

Some people need a lot of time to warm up to the idea of making a purchase. They might need to do some research, get some questions answered or even save up their money before they actually buy. This is especially true if you’re selling high-ticket or custom items at non-doorbuster prices.

So, while you’re throwing together your last-minute campaigns, don’t forget to think about what happens after the holidays. What can you do to help people keep thinking about your products until they’re ready to buy? If you can answer that question, you can use the holiday rush to build awareness that will increase your sales throughout next year.


Obviously, none of these BCFM strategies are ideal. To really make the most of the holidays, you need to start months in advance. But, when the chips are down, these tactics will help you make the most of the time you’ve got.

At this point, anything is better than nothing, so get started and put something together today! By the way, if you’d like help putting together some last-minute holiday shopping campaigns, let us know here or in the comments. We’d love to help!

How do you approach holiday remarketing? Do you have any tips you’d add for last-minute Black Friday or Cyber Monday campaigns? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

  • Ecommerce

Aden Andrus

Aden Andrus

Over his career, Aden has developed and marketed millions of dollars of successful products. He lays awake at nights figuring out new marketing tactics and is constantly upping Disruptive's internal marketing game. He loves to write, dance and destroy computer monitors in full medieval armor.

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