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Black Friday Creative Planning in 5 Easy Steps

Black Friday Creative Planning Guide

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Where does creative planning fall on your Black Friday to-do list? In the trenches of inventory forecasts, sales calculations, and website testing, many online retailers (understandably) leave design until the last minute. 

But, compelling visuals are one of the most powerful assets in your Black Friday toolkit. To establish brand recognition and deliver a high-impact campaign, start your creative planning today. 

Your 5-Step Guide to Black Friday Creative Planning

Stand out from the crowd this Black Friday in 5 easy steps.


1. Assess Your Design Data

As with all things Black Friday, it’s helpful to begin creative plans with a review of last year’s reports. Data may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to design, but your site reports offer valuable insights into the success of previous creative approaches. Have you run A/B tests on visual elements in the past? Do certain colors, fonts, or styles outperform others? 

While you should aim to launch fresh and unique designs this year, past shopper behavior is still a useful touchpoint to inform creative decisions. Don’t be afraid to look beyond Black Friday data for inspiration, either. Refresh the design team on your customer personas and target audience, particularly if this has shifted over the past year.

design colors on a computer screen and on an ipad. Colorful notes on a desk


2. Brainstorm New Ideas

Black Friday has become such a ubiquitous event that it’s more difficult than ever to stand out. Customers are bombarded with ads and emails from every brand they have ever interacted with from early November. A strong campaign theme with eye-catching creative and compelling messaging is essential. 

After a review of your site data and target audience, brief your design team on this year’s sales objectives and key offers. Now, for the fun part: campaign brainstorming. How can you create intrigue and urgency to drive traffic? What can you do to differentiate your site from the competition? Keep brand guidelines and site aesthetic in mind, but look for opportunities to push the boundaries with your creative theme. 

2 people brainstorming with sticky notes on a wall


3. Confirm Your Calendar

Black Friday is no longer a one-day shopping event. Promotions begin earlier and earlier each year, meaning you have to sustain shopper interest over a much longer period of time. The homepage banner you launch at the start of November will be stale by Thanksgiving, so plan to release a cadence of fresh, relevant graphics to coincide with your wider campaign calendar. 

Line up a series of visual cues to build anticipation, drip feed details, and launch your sales with a bang. Remember to factor in the full spectrum of offers over Cyber Weekend. Do you observe Small Business Saturday? Cyber Monday? Maybe an early Thanksgiving preview? A day-by-day campaign calendar lays the foundation for your creative Black Friday plans. Confirm your schedule and design accordingly.

digital calendar on project management solution and a paper calendar book. Cell phone with blue-green case, coffee, hands holding tablet


4. Break Down the Details

With your creative theme and calendar in place, it’s time to list each individual graphic requirement. Identify all of the site locations where Black Friday creative is needed. Yes, you need a series of homepage banners. But what goes on each category page? Which product badges are used? How can you leverage inline banners? Do you need custom landing page designs? Put together a comprehensive creative inventory so no detail is left behind.

Of course, your website is just one of the creative channels at your disposal. Don’t overlook the design needs of social media, email communications, and other off-site advertising. You can (and should) use the same creative across all touchpoints, but size requirements vary considerably by platform. Check the latest dimensions and prepare all re-sizes in advance for a seamless transition into Black Friday mode. 

connect - social media and email channels on ipad with hands holding ipad


5. Personalize Where Possible

No two shoppers are the same, especially when it comes to Black Friday. The more you personalize your offers to individual customers, the better. What does this mean for creative plans? Look for opportunities to geo-merchandise your banners based on the shopper’s location.

Send personalized email graphics that reflect past purchases. With subtle variations in design, your creative has even more impact on the shopper experience – and Black Friday conversions. 

email workflow strategy plan



Don’t Overlook Black Friday Creative Planning

Your Black Friday creative deserves in-depth planning and early attention. Integrate design with data and a detailed calendar, and include precise graphic requirements and touches of personalization in your catalog of designs.




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