Boost Black Friday & Cyber Monday Conversions with these Simple Tactics from Google

Black friday and cyber monday conversion sales tactics proven by google

As the holidays draw near, businesses around the country are gearing up for their biggest sales of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

If you’re one of those businesses, you’re no doubt thinking about all the ways you can get the most out of these heavy spending holidays, including optimizing your shopping experiences, standing out from the competition, offering the best deals, and more.

You may also be feeling overwhelmed with all of the possibilities and wondering where you should invest your time and money to get the highest return.

To help guide you through this chaotic time, I’ve put together 16 simple techniques you can use to boost conversion during your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales — all based on a recent report from Google.

In the report, How people decide what to buy lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey, the Google team identified 6 key biases that influence purchase decisions: Category heuristics, The Power of now, Social proof, Scarcity bias, Authority bias, and the Power of Free.

Visual from Google Report

Below, I’ve used these 6 categories to come up with 16 simple conversion-boosting techniques you can use throughout your Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales and beyond.

I focused on these 6 categories specifically because they’re easy to execute and designed to help you get the highest level of return during the biggest shopping time of the year.

Let’s dive in!

1. Category Heuristics: Short descriptions of key product specifications can simplify purchase decisions

While “Category Heuristics” may sound intimidating, it really comes down to streamlining the shopping experience so customers can make faster, more confident purchasing decisions.

For example:

✓ Removing unnecessary steps from your checkout experience

✓ Providing the right information to help shoppers make faster decisions

✓ Creating comparison pages to help customers make faster, more informed decisions

And so on.

Within the full Google Report, they have a whole section dedicated to category heuristics, which is summed up nicely in the graphic below:

Category Heuristics from Google report How people decide what to buy lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey

Here’s a few simple ways you can incorporate Category Heuristics into your sales strategy:

✓ Audit all product descriptions for specificity and clarity 

Go through your product pages and take note of any copy that feels unnecessarily long or undigestible.

Look for copy that’s vague or general and amp it up with specific value props, claims, numbers, or anything that helps simplify the decision-making process.

The example below is from a CeraVe product page; the information within the description is good (and important for SEO / education), but it could be arranged in a way that’s more clear and scannable without losing the important points.

Original version

CeraVe original example

Now, compare the version above with the updated version below.

Notice how the copy in the version below is much simpler and easier to read. The reader can quickly understand what the product is, how it can help them, and if it’s the right choice for them.

Updated version

CeraVe Example 2

✓ Break up long, clunky descriptions to ensure all copy is scannable 

 Like the example above, use bullets and/or headers to break up long copy so it’s easy to read and super digestible.

 The example below from April Skin demonstrates this very well:

April Skin Example

✓ Cut unnecessary words and only focus on clear value props + benefit points

Cut out any copy that feels unnecessary and focus HARD on the value props and/or benefits. Make sure your copy is clear, simple, and concise, like the example below from Casper.

Casper copywriting example

✓ Add live chat to your site

By having a live person available for questions or guidance, you minimize the risk of prospects leaving because they couldn’t understand something or find what they were looking for.

Live chat also increases your chances of closing the sale in real time vs the prospect leaving (perhaps frustrated) and choosing an alternative solution.

ChatBot Example

Some chat bots (like ChatBot for example) even offer a free trial, which means you can install the chat software on your site for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, reap the benefits, then decide if you’d like to continue using it after the sales have passed.

2. Power of now: The longer you have to wait for a product, the weaker the proposition becomes

In today’s world, we can get just about anything delivered “same day,” which means there’s a high expectation for instant gratification.

While you can provide instant gratification in some cases (like if you’re selling access to digital products or software), it’s not always easy for physical products.

If you’re selling physical products, here’s a couple of easy ways you can incorporate the “power of now” into your sales strategy:

✓ Offer instant access

Whether it’s the main offer or a bonus, offering something your customers can access instantly (like a download, a coupon code, access to a community, etc) is a great way to provide instant gratification in lieu of a physical product.

✓ Offer free and expedited shipping

Close the gap between “I want this now” and when the user can actually get the product with a special offer of free and/or expedited shipping when they spend over a certain amount.

3. Social proof: Recommendations and reviews from others can be very persuasive

It comes as no surprise that social proof is a powerful driver of conversion, so be sure it’s properly incorporated throughout your user experience, especially during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Here’s a few ways you can incorporate social proof into your sales strategy:

✓ Show demand in real-time 

Drive urgency and build visitors’ trust with social proof software like UserProof, which shows visitors how many times something has been viewed, downloaded, visited, or purchased.

  • “10 people are looking at this item right now”
  • “This restaurant has been booked 15 times today”
  • “Christina from FL just bought _______ 23 seconds ago”

Example form Matt Olpinski

✓ Make sure ratings and reviews are prominent and accessible 

This means incorporating them in the right places throughout your site and on the product pages.

Reviews and ratings should be clickable, browsable, and filterable, so people can easily find reviews that are relevant to them (similar to the example below from my former client, The Honey Pot Co):

The Honeypot Co Example Copywriting

✓ Incorporate video testimonials for added layer of proof and authenticity 

While you may not be able to get highly produced videos in time for Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you can ask customers to record themselves with their iPhones for a quick and highly authentic way of incorporating persuasive social proof into your site (similar to the example from The Copy Chief below):

Copy Chief copy example

4. Scarcity bias: As stock or availability of a product decreases, the more desirable it becomes

Scarcity tactics are effective because they tap into FOMO (or “Fear of Missing Out”); combine that with a dwindling supply of a popular item and you’ve got one effective sales tactic.

If you need more proof, check out this popular scarcity study which was conducted by Stephen Worchel in 1975.

In the study, participants were offered cookies from two identical jars—one had 10 cookies while the other had just 2. The researchers observed that despite the jars and cookies being identical, participants preferred the cookies from the jar that had two. The jar with two cookies (compared to the jar with ten cookies) created a sense of scarcity, which propelled them to choose the jar with fewer cookies.

The graphic from Google below sums it nicely:

Visual from Google Report referencing Scarcity Bias

Here’s a few simple ways you can incorporate the scarcity into your sales strategy:

✓ Limited supply 

If you’re low on inventory, adding copy like “Only X left in stock!” next to popular items is a great way to drive urgency for people who don’t want miss out.

Here are other ways to say the same thing:

  • “This item is in high demand — only X left!”
  • “Back in stock today, but not for long. Only X available!”
  • “Hurry! Only X left in this size!”
  • “Only 20 seats (or tickets) available!”

✓ Use a Countdown Timer to drive urgency

If you know you only have a certain amount of time to cash in on a special offer, you’re more likely to act now (or before the timer expires) and less likely to delay the purchase. One of my former clients, Skup, offers a simple countdown timer that’s compatible with all Shopify stores.

Scarcity countdown timer from Skup

✓ Lock in the current price before it goes up

Changing your prices in the New Year? This is a great opportunity to create a sense of scarcity and boost urgency so you can increase conversions today.

If you’re interested in this technique, follow a similar approach to the example below from Neville Medhora:

Copywriting Course example

5. Authority bias: Being swayed by an expert or trusted source

All shoppers want to feel confident in their purchases decisions, which is why seeing an “authority figure” supporting a product can go a long way.

Depending on your product/industry, “authority figure” can mean a lot of different things, from influencers and media outlets to recognizable brand names, doctors, scientists, educators, and more.

Here’s a few simple ways you can infuse a sense of “authority” throughout your sales materials or website:

✓ Add logos

Adding logos below a “trust building statement” like the example below from Intercom is a simple and easy way to increase a sense of trust and authority throughout your site.

Intercom copywriting example

We did something similar for my former client, ipinfo, with the section below the fold on their Homepage hero:

IPinfo copywriting example

Or follow the example below from Glossier which uses media logos as yet another way to build trust and showcase authority:

Glossier copywriting example

✓ Support claims with proof 

In the examples below I highlighted the “1057 5-star reviews” as well as the claims “Dermatologist Engineered” and “Clinically proven ingredients” — these are all great examples of infusing authority into your sales experience.

If you scroll down the page, you’ll notice that the claims above are supported by scientific evidence, which strengthens the claim and builds even more authority.

Zitsticka hero copy example

Zitsticka Copywriting Example 2

✓ Add expert support 

It doesn’t have to be a doctor endorsement (like the examples below from Zitsticka and Risewell, who is one of my former clients); it can be endorsement from anyone (or anything) who is important in your industry, including celebs, influencers, specialists, experts, educators, etc.

Zitsticka proof visual

For my former client, Risewell, we added a “Scientific Council” to their site to showcase the popular support of leading experts in the dental industry.

The product was also created by a dentist, which is a fact we wove throughout the site to help build a sense of trust and authority.

RiseWell copywriting example

6. Power of free: A free gift with a purchase, even if unrelated, can be a powerful motivator

According to this article from Buffer, one of the 5 most persuasive words in the English language is the word “free,” so don’t leave it out of your Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales strategy.

Of course, the Google Report also has plenty to say about the power of “free” which is summed up nicely in the graphic below:

Image from the Google Report Power of Free

Long story short? It’s all about perceived value, and the more you can infuse into your offer, the more likely it will convert.

Here’s a few simple ways you can incorporate the “power of free” into your sales strategy:

✓ Incorporate bonus offers

Increase the perceived value of your Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale by throwing in a bonus like a free item, a free hour of a service, a free month of software, or whatever makes sense for your product. For example:

  • “Buy today and get your first month free!”
  • “Free ______ with every purchase — Today only!”
  • “BONUS! Free 1-hr consulting session with every purchase ($1000 value!)”

✓ Bonus with specific parameters or thresholds

  • “First 20 orders get a FREE ______!”
  • “Order in the next hour and you’ll get ______ absolutely FREE!”
  • “Free shipping when you spend $50 or more!”

✓ Upsells 

Beyond bonuses, you can also take things a step further with upsells and post-purchase upsells, which are tactics you can use to increase the AOV (average order value) for each purchase.

While an upsell doesn’t “traditionally” offer a shopper something for free, you could design your upsell to do just that.

For example, you could use incentivized upsells that could include a discounted price (i.e. – “Add X to your cart and get free shipping!”) or a freebie (i.e. – “Add X to your cart and you’ll get a second one free!”).

If you’re looking for upsell software, my former client Skup has an upsells app that’s compatible with Shopify stores or check out Aftersell, an app that specializes in post-purchase upsells.

Skup Upsell app

Ready to crush your holiday sales?

You now have at least 16 tactics you can incorporate into your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales strategy.

Which tactics will you use? Which tactics did I miss? I’d love to know!

Share your thoughts, ideas, and feedback in the comments below.

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