Molly Buccini

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it’s directly followed by the biggest shopping day of the year – Black Friday. To inspire your web marketing for the rest of the holidays and to help you plan your shopping, we’ve put together a list of the best Black Friday promotions.

The usual suspects

1. Target – omni-channel offers, with search-friendly blogs

Target is entering its first Black Friday season with a new CEO, Brian Cornell. The company’s blog has recently featured content directly addressing its holiday sales. Cornell pledges to stay true to the brand’s promise that customers should “Expect more, pay less.”

Here are two examples:

  1. Target’s Holiday Plans and Predictions: An Interview with CEO Brian Cornell
  2. 360 Degrees of Holiday: A Look at Target’s Holiday Marketing Campaign

Target black friday ad

It’s promoting its “100s of doorbuster deals” across print and digital, with multiple catalogs targeted at different consumer demographics and mobile apps that engage consumers.

Interestingly, another top Black Friday contender, Kohls, appears to have neglected its website as a tool to promote its biggest deals. Kohls’ latest blog posts are about summer clothes. They’re slacking in the digital department!

2. Best Buy – big sales via the website

The electronics store is extending its annual sale – not just by opening its doors sooner, but also offering promotions across channels. Black Friday shoppers can purchase items at physical locations or shop deals on the company’s website, without having to get off the couch or wait in long lines.

3. Sephora – smart use of Snapchat

Sephora’s having a sale on Black Friday, but it’s not telling customers what to expect … just yet. In a smart play to foster a sense of exclusivity and reward social engagement, Sephora is using Snapchat to reveal its deals. Followers will receive images announcing its best deals in the days leading up to the holiday. What a fun way to reward interaction!Snapchat logo

4. Walmart – getting ahead of the marketing curve (and the shopping rush)

Walmart is turning the concept of Black Friday on its head. Instead of waiting until after Thanksgiving, it’s offering its biggest deals the week before the holiday. Starting November 21 and running through November 27, the retailer is offering deals on toys and electronics – two of the biggest product categories through the holiday season. It’s a lesson in doing the unexpected and retooling a traditional sales strategy. Why not beat the competition to the punch by offering deals in advance?

And some examples of unexpected companies cashing in on Black Friday:

1. Thomas Ortho – healthcare referrals for rewards 

Thomas Ortho is an orthodontist in Utah who’s running a somewhat surprising Black Friday promotion. Customers who participate in the holiday contest by referring people to the practice are entered to win money (to spend on Black Friday). It’s a cool and unique way for a random, non-ecommerce website to get into the Black Friday swing of things.

2. Soasta – a graphical guide for retailers

Soasta, a tech company that performs testing on businesses’ websites and applications, is promoting an infographic that helps other companies prepare for the holiday season and Black Friday deals. The graphic encourages brands running sales to prepare and test their digital solutions before running year-end campaigns or holding sales.

Soasta infographic

3. Boston Tweet and Capital One 360 – truly interactive content (for cash!)

On Black Friday, Capital One 360 Cafe is partnering with Boston Tweet (a local deal finder with 131K Twitter followers). 


The two are creating a $3,000 savings trail around the Back Bay area in Boston. It’s a great example of local players teaming up with national brands and using social media to boost awareness, promote sales and engage the community.

Check out the post for more details:

  • From 10 am until 5 pm, I’ll hide 30 silver envelopes (with a red bow and sealed with a 360 stamp) throughout the streets of the Back Bay – Newbury Street, Boylston Street, Copley Square, etc.
  • During that time, if you see one of my envelopes on a street sign, or in the MBTA, or on a Hubway station, then grab it – you will have won $100 cash towards your savings goals.

4. TurboTax – tip-heavy content to stay front of mind

Reminding all of us what’s on the other side of our Black Friday buys and holiday spending, TurboTax is continuing its annual crusade to educate consumers. The company has assembled an archive of Black Friday blog posts written over the years, including articles and infographics, to help consumers prepare and protect their budgets during the holidays. Their content shows how companies – no matter how unrelated they might seem – can participate in a trending event to build trust with their target audience before services are required.

TurboTax Blog

Black Friday is the most important day of the year for many big box stores, but they aren’t the only brands benefitting from promotions. Regardless of size or focus, demographics or services, businesses are finding ways to participate in the event and stay top-of-mind through the holidays. The best brands do it in a relevant way that’s a culmination of the offline and online marketing they’ve been doing year-round.