What Can You Learn From Your (Black Friday) Campaign?

So I’m using “Black Friday” as a metaphor for any campaign you just undertook which also just ended. Just like list building, just like conferences and events, just like ebooks. . . a campaign is a tool to learn and grow your business.

If you don’t learn from it. . .if you can’t build upon it. . . if it doesn’t get easier each and every time then why are you doing it? Shouldn’t it get easier?

Think about the folks at Target the week, month and quarter after Black Friday. Think they got analysts figuring out what sold well, what didn’t sell, what products should have been on the top shelf versus the eye-level shelf? Did you visit Wal-Mart over Black Friday? Notice that they put bananas in all kinds of crazy places? They did that because it made them a lot more money last year. Think the Target guys are trying to figure out what sold at Wal-Mart that they failed to even carry? I bet they have entire teams dedicated to learning.

How dedicated is your team to learning?

So what analysis should you be doing now? And what analysis should you have done between Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Here’s some steps to print out and keep handy:

1. What did you sell? Let’s make a list of everything you made money on and how much you made. I mean everything from Amazon, ThinkGeek, AdSense, Coupons.com, GoDaddy . . . wherever you derive income. Don’t forget something because it is all important. Where you can, like Amazon, note whether the product was a direct link or something else they bought while they were there.

2. What did you promote? Let’s make a list of every deal that you published and promoted. If you’re using a spreadsheet put #1 in columns A and B and this one in column C.

3. What did people find organically? From Google Analytics export the keywords people searched to get to your site for Black Friday (or you campaign period).

ANALYSIS: Now let’s connect the dots between what we sold and how we sold it.

For instance if you sold 8 iPod Shuffle’s on Amazon during Black Friday but never once promoted nor have a web page about it. . . that would be an ancillary sale. That means someone clicked our Amazon link and then searched Amazon for other things. This is important to note because it tells us more about our customer’s actual interests. It tells us that’s what the customer was going to buy with or without us.

If we promoted the heck out of the “Nemo in 3D” DVD and sold 37, but find that not a single “Nemo in 3D” keyword was used to get to our site, then we know we were able to convince people to get it.

And if we sold a bunch of the fishing pole we posted earlier this summer, and see that “fishing pole” was one of the search terms people used to get to the site we know that organic search sold the product. That means we had the right product at the right place at the right time. If fishing poles didn’t show up in our search results AND we didn’t promote it, we know that people navigated around our site to find it.

If you really, really want to make more money next year then you’ll hire a VA in Australia, the Phillipines or New Zeland next year. And then at midnight on Black Friday have them start working on this analysis so you’ll have it when you wake up the next morning. Can you imagine how much more you’ll sell with this information on Saturday, Sunday and Cyber Monday? Seriously if a bunch of people bought that fishing pole you posted in July, might you want to republish that to your readers today?

And what about the products we promoted but didn’t sell? What about the DVD’s that we promoted just as much as “Nemo in 3D”. . . why didn’t they sell? What does that tell us about our readers’ interests? Where did our efforts go wrong there?

In Google Analytics look at the webpages that got good traffic but didn’t produce sales. Why didn’t they? Are we optimized for research keywords like “iPad features” and not commercial keywords like “cheapest iPad” or “Black Friday iPad deal”?

If today is the day before CyberMonday would it be good to use this kind of information to test and change the poorly performing pages? Would that be enough information to know what not to promote on CyberMonday?

And more importantly, shouldn’t we really be pushing the stuff that already sold? We can use the sales records to justify knowing what people want. Can we then start promoting that stuff? It does make sense to promote what people want to buy, right? And with a good month left before Christmas, might we want to work on our SEO for the products people are buying?

This is the kind of analysis you should be doing after each campaign to see how you’re performing, to adjust what you’re doing, to improve and meet the needs of your clients better. This is what running a business is really about. Growth and change.

With information comes confidence.

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Dan R Morris