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Written by Chloe Dormand SaaS specialist
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16 Nov 2021  |  Black Friday

Standout SaaS Black Friday campaign ideas for 2021

8 minute read

Black Friday is fast approaching – with many sales starting already. Here’s a look at this year’s favorite BFCM campaign ideas for SaaS businesses, and the pros and cons of each.

Whether you’re signed up to hear from your favorite software companies or apps, you’ve been targeted by some prime social media marketing, or you’ve been building up that saved ‘want’ list, you’ll know Black Friday discounts are well on their way. 

But with tech and software being undoubtedly a big focus over the BFCM period, how do you make your discount stand out from the rest of the SaaS businesses out there?

To get you started, here are some examples of Black Friday campaigns that are bound to smash your software sales in 2021:

1. Flash deals

What is it? 

By flash deals, we mean quick deals that will change and have limited availability throughout the BFCM period. Whether you choose to just do it over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend or extend your sales to a few weeks, is up to you. 

Example : Web giant, Amazon isn’t shy of starting their Black Friday promotions early, and they certainly love a flash deal. Marketing them as ‘Lightning Deals’, you’ll find a bunch of deals promoted across the site, and on top of that, Prime members get a VIP deal by getting to see them before anyone else. Smart thinking.

Amazon Black Friday flash deals

Pros : By promoting your discounts as ‘flash deals' you create a sense of urgency in your users - what if they miss out? Will there be another deal like it again? It’s all part of psychology. 🧠

Cons : This will require you to come up with, schedule, promote, and manage a wide range of deals, and can quickly complicate your subscription management and reporting.

2. Discounts for newbies

What is it? 

This is where businesses or websites only give discounts to new customers making their first purchase or to new sign-ups. 

Example : EngageBay is giving 40% off for first-time purchases, and they’ve created a specific landing page for offers that they’ve customized to the holiday season. We recommend creating and promoting a specific Black Friday landing page because your deals won’t get confused with your regular pricing.

EngageBay Black Friday

Pros : It’s a great acquisition tactic given the fact it’s a limited-time deal, particularly effective for those who are on the fence. A quick deal is something that will sway them over to your side of the fence, especially if you’ve got the right marketing in place.

Cons : This type of deal excludes your existing customers, which can lead to mixed results and reactions from your current customer base. Also, if you can’t deliver the expected value in your product, you risk those who sign up in the sale churning when the time comes for them to pay full price.

3. Declining discounts

What is it?

With declining discounts, you start out with the largest percentage discount and lower it over time. It might go down a percentage per hour (which ASOS is a big fan of - 24% for 24 hours, going down by the hour), or decline by day over the BFCM period.

Example : An example here is tricky as it’s not something that companies want to give the game away about. A constant stream of website hits is the aim, just make sure your offering is up to scratch. Watch this space.

Pros : Again, the countdown effect and sense of urgency come into play with this one. Everyone wants the biggest discount possible so will rush to your site. If it’s successful and you repeat this deal year on year, you can pretty much guarantee the same rush next year too. 

Cons : It’s a difficult one to promote because whilst you want the website hits, your purchase rate is likely to decline along with the discount rate. If users feel like they didn’t get there early enough for the discount they were after, they will head somewhere else that still has a higher discount available.

4. Premium plan offer

What is it?

This is where businesses will only put an offer on their premium plan. This tactic can also be applied to other plans - perhaps, your less popular plans or most popular, to boost specific sales.

Example : CallHippo has a Black Friday deal of 25% off their Platinum Plan, all you have to do is sign-up, select Platinum, and enter the promo code.

CallHippo Black Friday

Pros : This offer promotes not only premium sign-ups, but also upgrades from existing customers on lower-tier plans, so it provides a great result for upsells and acquisition. It gives those on a lower tier the chance to experience what your full product range has to offer when they otherwise couldn’t justify spending on the premium package.

Cons : Whilst it targets those who want a premium version of your product and those who are potentially on the fence, it excludes other audiences. Not to mention the fact that the more users that take on this offer, the less opportunity you have to make an upsell to full price.

5. Automatically applied discounts 

What is it? 

We just mentioned that CallHippo has a Black Friday promo code or coupon, but the idea behind this campaign concept is to automatically apply your discounts to your site, taking one step out of the checkout process.

Example : Moment is just one example that applies the discount codes automatically. All you have to do is click Add to Basket and the discount is applied – no coupon or promo code required. They will undoubtedly see the benefits of extending their BFCM sale on their Holiday landing page , just like Razeware did (and still do).

Moment Black Friday

Pros : You’re making your customers’ lives easier by taking away the work of copying and pasting a promo code and figuring out how much the discount will be, not to mention the customers that tend to forget to put in the promo code altogether. Happy users.

Cons : It can be a risk as it means that those that aren’t even aware of your Black Friday discount could assume that these are your regular prices, reducing your users’ overall willingness to pay because it doesn’t come off as a special one-off deal. So if you're using this tactic, make it clear in the checkout that a discount has been applied.

6. Tiered deals

What is it?

You’ve heard of tiered pricing , so why not introduce tiered deals? Take your pricing model as inspiration for your Black Friday discount.

Example: SalesHandy has opted in for tiered deals this year, with discounts on their Regular, Plus, and Enterprise plans. Not to mention clear messaging on what their users will get with each package. 👀

SalesHandy Black Friday

Pros : With tiered deals, you are more inclusive to a wider range of audiences or business types. This will have a positive impact on your churn rate too because your users can choose the deals that are most relevant to them. 

Cons : This is another deal that can get complicated when it comes to subscription management and reporting because there are more versions of each plan. It will take some more thought when it comes to marketing it as well, particularly if you are doing targeted ads on social media.

7. A choice of offers

What is it?
Talking about appealing to a wider range of businesses, why not create a number of offers to grab the attention of multiple target audiences? 

Example : Chanty is just one example of a SaaS company that has got lots of Black Friday deals going on. The team collaboration tool has a countdown to when their discounts are released, where they’ve got a mixture of monthly plan and yearly plan offers.

Chanty Black Friday

Pros : Flexible subscription options and flexible Black Friday discount options show you’re a customer-centric business which is 😍  to most people because you can suit their needs more specifically.

Cons : The use of multiple coupons and promo codes can get confusing quickly. This brings complexities for marketing, as well as customers making sure they’ve got the right codes for the right offers.

8. Lifetime offers

What is it? 

Some SaaS businesses choose to offer up lifetime access to their product or service for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

Example : AI writing tool, WordHero is offering up an unmissable discount: get lifetime access to their product for $69 , instead of the usual $999.

WordHero Black Friday

Pros : It’s a great acquisition tactic, especially if you have the ideas of upsells in your mind for these ‘lifetime’ customers. 

Cons : This is more suited to businesses that already offer lifetime access to their product, because otherwise you are missing out on recurring revenue (which is where it’s at for most SaaS businesses).

These are just a few examples of some Black Friday campaigns that are running for 2021, but for more tips and tricks (including some performance insights and stats), head to our ultimate Black Friday guide for SaaS businesses.

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