Seven Steps to a Successful Black Friday Referral Marketing Campaign

by Courtney Wylie Mention Me

It’s official: Black Friday is a big deal (excuse the pun).

Last year, the seasonal event delivered 1.2 billion visits to UK retail websites and £1.49bn in sales in the UK alone. This year, 76 per cent of consumers are already excited for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, seeing it as the perfect time to start Christmas shopping (and treat themselves to a bargain while they’re at it).

It’s not just consumers who have good reason to be excited for 29th November. The seasonal event presents a valuable opportunity for businesses to increase brand awareness and drive sales. Couple this with the fact that shoppers trust their friends’ recommendations more than any other form of advertising, and a Black Friday referral campaign offers some seriously exciting potential for your bottom line.

The importance of seasonal promotions for business

Put simply, seasonal promotions present a brilliant opportunity for businesses to increase their annual revenue figures.

Earlier this year, we worked with clients like Monica Vinader, Pretty Little ThingLaithwaite’s Wine, and Ted Baker to run referral campaigns for International Friendship Day. By implementing bespoke rewards, copy, and design celebrating the day, we helped get more people than ever talking about their favourite brands with friends. Across the brands participating, the overall share rate increased by 200% and referrals by 100%.

And that’s International Friendship Day, an event that’s yet to be recognised as a mainstream seasonal promotion. We’re confident that Black Friday and Cyber Monday will deliver even bigger referral results.

Seven steps to making your Black Friday campaign the best yet


Chances are, you’re already planning your Black Friday event. That’s great! But have you considered everything?

Often we see the bittersweet scenario of brands outperforming expectations to such an extent that they run out of voucher codes. This means customers are unable to claim their reward for referring friends and the referral campaign is forced to end early – reducing both the number of sales and people recommending the brand to others.

Another similar situation is an unmanageable surge in web traffic. If your website isn’t used to a high number of visitors all at once, there’s a risk it’ll crash. And, with virtually every brand running some kind of Black Friday promotion, a website crash can be a costly mistake, even if it lasts just a few minutes. We recommend running tests in advance of 29th November so you’re confident that absolutely everything is ready to make your referral campaign a success.


Now it’s time to come up with a referral incentive your customers can’t refuse. Use your learnings from previous referral A/B tests to inform this: do your customers prefer, for example, financial rewards or free gifts?

The key here is to make your referral offer better than both your competitors’ and any other promotion on your website.

Double discounts (offering both referrers and referees money off their next purchase) tend to perform particularly well. It’s likely your referral programme’s cost-per-acquisition (CPA) is significantly less than other channels, so take advantage of this and offer a generous incentive. It may well pay for itself; offering a higher discount than usual is more likely to spike your sales and average order value (AOV), so could deliver more overall revenue than a less notable offer.

It’s not just discounts that perform well, either. Free gifts, VIP invites and competitions are just some of the other ways you can encourage customers to recommend your brand. For subscription-based businesses, it’s also worth considering incentives like a free month’s service.


Black Friday is a great opportunity to reiterate your brand’s USPs and positioning. Use your referral campaign to reinforce your branding, from your messaging, tone of voice and design.

Using Black Friday themed branding can be a good way to make your promotion stand out, too. Consider exploring beyond your traditional colour palette to incorporate splashes of black to grab attention and make it obvious you’re participating in the event.


So now you’ve come up with a brilliant Black Friday referral campaign with an enticing discount and on-brand design, it’s time to get your customers’ attention.

Black Friday is a highly competitive time, so it’s vital your campaign is highly visible and promoted throughout different touchpoints.

Feature it on your homepage; display as a post-purchase pop-up; shout about it on social. Use your learnings from A/B testing previous referral campaigns to optimise your promotion – display at the touchpoints you know your customers most engage with (what we call the curve of delight) and use wording that resonates (for example, ‘give’ a reward rather than ‘get’ one, or vice versa).


With so many brands competing for attention and shouting about their amazing offers, it’s easy for customers to feel overwhelmed during Black Friday. They may well visit your site to browse before being distracted by another brand’s offer.

This is when retargeting becomes important.

Strategically use ads to retarget visitors to your site who are yet to complete their purchase. This is even better if personalised (e.g. ‘Hey Jo, it’s not too late to get 30% off that shirt’). You can complement these ads with follow-up emails featuring recently viewed items or their basket. Often customers will shop around for the best deal, so they may well have realised the value of your offer and be ready to proceed to checkout at this point in the journey.


Black Friday can be an intense time as every brand tries to cut through the noise and reach consumers. We know that 33 per cent of consumers trust their friends’ recommendation more than any other source, so use this to your advantage.

Consider, for example, launching a competition encouraging user-generated content. It’s easy for a potential customer to scroll past an advert, but if they’re following numerous people – be they friends or influencers – all sharing content linking to your Black Friday campaign it’s bound to grab attention.


So, Black Friday is over and normal service resumes, complete with a sharp plummet in sales, right? Not if we can help it!

Avoid the infamous aftermath of the Black Friday spike by extending your promotion beyond the weekend itself. This will help keep your performance steady and continue to drive results throughout the run-up to the festive period and even into the New Year.

Plus, you’ll be facing far less competition once Black Friday has passed, meaning your promotion can get attention without having to be overly generous.

Ready to plan your Black Friday campaign?

Excited about the potential of your Black Friday referral campaign? Great!

Get in touch at to discuss planning, implementing and measuring a Black Friday referral campaign that encourages new and existing customers to return throughout the Christmas period and beyond.

Here’s to your best Black Friday yet!