A 15-Step Guide to Maximizing Sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Compiled with the help of 800+ clients across college, pro and minor league sports, this guide delivers all the tricks you need to put tickets in stockings and butts in seats
September 21, 2023
No matter what season your sporting or live events organization calls its own, there’s one time of year we can all agree on: holiday gifting season. We are in the business of serving fans, and for many of them, there is no greater gift than a once-in-a-lifetime experience with their favorite team or artist. So to help you plan out the ultimate Black Friday and Cyber Monday strategy, we’ve compiled a list of tips, hacks and ideas that FEVO partners have relied on in recent years to delight fans, fill seats and maximize revenue in the precious final months of the year.
1. Start planning yesterday. Black Friday is two months away. If you start brainstorming offers now, you have plenty of time to refine and iterate your ideas. Here are some ideas on where to get started:
Study analytics on campaigns you’ve done in previous years to see what worked (and didn’t)
Get in touch with peers to see if they have any lessons to share
Browse e-commerce sites both within and outside of your industry to look for common themes or inspiration
Use a consumer research tool like Ballpark or Maze to test out different offer ideas, images or copy
Read the rest of this guide (duh)
2. Make them an offer they can't refuse. It wouldn't be Black Friday without some eye-catching discounts. Try to entice your audience with value they wouldn't see every day, like the Ottawa Senators did with their Cyber Monday BOGO Offer. (Note that we like BOGOs over “50% Off” discounts — everyone loves something “free” and you don’t devalue your original ticket price.)
3. Build now. Add inventory later. Have an idea for a holiday offer but not yet sure which inventory you want to attach to it? FEVO Enterprise’s recently launched Pre-Inventory Offer tool allows you to build out every other step of a campaign without attaching inventory to it. When building an offer, just select “TBD Inventory” from the dropdown asking how you’d like to set up tickets.
4. Consider jumping the gun. In the cutthroat world of holiday marketing, it can pay to be the first game in town to launch its Black Friday sales. University of Florida did exactly that with a one-day “Early Black Friday” promotion that offered $50 stadium tickets to an upcoming football game. Launching your Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers even a few days early can be an easy way to cash in on all that holiday-season excitement before the market gets saturated.
5. Put your best offers in the shop window. There’s a reason one of America’s greatest holiday traditions is visiting New York City to see the elaborate window displays at department stores like Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue: despite the boom of online shopping, it still pays to have your product in brick-and-mortar locations. Luckily for you, FEVO partners can use our FEVO Exchange partnership with Costco to put holiday ticketing offers in front of one of the most valuable audiences in North America. If you’re not part of the program already, reach out ASAP via this form to get started — Black Friday proposals for Costco must be submitted by October 11.
6. Don’t worry about seasonality. If your sport isn’t in season during the holidays, fear not: FEVO has plenty of solutions for gifting to the off-season sports fan as well. The lowest-hanging fruit in the proverbial pear tree? Vouchers for tickets to a game — or games — next season. And with the recently deployed Stackable Codes feature in FEVO Enterprise, you can create multi-ticket packs that fans can redeem however they want: one ticket to multiple games, multiple tickets to one game … the possibilities are endless.
8. Sweeten the deal with some add-ons. With FEVO Enterprise, you can package event tickets not only with other events, but also items from entirely different inventories, like parking, F&B vouchers or merchandise. Take the Chicago Blackhawks’ Black Friday/Cyber Monday Special, which kicked in a $25 food-and-drinks voucher with a $50 ticket purchase at no additional charge.
9. Cross-pollinate with all your member organizations. The Philadelphia Flyers’ “Santa Sacks” include tickets and exclusive merch as well as two tickets to a Wings Lacrosse game. Introducing your fans to other teams under your umbrella could create a lifelong fan … and all the spoils that come with it.
11. … and exclusive experiences. We don’t need to tell you about the experience economy and the value of selling people memories rather than things. But remember that your brand and its meaning to fans can go beyond games on the schedule: just look at Orange County Soccer Club, who teamed up with Scotland’s Rangers FC (one of the oldest and most storied soccer clubs in the world) to host a three-day Thanksgiving soccer camp for local youth players.
12. Don’t forget about your premium inventory. The perfect splurge gift for any die-hard fan? Seeing their favorite team from the premium seats. Both the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees have used FEVO for Black Friday offers on suites at discounted prices; in the Mariners’ case, they were able to collect big revenue months before the season even started.
13. Create a sense of urgency by limiting inventory. We loved Penn State’s holiday Mystery Boxes, which featured a random assortment of five pieces of memorabilia spanning all 31 Penn State sports programs (including some high-ticket items like autographed jerseys) but were limited to just 500 total packs.
14. Create a sense of urgency via social and email. The whole concept behind Black Friday and Cyber Monday is that the sales are confined by time limits (24 hours, though many companies have started to play fast and loose with the boundaries). To drive that point home, use all your direct marketing channels (email lists, social accounts) to count down to the end of the sale. Send out messaging in the days or weeks leading up to the sale, at the moment the sale begins, and then once or twice more in the final hours to remind your audience to complete their purchase before the clock hits zero.
... or, better yet, text. There is no marketing channel more powerful than SMS. If you’re not already, get in touch with a Success Rep to learn about how you can utilize FEVO’s partnerships with Laylo and Vozzi to send text message “drops” to all the fans in your database the moment a new offer goes live.
15. Give fans the chance to give back. ‘Tis the season, above all, to give. So think about publishing some offers that give fans the opportunity to donate to local nonprofits or charitable missions, like the University of South Carolina did with Black Friday memberships to its Gamecock Club, which provides financial assistance to student athletes in need. Giving Tuesday (the day after Cyber Monday) is also a great opportunity to share offers that include fundraising or to update your audience on how much money you raised for a charitable partner through Black Friday campaigns.