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Managing a Business

Preparing Your Business for Its First Black Friday

For a day usually synonymous with long lines, crowded stores, and shoppers hustling for deals, Black Friday 2020 is set instead to be a strictly online affair. As a result of the global pandemic, many businesses have pivoted their businesses to be online and will experience Black Friday this way for the first time. 

The concept of slashing prices and shifting to online retail may sound intimidating, particularly when some bigger retailers offer huge discounts. How do you compete when it’s just not feasible for your business? Fortunately, there are numerous ways that smaller businesses benefit from the busiest period of the year — you just need to be prepared.

Remember, Black Friday marketing starts long before the actual day. That’s why we’re starting early and sharing five foolproof marketing strategies for small businesses new to the game.

Is Black Friday Profitable for Small Business?

Yes. A winning Black Friday campaign will have the offers to lure shoppers to your site and see you shifting more products. This way your profits increase despite the fact you’ve lowered your prices. The secret to Black Friday success is to set the right price to be sure you remain profitable.

But Black Friday is more than the day itself. Succeeding at Black Friday involves spreading the word about your offers to existing and potential customers way before the big day. You will reap benefits way after November, by keeping people engaging with your brand (using the marketing skills we’ll cover).

Let’s get started.

check boxes

1. Plan Your Black Friday Promos

Planning out your sales should be the first thing you do because that will play into everything else you’re doing to prepare. 

Develop a promotion strategy

Don’t get caught up in the newbie trap of discounting too aggressively. Offering huge discounts may indeed increase sales, but these sales may not compensate for the profit losses that lower prices cause. 

Some businesses are willing to take a loss. Instead, they aim to acquire new customers that will benefit them more in the long term. With your first Black Friday, you may want to err on the side of caution and be more selective with the products you promote. Instead of a site-wide discount, you may pinpoint a handful of products on which to run offers. Read this guide from Envato to how to stay profitable while slashing prices. 

Some small businesses use this special event to their advantage, by shifting older stock sitting around taking up space. They rebrand a glorified end-of-line sale as an exciting Black Friday event. This strategy is relatively low-cost and provides a cunning way to make room for existing new products. 

Create an irresistible offer

Before you rack your brain to generate exciting offers, it’s worth mentioning that a site-wide discount of say, 10% is the easiest promotional strategy to implement. All you have to do is create the discount code and add it to your Black Friday marketing promotional materials, adding the time and date it will go live. 

That said, Black Friday is an exciting time for your brand and an opportunity to get creative. You have limitless options to entice people to your business on Black Friday, and you can really have fun with it. For example, your business could offer one or several of the following:

  • Discount your product or services
  • Bundle your products or services
  • Offer a gift with a purchase

Whatever promotions you choose, make sure it’s worth it to the customer. Black Friday deals should be some of your best offers for the whole year. If none of your top products are on sale, customers might not purchase anything due to your disappointing deals. 

Note down your offers

Create a separate Excel document with all your offers. This is particularly helpful if you plan to run email marketing and paid ads to drive more traffic. Your sheet will contain details about the offer so you can refer back for quick reference.

Bring your offer to life

All e-commerce platforms let you apply the kind of site-wide discount mentioned earlier and generate coupon codes if you wish to. If you run a WordPress site, you can use WooCommerce to easily set up coupons and discounts. Make sure that you limit your coupon offer to the desired date(s) only. 

2. Take Stock of Your Inventory

Now you’ve planned which deals to run with, it’s time to think about your stock. For keen Black Friday shoppers, much of the excitement is in hunting down bargains. If they land on yours and you’ve sold out already, then you’ll not only miss out on sales, you’re left with unhappy customers.

As you ramp up your orders, you might be concerned about the possibility that you’re left with too much stock and the costs associated with holding inventory. Black Friday’s timing is on your side; Christmas is around the corner, and you’ll be able to withstand the burden of some extra stock at this time of year. As it goes, you are better off being over- rather than under-stocked.

sale on mobile phone with stopwatch

3. Prepare your Website

Maximize your sales potential optimizing your website for Black Friday. Here are a few things you’ll need to consider:

Be ready for crowds — on your website

In the past, you’d expect more customers and clients during Black Friday. The same goes for your online business. You must be sure your website can cope with a surge in traffic. You can load test your website using LoadImpact and arrange with your web host for more bandwidth if necessary.

Capture the mobile market share

According to Adobe Digital Insights Head and Principal Analyst Taylor Schreiner, “Black Friday broke mobile shopping records with $2.9 billion spent through smartphones alone.”

The latest e-commerce stats make a strong case for making your Black Friday landing pages mobile responsive. This means making sure that yours can adjust content to all screen sizes flawlessly. The font size is legible, images load correctly, and navigation elements and buttons work. 

WordPress users can simply implement a mobile-friendly theme or landing page to ensure their pages look the part and play well on mobile devices.

4. Create a Black Friday Landing Page

A landing page is created to drive your visitors to complete a specific action, such as making a purchase online. This is the page most of your potential customers will first see. To develop an effective Black Friday landing page for your business, the focus should be on a single product or a service.

If you’re not familiar with landing pages, here’s how you can learn more about creating one. As you’re developing yours, be sure to stick to the following best practices:

A clear and simple message

One of the most important things you can do is make sure you explain your offer in the most direct way. By now, you’ve created a simple offer, so add it to your landing page. 

A simple phrase like “20% off” and “buy one, get one free” is effective. To increase the ante, show your usual prices slashed with the discount prices next to them. 

If you want to push a new line of products or services for the holidays, keep your content focused on these items alone and don’t clutter the page with other information. Yes, less really is more. 

Place Black Friday banners in prime position 

During Black Friday, consumers are in a hurry to grab the best deal while they’re still available. They’ll jump from site to site, offer to offer. How can you make sure your site is the one to make them stop and stare?

Try using strategically-placed banners. You’ll have no trouble capturing their attention with bold banners showing off your Black Friday offers.

The best place to position a sale banner is in the upper half of your web page (above the fold) so it’s visible without having to scroll down the page. To create a standout banner, you can use an online banner tool such as Canva and paste it on your Black Friday landing page. 

Keep the design simple

Effective landing pages keep the user experience simple. 

Keeping the number of items displayed on your web page to a minimum increases the chances that the users will notice your selling point and end their browsing sessions with positive purchasing decisions. 

Add videos if you have them 

What raises the conversion is an informative and eye-catching video, so it’s worth adding one to your website if you have any. For example, online yoga and personal trainers could add a small clip of what their digital classes are all about.

Add a countdown! 

On your dedicated landing page, add a clock function to count down the days and minutes to Black Friday. There are many WordPress plugins that can do this, including those compatible with WooCommerce.

Next to the clock, you can add a notification system where an interested party leaves their email to be notified when the sale starts, as well as for future offers and events.

Website advertising Black Friday sale

5. Build Hype Early!

Black Friday prep involves developing a marketing campaign that includes email, paid ads, and social media. Use a mix of these tactics to generate as much attention as possible. While these marketing activities may sound like alien territory now, most can be automated, and after you’ve done it once, it’s a breeze. The following skills are helpful for businesses operating online all days of the year, and can be extremely helpful for getting your brand out there, and making sales. Let’s take a look.

Spread the word on social media

In the week leading up to the sale, post several times about your plans for Black Friday. Taking the time to schedule your posts in advance will mean worrying about one less thing when things start heating up. 

To attract people browsing their feed, create compelling posts with product images and your logo alongside exciting text with your offer and a link to your landing page. If you’re in the service industry, how about a compelling video of your class, or workshop in action, to attract users? As is true throughout the year, remember to be responsive to comments and quickly answer any and all questions that potential customers throw your way. 

Competition is fiercer than ever during the holidays, so you’ll need to be aggressive in your strategy if you want your potential buyers’ attention. Make sure you write about your Black Friday promotion on all of your active accounts and include a link to your shiny new landing page.  

Market your offer through paid ads

Investing in social media advertising to push your Black Friday landing page could land you some impressive sales stats. Social ads such as Facebook are cheap. We’re talking around $10 per day to spread the word to thousands of potential customers. Using social media ads can also be relatively easy to organize. 

Retarget existing customers

According to research from Statistica, in March 2020, 88.05% off shopping orders were abandoned (not converted into a paid purchase). That’s a huge majority of people actively browsing, and beyond window shopping, selecting items and adding them to a virtual cart. What does this have to do with Black Friday? Remarketing. 

Reaching out to your already-interested customers with an enticing offer related to their ‘abandoned’ goods is a great Black Friday marketing strategy.

How do you do it? Create retargeting lists based on customers who abandoned their cart items in the month leading up to Black Friday. Send them targeted emails or online ads, enticing them to close that sale with your Black Friday discount. For more information, check out MailChimp’s guide to help you get started.

Send targeted email

If you’re short on email subscribers or haven’t begun collecting subscribers, now is the time. One extremely effective way to achieve this is to have an email form pop-up after the visitor has been on your page for a certain amount of time.

Once you have their email addresses, use email marketing tools to send targeted messages to your potential customers to get them excited. Use your Excel sheet of offers to make sure you include all the right details, and be sure to link to your landing page.  

Remember, the most important takeaway here is not to wait too long to advertise your Black Friday deals. Start teasing out your offerings a week or so beforehand to build up hype. 

Black Friday — It’s a Wrap

While it might still feel like summer, this is the right time to start planning for the busiest season in retail. Black Friday will kick off the holiday shopping sales, and now’s the time to prepare. As we’ve displayed, Black Friday involves some preparation and work to get the most out of it. 

Black Friday can be an exciting and profitable time for your online business. Follow these tips to deliver a professionally curated marketing plan, an unbeatable shopping experience, and plant the seeds to grow your customer base for years to come!

What other tips would you give to businesses looking to prepare for Black Friday? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Isobel Weston avatar

Isobel Weston

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