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Black Friday Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Wondering what you should do for Black Friday?

One question I often get asked around this time of year is what I suggest that small product businesses should do for their Black Friday marketing. If you want a full run down of my suggestions for all your Christmas promotions, check out this blog post and podcast episode right here. But for specific marketing ideas for the Black Friday weekend, here are a few ideas.

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1 – Do nothing! As a small business, don’t feel pressured into joining in the frenzy. But if you’re not going to take part, it might be worth spelling this out to your audience early so they don’t wait to see if you are going to offer a discount. Many people will hold off buying until they know what a company is going to be offering for the Black Friday weekend, so why not tell them in advance if you’re not going to be offering anything?

2 – Don’t do Black Friday, but focus on Small Business Saturday instead (Saturday 5th December). Many small businesses find that joining in with this event fits much better with their brand values, and it also means that you can be part of the amazing community of small businesses who are supporting each other.

3 – Don’t discount, but do offer an incentive like free shipping. This won’t be a huge sales driver necessarily but it is a nice reward for your customers. Free shipping for the weekend of Black Friday can be the nudge that people need to get them buying.

4 – Another idea along the same lines would be free gift wrapping. Once again, this is not going to drive a huge amount of extra sales but it will be a nice “feel good factor” for your customers.

5 – Make a charitable donation for all sales during the weekend – make sure you are really clear who you are donating to and why, and why not keep your customers updated with a running tally of how much you are raising? If you want to see this done really well, take a look at Lucy and Yak – this clothing company do an amazing job raising money for girls education in India and it is a great spin on Black Friday messaging.

6 – Offer special pricing on a multi-buy or bundle. These kind of offers are good because it helps increase your average order value. Getting customers to spend more when they shop from you is a great way to grow your sales.

7 – Have a discount, but offer it only on the products that you want to clear through before Christmas – maybe focus on your seasonal stock if you have a lot left? Discounts should really work for you as a business owner, and by focusing in on stock that is slow selling or the kind of stock that you need to clear before Christmas, you should be able to both drive sales and free up cash in your business.

8 – Take a % discount off everything. This is the most effective at driving sales, but will be the biggest impact on your profit margin. If you do decide to do this type of discount, it works best if you only do it very infrequently, maybe only a couple of times a year. I always like to think about discounts like spices – a little makes things interesting, too much and it ruins everything.

You also need to decide how long you will run the offers for and if you will offer any special incentives for your mailing list. Giving early access to offers is a great way to entice people to sign up to your email list which will be beneficial long after Christmas!

My rule of thumb is that the deeper the discount, the shorter the time you should run it for. Something like a free shipping offer could be run for the entire Black Friday weekend, whereas you may decide to only run a blanket discount for a shorter period of time.

Whatever you decide to do, ask yourself these questions:
1 – Does this align with my brand values?
2 – Will this be profitable? Will it help my business bottom line?
3 – What sales do I expect to take/how will I know it’s been successful?

Don’t get pressured in to doing something that isn’t right for you or your business just because others are running offers or deals. The most important thing is that you do Black Friday in a way that feels aligned with how you want to run your business. There are many ways to have a successful holiday season, so why not choose the one that fits with your vision for your brand?

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