Are you thinking about Black Friday? Honestly, no matter what time of year it is, it’s never too early to start planning for your Black Friday sale.
What does that planning look like? And what do you need in place to make sure your sale goes off without a hitch?
I’ve been helping clients host Black Friday sales for several years now, and I’ve learned a thing or two about what works (and what doesn’t). As ubiquitous as Black Friday sales are, they’re not necessarily simple or easy to manage.
There are several things I wish more business owners knew about Black Friday. In fact, I was just talking about this with Mara Kucirek as a guest on her Create a Better Course podcast.
You can listen to the full episode here, or keep reading for the tips I shared. (BTW, all of these tips are applicable to your own Black Friday sale, even if you’re not selling a course!)
Black Friday challenges
Every business does a Black Friday sale, so it must be easy, right? Well, not exactly.
Black Friday is a little weird because it’s a sale immediately after a holiday. It’s a stressful time, and emotions are high for business owners and customers.
The last thing you want to do is spend your entire Thanksgiving day stressing about Black Friday. That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead.
And once you’ve made your Black Friday plan, stick to it. Because otherwise, you’ll get to Thanksgiving week and…
- You’ll see what some other business is doing.
- You’ll worry that your plan isn’t good enough.
- You’ll try to change your plan last minute to overcome FOMO.
- You’ll stress yourself out and end up with a last-minute sale that needs constant monitoring.
That’s not the holiday you want. Save yourself all that stress by sticking to your Black Friday plans. That way, the only last-minute decisions you need to make on Thanksgiving involve side dishes and flavors of pie.
Here are my top tips for a successful, fuss-free Black Friday.
Black Friday Tip #1: Sell your darlings
It might seem like Black Friday is a great time to launch a new product. But it’s not.
Your potential customers have a limited attention span, and everyone is competing for it on Black Friday. No one wants to spend their limited shopping hours learning about something new.
So don’t try to sell a brand-new thing. This is the perfect time to focus on your reliable bestsellers. Hype them up and remind your audience this is the best time of the year to buy.
Black Friday Tip #2: Decide on a discount
I encourage my clients to start planning for Black Friday in January. At the start of the year, just make a plan to offer a blanket 20% discount on your bestsellers.
You can modify that discount as the time gets closer and you finalize your Black Friday plans. But having a basic plan in place allows you to run a successful sale even if you don’t get the chance to make a more detailed plan.
The other nice thing about a blanket discount like this? It’s simple for your clients. Again, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention and convert. Don’t make them think too hard or memorize a complicated discount code.
The simpler your sale, the better.
Black Friday Tip #3: Settle on the sale details
Once you’ve figured out your discounts, it’s time to finalize the rest of the details:
- Coupon codes, a website banner, or just a no-code-needed discount?
- Extra bonuses, like free shipping?
- Sale parameters: Just Friday or the whole weekend?
- Small Business Saturday specials?
Consider past buyers as well. For example, if you’ve expanded or revamped one of your offers, could you offer the new content to past buyers at a discount?
Don’t make it too complicated. Focus on what you know your audience wants, and build your sale around those offers.
Black Friday Tip #4: Write promo emails
Yes, everyone expects a Black Friday sale. But you still need to hype yours up so your audience gets excited and remembers to visit your shop that day.
Promotional emails and social medial posts tend to work well for Black Friday. Spend September and October building your email list — maybe try a new lead magnet or free challenge.
Then, send early-October emails educating your audience on your offers. You don’t want them to feel like they’ve got to research your products on Black Friday.
Give them all the info they need in October, so when it’s sale time, all they need to do is click that Purchase button.
In late October, you could do a “last sale before Black Friday” promotion if you want. It can be a good way to gauge which of your offers do best during a sale.
Send a few emails the week of Thanksgiving to remind your audience about the upcoming sale. Keep these messages short and sweet: your offers, a quick overview of the benefits, and the sale details.
Black Friday Tip #5: Test everything
You’ve planned everything, written your promo emails, and now you’re just waiting for Black Friday. How can you make sure your sale goes as smoothly as possible?
- Test everything beforehand.
- Make sure your sale site looks good — and verify your settings so it will go back to normal after the sale.
- View your site from different devices so you can find bugs.
- Try to cheat the system — will it let you use multiple coupon codes or an extra discount on top of the Black Friday sale?
More preparation ahead of time lowers the risk that something unexpected will go wrong.
Do you have to host a Black Friday sale?
No. Your business is yours, and there’s no requirement to host a Black Friday sale.
But consider your audience. There’s a good chance they’re expecting a Black Friday sale. I’ve had clients decide not to hold a Black Friday sale only to have their customers ask for one.
Timing is crucial
Like every holiday celebration, Black Friday seems to come earlier every year. Some companies are starting their Black Friday sales on the Monday of Thanksgiving week!
You don’t have to start your sale early. But planning early is crucial. If you start preparing during the summer, you use July and August to get your customers excited about the upcoming sale.
Black Friday doesn’t have to be stressful
It’s easy to get caught up in the Black Friday frenzy. But my final piece of advice is this: Stop. Take a minute. Breathe. You don’t need to take Black Friday so seriously — there will always be next year.
Instead of viewing Black Friday as the culmination of your entire business year, try to have fun with it. Yes, it’s nice to host a successful sale. But it’s just one factor in the overall success of your business.
Black Friday can be overwhelming, which is why it’s a good time to look at your support system. Do you have someone who can guide you through the preparations and the sale? Having an expert to bounce ideas off can be priceless, especially for a big event like Black Friday.
If that’s the kind of support you want, we’re here to help. And if you want support for this year’s Black Friday, don’t wait. Now is the perfect time to get everything planned and prepped for your sale. That way, you can spend Thanksgiving enjoying the holiday instead of trying to get everything set up last minute.
Ready to finalize your Black Friday sale? Join the Your Best Business Mastermind and attend our next coaching call, we’ll get you on the right path!