And just like that, Summer has come to a close. School has begun, the leaves are starting to turn, and there is a new, subtle crispness to the air…we all know what that means: ’Tis the season…to stress about holiday promotions if you're a small business, of course!
The Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend is coming up fast. It can be overwhelming, but don't let that get in your way! We have created a guide of Black Friday and Cyber Monday tips for small businesses that will help to prepare you for this busy season.
What is Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
Black Friday falls on the day after American Thanksgiving. Traditionally, it is when the holiday “shopping season” begins, and for over a decade, Black Friday has typically been the busiest shopping day in North America. It has now been expanded to include the following Monday for online sales: Cyber Monday, which has quickly become one of the highest earning days of the year. The BFCM sales season is a great opportunity to introduce your business to some new faces, and reward your current loyal customer base.
Deals, Deals, Deals
A promotion can come in many shapes and sizes, and there is no right or wrong way to do this, as every business is different. It is important to create promotions that are feasible for your business and also rewarding for your customers, both existing and new. And don’t just slap a sale sign on and call it a day; sell your products and services with the story that they deserve! Why do your customers need this item, and how exactly is it going to fit into their life?
Creating a deal can take many shapes, but here are a few suggestions:
- offer a discount (30% off entire order)
- free shipping
- Buy 1 get 1 free
- 20% off bundled items
- BFCM spin-to-win wheel
- Free gift with purchase
The key to communicating BFCM sales to your customers is starting early so you can share your promotions and deals with your customers well ahead of the
big weekend. The BFCM weekend is loud and in your face with sales from every single direction in our lives. If you take the time to let your audience know that you will be hosting a sale ahead of time and get them excited for it, you are more likely to be successful than if you launch your sale quietly during the BFCM weekend.
1. Social Media & Email Lists
It an be easy to get caught up in trying to land new customers during these big promotional 'holidays' but don't forget to reward your existing customers as well. Utilize your email list and social media followers to capitalize on the people that have already opted in to hear more from your business. And feel free to have fun with seasonal branding and theming in your social media content and newsletters! There are a variety of apps, like Canva, that you can use to customize templates or create your own from scratch for your sales and promotions. Don’t forget to include your own colours, fonts and images so that your promotion is immediately recognizable as your brand.
When you tell your customers about your BFCM sales via social media and email, you will of course want to direct them back to your business’s point of sale, whether that be your website, your in person shop, or both. Your website can be updated with a banner to immediately communicate the sale to a customer who might happen to land on your page and also guide a customer who was directed to your site by an email or social media post.
3. Customer Service
With an increase in traffic and orders comes an increased opportunity to impress your customers with the best customer experience possible. While you’re sharing content promoting your BFCM sales, be responsive with your followers and make yourself available to provide excellent customer service and support - you want your customers to feel that they are having a genuine interaction with your business on social media, rather than just being advertised to. Like and respond to comments, and use your social media as a platform to answer questions.
An important step during your prep is to tidy and test your tech to avoid any major hiccups on the big day, and to ensure a smooth customer experience in general. This is also a great opportunity to do some digital housekeeping and set up systems that will help your business flourish during BFCM and beyond.
1. Schedule Ahead
The BFCM weekend doesn't have to be a hectic stress-fest for your business if you plan ahead and schedule your content. Aim to pre-write your social media posts, blogs, and promotional materials ahead of time. You can use scheduling tools like Facebook Publisher to schedule your social media posts on Facebook and Instagram, or Tailwind for Pinterest. If you are using Shopify, you can even schedule your products to go live at a certain time on a specific date. Create your promotional products/bundles and schedule them to go live with your marketing materials for a seamless promotion launch.
2. Trial Run
Do a trial run of your website from the point of view of a customer. Make sure your website is easy to navigate. Also check that any links in your social media or email communications that direct customers back to your website work and are up to date. Keep in mind that your previous knowledge of your website and products will make some information seem unnecessary, but a brand new customer is going to need to know everything before they make their purchase. Consider how you yourself shop online - do you just add a product to your cart and immediately give them your credit card details? Or do you peek around a bit, see who is behind the business, check the shipping or return policies, and get an idea of the business first?
3. Analytics for future sales
Take the time to understand the analytics that come with the programs that you are using, like Facebook, Instagram and Shopify, etc. Setting up a Google Analytics account can seem daunting, but it’s a free service that provides you with a look into who is visiting your website. This information can help you make more informed decisions in your marketing and advertising campaigns. Web traffic leading up to the holiday season is higher, so it’s a great time to start tracking those analytics.
As big events like BFCM approach, it becomes all too easy to become overwhelmed with the feeling of not doing enough, or not doing it the right way. You can look around for inspiration to see what other businesses are up to for the holidays, but try not to get sucked into the comparison trap! Keep reminding yourself that you are on your own path, and growing at your own speed. For more helpful tips to grow your business online and improve your website, read the Grow & Behold blog or Sign up for the Growth Gang Newsletter. We hope this guide will help you delight and reward your audiences for being a part of your small business journey this BFCM season. If you need more in-depth guidance with your BFCM marketing, book a free consultation with Grow and Behold Digital and start working with a team that’s dedicated to your online success.