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Black Friday 2017: 9 do’s and don’ts for small businesses

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Get your business ready for Black Friday

Until a few years ago, many of us would look forward to the post-Christmas sales starting on Boxing Day, but that’s no longer the case with the adoption of the US tradition of Black Friday.

It has become a day known for steep discounts and with businesses of all types jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon. I’ve seen my local sports centre offering customers Black Friday deals to entice people to invest in annual memberships.

And a local book store offering itself to shoppers as a place for peace and tranquillity while everyone else is frenetically shopping on the high street.

Many businesses have been planning for Black Friday sales for almost a year and what started as a one-day shopping extravaganza has now extended for some businesses to become a week of special offers and deals leading through the week up to Black Friday and through into Cyber Monday.

I have also noticed a number of stores having a landing page for Black Friday in place well in advance with an email opt-in for consumers to subscribe to hear about the latest offers. A search for the terms Black Friday weeks in advance will surface these landing pages as the retailers have already put their digital marketing plans in place.

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It’s not too late to refine your plans for Black Friday success – here are a few tips to help you.

Build excitement and anticipation for your offers

Use your social media channels to post teasers in advance of Black Friday. Consider using targeted Facebook ads to reconnect to the fans of your page and even past customers.

Put social media listening to work before Black Friday

Consumers are posting and tweeting about their Black Friday shopping plans well in advance of the day. You can set up a social listening centre tuning into people in your local area, to learn what consumers are posting about.

You can then engage with those customers to help them with their shopping pursuits and directing them to your own offers where appropriate. Think of your business becoming a local “Black Friday concierge service”. This will also help you boost the visibility of your products and services online.

Do a virtual walk through of your online store

Consider having a mystery shopper make a purchase from your site and explore how you can refine the online sales process to minimise shopping cart abandonment.

Do a mail out to your loyal customers

If you have a mailing list of clients and customers, give them a “sneak peek” and a first chance to reward them for their loyalty throughout the year. If they have opted into text messaging from you, use that as a way to remind them of some of the offers you will have available.

Make sure your offers are unique and irresistible

Consumers will be expecting steep discounts and great deals. Think about how you can package the offers you have so shoppers will feel they are getting real value for money.

Promote your offer in store with eye-catching point of sale

You could provide flyers to customers as they come into your store in advance of Black Friday so that they are aware that you are participating with the event.

Pre-plan your social media posts for Black Friday

You may want to take care and not schedule your content in case you run out of stock, but you can prepare your images, video content and posts that you plan to send on Black Friday.

Encourage customers to share their purchases on social media

You can invite them to include your bespoke hashtag for your business or store and your geo tag especially on Instagram.

Don’t be disheartened if you feel you’ve missed the opportunity

Remember, as well as Black Friday, you also have Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday when you can look to boost sales. Take the time to evaluate what works this year so that you can plan your Black Friday campaign in advance.

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