The most recognizable sign that the holiday season is upon us isn’t turkeys or trees, it’s shopping. Accounting for billions of dollars in sales in just three days following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday have become synonymous with the start of the season.
The shopping weekend brings about a 180% increase in lead acquisition compared to regular shopping days. Most shoppers take advantage of Cyber Monday sales due to the accessibility of online stores, making up 30% of shoppers. However, Black Friday makes up 24%, and Small Business Saturday is at 18%. In 2019 alone, Americans spent almost $20 billion on Small Business Saturday. While it's growing in importance, it has yet to surpass Black Friday sales. Still, it's good to prepare for either of them.
Here are some tips for small businesses to prepare for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales to make the most of this holiday season.
Put All Preparations in Place
Developing a Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) checklist is an excellent way to ensure you have all the necessary items in place to provide your goods or services to customers. Note that this is the crucial first step ahead of advertising and developing promotions!
Whatever your goal, organization is vital, as organized businesses are 397% more likely to implement successful campaigns. The crucial elements are making sure you have the supply of goods to meet increased demand and the staff to serve everyone. If you're an online business, ensure your suppliers will be able to meet your holiday marketing strategy with things like shipping immediately.
Make sure you have enough personnel to handle this quick increase in work. If you have trouble getting extra staff on deck, consider bringing in temporary workers to do small tasks. You can hire students home on break, especially those who used to work for you, to bring extra hands-on deck and help them earn a little extra cash for the holidays.
Nail Down Your Audience
Knowing your audience is crucial to cut through the noise of all the other Black Friday deals and promotions. You can get a sense of who you're reaching based on metrics from year-round campaigns and use that data to tailor your advertising to reach your target customer on the channels they frequent. The key to success with this strategy is to craft a message with a more personal tone and feel that will better resonate with the intended recipients.
Personalization is essential in today's market, as 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal. Small businesses have a greater ability to address customers personally because of their size and agility. There are fewer layers between the business owner and the customer, which lets you gain more insight into who your customers are while giving a more connected, human voice to your marketing materials. One marketing tactic that allows you to implement this strategy effectively is email marketing.
Email marketing offers an excellent opportunity to tell customers about your offerings in a friendlier, conversational way. Send out curated newsletters that add value by including tips, how-to guides, or checklists that subtly promote the big weekend. Now would be a great time to include emails filled with sneak peeks at promotions to get recipients excited. Remember to make sure your email content is personalized by referring to customers by name or segmenting groups to send specific deals. The more you tailor your message to align with their sensibilities, the more they will value and trust you.
Narrow Your Plan to One Goal
Heading into the shopping-spree weekend, small businesses — with smaller budgets — should focus on doing fewer things exceptionally well. Focusing on one goal instead of several, like getting customers in the door over the weekend, or sending out fast shipping from your eCommerce store, will give you an opportunity to play to your strengths, manage customer expectations, and showcase what you do well.
The most effective way to maximize your efforts is to base your goal on what your customers will most appreciate. If your audience loves the personalized, in-store shopping experience — make sure you're giving them that. As enticing as it seems to make the entire weekend a promotional extravaganza, make sure you don’t overstretch your capacity. Focus on doing fewer things exceptionally well, like providing a great in-store experience for Black Friday (or Small Business Saturday) instead of fast shipping for Cyber Monday.
If you're unsure about what will resonate with your audience, conduct social media, email, and in-person customer surveys. Feedback should always be encouraged and welcomed. Using what you learn from those, you can then choose to offer weekend-only discounts, send out coupons to loyal customers, or host special events to get more people in the door.
Reach Out to Customers in Advance
Your customers need to know about your offerings in advance to entice them to buy from you or visit your store. Most (70%) of U.S. consumers are actively seeking promotions and coupons when shopping this year, so it’s essential to get your offers top-of-mind as they do.
Many marketers use social media and email leading up to the big weekend, but if you live in an area with a lot of foot traffic, you can also make signs to advertise to walk-in customers. Develop your campaigns to best match your goals, whether it’s being a part of the Black Friday rush or partaking in Small Business Saturday sales.
Digitally speaking, using online ads several weeks in advance or alerting people through an email campaign will get the word out. Many local organizations also host events for small businesses, which you can partake in with a table or online store to interact with locals. If possible, this could make your brand much more personable, building deeper connections that may extend into other parts of the year as well.
Kick Off the Holiday Season
Your advertising leading up to Black Friday will make you stand out and become a part of that day's big sales. If you're overwhelmed by developing a marketing plan alongside developing logistics to meet demand, consider working with a media partner to let them do some legwork for you. They have the expertise and knowledge to reach your customers, leaving you the extra time to ensure your business is ready for the rush of customers come Black Friday.