Tis the season…for sales?
A well-executed Black Friday sale can be a game-changer if you need a quick bump in revenue before the holiday bills roll in–or before the new year in general. It’s also a great way to test out launching your first digital product (or your next digital product, perhaps in a new niche or on a fresh topic).
Black Friday sales have been a very big deal for traditional retailers for yearssss, and they’ve recently started to catch on in the online space, too. If you’re intrigued by the idea but aren’t quite sure how to create a Black Friday sale that actually works, you’re in the right place.
Let’s delve into the key steps to take if you want to run a wildly successful Black Friday sale, shall we?
1) Start Planning Early
If you’re reading this in August, September or October, you’re off to a wonderful start. A successful Black Friday sale does take some planning and to be honest, there’s no such thing as starting too early. (I’ve seen entrepreneurs start teasing their big Black Friday offers in July – and even earlier!)
Getting your proverbial ducks in a row early in the year means you’ll have time to grow your audience, tease and build major anticipation for your offer and ensure your entire tech process flows without snags. (Because let’s be real – a slow-loading checkout page, or worse, one that doesn’t work at all, can mean a major hit to your potential Black Friday sales.)
That said, don’t fret if you only have a few weeks or days until BF. You can still set up a successful sale as long as you hit all the marks below.
2) Choose Your Irresistible Offer or Discount
Like everything in business, a fantastic Black Friday sale starts with a stellar offer. There are a few types of Black Friday offers in the digital space that perform well, but here are a few you can experiment with:
- Low-priced intro offers like e-books, mini-courses or small digital products (which may or may not tie into a larger sales funnel for a high-end offer–more on that later!)
- Launching new products or courses (including trying out a new niche)
- Discounting your current offers, like 50% off your signature program or another major offer
- Creating a bundle of your own complementary products or services to create a unique package you’ve never offered before (or won’t offer again)
You might even choose to hop into – or host! – a Black Friday bundle packed with multiple offers from other entrepreneurs. with a similar target audience.
No matter which route you choose, keep it simple. Pick an offer that’s easy to deliver, but still packs a major punch in the “valuable for your customers” department. This is a fun, once-a-year chance to both wow your current customers and attract new ones – so you want it to count.
3) Build a Black Friday Waitlist
Remember when I said you should start planning early? When you plan early, you can also start promoting early. You can start teasing your “Big Black Friday Sale” well in advance – I’m talking as early as July! – through your email list, social media, and website.
I also highly encourage you to create a Black Friday Waitlist, so you’re not just adding new people to your list, you’re curating a highly-targeted waitlist of people who are quite literally chomping at the bit to learn all about your offer when the time comes.
Your wait list process doesn’t need to be complicated, either: just pop up a simple “Coming on Black Friday” opt-in page with a headline and sign-up form. Whether you decide to divulge details and teasers about your sale or not is up to you. (The pro of adding details is that your list will be targeted – aka people you know are actually interested in that topic. The con is that you’ll likely get less sign-ups overall since the ‘mystery’ is shattered a bit. But remember, either way the main goal is to create some excitement and buzz around your sale.)
Not loving the waitlist idea, but still want to grow your list before Black Friday? Try creating a brand new lead magnet related to your offer-to-be–or promote a current (and relevant to your offer) lead magnet with more fervor.
Oh, and bonus: When you have a Black Friday specific wait list, you’ll be able to send uber-tailored messaging to this segment as you get closer to the actual date. You can offer them special discounts, send additional targeted emails leading up to the big day or offer them a cross-sell, upsell or down sell not available anywhere else.
4) Decide on Dates & Logistics
I know this post is all about Black Friday, but the truth is, you don’t have to run a “Black Friday Sale” on actual Black Friday. There are lots of Black Friday sales that start early on Thanksgiving in the US or even kick off on Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday. You can also choose to run your sale from Black Friday until Cyber Monday. Running your sale longer gives customers who might have missed the initial sale another chance to take advantage of your deals. You can even offer different deals or discounts on each day. The choice is up to you.
So, when are you running your sale and what are you offering each day? Map it out.
5) Create Compelling Marketing
The best way to ensure your Black Friday deal flies off the digital shelves is to make sure people know – and are excited about – it. And in order for people to know about it, you’ve got to create content around it. Content marketing is going to be your most powerful tool for Black Friday (and really, every day in your online business).
As you likely know by now, I’m all about a good email marketing campaign and I truly believe your email list is your most valuable asset as a business owner. That said, you’ll need to craft a Black Friday-specific email campaign, at minimum – but of course, you can also market your sale on all your other channels, too. Blog posts, Reels and even podcast episodes – nothing is off-limits.
As far as your email campaign, you’ll want to craft a series of strategic email campaigns leading up to and during the Black Friday sale. Send teaser emails, exclusive previews, and regular reminders to keep your audience engaged. (And of course, you can personalize your emails based on the segments you’ve created for a more tailored approach.
Here’s what a sample email campaign might look like:
- Teaser Email
- Sneak Peek
- Sale Announcement / Cart Open
- Mid-Sale Reminder (You might have a few of these highlighting different benefits, like a regular sales sequence)
- Sale Ends Today!
- Final Hours
6) Prep Your Systems & Website
Like I mentioned earlier, there’s nothing worse as a consumer than dying to snap up an offer that sounds perfect for you in a sales email, only to find that the checkout page is broken or won’t load on your iPhone–so be sure your own systems and tech are all set up well before the big day.
You’ll want to make sure your website or payment processor can handle any increased load that might happen during your sale, as well as optimize your website in any way you can – and make sure it’s mobile-ready, since most shopping these days happens in the palm of our hands – to provide a seamless shopping experience. Our goal is to reduce friction and minimize those abandoned carts!
7) Use Abandoned Cart Emails (Or Retargeting Ads)
Not all visitors will make a purchase during their first visit to your website–even if your sale is only happening for a short time. Especially during the holidays and when there a million other things (and sales emails) vying for their attention, your customers-to-be are destined to pop a product in their cart and then run off to make sure little Trevor isn’t sticking his fingers in the leftover pumpkin pie.
That’s where implement retargeting ads to remind those who scoped out your offers but didn’t actually scoop ‘em up comes in. These ads follow potential customers across the internet, subtly (or, not-so-subtly) nudging them to revisit your site and make a purchase. Of course, since Black Friday sales are generally short and sweet, you’ll have to decide whether retargeting ads are the right choice for a tight timeframe.
An easier option? Set up a simple abandoned cart sequence that’s only set to “active” during your sale. Then, send a few simple reminders during the sale and turn the sequence off once it’s over You can even pop a countdown time in the abandoned cart sequence.
8) Stand Out with a Surprise Deal
Let’s be real: There’s a lot of competition on Black Friday. Even if loads of people are stoked to see your offer, everyone and their biz bestie – not to mention ever single traditional retailer, ever– will be vying for people’s attention on Black Friday.
So, how can you ensure your offer stands out? Maybe you offer additional incentives exclusive downloadable resources, or a limited-time bonus with each purchase. Maybe customers who spend a certain amount on your site during the sale snags a free product. These extras can make a purchase feel more valuable and ultimately inspire more people to buy.
9) Follow Up Post-Sale
One of the great things about a Black Friday sale – it works in the short-term and long-term for growth and revenue. You can get loads of sales now (because we all love a good deal!), but you’ll also add more people to your email list to sell to in the future. That said, don’t let the “end” of your Black Friday sale mean the end of your engagement with these new and/or not-so-new subscribers.
Instead, follow up with both your new customers and new subscribers in general after the Black Friday frenzy subsides. You can shoot off a simple email expressing gratitude for their support or ask for feedback on their experience with their brand new digital product or online course. You can also invite them to engage with you in other ways, like joining your Facebook community through social media or snagging a related resource (and–bonus! –they’ll also be added to another targeted sales funnel).
Bottom line: A successful Black Friday sale requires a combination of careful planning, thoughtful execution, and ongoing customer engagement. But with a little bit of each ingredient, you can strut right into the holiday season with a little (or lotta) extra change.