Craft Venture: Promoting a Black Friday sale

i'm dreaming by verre encore

Welcome to Craft Venture, a weekly column about managing your online indie biz for handmade, vintage and even supplies!  Im Brenda, owner of Phydeaux Designs on Etsy and 1000 Markets.  Weve spent the last month talking about preparing for the holidays.  Last week, we talked about diversifying your shop.  This week, we will talk about how to get the word out for a sale for the biggest shopping day of the year:  Black Friday.

There were two days of the year that I used to dread when I worked in retail:  the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) and the day after Christmas.  The former is the busiest shopping day of the year and the latter is the busiest returns/exchanges day of the year.  There was no getting the day off for either – all hands on deck!  Retailers spend the entire year planning for the holiday shopping season, kicking everything into high gear with their Black Friday specials and events.

What about you?  Have you spent time this year thinking about the upcoming holiday shopping season and what, if anything, you’ll do to attract customers on Black Friday, just under two weeks from today?  If you’ve been reading Craft Venture for the last few weeks, you’ve already read some suggestions about how to prepare for the holidays:  decking your halls (shop), diversifying your prices and products, online advertising, and shipping.

Rising above the “noise” of Black Friday sales and specials even with your own promotion is challenging at best!  What can you do now (this week!) to set up your special or promotion without spending all of Black Friday advertising your shop on Twitter?

Luckily, the answer is “plenty!”  Here are some ideas for you!

Replace your existing online ads with a holiday-themed ad – if your ad is animated, add a frame that mentions your Black Friday special(s).

wee ornamnent by warpe Designs

Make sure that all of your online presences are updated for the holidays!  Just make sure that you update them again following your Black Friday weekend specials (you don’t want outdated references to a sale that’s over!).

Check with your local Chamber of Commerce for holiday shopping promotions – do they have a mailer or website that you can be added to?  What about your local paper?  Television/cable channels?

If you have a mailing/email list, start with a teaser this week about your great event that subscribers won’t want to miss – then have your email ready to go out as early as possible on Black Friday; even better, give them a jump on your special with your email going out on Thanksgiving.

It’s not too late to place web ads via Project Wonderful.  Also, blogs or other sites may have special ad space for Black Friday!

Post your specials on your personal or business Facebook pages – with an incentive for your fans and friends to get the word out for you!

Are there online gift guides you can get added to?  There are many guides that are absolutely free!  Do a quick Google search for “holiday gift guide” or related search terms!

Shopping and design blogs may have a section for shop specials and discounts!

And, the easiest (and hardest) form of advertisement:  word of mouth.  Ask your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. to spread the word!

holiday star small maple ornament by three dots

Two words of caution about promoting a sale or event.  First, the line between promotion and spam is all in the eyes of the beholder.  Avoid over-promotion on social networking sites, instead focusing on quality/effective promotion!  Second, please make sure you can afford that special!  If you have a very small margin of profit, following covering your overhead, supplies/cost to make your item(s) and also your own wages, you might not be able to afford discounting your price or offering free shipping.  If that’s the case, consider other options, like a giveaway or perhaps select one item or line of items to discount.

Of  course, you may certainly choose not to have a sale or special at all!  You can still make use of any of the preceding ideas to promote your shop for the shopping weekend, even without a sale.

This is the last week that you’ll really be able to prepare for Black Friday and the holiday shopping season.  On Thanksgiving week, businesses often close early on Wednesday to allow additional time for the holiday weekend.  Hopefully, you’ll be spending time with your family as well!  I hope your preparations go well and that you have a very successful and fun Black Friday weekend!

Share your Black Friday, questions, tips  and advice!  Thinking from your perspective as a shopper, what do you look for when you’re shopping on Black Friday

Images:  I’m dreaming by Verre Encore; Ornament card by warpe Design; Holiday star (small maple) by 3 dots;

6 comments | Click here to reply

Well thanks for all the advice…I’m originally from Europe which doesn’t have this at all…so all the advice and tips are great…I will be back to see what your readers have to say too.
Char

char

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Hi Char! Thank you and I’m glad you found this helpful! I’ll also be writing about Boxing Day very soon – email me (brenda at phydeauxdesigns dot com) if you have some tips or advice for that! 🙂

Brenda

Brenda, I love your tip about a fine line between promoting and spam. That is so true. And can definitely be a difficult task at times.
-Brittni

papernstitch

Great article! And the images you used are gorgeous. I’d love to know more about that tree charm!

Kristina

Hi Kristina!

Thank you and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I love that little white tree, too, which Verre Encore made. I see she’s away on a trip, but you can see the details here: http://www.etsy.com/view_transaction.php?transaction_id=21516747

Happy Thanksgiving! Brenda

Brenda
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