Holiday Tips for Small Businesses – To Black Friday and Beyond

The holiday season is one of the most important times of year for business, if not the most important overall. As the world prepares for the season of giving, it’s time for you, as a small business owner, to also prepare for the surge in sales you create if you learn how to properly prepare for it. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are of course a great place to focus, but preparations are best started weeks before the big days, and don’t stop after Cyber Monday. There are plenty of do’s, don’ts, social media tips and tricks to create the type of hype that makes a smash hit in sales that can last far beyond December. Here’s a quick guide to creating the best holiday season you’ve ever had!

Expand your social media budget: One of the worst mistakes to make during the holiday season is to assume you can continue at the same frequency you’ve been posting at for most of the year. This is the best time for a major uptick in social media content, attempts to create consumer engagement, and to use social media to run exclusive incentives and contests. Promote holiday deals and promote them often. Try to start publicizing deals for BF, SBS, and CM as early as possible, and keep holiday-themed incentives, customer participation and other content with a call to action in mind. Have a picture contest, ask for submissions you can repost, anything like that.

Pick up the pace on marketing in general: This is absolutely the time to put your all into your marketing. Make sure you’re sending out as much content as possible (without drowning the consumer, of course) and make sure it’s holiday-themed. Email newsletters, commercials and radio ads, and mailers are great non-social media ways to publicize your general holiday deals, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday festivities, and Cyber Monday website deals.

Decide on long-term promotions: Are you planning on giving a gift with purchases over a certain dollar amount? BOGO sales? Find a couple of ways to spread the holiday cheer and drive people into your business beyond the big sale days of the season (but perhaps save the very best deals for those days). You can also choose to “give back” by donating a percentage of the purchase price of a select item or a purchase over a certain dollar amount to a charity of your choice – perhaps having a few charities for consumers to choose from. Those types of incentives will continue to make your business a holiday shopping stop.

Start small and early with deals: You may not need to slash prices too drastically to bring in customers. Have one or two extreme deals and a general smaller discount, or another way to gradually ramp up your customers’ savings. You can always slash prices even more if you’re not selling as much as you’d like as the holidays get closer. And start as soon as possible – even a bit before Black Friday. Some pre-BF deals may entice consumers who don’t like to brave the crowds.

Set Sales Goals: Sit down and figure out some quantifiable way to express how well you want to do this holiday season, whether it be total dollar amount sales, percentage of sales higher than last year, or another way. You can’t know how well you did if you don’t figure out where you want to be. You can set goals by month, for just the big sale days, for the entire season, or however you choose.

Don’t Ignore Post-Holiday Hype: You can’t forget that the environment you create during the holidays will make or break whether a consumer decides to return to your business after the rush season. Make sure you have a focus on how to not only bring customers in during the season, but on how to make sure they keep coming back. Don’t immediately dwindle down your activity on social media.

Quick Tips for The Three Big Sale Days: Of course, it’s also important to focus especially on these big holiday shopping days, so here’s a few quick tips for them specifically:

  • Day-specific promotions: Have Black Friday deals, Small Business Saturday Deals, and Cyber Monday Deals. Even if you’re giving the same general percentages off, have one or two steep deals or unique incentives that are day-specific.
  •  Make sure your website is holiday-ready: I don’t just mean graphics; make sure it can handle the heavy flow of traffic that Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring (especially the latter).
  •  Decorate your business: Make sure your establishment and staff are looking cheery!
  •  Stock up on inventory: You don’t want to run out! People will remember that and be less likely to return.
  •  Make sure any seasonal employees are trained and ready: Prepared staff will keep those shoppers happy and more likely to buy.

This year, Black Friday is November 23rd, Small Business Saturday is November 24th, and Cyber Monday
is November 26th – you’ve still got time to prepare, so start now!

Written by: Breanne Mason, Blog Contributor