Marketing 101: Niche Markets Part 11- Surviving the Black Friday Madness
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday……serious weekend shopping. My mind is going to the last couple of days and what I am learning about trying to take advantage of this gift-buying weekend. I did my plan for getting ready for the three busy days, and now it’s time to evaluate. My eval thoughts are in blue. I would REALLY like to hear your thoughts as to how your sales days progressed, what you learned, and what you would do differently.
Getting Ready -
1. Send a newsletter, even if you haven’t sent one at all, or it’s early for your next newsletter. Ours is going out a week early, several days before Thanksgiving with the holiday specials on a Sunday. I am trying different days for newsletter delivery, and Sundays seem to give a few more openings. Stats for the newsletter show less than 50 percent opened the newsletter, and website numbers stayed pretty static from that Sunday through Cyber Monday. The sales pitch for all three sales was at the bottom of a pretty newsy newsletter….maybe it needs to be on the top, but I feel uncomfortable with that. And…next time I need to include the coupon codes in the newsletter. (Big slap to the head)
2. Decide on your specials. Internet marketing shows folks love deep discounts and/or free shipping. This latter is usually the easiest for us, but be sure to specify if it is continental US or some other limited range. Black Friday was 20% off anything on the website, plus spend $40 and receive a free pattern. Saturday was free domestic shipping off the website. Nothing Sunday, but I will change that for next year, as that’s what I saw a lot of retailers doing. Sunday will be 50% off any fabrics on Etsy, and 20% off artwork on Etsy. I had a significant spike in visits on Monday between 7 am and 4 pm. A few sales, but not what I was hoping for. Does this mean more items in the shop, more publicity? This needs to be processed.
3. Have products ready for shipping. Check for : care codes, package supplies, postage scale (we finally bought ours today), custom slips, tracking slips, padded envelopes – anything you can think of that you will need for shipping. Think about various combinations of items you could sell and be prepared. All of this is set. We do carry-over from other events, and we pretty much have this down. It certainly makes it easier to get mailings out in a very timely manner.
4. Check website, blog, Etsy store, Redbubble – any place you have product to sell. Are the sites ready? Prices set? Postage listed? Pictures up? Any descriptions need to be changed? Discounts added? Interesting comment from a website visitor – why no pictures by the samplers? I added a rationale about two years ago, but now I think I need to come up with some type of pictures that closes the sale. DON’T FORGET TO PUT YOUR COUPONS UP – totally forgot to add my Etsy coupon until after the first order when someone asked about the discount.
Get Set -
1. Make sure your Friday and Monday are available for taking online orders. Printer ink? Paper? Not a problem. Fabrics already packaged in plastic bags. We can easily find fabric as it is ordered, since we have changed the inventory numbers to make it obvious what was ordered.
2. Consider sending a brief reminder newsletter on Friday morning reminding your subscribers about the sales. Consider doing the same reminder for Monday. Been using Promotesy to send out reminders on Sunday for Monday. Need to think about “how much is too much.” Also include the coupon codes on the Promotesy reminders. Don’t need to do as many reminders on the LinkedIn portion of Promotesy. I think most of Cyber Monday posts should be on Twitter, probably one an hour to take advantage of new users throughout the day.
3. Have blog posts ready to go announcing your sales Run one on Thursday evening, and then run one Sunday night for Cyber Monday. Did this for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Sunday, and Cyber Monday. You can write these ahead of time and then schedule them to post, especially if you are on a trip.
4. Have something on your website announcing your sales. Have a link directly to your products to make shopping easier. Did this (for the first time) on the front page of the website, with specific links. Actually listed the individual sampler packages on the blog – next time I will come up with some pictures.
1. Send confirmations of orders and give customers an estimated shipping time. Done. We do this for every order, regardless of the time of year. In an age of impersonal contacts, this becomes even more important.
2. Send out a brief email when you ship to let buyers know their package is on the way. Thank them again. Done.
3. Wrap carefully. Check Paypal for confirmed addresses, and if not confirmed, email to be sure the address is correct. Done.
4. Consider giving a small percentage of your profits to a nonprofit for the holiday. eQuilter has done that successfully – over one million dollars donated. We’ll be way under that, but it’s a very good feeling. Once we know a total, the check is going to Tucson’s Ben’s Bells, a nonprofit representing kindness.
Now, how did you do? What did you try, what worked, what did you learn? I’ll summarize and share in the next post.
Dean and Linda Moran are the owners of Marble-T Design and have been marbling for 20 years. You can see their work at “The Art of Marbling,” follow their adventures on their blog, see examples of their marbling in their Etsy shop, and watch their updates on Facebook.