For small businesses, Black Friday and Cyber Monday account for a massive chunk of their annual revenue.
They are the two biggest spending days for U.S. consumers. And despite the pandemic’s economic toll, customers are still keen to take advantage of the offers and discounts they’ve come to expect.
According to estimates and surveys, the average American is planning to spend $665. That tallies up to a grand total of $148.5 billion.
For your small business, this is more than a crucial sales opportunity. By getting your name out there, you can grow the customer base for the upcoming holiday season.
With COVID-19 still raging across the country, things are different this year. To maximize Black Friday benefits for your business, you need to adapt.
Here are 10 tips and strategies to help your small business prepare for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season 2020.
1 – Work out an In-Store Safety Strategy – and Promote It
In many places, in-store shopping still isn’t possible due to the pandemic. If you can open, make sure that you have a COVID safety concept in place. And promote it.
Holiday shopping during the pandemic is a major concern for most Americans. This can work to your advantage – if you can show that your business is investing into customer safety.
Safety concepts can include one-way systems, hand sanitizer distribution points, and regularly disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces.
2 – Extend Black Friday
On the day itself, do what you can to spread out the crowd. It’ll keep both customers and staff safer.
Start early, close late, or extend Black Friday offers for several days. Consider embracing Small Business Saturday.
In any case, advertise the extension of opening times and offers. It will help take the pressure off your customers and soothe their crowd anxiety.
3 – Optimize Your Online Store
Even if your store is open, Black Friday 2020 is going to be an online shopping event like never before.
If you haven’t set up an online store yet, now is the time. If you already have one, invest into updating its design and making sure the user experience is top-notch.
Next, check that your inventory management system is up to the challenge of increased order volumes.
Finally, think about your shipment options. Curbside pickup has become popular this year: Customers browse your store and make their purchase on the web, and then swing by in person to pick up the goods.
4 – Revamp Your Website
To cater to the online focus of this years’ shopping season, take the time to upgrade your website.
People will be on the go or waiting in lines a lot, so ensure that your site is mobile-friendly.
Improve technical SEO, boost loading speeds, and go through a user experience checklist to ensure that your site is up to scratch.
Also, consider building a Black Friday landing page. It’ll make it easier to track the success of your digital marketing strategy. More on that below.
5 – Harness Local Listings
Next up: Check out how your business appears in local listings.
Claim your Google My Business (GMB) page and improve your appearance on Yelp, Foursquare, Apple Maps, Angies List, and similar sites.
Include your business hours, local contact information, social media, website, a short description of your business, and a few attractive photos.
Ultimately, this will give a serious boost to your local SEO performance and help more people discover your business.
6 – Build Anticipation Through Social Media
Your social media marketing strategy needs to be consistent and start early. A single post about your upcoming Black Friday offers won’t do the trick.
In the grand scheme of things, you need to aim to build anticipation.
Work out a posting strategy a few weeks in advance of the big day and stick to it. Remind your customers periodically of what you’re planning.
For this, you can use both your social media profiles and paid ads.
Make sure to track each of your posts’ success and how often people click through to your landing page. This will provide you with invaluable insights for future holiday shopping strategies.
7 – Launch an Email Marketing Campaign
If you have an email list, harness it.
Mention your Black Friday plans in your November newsletter.
Consider setting up an automated email chain to increase engagement and direct your customers to your landing page and online store.
Email marketing is also a great way to promote some early bird offers, or send out coupons to loyal customers for in-store use.
8 – Research Customer Expectations
As a small business, you likely know your customer demographics. Or you might have a few representative customers in mind.
Go online and see what the conversation’s like on social media. Which trends are generating a buzz? What products are people talking about most? And: What are their worries related to Black Friday?
Doing a little digging in this direction will help you tailor your digital strategy and your offers.
9 – Carefully Plan Out Offers and Bundles
On Black Friday, people want to get the most value for their money.
Big retailers with generous margins can afford to offer massive discounts. As a small business, you might not be in the position to keep up. As it is, discounts should be at least 25% to make a splash.
However, there are other deals you can offer.
Bundles are one way to go, value-adding deals another. Even offering something minor like a free cupcake with every purchase can swing customers in favor of small businesses.
10 – Personalize and Localize
Finally, embrace being a small business to make the most of Black Friday and the following holiday season.
You know your customers. That means you can personalize your offers, marketing strategies, and other interactions to make people feel special.
Also consider tailoring your marketing and offers to local traditions and events. You’re part of the local community – make sure that your customers feel that.
With that, big companies just can’t compete.
The Bottom Line
2020 has already thrown countless challenges at small businesses. Making the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the current conditions is another one of them.
However, with some research, strategizing, and effort, you’ll be able to work out an engaging (digital) marketing strategy, provide your customers with a great online shopping experience, and ensure safe in-store conditions. And your business will see a blow-away Black Friday.