If you are like me when I first started my business, you are a week away from three of the biggest shopping days of the year and your business is not prepared. Yes, I'm talking Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. But no worries, I put together a list of things you can do to get your online business ready within 7 days (and no you will not be working on this on Thanksgiving). There are tips for both service and product based businesses.
The idea is to get some sales, it may not mean that you break any records (although you might and that's amazing) but it does mean that you will have a solid plan in place to implement and build on for next year. Each of these tasks should only take 1 to 1.5 hours of your time a day. Think of it as investing in your dream, your business.
The plan is to do a task each day, starting today. If you start the plan a week out, you will be done the day before Thanksgiving with time to enjoy yourself, family, and friends. Let's imagine you start on a Friday before Black Friday.
Here's the plan:
Day 1: Set Goals + Budget
The first step is to set a goal. Read more about how to set goals in the previous blog. You want to outline how much you would like to sell during those three big shopping days so that you have a way to track your success. This also gives you metrics to review next year to adjust your goals and strategies.
Second, create your budget. The budget is just as important as the goal. You don't want to spend more than you make. Create a small budget that determines how much money you are willing to spend in advertising (discussed later in Day 4) and include anything you may need to purchase for your business for the upcoming sales days.
Day 2. Check Inventory + Set Promotions
Today you decide what items you want to offer. If you are a service based business, decide what services you want to offer a discount on. If you are a product based business decide which item(s) you want to offer at a discount. Look at the items you sell and select a few items that sell best and then select the one that is (or ones that are) the least costly to create (or that you have more inventory of, or the most available supplies to create). The next step is to map out what deals you want to offer each day. If you want to offer deals on all three days, 2 of the 3, or 1 of 3. Either way you want to know exactly what you are offering so that you can create your marketing campaign. Here's an example of deals I've offered for the 3 days.
Black Friday - 35% off
Small Business Saturday - 30% off + Free Item with purchase of $50+ (a small item that you have extra of or doesn't cost as much as your bigger items)
Cyber Monday 30% (no free item)
Other ideas are combining Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday offers to run a continuous special from Saturday thru Monday. Offering bundles, or gift sets that wouldn't be offered at any other time to encourage buyers to act. You don't need to heavily discount those, but make sure you offer some sort of deal with it. Perhaps free gift wrapping or a free gift message to sweeten the deal. Whichever days you choose to offer deals on, the idea is to offer the biggest discount on the first deal.
Service based businesses will need to decide what services they want to offer at a discount and how much that discount is. Some service based businesses will also do giveaways which can increase subscribers and/or clients during those days.
Once your promotions are set, make sure you create the coupon codes on your websites and create the sales to start and end on the days you want them to run.
Day 3. Create Schedule + Graphics
Decide what social channels you want to promote on and when you want to promote. Check your analytics on each platform you plan to use to see when your audience is the most active and engaged. That's when you want to post. There are tons of free social media calendars available via a quick google search that you can use.
Once you have decided where and when you want to post, make a list of what graphics or photos you need to create your post. Then gather photos or create graphics for your post. If you are creating graphics, Canva is a free tool that is easy and simple to use to create some amazing posts for your social. They also have the correct dimensions depending on which channel you are creating the post for which is important in creating a visually appealing post.
Day 4. Plan Social Media
Today is the day you create the copy for your social post. You want to tailor your message to the audience on each platform that you use (or will use for the promotions). Each audience is different so you want to make sure you are using the correct message to reach them. I often share from Instagram but for promotions such as these I will create content specifically for each platform that I want to promote on.
You can choose to use an auto posting service, or save them and publish them yourself when the time arrives. Facebook allows you to schedule out post that will auto publish on the date and time you select. You can do this on your business page as well as in your groups that you manage. Instagram allows you to save posts as well but not schedule them. You will need another service like Later or Preview to auto post to Instagram.
Another tool you may consider using (if you have included it in your budget) is boosting (Facebook) or promoting (Instagram) your posts. Read the rules for boosting or promoting on these channels so you get your ad(s) approved quickly. Based on your allotted spend for advertising you will decide how many days you run the ads and how much you spend a day on the ads.
Day 5. Create + Schedule Email Marketing
Use a service like MailChimp to create your targeted email campaign. Most of the services are free based upon the size of your audience and the frequency of your emails. I used MailChimp for free for the first 5 years of my business. Decide when you want to send the emails and then create and schedule them.
Here are some things you want to consider when creating an email campaign.
Segment your users. Categorize based on their demographics, locations, and whether they have even opened an email from you before. Doing this will give you a clearer voice because you will be talking directly to your target audience.
Personalize your emails. Make sure you have it set to use their first name. There are settings in most services where you can personalized the email.
CTA. You can create a call to action in your email so they can save the date in their calendar, so their mobile phone will remind them of your deals.
Time-Zones are important when deciding when to send your emails. If most of your customers are on the west coast but you are on the east coast, sending an email at 6am EST may not be the best idea.
Create a Catchy Subject Line. Your subject line has to draw enough attention and make them open your email, so make sure to create a good one.
Day 6. Catch-up
Every good plan runs into a few snags so it's important to allow for a little wiggle room. Today is the day to make any changes, adjustments, and/or catch up on anything that hasn't been done yet. By the time your head hits the pillow tonight, you want to have tied up as many loose ends as possible so you can enjoy the next day.
Day 7. REST + Enjoy
You have earned it so go enjoy the day, connect with family + friends and eat until your belly is full.
Here's to wishing you the best this holiday season and a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Your girl boss biz bestie,