Black Friday, Cyber Monday & Your PR and Marketing Campaign: Must Knows for Big Sales

It’s no secret that the retail world has been dealing with a lot these days.  Whether you’re a “big box” retailer or a small business, whether you're selling online or via a brick & mortar store, you’ve no doubt felt the blow of the depressed economy.  That said, despite economic woes, shoppers will be lining up virtually and braving the cold weather in “real life”  outside of stores to kick off the holiday shopping season during this month’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales . This means that if you are a small business that doesn’t have thousands (to millions) of dollars to spend on advertising these sales you’re going to be relying on things like do-it-yourself public relations & marketing, social media and perhaps your company’s newsletter to get the word out about your sale.

Before doing any more sales strategizing, be sure you review these tips in order to maximize yoru Black Friday and Cyber Monday buzz, and create some new and return customers in the process!

Prepare NOW:  If you don’t know what you’ll be discounting or selling via your Cyber Monday or Black Friday sales, prepare now.  This means getting the copy ready for your website, your newsletters and the press who may be asking about your deals; prepping and testing discount codes (you don’t want any mistakes costing you sales on the big day) and checking to be sure your inventory, packaging and all else is ready to go!

Double Discounts Opportunities for Future Sales:  Once a customer enters your virtual or brick & mortar store they’re already telling you they are excited enough about your product/store to check it out, and that’s when you hit ‘em with discount #1, the specific Cyber Monday or Black Friday discounts you want to share.  But don’t stop there!  Encourage future sales by creating a second discount code or gift certificate that shoppers will receive after their purchase.  This can be sent via email if you run an e-commerce site or via a physical voucher if you are in a brick & mortar store.  This is a great way to capitalize on all the web and foot traffic coming into your store, and to begin creating a long term relationship with future and current customers.

Make it a Triple (Sale), Tell a Friend:  Everyone loves telling their friends about the great deals they snagged or are planning on snagging during the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy.  Remind your customers to tell a friend about your upcoming sale or make it easy for them by allowing them to share the sale directly from your website or via a promo card they can pick up at your store and physically give to a friend.  Your newsletter (if you have one) should also have a place they can forward the message along to a friend.  It’s human nature to want to share great scoop or news, so make it easy to share news of your sale, and you could snag even more sales!

Flash Sales within a Sale:  Ready to really kick it up a notch?  With the help of social media and a few properly placed pitches, you can really rev up sales by running flash sales throughout the day on specific items that come and go, thus creating a sense or urgency to BUY NOW!  An example?  What if Tin Shingle member Object Mythology discounted all her cozy alpaca gloves throughout Cyber Monday but from 12-2 pm only she did an additional discount on her infinity scarves.  People who may have been on the fence would have extra incentive to buy, before the sale ended.  Perhaps propreneur Simply Sweet Arrangements is doing a day long free shipping sale from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, but on Monday from midnight to 12 noon she also did an additional 25% off all orders.  That’s extra incentive to buy!

Socialize your Sale:  Help your message go viral by buzzing about the sales you’re offering leading up to the big shopping days and then throughout the shopping weekend via your company’s Facebook & Twitter.  This will help news of your sale go viral even faster!  If you’re tweeting your sale, be sure you check out which hashtags are trending in regards to Black Friday & Cyber Monday, and include those hashtags on your tweets!  Want to up the ante even more?  Include a SPECIAL bonus (maybe a free shipping offer, early access to sales or an extra ten percent off) for your loyal social media followers!

Pitch, pitch pitch – to the Right People!  Keep in mind that the stories going up about Black Friday & Cyber Monday are short lead stories – this means they will be appearing on television, websites, blogs, and some newspapers.  This is not the time to be pitching long lead outlets (monthly magazines) because these editors are already planning spring issues.  Instead, reach out to the outlets (especially large blogs and websites) that match the niche of the product you’re selling whose readers or viewers would be interested in your product.  This is also a great time to send your sale information to experts and shopping gurus who regularly appear on television talking about these types of sales. 

Finally, look for opportunities to share your sale via pr lead generators such as HARO and the Tin Shingle PR Leads.  Members of Tin Shingle can also post their sales in our Events section, which we will “socialize” via our website, newsletter, Facebook & Twitter, and pass along to any media looking for Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales information!

Be Honest about your Fulfillment Schedule:  Several of your customers will be purchasing their holiday gifts via your sale.  If it will take you 2 weeks plus to fulfill their order, let them know prior to them purchasing your item.  There’s no sense in generating lots of sales if you’re also going to generate angry customer responses!  The best way is through a forewarning and honesty.  Speaking of order fulfillment, make sure you have an internal system in place, should you need extra hands on deck to man orders and shipments!

Despite the economy, the shopping "show" will go on, and you want to be sure customers looking for a great deal and a great gift find you, get to know you and continue to shop from you!  Follow our tips, plan ahead and use this Black Friday & Cyber Monday time to build retail relationships with customers for now and into the future!