What If Your Business Isn’t Designed for Black Friday – Cyber Monday Sales?

What If Your Business Isn’t Designed for Black Friday – Cyber Monday Sales?

Timeline:  Written Post Black Friday 2017.  Applicable for anyone disappointed in how their online promotion went.

Black Friday.  Small Business Saturday.  Cyber Monday.  There’s a name for EVERYTHING now in the marketing world.   But that doesn’t mean it has to be for you.

I was scrolling through some of my favorite online business facebook groups this weekend after doing my on online shopping and seeing post after post of business owners disappointed in their Black Friday sales results.

After putting hours and hours of work into graphics and copy and emails and setting up special sales pages, their results were dismal.  1 or 2 sales only.  Or just like any other day.

It can really crush your spirit to put so much into a big promotion only to have it flop.  I know.  I’ve been there too.  In fact, you can’t really call yourself a business owner unless you’ve ridden that ride.

During the holiday season, the pressure is ON for businesses to sell, sell, sell and, presumingly to even HAVE a special offer.   So it’s natural to feel like “Oh my goodness!  I need an offer!”

But, maybe you don’t even need an offer?  Maybe this isn’t the best way to promote your business?  Maybe an offer can actually HURT your business?

Here are some ways to help you make that decision.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Preparing a Special Offer

  • When reading about how to promote on Black Friday and feeling all convinced you need to do it, stop first and ask yourself…..what is the intended audience of that article?  What types of businesses are they targeting?  They may not directly state it but look at their demographic and decide if you fit it before following their advice.
  • Where did most of my sales come from in the past year?   It can be easy to get caught up in the rush of prepping those specials (at the expense of extra time from your family by the way) and forget that this weekend won’t make or break your business.
  • Think about what happened on your past promotion weekends.   That same feeling of “everyone is prepping Black Friday so I should too” can give you amnesia about your past year’s results.  Look them up and trust your gut!
  • Do I want to cheapen the value of my products and services with a special?  How will everyone who paid full price feel about my sudden price drop?  Like they were cheated?
  • What will my audience expect from me on this weekend and how should I talk to them about it?  (whether I plan an offer or don’t!)
  • Will my audience even be online during this time?  Or will they be focused on family, friends, food and fun?   Maybe it’s better to NOT contribute to the noise in their inbox and pay double for Facebook ad traffic during this weekend.

Who does Black Friday – Cyber Monday work well for?

Clearly there are BIG REVENUES made on this weekend.   But for who?

  1. Large audiences, large volume of eyes on your products.
  2. Physical products with enough margin to withstand the price cut
  3. Someone strategically using this weekend to fill up a services queue and not market again for the rest of the year (i.e. booked ahead services so YOU can holiday over the holidays)  —–> Virtual Professionals this is you!

Most of those who are striking it rich on Black Friday have been planning their Black Friday promos for months in advance.   Not just the couple weeks before.

If you’re feeling the pressure suddenly only a couple weeks before, it’s probably not the right promotion season for you.

If you are running a Virtual Professional, Coaching or Consulting Business and feel like you need an offer during this season make sure you do the following:

  1. Align it with what is going on in your audience’s brain during this weekend.  They may not be ready for an intense decision on a high end program.  But they may be ready to commit to a lower dollar service to “try out” your programs.
  2. Don’t eliminate your profit UNLESS you have a great upsell offer behind that in December to convert them into.
  3. Don’t attract a different low-pay audience that will never opt-in to higher dollar services.
  4. Open it for a longer time period that just Black Friday
  5. Make it SIMPLE on you and on them.  These services should make someone’s life easier and better and that starts with how they get in on your offers.

See how this article wasn’t about what to put in your ad copy?  Or the best converting offer page?   Those are VERY important IF you decide to run a promo.   But the first step is the decision.   Make smarter decisions by first thinking of the strategy and approach.

This method is at the heart of my Holiday Business Accelerator program as well.

It’s not a Black Friday offer.  It’s a holiday program of hope and help for online business owners like you.   You can join until December 10th.

We’ll walk through my methods of strategy and business design and THEN with the right strategy get on into implementation.  Because, thinking and not getting stuff done doesn’t get you anywhere!

So relax about those holiday promos.  Maybe it wasn’t right for you?   It’s ok.  Fail faster and move forward to what DOES work.  And accelerate into the new year with the right plan in place for your business.

Start Here: A Technology Roadmap for Entrepreneurs

It’s overwhelming!    Choosing the right technology and getting it implemented.

So let’s not kid ourselves.  You’re doing HARD THINGS often when you make technology choices.

But you’re an entrepreneur which means you’re smarter than the average bear and understand how to make trade off decisions.  Which is ultimately what choosing and implementing a technology comes down to.

When you feel like you’ve finally got all your systems in place, don’t get comfortable.  Something will change or a bright shiny object will tempt you.  And for good reason because technology is a GAME CHANGER for entrepreneurs today.

We’ve never lived in a time with access to better, faster tools for someone to start their own business.

In 1995, I graduated from The Ohio State University with a Computer Engineering degree and the only reason I had an email address was because I was an engineering student!  My senior project was to convince the Columbus Zoo they needed a website and design it for them.  CRAZY!

In the early 2000’s, it still took a REALLY techie person to make you a website.   But now almost anyone can whip out a website in an hour.

I say this not to date myself but to give you perspective as to the power of technology that’s in your hands.

But where to begin?   There are so many choices!  I give you permission to be overwhelmed.   The technology market for entrepreneurs is a HOT MESS!

So now we know what we’re dealing with, we start with goals.

It’s NEVER about the technology tool.

Did you read this?   Don’t let the tool selection lead ANY decision.   It’s first about your business goals and needs.  

Here’s a simple framework so you can see exactly what tech tools you need to have in place:

 

Now that we understand we are working from goals, let’s look at a tiered roadmap for various stages of your entrepreneurial venture:

 

Now, clearly this is a bigger discussion than one blog post can handle (even an epic blog post which I personally find overwhelming.)   You really need some “thinking and processing” time.

Here are some quick hints for now.  To keep things short, this is the “I’m going to trust you on this” list without the heavy explanations:

  • Always choose WordPress (over Wix, Squarespace, etc).
  • Divi is hands down my favorite WordPress theme that will take you for MILES – landing page design, membership site pages and more.
  • Ontraport is your best all-in-one solution for Email Marketing + Sales pages + Membership management and even fulfillments, SMS messaging, postcard sending and more.   All-in-one.  That’s the key.  No integrations AKA breakage points.

So this barely covers the tip of the iceberg BUT you aren’t in the business of being a tech expert.  All you need to know is how to frame up a good tech decision for you.

All my favorite tools are listed here.

For more on that decision making, I invite you to listen to my Technology Roadmap for Entrepreneurs video as a next step.

My Method To Hire A Top-Notch Virtual Freelancer in 72 Hours Or Less

My Method To Hire A Top-Notch Virtual Freelancer in 72 Hours Or Less

When you want to hire someone, chances are work is already stacking up and you feel overwhelmed.   And now you need to add a mini-project of hiring someone just to dig out from under the work.

But, even in the virtual space, away from office politics, people stuff is still messy.

It’s a bit like dating and marriage.   You try out a few people trying to find the one who’s just right for you.

Sometimes you find that person but the timing isn’t right.  Or the date you did together just didn’t work.   It can take a lot of trial and error and grace and forgiveness and hard conversations and tough decisions.  And then, you’re married happily ever after right?

Um, right.  We all know what it really takes.

Entering into a work relationship with someone is similar.   You need to try things out.  You’re going to have some bumps, hard conversations and wins.   And even though this is a contractual work relationship, it doesn’t make those cycles any less challenging.   However, you have the advantage of not needing to live with this person.   Just agree mutually.   They do this work.  You pay them the agreed amount.

So how do you avoid the endless cycles of “dating” the wrong person project after project in your business?

Here’s my tried and true method of finding the RIGHT freelancer for your team or project.

1. Create a Job Description that attracts the RIGHT people and repels the WRONG people

Words to include in your job description to help narrow down the field:

“The right candidate will…….”

  • Be available during these hours:
  • Know how to use these online tools:

“This is not for you if……..”

  • You are not available between 8 am and 5 pm daily
  • You are not looking for a long term partnership
  • (or the opposite) You want a long term full time gig.

 

2. Have an automated application process that weeds out the wrong candidates right away

I use a google form like this.  (Feel free to borrow it).

Ask specific questions that will help you learn about their personality and skills related to the position.

Test them.  Ask them to create a graphic, format a spreadsheet, email you something from a shared google drive.  It proves they know how to do what you are asking.

Make the application long enough that only those serious about the work will take the time to do it.

3. Make yourself available and be responsive to the applications

You will find the right person in the first 24-48 hours your application is out there.   Start the relationship off on a good foot and let them see you are a professional, you are responsive and in an unspoken way, that same expectation will be on them for this job.

Also, moving fast and hiring well takes a BIG stresser off of you personally.  I always feel so good when I talk to a talented person and hire them onto my team.

4.  Setup a good contract and communication expectations

Onboarding can take some time but when done well, sets everyone up for success.

Always work from a contract.  And always agree upon communication:

  • Frequency
  • Format (text, email, Voxer, etc)
  • How you will use a project and task management tool like Asana or Trello or Basecamp

 

Now, thinking back to that marriage analogy, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could do the same to find the love of our lives?    Nahhhh….. we’d miss the chase, the adventure and the romance 🙂

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