Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday.
There is a lot of talk about the deals that will happen over that weekend, and it’s a big time for a lot of businesses.
One the one hand, I hear a lot of business owners worried about not promoting ANYTHING around the holidays because they’re afraid no one is buying.
On the other hand, there is a lot of pressure to have a killer offer right around Thanksgiving to capitalize on people shopping for a deal.
I will say, for product-based businesses, it’ sort of expected these days. People are waiting for it, knowing that it’s probably the best deals of the year. When I had a product-based business, it was absolutely our biggest sale of the year. And many retail businesses rely on this. (That’s how it got the name “Black Friday” since this was often the first time all year that a store went from being “in the red” (losing money) to “in the black” (finally making a profit).)
But for service-based businesses, I’m not a fan. There’s no judgement at all if you choose to do it, but here are 7 reasons why I don’t do a Black Friday Sale (and what you can do instead).
1: It’s hard to stand out
It feels like EVERYONE is trying to capitalize on this 4-day window, trying to get your attention. So how do you stand out from that and get your stuff seen? Ad space is more expensive if you do ads, and many people are shopping for very specific things, trying to get their holiday shopping done. That’s where their focus and attention is.
2: It doesn’t attract my ideal client
I want to work with people who understand the importance of messaging to their business, that their marketing is only as effective as the message that they’re trying to communicate and they recognize this as a strategic foundational part of their business. I want them to invest when they need to. I don’t want them to wait for a sale.
I recognize that everyone is hoping to get the best value for every investment that they make in their business, but I’m wanting to attract people that know that this is strategic and foundational and will invest when they’re ready. Again, no judgement if you’re shopping by price. But my ideal clients are looking for RESULTS.
3. Clients may not be as invested in the outcome at lower prices
Here’s what I see happen a lot – someone does a Black Friday sale and slashes their prices 75%. For argument’s sake, let’s say the normal price of this service is $100 and now you can get it for $25. Especially if you’re a coach or consultant where your clients have to do some work, if they’ve invested $25 and they don’t do the work, they’re thinking “oh, that’s just 25 bucks. Not a big deal.” Right?
My husband has said this for years and it’s totally ingrained in my head:
Free has no value.
People don’t value free (or low priced) things the way they value things they pay for. So with a really low price-point, people just aren’t that invested. (Admit it…you’ve gotten a great deal on something and it’s just sitting there.) It’s not a big deal to them if they “wasted” a little money. But that means they’re not getting RESULTS, and you want people to actually get results, don’t you?
If your clients are spending $100, $1,000, $5,000 or more…whatever you charge…if you’ve established the value of the transformation you help your clients achieve, if you price it well, and if your messaging establishes you as an expert commanding those prices, then your clients – when they’re ready to commit to getting those results – they’re going to get it.
4. It can leave an icky feeling
Let’s look at this from your client’s point of view. Let’s say last month your client invested with you and let’s just say it’s $1,000. And now you have a black Friday sale for that exact same service at 50% off. They’re probably feeling really bummed out about that and really disappointed.
This actually happened to me. A couple years ago I had purchased DIY services from somebody who established themselves as an expert and it was something that I needed at that time. So, I made the purchase and less than two months later, all of their DIY products were 50% off. I invested a couple thousand dollars with this person and just two months later it was 50% off. Honestly, that felt crummy.
I never want my clients to worry about buying or investing when the time is right for them because they’re worried that they’ll get a better price on that later. Which holds them back. And I definitely never want my clients to feel how I felt when it literally cost me about $1,000.
That just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. And remember…
Your brand is your reputation as it’s perceived in the mind of the market.
Every experience that someone has with you shapes their opinion of you. It shapes your brand. I don’t want to do anything that’s going to devalue that.
5. I don’t want people to wait for a sale
I’ve sort of alluded to this already but I don’t want people to wait for a sale. When you are ready to invest in your messaging because you know your marketing is not as effective as it could be, or that you’re sounding like everybody else, then I want you to get the help that you need. I want to be there to support you right then and there. I don’t want you to wait a month, two months, whatever, waiting to see if I’m going to offer a sale.
This is so foundational to your business that when the time is right for you, I want you to be able to move and move quickly. I know some people try to avoid impulse shopping and you may have heard the suggestion to wait 7 days before making a major purchase. But you may have talked yourself out of it by then (and not for the right reasons). You may get shiny object syndrome and grab something else that isn’t going to get you the same results. You may get discouraged. There could be so many things that happen in that time that you’re waiting which only further delays those results. So I don’t want my clients to wait for a sale.
6. I don’t want it to devalue my brand
What this means for me…is fundamentally, I don’t compete on price.
When you offer sales, especially dramatic ones, you encourage people to compare and evaluate you based on price. I know that I offer amazing, personalized experiences and I know how to draw out of you your One-of-a-kind message that’s going to help you stand out in the market. I know I have a process that guides you through that to make that easy. And I know it makes all of your marketing, no matter what you’re doing, more effective and I price it appropriately. It’s not exorbitant to work with me, but I value what I know this does for your business and I want you to value it, too. I don’t compete on price.
It’s my job to show you the value of what it means to be able to stand out in your market, actually have your message be heard and to truly Make Your Message ROAR®, right? It’s MY job to prove that to you and then price it appropriately and help you get results. I know that this is a valuable thing that you need in your business and if I do all of those things well…if I help you understand the importance of that…you will value my brand. And you will value me and the work that I do when you hear from my clients that it was the best thing they’ve ever done for their business to work with me. You will value what I do and I won’t have to compete on price.
7. It’s not consistent with my brand
This is going to sound a little redundant at this point, but it’s true. It’s not consistent with my brand. Fundamentally, I don’t want to devalue my brand, but if I look at what my brand stands for and what I believe in and what I do…I do believe that messaging is a critical foundational piece to your business success. It is a strategic investment. If you want your message to be:
- Relatable to your ideal client
- One-of-a-kind so you don’t sound like anybody else
- Actionable – making it easy for you and your entire team to implement
- Reliable – so that you can consistently show up as the expert that you are
That’s what I stand for. That’s what I want for you.
I bring a lot of experience to the table – 20 years in branding and in business analysis. And what does that do for you? I know how to ask you the right questions to pull this out of you, to find your most authentic One-of-a-kind message that ROARs. I know that the first answer that you give is not the true answer. And I know how to help you dive in deeper. I believe in giving you everything I’ve got – every tip, every prompt, every thought that comes to me that will help you evolve your brand.
You get everything I have when you work with me. And I price that fairly. That is all consistent with my brand. I teach my clients to make sure that they are showing up as an expert that allows you to charge what you’re worth. And I believe that for my own brand too.
So what can you do instead?
Let me start by saying…if you choose to offer a sale or discount, there is NO judgment! This is YOUR business and you need to do what feels right for you. And if doing a Black Friday sale is something that you feel is right for you, then by all means do it! I just personally don’t believe that a strong brand needs to do that.
BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of this opportunity to offer SOMETHING that your audience can take advantage of (since they’re already looking for great deals). So here are four things that you can do instead:
1. Bundle products/services together
If you offer multiple products or services, you might offer a special Black Friday Bundle of two or more of those together. While this is a discounted price, it’s actually encouraging clients to get more than what they might otherwise buy. I personally would still be conscious of the pricing and not discount it too heavily, though. For example, if you have two $100 services that you bundle together, I might offer that for $175 but I wouldn’t offer them at 50% off. That puts existing clients in the same boat of feeling like they overpaid (by a lot) for something they already bought from you. And I don’t want that for my clients.
2. Launch something new
The one time that I think it really works in your favor to offer a more significant discount is when you first launch a product or service. You can call this Early Bird Pricing, beta pricing…anything that indicates it’s a limited time to get the lowest price ever. That makes launching (or pre-launching) a new product or service a great Black Friday deal!
What do I mean by pre-launching? This is selling early access to something that maybe isn’t fully complete yet. Or that you’ll run in real-time so you can create the content as you go, using feedback from your clients to shape the content that they need. So when you pre-launch, you’re giving people the ability to be one of the first to grab a spot for something that might not start until a little later (like January).
3. Pull something out of the vault
Do you have a product or service that you haven’t offered in a while? Something that you can easily re-purpose into a mini-course or maybe one of the bonuses out of your signature program? A special service package that you don’t offer any other time of year? The limited time ability to grab that product could make a great Black Friday deal.
4. Offer a special bonus
One of the easiest things to do is to offer a special bonus for your existing products/services for people who buy during your Black Friday deal window. This could be a bonus coaching call, a 1:1 call, a PDF cheat sheet to take what they already learn in your program and execute it in a different way. SO many options!
And if you want to make sure that your existing clients don’t feel left out, you can always choose to offer it to them, too. Wins all around!
What do I do for Black Friday?
As you now know, I don’t do a sale on any of my existing services for Black Friday, but I DO offer limited time services that I don’t offer any other time of year. So if you want to know what those are, make sure you’re on my newsletter list (grab a free copy of the 4 Things You Can Start Doing TODAY to Make Your Message ROAR and I’ll also make sure you get my Black Friday deals via email) or join my free community – The Messaging Den (where ambitious service-based business owners gather for messaging support and encouragement).
And then tell me in the comments below…has this article changed the way you think about your Black Friday offers? (Or sales in general?) I want to know!