The Wrong Way to Host a Holiday Sale

I just did a quick Google search and found at least three entire websites dedicated to sharing Black Friday sale information, ads, and reviews — and that doesn’t include the major retailers (like Walmart and Best Buy) who have their own Black Friday mini sites.

And those sites are already sharing dozens of Black Friday ads and deals — and it’s not even November yet!

But if you’ve ever been lured to do a little Black Friday shopping of your own, you’ll know that not all sales are created equal, and I’m not talking about who gives the deepest discounts.

You may have heard horror stories (or experienced some yourself) of retailers big and small running into major problems with big holiday promotions — like websites that crash, running out of popular merchandise, customer service nightmares, and more.

All of that may have turned you off the idea of hosting your own holiday sale — but it shouldn’t!

There’s a big difference between the right way and the wrong way to host a holiday sale, and I want to set you up for success. Click here to download my free 7 Day Holiday Sales Challenge, which will help get you set up properly from the get go, and then read on for some common mistakes to avoid.

Deciding to host a sale last minute, without a plan.

This is probably the biggest mistake I see business owners make when it comes to hosting a sale or promotion. They decide at the spur of the moment that they want to offer a sale, so they put the discount on their site, maybe make a social media post about it or send out one email to their audience, and then wait for the sales to roll in.

But that’s not how it works!

A successful sale requires a strong plan, not only for what and how you will run the promotion, but also how you will market it. That’s why I put together the 7 Day Holiday Sales Challenge, which walks you through putting together a plan for your holiday sales!

Choosing the wrong structure

Even though we often associate Black Friday and Cyber Monday with deep discounts, that’s not the only way to structure a promotion — and it may be the wrong structure for you, depending on many different factors.

For example, if your margins are tight on a product or service, offering a deep discount won’t necessarily help you reach your profit goals — you might end up doing a lot more work for not a lot more money.

Or if you have a luxury brand, coupons and discounts might dilute the aesthetic and experience you’re striving for.

There are ways to structure a promotion that don’t include discounting, like free shipping promos, bonuses, and even charity donations with purchase. Choosing the right structure for your promotion is as important for this particular event as it is for your overall brand.

No strategic message

The best sales follow a simple pattern that builds excitement among your biggest fans, makes those fans feel like VIPs, invites new people in, creates FOMO (fear of missing out) and ends with a deadline.

If you’re missing any of those parts of the message, your sale won’t be as successful as it could be — and you might miss out on the kinds of revenue and profits that would make your fourth quarter of the year a huge success.

Knowing how to drip out your sale to encourage the right shoppers at the right time is key.

Not knowing how the sale ties into your long-term business goals.

Another big mistake I see is when business owners decide to host a sale without giving any thought to how it helps them reach their long-term goals.

Sales and promotions can be excellent tools to help you reach your revenue, profit, and growth goals — but used poorly, they can also derail your efforts.

Offer too many discounts, and people will learn to wait for the next sale instead of paying full price. Spread coupon codes and discounts around on social media and you might alienate your “VIP” email subscribers. Offer promotions without considering all the ramifications (like inventory, shipping, customer service, etc.) and you could end up with a situation that ruins your reputation.

The good news:

The good news is that these are all easy mistakes to fix!  When you consider these factors from the beginning, you can build your promotion plan (see the first mistake!) to avoid these costly mistakes.

That’s why I put together the 7 Day Holiday Sales Challenge for you: to give you a leg up on planning a sale that will move you toward your goals — without driving you crazy!  In fact, it’s just a fraction of the support we provide inside our Step by Step Guide to Successful Sales and Promotions Destination Guide in Business Class, but it’s the perfect first step to crafting a promotion that will earn you your best holiday season ever.

Are you in?  Click here to download the challenge now.

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