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Boost your Winter Income with Less Effort: Serve your Clients and Values with Better Black Friday Deals

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Surprised the holidays are here again this year? So are we! They seem to return faster and faster every year…

Black Friday is perhaps the biggest “holiday” for sales, but as small business owners, it’s hard for us to compete in offering great discounts while still boosting our incomes…especially if we don’t want to contribute to the over-commercialization of the holidays. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Throughout our journey as business owners, we’ve found a way to turn Black Friday into a highly valuable event for our clients with long-reaching benefits to our business. Throughout the rest of this blog, we’ll be sharing with you our go-to options for making Black Friday a marketing success!

The Deal

As wedding and portrait photographers, it isn’t reasonable for us to promote a rush to “bookings” during one day (or even over the course of the month, as we are outside of “portrait season,” especially where weather is colder). People are busy during the holidays and don’t have the time to consider future plans yet. But they love a fast deal that they can hold on to for later!

As a result, there are some deals specific to this time of year that we have found the most effective. On Black Friday, we generally run two offers:

1. A once-per-year “Double Dollar Day.” Clients can purchase Gift Cards (which we set up easily online via Square) worth twice their usual value. In other words, a $50 card is worth $100; a $100 card is worth $200. If using Square, it’s easy to create a promo code to share in our promotional material, which provides 50% off during checkout. 

*Pro Tip: Even better, require an email to receive an email with the “exclusive” promo code; so even if the potential client does not follow through with the purchase, their micro-commitment allows you to access them later with a follow-up.

*Pro Tip: It may be useful to add stipulations, such as:  “card can’t be combined with other offers” or “card is applicable only to products, not services,” depending on your business structure.

2. Gallery re-release, with all artwork and prints at 50% off. For our clients whose photo session galleries have been expired for over 3 months, we re-publish and email them access with a 50% off coupon.

Our gallery view
Opening a gallery (as a client)
Viewing gallery photos
Choosing discounted products to purchase

*Pro Tip: When re-releasing wedding galleries, be sure to specifically market a discount on parent books. Those are some of our most popular purchases year after year!

*Pro Tip: If you use print labs like WHCC, you can use their free proprietary software to send a branded link to your clients that allows them to design their own Christmas cards!


The Method

We primarily market our Black Friday specials through direct email. We build our email list in a number of ways, but it includes both past clients and leads we’ve collected via online funnels or community events and trade shows. We also post about the deal on social media. However, the perceived exclusivity and relational proximity of the email list produces most of our results.

Results

We generally see notable results from these two deals, with approximately a 5-8% conversion rate among our email contacts for gift cards. Among our re-published galleries, purchases are relatively smaller, but depending on the number of clients we photographed within those past few months, it often results in at least two thousand dollars or more additional profit that we otherwise would have left on the table.

Despite them not doubling our business for the month or anything similarly drastic, these offers have still proven to be a resounding success. Since our clients are getting a meaningful gift that personal photography uniquely provides, this offering not only helps our businesses but serves our clients. Furthermore, we’re increasing engagement during a season when our business would naturally be down.  

Here’s our final pro tip…if you’re running a Black Friday or Small Business Saturday sale, we highly recommend that you tease it ahead of time! The sensory input on Black Friday itself is overwhelming for consumers. Get out ahead of the rush, then be willing to extend your sale into Cyber Monday via a follow-up email.

Bonuses!

If you’re looking for more great information on how to make Black Friday a success, you can check out this Q&A blog by 17hats that we (and other small business owners) were featured in!

We also talked about our Black Friday deals in more detail during Up and At’Em this morning! Click the image below to watch the full video…

What do you think? We love to read and reply to your comments! So make the most of it!