Two women stand in front of a display of bagged candies. The woman on the left, who has short brown hair and wears a black apron, hands a small bag of colorful teardrop-shaped candies to the long-haired woman on the right. In the background is a crowded shop with white bunting hanging from the ceiling.
Offering a free gift with purchase on Black Friday can bring in customers and incentivize people to buy instead of just browse. — Getty Images/Klaus Vedfelt

In the retail world, Black Friday marks the official start of the holiday shopping season, as savvy consumers take advantage of tremendous deals and savings ahead of the gift-giving season.

Celebrated as a worldwide day of savings, Black Friday takes place the day following Thanksgiving in the United States. Consumers seek out the best deals on this day, opening their wallets more than they do throughout the rest of the year. In 2022, businesses hit a record $9.12 billion in online revenue on Black Friday, with trends showing similar expectations for the year ahead.

Here are six ways your small business can participate in Black Friday.

[Read more: 7 Ways Your Business Can Get Ready For Black Friday (It's Not Just for the Big Guys)]

Offer free gifts

When you provide free gifts to customers with purchases, not only does the customer experience improve, but you also incentivize customers to close the sale. Free gifts can take different forms depending on your industry and your business’s inventory, including surprise gifts, add-ons to complement purchased products, and samples of your other offerings.

Customers love free gifts, as they add value to their orders and help them feel appreciated. Plus, when you include free gifts, the likelihood of customers returning items is lower than orders without them.

Communicate through announcement emails

Utilizing announcement emails in your Black Friday campaign can be an effective — and free — strategy to get your brand in front of consumers. Convincing announcement emails draw attention toward your sale and make it front of mind for consumers.

Emails can contain anything from sale reminders to highlighted on-sale products, and they should be direct and personalized to each recipient. However, because this is a very popular strategy for brands, catching consumers' attention among competitors requires a strong and compelling subject line that piques curiosity.

Use social media

Using social media is an essential part of a successful Black Friday campaign. From anticipation-building posts that spotlight upcoming deals to interactive polls and giveaways to Q&As focused on your product offerings and live demonstrations with influencers, social media is the place for businesses to get creative with how they promote their sale.

To stand out on social media and increase engagement, focus your attention on the platforms your customers frequent most and take part in relevant trends that may garner extra attention online. Additionally, use customer testimonials to create content that builds social proof and incentivizes customers to make purchases.

[Read more: Black Friday Marketing Trends Provide Preview of 2023 Consumer Habits]

Utilizing announcement emails in your Black Friday campaign can be an effective — and free — strategy to get your brand in front of consumers.

Create gift guides

Capitalize on the holiday season by creating free gift guides, published on your website, on social media, and in newsletters, to steer customers toward specific products. Gift guides are a great way to easily segment your products and get them in front of relevant audiences while alleviating potential shopping woes for your customers.

Sometimes, customers want to take part in sales but don’t know exactly what they’re looking for — with shopping guides, you can direct customers to certain products based on their needs. Guides may focus on personality type, budget, age-specific products, preferred aesthetics, astrology signs, or specific use cases, among other categories.

Give hourly deals

Keep customers returning frequently throughout your Black Friday sales event by offering hourly or bi-hourly deals on certain products. Though changing which products are on sale by the hour requires additional coordination among a team, it convinces customers to keep shopping to take advantage of the savings, while also creating a sense of urgency to quickly make a purchase decision.

Leverage social media to keep customers informed about current and upcoming promotions. In addition to hourly deals, it's wise to offer a baseline discount on all products; use hourly deals as an additional incentive.

[Read more: 6 Inexpensive Ways to Thank Your Customers This Holiday Season]

Use hashtags

When posting about your Black Friday sale, be sure to include relevant hashtags, as these are an effective way to get your content in front of your target audience in real time. You’ll want to use common and popular hashtags, such as #BlackFriday2023, #BlackFriday, and #BlackFridaySale, but consider taking a more hyper-local approach as well by focusing on hashtags other competitors in your market or local area are using. Avoid using too many hashtags; focus on the ones that are most relevant to your business and audience.

To get customers interested and make your Black Friday campaign memorable, businesses can also create their own branded hashtags specifically for the sale. In doing so, customers can find all the content related to your business’s sale in one place.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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