Black Friday 2021: The Ultimate Planning & Promo Guide for Online Businesses

2021 may have been a bit of an unusual year (understatement, maybe?), but there’s one tradition that seems to come back stronger than ever, no matter what’s happening in the world: Black Friday weekend!

Statistics are already projecting that Black Friday 2021 will be another record-breaking sale event. Last year, we saw sales happening earlier and running longer than ever before. And it seems to have paid off, because online shopping surged by an incredible 22% in 2020, bringing in about US$9 billion in sales.

With numbers like that, you’re probably wondering how your online business can grab a slice of that shopping frenzy pie! The good news is that getting involved doesn’t have to be stressful, complicated, or overwhelming.

Even though there’s only about a month left to plan, you still absolutely can get in on the Black Friday 2021 action — regardless of whether you sell digital products, online courses, or web-based services.

To help, we want to share some of our best tips on where to focus your precious time and energy over the next few weeks, so you can really make the most out of Black Friday 2021. 


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What to do first

In this blog post, we mostly want to focus on how you can get ready to promote your Black Friday 2021 sale ahead of time. But, there are a couple of things you’ll want to do before you sit down to work on your promotions to really set yourself up for success.

1. Plan what you’re actually going to sell 

No matter what it is that you sell, you have options when it comes to Black Friday. (Yes, even you service providers!)

The biggest tip that I can give you when figuring out what you’re going to sell is to make it an easy yes! 

Don’t make it hard for your buyers to figure out what you’re selling or how they can get the discount. If possible, have the price be automatically discounted, rather than asking them to apply a coupon code.

Here are some ideas for what you can sell and promote, no matter your industry or offer suite:

Black Friday ideas for shop owners

  • Put all of your products on sale. I recommend a discount of 30% off or more to really entice your buyers. 
  • Buy one get one (BOGO), with the second item either being free or offered at a discounted price.
  • Bundle your products together. You could group them by topic/outcome, or simply allow people to buy all of your products at once at a discounted price (like an all-access pass).
  • Create a limited-time product that buyers can only get access to during this sale.
  • Pre-sell a product (or multiple products), and only create it if people buy.
  • Offer a free gift with every purchase, like a low-ticket digital product or a free physical sample.
  •  Offer store credit. If they spend a certain amount during the sale, you’ll send them a discount code for future purchases in your shop.

Black Friday ideas for course creators

  • Discount your best-selling program or any of your courses. Just like with other products, I recommend a discount of 30% off or more to really entice your buyers.
  • Bundle your programs together and sell them at a combined discounted price.
  • Buy one get one (BOGO), with the second course either being free or offered at a discounted price.
  • Offer exclusive bonuses that are only available during the sale, such as free templates, a personalized review, or access to a new training or bonus lesson.
  •  Include a physical gift with purchase. Try to think of something that’s closely related to your course. For example, if your course is about professional organizing, you could send them a label maker!

Black Friday ideas for membership programs

  • Offer a discounted rate either for a brief period of time (for example, save 40% on your first month) OR for the entirety of their membership.
  • Offer one month free. You may want to stipulate a minimum commitment, such as “join for 3 months and get one month free.”
  • Offer a new payment option. For example, if your membership is currently a monthly commitment, invite them to join on a quarterly or annual basis at a discounted rate.
  • Encourage buyers to invite a friend and they both get an exclusive discount on the membership (similar to a “BOGO” offer).
  •  Offer exclusive bonuses that are only available during the sale, such as a free group/1:1 call, Voxer access, or some other coaching support.

Black Friday ideas for service providers

  • Bundle your services and offer them at a discounted rate. Try to think of where your services overlap to serve a particular need. 
  • Add additional deliverables. What else could you easily bundle into your existing packages at no extra cost to the client? For example, you can add an extra coaching session or access to one of your digital products / tools.
  • Create a time-sensitive service that clients can only purchase during this particular time. Maybe an end-of-year audit, or a coaching call for 2022 planning?
  •  Offer a discount on your services. Be careful with this one, as you don’t want to set a precedent. Maybe your discount could be exclusively for returning clients, or for contracts with a long-term commitment.

2. Get all of your thoughts down on paper

It’s one thing to get those brain juices flowing, but it’s another to actually get your thoughts down on paper and turn them into a solid plan. 

I know it can seem like there are lots of details to iron out, but I promise that this doesn’t have to be overwhelming, love. 

In fact, we’ve created this Profitable Sales Season Planner for you to help you work through the most important questions you need to answer right now! Drop your email below to get your free copy. 

 


Grow and nurture your audience beforehand

Once you’ve figured out what you’re going to sell and have come up with a basic plan, you’ll want to spend some time growing your audience (especially your email list) and reconnecting with them ahead of time.

The last thing you want is to send out an email on Black Friday, have your subscribers think “who’s that?”, and immediately unsubscribe! Instead, we want to provide value for our audience, get them used to seeing our name in their inboxes, and re-establish that connection with them in the days and weeks before Black Friday.

That said, you don’t have to worry about building hype or excitement just yet. Especially if you’re pressed for time, I encourage you to focus on creating your sales content first, using our tips in the section below. That’s the content that’s really going to drive revenue, after all!

We’ll be back with more tips in the coming weeks on how to nurture your audience before a sale soon, so don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to receive them!

Creating your Black Friday 2021 promo materials

Now that all of that initial planning is out of the way, it’s time to shift your focus to creating your promotional materials! 

Black Friday is one of the noisiest weekends in the online world, and the more time and effort you can put into your promotions ahead of time, the more likely you are to stand out in the inbox (and the feed) when your sale is actually happening.

Remember that during Black Friday weekend and in the week leading up to it, the only thing you want to talk about is your sale. This is true for your social media channels, your blog, your podcast, and your emails. 

As redundant as this may feel, remember that your audience isn’t seeing 100% of the content that you put out there. We need to get your sale in front of them several times, and in several different ways, to pique their interest and make them want to come back to buy.

When it comes to getting your copy and visuals ready ahead of time, we recommend starting with your sales emails. That way you know exactly what you’re promoting each day and you have copy that you can easily repurpose across your social media channels. 

In this section, we’ll share some of our best tips for writing compelling sales emails and creating attention-grabbing social media posts for your Black Friday sale. 

1. Sales Emails

By the time that you start sending sales emails to your list, your audience should already know that you’re running a sale. That’s why the pre-sale nurture content we mentioned earlier is so crucial! Be sure to send a “heads up” or “save the date” calendar telling your email list exactly what to expect at least one week ahead of the sale.

Because of this, you can keep your sales emails short and sweet. They should act as simple reminders for your audience that a sale is happening, and include only the most important, need-to-know information. 

The primary goal of your sales emails should be to drive traffic to your sales page, your Black Friday landing page, or your shop (wherever your deals are). Don’t try to do too much selling in the email itself. Instead, allow your sales copy or product descriptions to carry that weight. 

We recommend sending at least one email each day of your sale, with 2-4 emails on the last day just a few hours before the sale ends. 

I know this cadence can feel like overkill, especially if you’re new to running sales, but please don’t worry! Remember that big box retailers don’t worry about overwhelming their subscribers on Black Friday weekend, because they know buyers need to see the reminders among their many, many emails. It’s important to take a similar approach if you want to stand out in the inbox.

Black Friday 2021 subject line ideas

Choosing the right subject line is always important, but especially during Black Friday weekend. Remember that your audience will be receiving a TON of emails this weekend, so you want to go with subject lines that really stand out. 

Don’t be afraid to use emojis, the subscriber’s first name, and open-ended subject lines that pique curiosity. Avoid standard subject lines like “Black Friday starts now!” that could be used by any of the hundreds of businesses emailing your subscribers. 

Tip: Head to your inbox and see what subject lines stand out to YOU. What’s grabbing your attention? Add them to a swipe file for inspiration going forward.

Here are some subject lines you can try:

  • You’re not going to want to miss this
  • Mark your calendar 
  • I’m not freaking out, you’re freaking out
  • We’ve never done this before
  • Biggest. Sale. Ever.
  • If you open 1 email today, it should be this one…
  • It’s ALL on sale
  • You deserve this
  • Buy more, save more
  • This is it
  • Going, going, gone….

2. Social Media Posts

Once your sales emails are written, you can pair that copy with some scroll-stopping graphics to create social media posts that are sure to get attention during your sale.

It’s important to get the details of your sale in front of your audience as much as possible, so don’t limit yourself to emails. Someone may miss your email in their crowded inbox, but see your post on their Instagram stories and decide to do some browsing. Before you know it, you have a sale! Plus repurposing your content allows you to get more impact from your content creation time.

Aim to create content for as many platforms as possible, but don’t explore new channels for your sale. Instead, simply show up where your audience is already used to seeing you! 

If you only feel like you have time to show up on one channel, that’s okay, too. It’s better to put your efforts where you know you can show up confidently and in a polished way, rather than try to be in too many places at once. It’s much better to repurpose your content across your feed, stories, reels, and even IGTV than to try and be everywhere at once.

Tip: Add urgency to your social media posts! Make it crystal clear exactly how long the sale is running for and be sure to mention any fast-action bonuses or doorbusters you might be running that day only. And don’t forget to include a call to action in the caption itself, telling people exactly where to go to buy.

What to post 

  • At least one “heads up” post, no later than one week before your sale. Let your followers know what’s coming and give them a reason to add your sale to their calendar!
  • “The sale is live” post. Share this early in the morning on the day that your sale starts. Typically this happens on or around US Thanksgiving, which is Thursday, November 25th this year.
  • “Black Friday” post, shared on Black Friday itself. In 2021 the date is Friday, November 26th. Remember to create a graphic that’s on-brand yet sure to stand out in the feed.
  • “Small Business Saturday” post. The day after Black Friday is typically designated for small, independent businesses (who may not have the resources to easily stand out among all the big box stores this weekend). Share your small business story, and encourage people to support you by buying this weekend.
  • “Cyber Monday” post. In 2021, most of our Black Friday shopping will be done online; but Monday, November 29th is traditionally dedicated to e-commerce businesses. Great news for us online business owners! 
  •  “Final hours” post. Be sure to remind your followers that the deals are expiring in the 12-4 hours before the sale ends. There are plenty of buyers who won’t take action until that immediate urgency is there!

Your next steps

We hope that this post leaves you feeling inspired, informed, and ready to start creating your Black Friday 2021 promo materials. 

If you’re looking for some extra help with your sales season content creation, or wish you could get yourself Black Friday ready in WAY less time, then be sure to check out The Sale Promo Canva Template Pack! It’s got everything you need to create high-converting, professional-quality graphics that stand out from all the competing promotions.

You’ve totally got this, love! Share your Black Friday plans with us on Instagram @thecanvatemplateshop — we’d love to hear from you and cheer you on!

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