I want to help you build a sustainable, profitable handmade business that makes you consistent income and sales. I only ever teach or recommend marketing, social media, pricing, production and branding tips that I’ve personally used successfully in my own 7-figure handmade businesses.
I'm Mei, from Los Angeles!
starting a business
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Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest sales days of the year for me in my jewelry business.
Last year I made over $10,000 on just Black Friday alone.
In this post, I’m going to show you my Black Friday and Cyber Monday plans and how you can do it too.
For this year’s Black Friday, I will be doing my Ladder Discount sale.
You know how every time Apple comes out with a new iPhone, people wait in line outside Apple Stores early in the morning for hours, just so they can get their hands on one of those new phones?
There’s that huge sense of urgency, and people can’t wait to get their hands on one of the new products.
People are excited and they’ve been anticipating the release of the new product a long time before it actually becomes available for sale.
I don’t think I need to tell you how much money Apple makes. It’s a lot of money!
This is exactly the same experience we are trying to create online, which I found to be almost impossible to do.
Since everything that’s happened in 2020, a lot of craft shows have been canceled and I know that show organizers have tried to transition their shows online, but from what I’ve been hearing those events tend to not do so great.
My theory is that it completely lacks urgency because in a real-life craft show, people have to get to the event at a certain day and time, and if they don’t show up, they’ll miss out on the event entirely.
With online events, there’s no real difference between going to an online event to shop versus going directly to the artist’s website on your own time.
All human beings are lazy creatures, so there’s really no incentive to attend a live event while it’s happening.
Live events also have the allure of the herd mentality and a ton of social proof.
At a craft show, you can see lots of people huddled over a booth and it makes you think that it must be a pretty popular booth with cool products.
This drives you to want to go see it for yourself.
You can’t recreate that experience online very easily.
My Ladder Discount sale, does all of the above, and as a result, it can make you a whole lot of sales if done correctly.
I want to share with you the back story of how this concept came to be because there’s a very important lesson here.
Many years ago on Black Friday, I saw Udemy (a marketplace that sells courses) do this exact same thing.
It was a one-day-only sale with a discount on their courses and there was a big timer at the top of the website.
As time ticked down, the discount kept getting smaller and smaller, so it really encourages you to act quickly to save more money or else you’ll miss out.
This was the only time I had ever seen another business do something like this.
I was blown away and started brainstorming how I could use this technique in my own business.
Because no one else was doing this, and Udemy sells courses and I sell jewelry, I wasn’t sure if it would work for me.
So I asked a couple of my business friends if they thought it was a good idea.
Do you know what they said?
They thought it was a bad idea! They told me not to do it!
So I ended up not doing it that year.
A whole year went by and I decided to ignore what my friends said, give it a shot and see how it would go.
The results I got were incredible!
I have never made so much money before in one day.
Because of those results, I continued to refine my process and do the same Ladder Discount sale every year on Black Friday.
And every year my sales kept getting bigger and bigger.
The point is, it’s a really good idea to learn marketing from businesses that are outside of the space you sell in.
Just because I sell jewelry doesn’t mean I can’t learn a thing or two from a software business.
This will really help you come up with ideas that aren’t overused in your space and it’ll help you stand out from the crowd.
Sometimes you just have to march to the beat of your own drum.
If you’re not sure something will work, the best thing you can do is test it out for yourself.
That will give you the answer that no one else can.
Having said all of that, let’s break down the ladder discount sale and how I do it.
I only do the sale on the day of Black Friday itself.
I don’t do anything over the weekend.
On Black Friday, my sale starts at 10 a.m. Central and for the first two hours, my customers get a 35% discount code that they can use for all my products except my Necklace of the Month Club subscription.
Last year when I did this sale, I made $10,000 in just one day.
I know you might be thinking that 35% off sounds like a lot of money to give away, but if your products are priced correctly, you will be able to afford to offer 35% off and still make a healthy profit.
I have a pricing video here for you to check out that will help you achieve this.
I only do the sale once a year and my customers never see me offer such a big discount.
That makes it a very exclusive and effective event.
Not to mention I have a team that helps me make products and package orders, so it’s completely hands-off for me.
Now there are a few key things that make this ladder discount sale so effective.
You really want to go all out here with your offers.
This is not something that you do multiple times a year because it will lose its efficacy so keep that in mind.
What is also considered a generous offer to your customers can be relative to your business.
For example, maybe you sell small-sized original art for hundreds of dollars each, and you’ve never given out more than a 10% off discount, then 35% off might be too much for you.
But a 20% discount would be considered very generous to your customers.
This is going to be different for everyone.
My products are also reproducible which means that I have designs that I can sell over and over again.
This makes it easier for me to offer a slightly higher discount compared to someone who sells one-of-a-kind products.
For one-of-a-kind products, I would advise using a lower discount.
The general idea though is that you want to be super generous and go all out with this event that you do only once a year.
You want to invest most of your time preparing for this event in the pre-promotion of the actual sale day.
Don’t make the mistake that I’ve made before!
One Black Friday I decided on the day itself that I wanted to do a sale.
So I put some discount codes around my website, and I was disappointed to see that I didn’t make any more sales than a regular day.
Most launches and sales campaigns fall flat, usually because not enough time was spent in the pre-promotion period of your sale.
At least one to two weeks before your sale, you want to talk about it on all the platforms you do marketing on.
This can be your:
The week before Black Friday, I usually post once a day on Instagram.
That means I double my frequency of posts.
The first post would be my regular Instagram post, and my second post of the day will be talking about my upcoming Black Friday sale.
I don’t give away all the details of the sale in those posts, but I tease about it to build up anticipation and excitement.
I talk about how it’s going to be the biggest sale of the year!
In my social media posts, I direct people to join my email list if they want to hear more details about the sale.
This is so important because you are simultaneously building your email list of people who are extremely interested in your products.
These are people who want to buy your work and aren’t tire kickers.
It’s only through your email list that you then share the details of how people can participate in your sale.
Prior to Black Friday, your focus should be on growing this exclusive email list.
If you’re just starting out and you have a very small audience, one thing you can try is a few weeks before Black Friday, do a giveaway and make the prize one of your products.
The value of the prize should be really attractive if you want people to be interested.
Giveaways are a lot of fun to do in moderation.
They’re also great at increasing your engagement, visibility and organic reach on your social channels for a temporary period of time.
You’re gathering all these people onto your social media and they’re paying attention to your account at a pivotal moment, and then you share them teasers for your Black Friday sale.
It’s kind of a one-two punch process.
If you have the resources, I also recommend doing pre-promotion paid advertising to a warm audience, for example, your past website visitors and past customers.
You might be wondering if you need to use any apps in your store to make this sale work.
For a few years I used the Bold Discounts app for Shopify.
This app helps you schedule lowered prices in advance for any products you want in your store.
With this app, your customers don’t need to enter in coupon codes upon checkout, because the discounted prices are directly reflected on the product listings.
The only reason I don’t use this anymore is because the app takes a long time to update prices especially if you have a lot of product listings or a lot of variants in each product.
I don’t have a lot of product listings but each listing has 8 variants.
It would take 40 minutes for the software to change my products prices back to the original price and then change it to the new discounted price for the new time period.
That made it so that my prices weren’t accurate and I received a lot of customer service questions.
It created a lot of friction in the buying process, which lowered conversions and sales.
In the last few years I’ve kept things simple, and instead I just use coupon codes that start and expire at certain times.
Prior to and on the day of the sale I would email my exclusive email list those coupon codes.
I was hesitant to do this at first because it was an extra step I made my customers go through by needing to enter in those coupon codes upon check out.
But I haven’t noticed a negative difference between using the app and using coupon codes.
That’s what I do for Black Friday.
On Cyber Monday I do something a little bit different.
Remember how I said that on Black Friday, I offer discounts for all products except for my Necklace of the Month Club?
On Cyber Monday, I send out a surprise email to my exclusive list and offer them $5 off my Necklace of the Month Club subscription which is usually $19.99.
The super generous offer here is they get to stay at the lower price for as long as they are a subscriber, but once they cancel they lose out on their special pricing.
That really encourages people to stay on for a really long time as well.
Those are my Black Friday and Cyber Monday plans this year as well.
I’m thinking about creating a video on my YouTube channel where I share with you my results after that weekend!
Let me know if that is something you would be interested in and leave me any questions you have in the comments below.
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That would be a great video to hear how your sale went!
Thank you for sharing, Mei! Going to give it a try this year. I’m going to pre-schedule my newsletters to make it less of a hustle on BF day. I love that you make it BF only and then something else on CM. Thanks for your help, always!
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