Black Friday goes back a long way. As a kid, almost 40 years ago, I don’t remember it being a thing. At least not in the small town in Arkansas where I lived.
Mostly my mom went back to work on Friday after Thanksgiving. My dad usually stayed home. We didn’t have school.
The idea of shopping for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving (in America) dates back to the 1950s and 60s. Apparently, the police in Philadelphia used the term to refer to the large crowds on that day.
Later it became associated with the fact that retailers were said to be in the black, as in their accounting, during the Holiday season, starting with the day after Thanksgiving.
I have worked many Black Fridays. Most of those were in retail.
I worked in a book store for about nine years, and our Black Fridays were modest compared to the big box stores. Not many people cared about books. They came to our store after an early morning at the big box stores.
Naturally, our store decided to try to cash in on the phenomenon to save its existence. We started having doorbuster deals in the last few years.
We always opened an hour early, and we used it to put out our Christmas merchandise. The doorbuster deals brought in a few die-hard customers.
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The bookstore no longer exists.
So, Black Friday has seemingly been around for at least 30 years, and in the past few years, we have seen companies in the digital and the WordPress space offer all kinds of deals. These days, Cyber Monday is a thing. They all seem to run together now.
Are you taking advantage of some of those? It would be hard not to, right?
I will not have a Black Friday sale for my product, the Website Copy Framework. More on that in a bit.
Every year at this time, someone asks me if MainWP will be running a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale. Every year, I tell them that MainWP will not have a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale.
The MainWP Lifetime Package is an incredible deal.
Dennis reiterated in the MainWP User Group this week that MainWP does not do Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals.
The cost of discounts
The is a cost for discounts. Sure, as a product developer, you can get more people to purchase. I can remember thinking, “Hey, buying the product at a discount is better than not buying it at all!”
It is so easy to think that way, but it can be a burden.
Discounting products can result in a race to the “bottom of the barrel” for teams that are, mostly, small and not set for a massive scale.
As the CEO of Pixelgrade wrote,
“The prices of the WordPress industry are set in a race to the bottom. And while the cost of building products is increasing, their average price is steadily going down, shifting the focus on a mass adoption of barely good-enough products.”
Do you know what happens when you focus almost wholly on the acquisition? You start to not care about your existing customers.
This is what happened with our yard care company. They have fertilized our yard have for over ten years. These days, they are only interested in speed; get in, get out, even if that means the risk of damaging property. Needless to say, that hasn’t gone over well, and they may be fired next year.
We live in an economy that places a premium on lower prices. Do you really want the company you use to be the “cheapest” in the market?
Everyone else is doing it.
There is a certain expectation that comes with Black Friday/ Cyber Monday. There is an expectation that you will do a deal as well.
Indeed, there is nothing wrong with doing something for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. It might be what your company needs. A service company can certainly use the momentum to build future business.
But doing something because everyone else is doing it may be the wrong approach. Sometimes, doing something completely different is the best approach because you will stand out.
Sometimes going against the grain is the very thing that gets attention. It is hard to do something different.
Themeisle’s Ionut Neagu recounts the success or lack of success previous Black Friday sales brought to his company.
“However, to be honest, the revenue coming from Black Friday was never that impressive. I mean, sure, we did get some more sales during the promo…”
The month totals weren’t’ that different. He explains,
“However, surprisingly, the overall total compared to last month was nearly the same. It looks like people just wait for the sale and don’t buy that much before or after.”
Additionally, they had to pour some extra energy and resources into running the campaigns.
“On top of that, we also worked to promote our Black Friday deal, built a landing page, and did other side tasks required to keep the promo running. So the total cost of the promo was higher.”
So, just because everyone else is doing that doesn’t mean it is a good idea. Sometimes you learn that it isn’t successful, and you have spent your time copying something that isn’t successful.
My friend Steve, the writer of The Freelancer Manifesto Second Edition: 11 Big Ideas to stand out and thrive, often reminds me that sometimes the best thing to do to stand out is to do the opposite of what other businesses are doing.
Of course, it depends on your company’s goals.
Should I have a Black Friday Sale?
I cannot answer that question for you. Most who are reading this article are service providers, although you may sell packaged maintenance services as well.
I typically look at this time of year as a time to reward my tribe. I have given away books and other valuable things.
I have no issue with that. In fact, if you have branded apparel, that would be a great way to celebrate your customers. Others will do client gifts. Gift away!
Many of the vendors you use will have Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Take advantage of them, if you wish.
But don’t discount YOUR value. You can always do something like a discounted or free consulting session for your clients. What a great way to give back and build value.
Sometimes, it is best to see what everyone else is doing and do the opposite. Whether you are giving away gifts or doing discounts, you are still giving something away.
I just want creators to step back and decide if having Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals is the best idea for their business.
I have to remind myself not to discount too much. I have a product to sell, and I want to move it and generate revenue.
You may be better off adding value to the product and not discounting.
Wrapping it up
I said earlier that I will not be offering a discount for the Website Copy Framework for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I have given enough discounts this year.
Over 50 people have purchased my product. I am thrilled! There is so much more that I think can be done. I am looking to add value.
What about you? Are you offering a Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal? Are you doing something for your customers? What are you looking forward to purchasing for Black Friday / Cyber Monday?
Let’s discuss in the MainWP Users Facebook Group.