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By Jessica Elliott Updated on September 9, 2022

11 Black Friday Ideas for Small Businesses You Can’t Be Without

Black Friday sees the most shoppers in stores and online, according to the NRF (National Retail Federation), with 66.5 million and 88 million shoppers, respectively, in 2021. 

How can you make the most of this foremost shopping day? 

Ultimately, the best Black Friday ideas for small businesses deliver excellent deals and, most importantly, spread news of your sales event. 

Use the following Black Friday marketing ideas to capture attention and drive people to your website and store.

1. Showcase Small Businesses on Black Friday

When we think of Black Friday, images of crowded big-box stores come to mind. But you may ask yourself, “Does Black Friday actually help small businesses?”

It sure does! Not only does Black Friday increase foot and web traffic leading to more small business sales, but many consumers will go out of their way to  “shop small.”

Here are ways to raise awareness about your small business Black Friday event:

  • Partner with local brick-and-mortar stores: Team up with small businesses and host a scavenger hunt while highlighting the best deals at each location. 
  • Create a small business guide: Ask social media fans to leave a comment with a link to their favorite physical or online retailer. Turn their remarks into a guide for shoppers.
  • Make it personal: Introduce your employees, share stories about your company’s commitment to the community and give people reasons to shop at your small business.

2. Deliver a Custom In-Store Experience

Stand out from big-box retailers by creating unique in-store experiences for your customers. Personalize the Black Friday shopping experience by:

  • Having live music during certain shopping hours
  • Creating cozy spaces for customers to interact with friends and family
  • Designing Instagrammable photo opportunities
  • Offering food or drinks in convenient to-go cups and containers

A group of people form a line outside a small shop with a big “Black Friday Sale” sign in the window as the shop owner opens the door from inside to welcome shoppers.

3. Share a Black Friday Promotion Hourly

Publishing a list of your best deals early helps people plan their day. But, a well-timed promotion sent via text and shared on social media can drive in-store and online sales

Pick the channel used by most of your Black Friday shoppers and use it to amplify your Black Friday promotion every hour. Choose a mix of items and share them when your targeted age group typically shops on Black Friday. Get market research by conducting polls on social media, short message service (SMS) and email. 

According to Deloitte’s 2021 Pre-Thanksgiving Pulse survey, the following are shopping categories where out-of-stock items are anticipated during the holiday season, suggesting their purchasing popularity:

  • Electronics and accessories (49%)
  • Toy and hobbies (35%)
  • Home and kitchen  (22%)
  • Food and beverage (21%)
  • Clothing and accessories (20%)
  • Health and wellness (16%)
  • Pet (9%)

Other top gift purchases include gift cards and health and beauty products (including sporting goods). 

4. Prioritize Loyal Customers on Black Friday

What is Black Friday marketing without your loyal customers? For some businesses, repeat shoppers make up the bulk of their sales. It costs less to retain a customer than attract a new one, so consider spending some of your Black Friday marketing budget on delighting existing clients.

Entice those familiar with your products or services by:

  • Sharing day-of deals via your loyalty program
  • Sending exclusive offers through email
  • Providing in-store coupons and online discount codes 
  • Inviting customers to get a sneak peek at your Black Friday deals

5. Use Persuasive Promotional Techniques

Let’s face it: Most people shop on Black Friday to get the best deals.

So much so that the NRF says limited-time promotions or sales give 36% of people a reason to “make a purchase they were otherwise hesitant about.”

Black Friday marketing ideas include:

  • Offering buy one, get one free or reduced-price promotions
  • Packaging an assortment of items as a product bundle
  • Giving a free gift with every purchase
  • Providing free shipping or curbside pickup 
  • Developing a cashback promotion
  • Letting customers choose a stocking stuffer with each purchase

6. Build Excitement With a Giveaway

Giveaways, instant win games and sweepstakes are among the best Black Friday marketing ideas because they’re interactive and convenient for consumers. Use them to collect information about your target market and increase email or SMS subscription sign-ups. 

You can host a giveaway in the days leading up to your Black Friday event and run a sweepstake on the day itself. For pre-Black Friday promotions, use your giveaway posts to add value for shoppers. 

Here’s how:

  • Choose the prize: Use your brand’s products, partner with other small businesses to give a larger reward, include a gift card or bundle various retail goods or miniature versions. 
  • Create a landing page: Stick with your Black Friday marketing campaign aesthetics for designing and writing a compelling headline. Add an optional email or SMS sign-up checkbox or a disclaimer saying every entry is automatically signed up.
  • Design and schedule social media posts: Attract more giveaway entrants by using value-added social media posts, such as a product comparison infographic or customer poll. Use a solid call to action for participants to enter the giveaway and get Black Friday alerts automatically.

If you run a giveaway or sweepstakes on Black Friday, consider going live on Facebook or Instagram when selecting winners. On the other hand, you could go live to announce your hourly promotion and tell fans how to enter your giveaway.

7. Optimize Your Ecommerce Site

While website optimization may not be at the top of your list for Black Friday marketing ideas, it’s a vital component of holiday sales. 

Keep in mind that 74% of holiday shoppers prefer to buy online, according to Publicis Sapient survey. Additionally, because 75% of the NRF survey respondents used a mobile device to conduct product research, compare prices or make purchases, a mobile-optimized site is a must-have. Plus, an easy-to-use website or app is a key reason 21% of shoppers buy a product they might have been unsure of purchasing otherwise.

Take these steps to ensure your Black Friday marketing pays off:

  • Use inventory software with real-time capabilities
  • Assess and improve the shopping cart experience
  • Double-check any details that may have changed since last year
  • Analyze and correct any issues relating to mobile use
  • Consider using a chatbot to point people to product category pages
  • Review your website’s search tool and increase its functionality when possible

8. Leverage Sales and Marketing Channels

Why is Black Friday marketing important? Because it increases awareness about your brand and deals resulting in higher sales. Getting the word out early and frequently helps consumers decide where to shop and what to buy. 

Holiday shoppers often find information about promotions and deals in these ways:

  • Retailer emails and text messages 
  • Social media posts
  • Advertising circulars
  • Online search engines

Take advantage of every tool available to get the word out about your Black Friday deals. 

Prepare your marketing arsenal by making a list of power words for selling during Black Friday and finding hashtags related to the holiday. Make sure to research the hashtags on each social media channel, as usage and popularity may vary among them.

Next, create assets and publish them in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. You also can use a social media scheduling tool to reduce time spent on the big day. 

Build anticipation and amplify your Black Friday promotion by:

  • Developing an SMS marketing campaign related to Black Friday deals
  • Creating product, category and promotion-specific landing pages
  • Writing buyer’s guides and blog posts comparing products
  • Finding ways to share consumer reviews and recommendations
  • Designing email drip campaigns for each market segment
  • Building social media campaigns tailored to customers on each channel

9. Get Your Staff Involved

Customers want to know you treat your staff well, many looking to support small businesses that make a difference in local communities. 

Your team can help promote your Black Friday sales and even be incentivized to share their own stories about working for your company. 

Help your staff spread the word by:

  • Providing special shopping hours and discounts for your employees
  • Offering early-bird shopping tickets for your team’s friends and family
  • Encouraging them to forward an employee email with a unique online discount code
  • Creating Black Friday-related photos and videos involving your staff
  • Giving employees rewards for sharing marketing assets on their social media pages
  • Designing a campaign that highlights the good you do for retail or essential workers

10. Promote Gift Card Purchases

Blackhawk Network’s 2021 Holiday Shopping Forecast found 83% of survey respondents preferred giving gift cards instead of physical gifts. In addition, they planned to buy 15 cards on average, spending 41% of their holiday gifting budget on gift cards.

Promote your gift cards with the following Black Friday marketing ideas:

  • Give a $5-$10 gift card with every $50 gift card purchase
  • Ensure every gift card purchase gets an entry into a grand prize giveaway
  • Allow customers who buy 2 or more gift cards to get a free stocking stuffer of their choice
  • For one day only, let customers earn loyalty points on gift card purchases

11. Encourage Customers to Treat Themselves

While Black Friday is a crucial time to buy holiday gifts, it’s hard to pass up a little something extra for yourself. Actually, 21% of Americans shop for themselves on Black Friday and 18% on Cyber Monday.

You can focus on your customer by:

  • Creating a quiz that identifies the best gift for them based on budget, hobbies or dreams
  • Offering buy now, pay later options
  • Developing top 10 lists for your target market, highlighting the biggest Black Friday deals for self-care and self-gifting 
  • Letting customers skip the line with buy online, pick up in-store or curbside delivery options
  • Providing contactless payment methods, such as Apple Pay or Venmo

Increase Your Black Friday Small Business Sales

Prepare your business for holiday sales and devise creative campaigns to win over the Black Friday crowd. Don’t hesitate to tout your small business status and leverage every marketing channel. With a solid plan and purposeful actions, you can hit your seasonal goals (and then some).


Jessica is a business-to-business content strategist and consultant with 24 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. She writes about technology, marketing and finance.
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