As we draw closer to the holiday season, more and more deals and discounts are popping up in physical stores and online retailers. In just a few more weeks, sales will kick in for one of the biggest shopping days of the year: Black Friday.
Black Friday deals were traditionally used by product-based businesses with physical inventory they were trying to sell. But many service-based businesses don’t want to miss out on the Black Friday action! The challenge is determining if offering Black Friday sales will be a successful strategy for those of us that sell services rather than products.
Our hot take: Generally, service-based businesses should not discount their services for Black Friday deals. In this blog, we’ll explain why that’s the case – and what the one exception might be for all you service-based business owners.
Black Friday–and the following holiday season–is not the ideal time to promote or launch a new service offering. Since every other business out there is working hard to show off its offers and discounts on Black Friday (and throughout the holidays), your message will likely be lost in the noise. Large retailers are sending more emails, promoting more ads on social media, and ramping up content to capitalize on consumers during this, traditionally, high-spend time of year.
If your fresh offer gets lost in the sea of content (which it likely will), then is it worth it to develop a launch plan for this time of year? Or should you hold off until the new year? The last few months of the year are not the best time to build new awareness about your latest offer! Instead, wait until the holiday season has passed, and people will be able to give your new services the consideration they deserve.
Consider this: Do you want to create, launch & promote a new service offering during the holiday season? (Quick tip: Launches require a lot of energy, time, and focus) Most business owners use the last few weeks of Q4 to reflect, set new goals, and spend time with family. Competing with retailers during Black Friday to get a new message across may not be the best use of your time as a service-based business owner.
Many service providers consider offering Black Friday deals on their services. For example, a copywriter might want to offer a website copy audit for half-off, or a Dubsado expert might want to offer a Dubsado set-up package for 30% off.
I implore you to not fall into this trap.
As a service provider, you exchange money for your time, energy, and expertise. Discounting your rate means you’re discounting your time and your knowledge. Working at a rate you wouldn’t normally be comfortable with isn’t fair to you or your business goals.
Plus, offering discounted services during the holiday season–when you’re bound to be spending time with your loved ones–might cause resentment, burnout, and frustration when fulfilling those services.
Instead, continue with your normal scope of work and rates, acknowledging the approaching holidays in a way that doesn’t sell yourself short. You shouldn’t need to offer Black Friday deals or other holiday specials just to draw in your audience’s attention. Hopefully, you already have it! If you’re still working on a comprehensive marketing plan, check out our blog on building a marketing funnel for your business.
While typically it’s not a good idea for service-based businesses to offer Black Friday discounts, there is one case where it can be useful for your business.
If you have a passive offer that’s already in your offer suite, and your audience already knows about this offer, Black Friday could be a good opportunity to offer a reduced price.
If you sell a product like a course, an ebook, or a downloadable resource as part of your business, mapping out a plan to promote a discount on these around Black Friday can work in your favor!
But let’s be clear–this isn’t an offer you’re going to develop. You shouldn’t create or launch something specifically for a Black Friday discount. You should only discount an offer that already exists, that you’ve already promoted, and that your audience is already aware of and loves. At this point, a discount is just helping you convince some of your target customers to double down and finally make the purchase. Maybe a holiday deal is what it takes to snag their attention and make the purchase.
Service providers should avoid discounting any service offerings for Black Friday or holiday sales, since it really means you’re marking down your time–during a season when time is especially precious.
The one exception is marking down the price of a digital product you’ve had in your offer suite for a while and that your audience is well aware of. Feel free to discount any passive offers that don’t take your time to deliver (i.e. not a service)! The holiday season can be an excellent opportunity to set up your passive offer as a low-hanging fruit to encourage customers to convert.
(And there’s a bonus to this! It’s easier to sell to a previous customer than a new one. If you can use this Black Friday deal to get new leads into your customer base, then you can properly nurture them and upsell them into one of your *not discounted* services later on.)
It’s not always easy to decide when or how to launch a product, introduce a new service, or promote your offer suite with discounts and deals. Our full-service marketing, operations, and development services are perfect for giving you a comprehensive roadmap to decide these whens and hows. Send us a message, and we’d love to chat about how best to transform your business.