Hi everyone,

In this post I thought I’d share how Cinnamon and I sold $14,544 dollars worth of craft items on Black Friday – and over $21,000 in the four day period from Black Friday to Cyber Monday – and how we achieved it without putting all of our products on deep discount or damaging our long-term sales.

Oh, and feel free to pin this image so other crafters and artisans can see this post…

black friday blueprint

Personal Sidenote #1 -For the entire first year of our online business (2008) we only sold $12,000 in products. And for our second year we sold right at that same amount. So we did $24,000 for the first two years of our craft business. Doing almost that much in one weekend feels very crazy.

Personal Sidenote #2 – I’m not sharing this to brag, or show-off. In fact, we debated sharing this at all. But we truly want to help the craft & artisan community learn to sell more and so we thought we’d explain how we approach Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Black Friday Sales Result: 

On Black Friday 2015 we sold $14,544 worth of craft related supplies, classes, and digital items on our primary website. From Friday through Monday we sold over $21,500 worth of products and transacted 6,700 orders. We had 17,801 unique visitors to our website and they visited 24,026 times over the four day period. Here is our shopping cart screenshot:

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 7.51.38 AM
[Special Offer sidenote – since you’re reading this – just an fyi, as part of the lead up to our January 2016 Craft Business Academy I am giving away free paperback copies of our #1 bestselling book, Craft Business Power from now until January 3rd, 2016. The book explains exactly how we run our business – you might want to get a free copy before the offer expires.]

Black Friday Planning:

Step #1 Research : To prepare for Black Friday 2015 we wanted to look at several factors and make sure that we created a successful promotional offer, which could carry over to Cyber Monday as well. We reviewed the following:

  • Last Year: what we had done for Black Friday 2014 and noted the timing of the product launches, the duration of the sales, and the specific items we sold.
  • Best Day Ever: We also reviewed our largest sales day as a company, (May 2015) and reviewed how we had achieved that outcome.
  • Inventory On-Hand: We reviewed what inventory we had in stock and the quantity of each item available. We also looked at any promotional items we had, even very small items like branded pens and buttons.
  • New Products Ready To Launch: We also started considering which items we had ready to launch and whether we should include them in the Black Friday promotion.

Step #2 Goal Setting: Although it might seem obvious, we wanted to make sure we achieved certain goals for Black Friday and avoid some things as well. Here is what that list looked like:

  • Best Day Ever. Our revenue goal was simple – we wanted to have the best day ever. We started talking about whether we could have a $50,000 dollar Black Friday to Cyber Monday weekend. Although we didn’t come close to that number, we at least pondered how it could mathematically happen.
  • Promotion – Not Pricing Damage. We also wanted to make sure that we didn’t create a perception that on Black Fridays we were going to give everything away to generate sales, or that we were desperate. In particular, we were very aware that our core product, digitally downloaded patterns, needed to be protected from the perception of price erosion. So we didn’t want to have any “blanket” coupons or “everything is on sale” type marketing. Our goal was to get people to show up to our website via a few special offers – so that they would buy our core product at the regular prices.
  • Display Something New: We have a special new product that we wanted to prominently feature on Black Friday so our customers became aware of it. It was our “Sew Along With Cinnamon” video product. It is an upsell product, so we needed to find a way to promote the product that would create the opportunity to present the upsell.

Step #3 Lots Of Coffee: Cinnamon and I brainstormed this entire thing on the Monday night prior to Black Friday at Starbucks. We didn’t start months ahead of time or anything, although I’m sure if we had the outcome would have been even better. We simply took out a piece of paper, started mapping things out, doing the research, reminding ourselves what we had done before, discussing what we didn’t want to do, and dreaming about the possibilities. In these caffeine induced trances we debate a lot. She’ll propose something and I say, “no because…”. Then I’ll propose something and she’ll say, “no because…”. Over the course of a couple hours we can usually settle on a good way forward. 

Black Friday Offer Creation:

Step #4 Offer Creation: Based on the research and goal setting we came up with the following offers. You can see the full sales page we used here. As you can see, this wasn’t overly fancy. You’ll also notice that we centered our promotions around our online classes. The reason is fairly simple – they have the highest prices and can therefore be discounted most easily. We just told people what we had for them. It included six deals. A couple of the deals were only for Black Friday, but several were for the entire Black Friday to Cyber Monday four day period. 

  1. A high priced product bundle of several of our classes with bonuses for purchasing the “big ticket” item. Sale price, $248. These would normally cost $391, so it was positioned as a big savings, and it was. But it also challenged customers to spend a large amount of money. I call this the Costco Strategy because I learned it from Jim Senegal, founder of Costco. [More on that in sidenote #3 below]
  2. A one-day only half-off offer on our upcoming Craft Business Academy, normally $199, but on-sale for just $99. (which you should take btw).
  3. A Free-Gift with purchase (of $49 or more) offer on our Pixie Packs (cut fabric and supplies). This allowed us to generate sales on a lot of our existing inventory that we were hoping to sell.
  4. A discount on one of our oldest online classes which we had re-created to be an “on-demand” class instead of a month-long training program.
  5. A Brand new pattern half-off. We launched the Ginza Girl Coat at a half off price. The normal price was $8.99 and we were offering it for $4.50. With it we also launched our new “Sewing With Cinnamon” video as an upsell on this product. We marked down the video from a “regular” price of $9.99 to just $2.99.
  6. A discount of $20 on our Couture Sewing Academy. 

Sidenote #3 – Costco Pricing Strategy. I learned this when I was attending a presentation by Jim Senegal, the founder of Costco. Someone asked him, “why don’t you have small bottles of Aspirin?” His response was incredibly simple, “because if I did – customers would buy it.” That night I got a lesson in Costco pricing, which is – offer people an amazing deal, but design it to be on a large item.

Black Friday Offer Marketing:

Step #5 Marketing The Offer: After we had our offer list nailed down. We brainstormed how to package it and spread the word. We had six offers on our list – so we decided to call it our “6 Amazing Deals” promotion. We really didn’t do any “special” advertising or promotion beyond what we frequently do already. We promoted it in the following “normal” ways.

  • On a page on our website where we described the 6 Amazing Deals.
  • On Our Homepage Slider, which took people to the page on our website. After Black Friday was over we simply changed the graphic to say “Cyber Monday”. 
  • In our Newsletter, which again took people to the page on our website. We did send out a special newsletter on Monday to give people the “final chance”.
  • On our Facebook page(s) and groups, again pointing people to the offer page.
  • Via “Boosted” Facebook ads, again taking people to the offer page. In total we spent $309.53 on boosted Facebook Ads.

Black Friday Execution:

Step #6 Actually Setting It Up: Once we had our plan decided upon we began constructing the single page on the site that documented the offers. Look at it here. That page served as our “official copy” which we simply repeated in the newsletter and places like Facebook. As you can see, that page isn’t overly fancy, professional, or image intensive. Nor is it even very long or complicated. After we had that done we simply recycled the information into our newsletters. Finally, we had to go into our system and make the special offers effective. Some of that we could schedule ahead of time, but some of it required us to stay up until Midnight and make changes. Truthfully, we didn’t do anything special or overly dramatic in terms of executing this gameplan. 

Here is a little back-of-the-napkin summary of our blueprint, which you can print out and save for next year.

Black Friday Blueprint

 

Summary Of Blueprint

In hindsight we could have done a lot of things better. We could have planned earlier. We could have gotten more (and better) promotional items to give as “free gifts with purchase”. We could have spent a lot more on advertising. These are all lessons learned that we can apply next time. But overall – the plan worked. So in summary the blueprint we’re suggesting is:

  1. Research.
  2. Goal setting.
  3. Caffeine (ideally at a fun coffeeshop). 
  4. Offer Creation based on the results of 1,2 and 3.
  5. Offer promotion (aka marketing strategy).
  6. Executing the game plan (aka doing the actual work to set up the offers and arrange the details). 

I’d imagine that this blueprint can be used any time throughout the year to plan any special promotional effort.

We hope your next promotion is a massive success!

Jason & Cinnamon

Ps. For those of you interested in learning more – and turning your craft business into a thriving company – then you really should get a free paperback copy of Craft Business Power – before January 3rd, 2016. It is really a much deeper discussion of a lot of the things mentioned in this post. All we’re asking is that you cover shipping & handling and we’ll send it out to you for free. No strings attached. In Craft Business Power you’ll learn:

  • Our Goal Setting Technique that is ideal for your 2016 planning.
  • The “Brand Builder’s Blueprint” we’ve used to create a thriving business.
  • Our “Product Stacking Methodology” that takes your work from a single product to multiple products – all leading to greater sales.
  • Our 13 Pricing Strategies that enable you to take control of your situation and ensure you get a good outcome.
  • Our proven product photography and copywriting methods.
  • Our product launch strategy that we’ve used over and over since 2008 to get dramatic results.