When I started blogging about money seven years ago, I decided Black Friday was a capitalistic monster that caused people to binge on overconsumption. In my 22-year-old mind, it was an evil conspiracy to keep people broke. In retrospect, I didn't have the right mindset about it.

I was quite the idealistic activist back then. I was also really young, broke and didn't yet understand that people can do whatever they want with their money. After all, who am I to judge?

Fast forward a few years and I'm a business owner who uses Black Friday marketing successfully. And while I still have some bones to pick with Black Friday, I've realized it's not all bad.

My Black Friday Experiment

Because I'd always been anti-Black Friday, I never tried to use it to make money. In my mind, I'd be acting like an "evil" corporation if I did that.

After writing about Black Friday for a content marketing client, I decided to run an experiment with my email list. I wrote a quick email where I let them know about some of my favorite affiliate products that were on sale. These products were mostly business classes. I also created discounts for my monthly membership site which has business content they can learn from.

Since I didn't put any thought into this, and because I was mostly selling training and education, I thought no one was going to buy anything. Well, I couldn't have been more wrong.

The truth is people are ready to spend on Black Friday. While many are buying tech gadgets or spending money on things I deem as a waste, there are those out there who are holding out for deals on business education so they can improve their lives.

This isn't overconsumption or manipulation. They were just being smart shoppers just like I would be if I knew a sale was coming. If this was how I could help people and get paid in the process, then I was all for it.

Lesson learned.

How to Get The Most Out Of Your Black Friday Marketing

Even though I was basically conducting one giant experiment last year, I still picked up on some things that I will implement from now on. The truth is I'm still making money from my last Black Friday sale and there's a good reason why.

Offer a product that gives you recurring revenue.

One of the reasons I'm still making money from last Black Friday is because one of the products I offered was a monthly membership site. That means I've had a year of recurring revenue from students who joined when I sent out that email.

This one was the biggest surprise of all simply because I didn't expect anyone would join just based off of one email. Now I know to try this promotion again this year.

Extend the sale.

When I noticed how popular the membership site was on Black Friday, I decided to extend the sale. My marketing hat immediately came on and I sent emails to my list telling them the sale was extended to the end of the week.

Each day, I sent them an email with the same message, "You have until the end of the week to join at this price. After that it doubles." In doing so, I was able to get those customers who perhaps hadn't seen my Black Friday or Cyber Monday emails.

Use scarcity.

Marketing is basically human psychology. Sometimes, as a business owner, you need to know that psychology in order to get people to move. For the most part, people aren't going to move on their own. That's why there is no such thing as "Build it and they will come."

One of the ways to get them to move is to use scarcity. That looks like shutting the doors to an offering after a certain date or offering deadlines on deep discounts. Both of these work like a charm.

The key is you have to keep your word. If you said the price was going to increase, then do it. If you said you were shutting the doors, shut them. Otherwise, people are going to start calling your bluff and lose their trust. If they don't trust you, they won't buy from you.

Final Thoughts

Black Friday is one of those things you can bank on to make some money, but only if you know what you are doing. Regardless of what you are selling, your market is ready to spend that day. Help them improve their lives with your product by using Black Friday as a part of your marketing strategy.

Published on: Oct 18, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.