Traditionally, Black Friday has favored huge companies that have deep pockets for huge discounts and splashy advertising campaigns. This doesn't mean, however, that companies of more modest size can't use Black Friday to goose up your yearly revenue.
Here are some sales strategy suggestions that could work for any company, regardless of size:
1. Hand write a personal note to your best clients.
In almost every business, 20% of your clients are responsible for 80% of your business. In many business, the skew is steeper. These top clients are obviously important, so if you'll be offering deals on Black Friday, you should just as obviously give those clients a heads-up. And, as heads-ups go, nothing builds a stronger customer relationship (or is more likely to result in a sale) than a handwritten, hand-addressed note.
2. Hold an invitation-only Black Friday event.
In media markets, "counter-programming," means ceding a large segment of the audience to a major event and instead focusing on the subset of the audience who are unlikely to be interested in that major event. (Example: scheduling a Mozart concert during the Super Bowl is likely to get a bigger audience than an also-ran show competing for the Super Bowl audience.) Since most people associate Black Friday with big crowds and crazy behavior, a counter-programming strategy would be an invitation-only event, perhaps positioned as a respite from the craziness.
3. Create a Black Friday registration list.
A known limitation of Black Friday (from a sales perspective) is that it's a one-and-done. Therefore, if you're expecting extra traffic (in your online or physical store), it behooves you to capture some data about that traffic that you can use for subsequent marketing campaigns. Make it short, sweet and simple, like: "Want Black Friday prices all year round? Join our free Black Friday club." Or something of the sort.
4. Schedule a Twitter countdown.
Because it doesn't require much investment, Twitter has a huge (but largely untapped) potential as a strategic sales tool, especially when tweets are timed to support a specific event. For example, when I published my most recent book, I scheduled tweets for once a day for the month before publication, then once an hour for the 24 hours before publication, and then once every 10 minutes for the final hour before publication. It drove a lot of sales! However, this "rolling thunder" strategy risks irritating your Twitter following, it should only be executed once a year or so. Since Black Friday is a once-a-year event, it's a pretty good candidate for playing this card.
5. Close the sales window even further.
Black Friday works as a marketing tactic because it creates artificial scarcity as in "buy now before these INCREDIBLE prices GO AWAY!!!!!!" That scarcity, in turn, creates demand for a product, even when there's no objective reason to want the product. (Famous example: when the Pontiac brand was retired, there was a run on the existing inventory.) Since you're going to play the scarcity game with Black Friday, why not play it more aggressively? Hold a "Black Friday Noon To One Sale" or a series of "Ten Minute Black Friday Super Sales." Ideally, you can keep your customers on tenterhooks throughout the day, snapping up super-duper deals before they're "gone for good."