Cyber MondayFrom Black Friday to Cyber Monday – The Sales are On!

I’m sure you’ve all heard of black Friday and cyber Monday. Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving as we call it here in the United States. According to Wikipedia, the term was coined in Philadelphia. So many US companies would give their employees the Friday after Thanksgiving off, that it caused a massive and usually disruptive surge in vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the city of brotherly love. The term Black Friday was used publicly in 1961 in Philly, and was not a term of endearment used by the police force there, because of the inevitable disruptions that happened. But eventually, the term began to see a broader use around the country circa 1975, along the lines of shopping and shopping sprees that would occur because so many people didn’t have to go to work that day. Now, I had always heard that the name happened because it’s the day that US retailers head back into “the black” or into profit on the balance sheet. Some retailers generate all of their profit for the year during the Christmas shopping season, which officially begins on Black Friday. But no matter how the name came about, it stuck. So if you have successfully survived Black Friday intact, I commend you.

Since Black Friday was for the big box retailers, in 2010, American Express conceived Small Business Saturday. The intent was to encourage shoppers to spend money with my people, the local brick and mortar, small businesses. AMEX publicized this effort via social media and worked in conjunction with local politicians around the nation. The Twitter hashtags for the event are  #SmallBusinessSaturday and #smallbizsaturday. The shopping holiday was promoted for it’s third year this past weekend and I think it’s a great idea.

Yesterday was Cyber Monday which is the marketing term for the Monday after Black Friday.

This event was created to encourage shoppers to spend money online. The term was first used in the 2005 shopping season. In 2011, comScore reported that consumers spent one and a quarter Billion dollars online on cyber Monday, excluding travel spending. It’s the highest spending day of the year for online retailers which cements the concept of cyber Monday for ecommerce stores in the same way Black Friday has stuck for big box brick and mortar retailers. Ecommerce is the term we use for electronic commerce or buying goods online. Now, all big box retailers have ecommerce portals in addition to brick and mortar locations and participate in both Black Friday and Cyber Monday with marketing campaigns aimed at getting shoppers to spend.

And all of this leads me to this idea. I want to make sure that you have one action that you can take today, that will help you grow your business even further. Actionable information is useful information. True?

While Black Friday and Small Business Saturday have passed and Cyber Monday has just wrapped up, you should make note of these phenomenon and what they could mean to your business in the future. If you are like my clients, you own a small to mid sized business. Black Friday may not be the day that you can really cash in on the Christmas shopping season.

Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday should stake a claim in your marketing calendar next year.

This year, keep ads that your neighboring businesses and competitors have put out as part of these shopping spree-designated days and put them in a folder for future reference. Check their websites to see what kind of specials they are running, if any at all.

Piggy backing on the marketing dollars of larger companies helps you get your message out further on a much tighter budget. Everyone and their dog have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is fast becoming a known entity in marketing too. It won’t be long before Small Business Saturday takes root as well. Using nationally favored marketing practices and piggy backing on them help you appeal to a larger target market. There are many creative and inexpensive ways to cash in on these big marketing endeavors that larger companies spend a tremendous amount of their marketing budget on every year. Why not let your customers and clients know early that your Small Business Saturday is going to put Black Friday to shame. Tell them that if they really like your Small Business Saturday, wait until they see your Cyber Monday. Capiche?

Social media is a great and inexpensive tool to create buzz on the back of these nationally marketed phrases and campaigns.  So watch the competition and the neighbors now to get ideas. Keep a folder of those ideas and next October open that puppy up and dig in. Find the ideas that resonate with you and will resonate with your patrons so you can cash in next holiday and make your business’ Black Friday through Cyber Monday Rock!