Black Friday and Cyber Monday are by far the biggest retail days of the year. Last year, retail shoppers reportedly spent over $4.45 billion between Thanksgiving and Black Friday alone. Cyber Monday saw an additional $3.07 billion in retail sales, according to the Adobe Digital Index. For most retail businesses, the combined three days feel like Christmas and a miniature Armageddon all wrapped in a profitable package.
But how do B2B businesses leverage Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events to their advantage? As a B2B business, you are in a unique position, regardless of the product or service you offer. Ultimately, you have two customers: the business and the customers they target. Your services, either directly or indirectly, must appeal to both—which is no small marketing challenge.
In the case of a B2B Black Friday plan, you’ll need to be more proactive than ever before, and your most fruitful approach will be finding ways to arm your retail clients for the onslaught of shopping mayhem that will descend on their stores during those Black Friday and Cyber Monday events.
Unlike B2C, B2B businesses rarely consider the profitability of Black Friday. Taking a proactive approach in developing a plan for this time of year can give you an edge over your competitor. First you may need to do a little research. Reach out to your customer’s in advance, ask specific questions – “Is there anything we can do to help take any burden off the next few weeks? Were there any issues you faced last year that we may be able to address now?” – Asking the right questions can help everyone process the details and begin to anticipate the demand over the next month.
Try Different Marketing Tactics
Whether your primary marketing tactics utilize email, social media, or Google AdWords, this season may be time to try a different tactic in either the quality, offer, or format of your marketing. For B2B businesses marketing to retail, figure out the most useful product or service you can provide your client, and help them get through their own Black Friday. Then, offer your own discounts or sales tactics to reel in a new contract, referrals, or draw in additional business.
One B2B owner actually offered a free seminar, just one out of the series she normally provides, and found that 41 percent of the individuals who signed up had no previous exposure to her brand.
Adjust to the Needs of Your Clients
One of the core elements in business is anticipating and predicting your customers’ needs. For instance, an overabundance of sales-targeted emails are probably slamming into your clients’ inboxes as you read this. And they’re probably ignoring most, if not all of those messages in a bid for self-preservation and sanity.
Find a way to connect with them through the noise. Step around them, offer solutions, make phone calls to standing clients, and consider creative discount programs to get them engaged. Give a gift. Throw a party. Spread festivity and cheer—and make sure your brand reaches those who can appreciate it most.
Communicate Holiday Availability
Another consideration this time of year: vacation schedules or extended-hour services. Make sure your clients know when you’ll be available. Obviously, they need to be aware if they can’t call on you during a scheduled vacation period. Even more, they need to know if they can should an emergency occur. Depending on the nature of your business, your B2B Black Friday fortune could be made or lost because of availability.
Because B2B businesses vary widely, the best approach for a B2B Black Friday strategy is going to require more creativity than the average retailer. Most importantly, don’t chalk this up as a wasted holiday for your business. Whether you realize it or not, there are business owners out there who need what you have to offer. They just need a little incentive.
About the Author – Ashley Choate is a native of Jacksonville, FL where she lives with her son, dog, and three cats. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Jacksonville University with a BA in English and holds an MAED in Adult Education and Training. She lives for reading and writing, learning and teaching, and figuring out the day-to-day traumas and joys of mommyhood. .
Top Photo Courtesy of Google CC.