Black FridayThe holiday season is just about upon us. From here, the rest of the year will zip by. Whether you’re in retail or not, you can use the upcoming Black Friday event to market your business. Here’s how.

1. Hold a Special Sale. Even if you’re in business services, hosting a Black Friday sale can help you kick up sales right after Thanksgiving. But if you’re B2B, keep in mind that most people aren’t working on Black Friday, so they’ll be less likely to be online to notice your promotion. Consider offering a Cyber Monday sale, or extending your Black Friday Offer into the following week. Aim for deep discounts on services you can afford to lose some profit on, in the hopes that new customers will pick up other offerings as well.

2. Partner With another Company. If you’re new to the Black Friday game, find a partner that has already established a following for the shopping holiday, and tie an offer to that company’s sale. For example, if an office supply store slashes prices on paper products the Friday after Thanksgiving, throw in a deep discount on your printing company’s services if customers buy a certain number of products.

3. Make Up Your Own Holiday. With many retailers beginning to offer deals days or even weeks before Black Friday, many companies are coming up with their own designated day for deep discounts. Doing so might help you avoid competing with the retailer selling televisions for $50.

4. Use Social Media. Especially if you sell products or services online, sites like Twitter and Facebook will be your best friends this month. Start promoting your sale long before it happens, and tie in an email campaign to existing customers. Then send a flurry of status updates the day of the sale, linking directly to the products you’ve marked down.

5. Hold a Contest. People love winning things, and Black Friday is a great opportunity to hold a contest. You could offer an additional discount to anyone who shares a link to your sale, or have social media followers answer trivia questions to win a prize. Black Friday is a festive (but serious) day for many shoppers, so adding in an element of competition can help you connect with customers and get them to spread the word about your promotion for you.

If you don’t have enough time this year to really plan out your Black Friday strategy, start planning for next year. And as the years pass, determine which strategies work best, and which you can stop investing in. You’ll soon come onto a formula that works for your small business.

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