I dislike the overblown, frenetic, & scarcity-minded ethos of Black Friday. Plus, dignify always has our own one-day, once-a-year sale earlier in November. So: why participate in any of it?!
This is a tension that I have wrestled with over 6 holiday seasons, end every year, I’m back at the drawing board.
This year, we decided that yes, we would offer free shipping over the weekend as a BFCM (industry shorthand for Black Friday/Cyber Monday) bonus. And yes, what led us there was simple economics. It works, it makes money, it makes sense. But, probably not in the same way that you think...
In the world of online retail marketing, email is still King & Queen. It’s intimate, it’s direct, and as a business, you don’t have to pay every time you pop into someone’s inbox (unlike, say, showing an ad on Facebook or elsewhere, where you have to pay every time). This is why you see such common incentives to “Sign Up!” for mailing lists, and why so many retailers give discounts, downloads, or other goodies in exchange for your email address.
We, of course, email on the regular — our Saturday morning “Keep Up” email is a crucial piece of our dignify puzzle. I don’t give any incentive to sign up other than first-to-know access (which, for a shop full of one-of-a-kind items, is indeed a benefit!). But, I use the same “best practices” as any other online brand: I try to create content & provide writing and links that are interesting and appreciated by the audience who is receiving it.
The feedback I hear generally echoes that many of you find this true!
Two years ago, I tried an experiment. Instead of announcing a BFCM deal/bonus, and then trying to promote it & generate sales amidst the Black Friday noise, what if I just used the deal as an incentive for joining the email list?
I promoted this idea — sign up to find out what our Black Friday deal is — and, as a result, there were 120 new subscribers to our weekly email list. How many of them made purchases that weekend? 3. But, how many of those sign-ups purchased sometime over the course of the year? Many more, spending over $2,000. Two years later, the total spent by those BFCM sign-ups is now around $4,500.
I will be doing the same thing this year, this upcoming week. I think that our email content is good, the "Shop Good" message is important, and the conversations we have around here are valuable. And, I want more people to discover this!
I also, of course, want to sell blankets. Not to anyone who can't afford them, or as another item to covet, or to complete the "perfect" home decor. But, to the ones who want them, need them, value them. Yes. Let's keep this good work going.
Any thoughts? Questions? Disagreements? Share them in the comments below.
Dignify’s origin story has long been included, in brief, on our about page, and I refer to it whenever I’ve done interviews or podcasts or if I meet someone in person who inevitably asks, how did you get into this?
I'd like to share a bit of a wider panorama of the story, and an update. I have heard some tremendous stories from customers about the meaning that their blanket has had in some aspect of their life or a relationship. I'm so inspired, I would like to share more of mine, too. The story of dignify is very intertwined with my friend, Kathy.
I've taken a Halloween approach (thus far) that is almost entirely of a free-for-all. As in: Go trick-or-treating, have fun, eat candy, keep it in your room, go wild... and usually by two weeks in, it's all gone, forgotten, or lost its lustre. This week, though, our three kids brought over 1200 candies & chips back into our house (!!!). It was, to understate things... a bit much.
When you find yourself with an abundance of junk food, the idea of throwing it away feels inconceivable (at least for me). Maybe it is that candy is non-perishable, and there is a sense that throwing something edible in the garbage is abhorrently wasteful?
A little behind-the-scenes insight here...
As a store owner, there are loads of resources out in the wilds of the internet, ostensibly to help me succeed in my business. Did you know that I start hearing about Black Friday (as in "are you prepared to break through on Black Friday?") in the summer?
It is SO EASY to find ourselves as consumers in the maelstrom of other people's (and corporations') marketing efforts, and not even remember how we got there, or even notice these (very intentional) forces working away on us.
Here are some actions we can take now to simplify the noise before the noisiest time of the shopping year: —