Business Strategy

How to Maximize Your Holiday Sale Revenue

Tips on how to maximize the revenue from your holiday sales - from promotion to affiliates to leveraging FOMO, make the most out of your holiday promotions with these strategies!

It’s the most wonderful SALE time of the year.

You might have planned a black friday / cyber monday / pre-holiday / post-holiday sale in hopes of giving your customers a treat – and let’s be real – also in hopes of ending the year with more money in the bank!

But sometimes sales don’t go as well as you’d hoped. You put the offer out into the world thinking people are DEFINITELY going to take advantage of it… and then crickets. Or maybe you get a couple more orders than normal, but it’s not the outcome you had hoped for.

Some people might tell you to not run sales / not discount whatever you are selling….

I am not one of those people.

I think sales or special promotions can be a great way to boost your revenue / get rid of excess inventory / incentivize your customers to take action… but there’s more to a sale than creating a discount code and sending an email or posting about it on social media.

In the past I’ve run Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales on physical products, digital products, and online courses and November / December are usually my highest earning income months of the year! This year was was a bit exceptional in that I had my biggest revenue driving sale ever… I earned what would be equal to about 2 months of my “normal” recurring income in just 1 weekend – without launching anything new! 

Ok #RealTalk – the week before Thanksgiving I ended up getting super sick and having about 5 million tech issues. I didn’t do as much as I wanted to do to prep for my sales, and I definitely ended up working on Thanksgiving Day for a few hours… but overall I’m happy with the way things went. In 4 days, I ended up earning almost 3x more than my original sales goal, so I’ve done some reflecting on what I did right / what I could have done better because you best believe I’m going to set even higher goals for the next holiday sale season!

Tips to maximize your holiday sale revenue (and what not to do)! 

1) Know your customers 

For a sale to be effective, you have to know what your customers want – is it a % off discount, free shipping, a value-based offer like a bundle or bonus, etc? Don’t just assume that the offer you want to make is the one that people want… if you’ve run sales or promotions in the past, make sure you’re keeping track of which ones were more successful than others. If you’re not sure what your customers want, ask them. Run customer surveys or Instagram polls or straight up just ASK people would they would prefer. Just because a particular sale worked well for another business doesn’t mean it will work for you!

On that note, I’m also going to say that while doing what has worked before is generally a good idea… sometimes trying something new is even better. This year I wanted to do a promotion with a $199 price point, but I knew my audience is more likely to buy something when the price point is under $100 – so I tried 2 different sales. Ultimately the $199 sale resulted in more revenue (even though the total number of sales was lower) because the price point was significantly higher! BUT I also knew that a lot of my customers didn’t like paying recurring fees so offering a 1 time payment for a lifetime membership was something that appealed to them!

2) Build up excitement

Similar to how brands build excitement before a big launch, you can built anticipation around your sales. Letting your audience know ahead of time that there will be a sale can help them plan ahead from both a time and budget perspective, and it also gives them time to think about what they want to buy. You can share the specific details of your sale or keep them a mystery, but either way, letting your customers know that something is coming helps them to be better prepared!

For my cyber weekend sales, I started “teasing” my audience about 7-10 days ahead of time to let them know that I would be running special promotions for black friday / cyber monday. This can also help to reduce the number of people who make purchases right before a sale period and then ask for price adjustments (whether you allow price adjustments or not, those customer service hours are precious during a sale, so do what you can to reduce them)!

3) Arm your affiliates

If you have affiliates or brand ambassadors (or even just business besties who love to share the word), it’s also a good idea to let them know ahead of time if you are running a sale so that they have time to plan for any promotion they want to do. I emailed my affiliates about a week before my cyber weekend sales letting them know the sale details as well as providing graphics that they could use to make their lives easier. I also sent a reminder the day before Thanksgiving knowing that it was a busy week for a lot of people, and honestly, I would have sent another reminder after the sales had gone live… but I totally forgot!

4) Schedule social posts in advance

Assuming you’re sharing about your sale on social media, try to schedule as many of your posts in advance as you can. While a sale is happening you’re probably getting more orders / questions / etc. than usual, and if you’re also trying to enjoy some of holidays yourself, it can be very overwhelming! Instead of trying to remember to post on Instagram between servings of turkey and pie, take some time to create and schedule your social posts in advance so that you aren’t scrambling during the sale (or forgetting to share completely)!

Remember those graphics I created for my affiliates to use to promote the sale? Well I used them for myself too! This saved a ton of time and also just made it easier for all of my sales visuals to look cohesive no matter who was sharing them!

5) Optimize your website for conversions

Not everyone is going to come to your website because they saw a sale promo on social media or clicked through an email where you shared in the sale info. To maximize conversions during your sale, make sure your website is optimized so that new visitors know of any promotions going on. That might mean adding a “sticky” bar at the top of every page (I use Sumo for this), updating your website graphics, or adding promo code details near any “buy now” buttons.

6) Make it easy for customers to ask questions

If you find that a lot of people are coming to your sales pages but not buying, it might be because they have unanswered questions and aren’t ready to make a purchase. Make it easy for customers to get their questions answered by either directing them to a contact form or FAQ page or using a support chat tool like Drift or Pure Chat to easily answer customer questions when they’re on your sales page.

Halfway through my cyber weekend sale weekend, I added a chat option using Drift (for free!) and had a few potential customers who were on the fence get their questions answered in real time!

7) Send more emails than you’re comfortable with

If you’re using email marketing during a busy sale season like black friday / cyber monday / any major sales holiday, you have to remember that everyone’s inboxes are overflowing with emails. People see your emails and don’t open them because they are busy / they get distracted / they forget / etc. so if you’re just sending a single email to tell people about your sale… you’re missing out on potential sales from the majority of your audience! You may feel like it’s annoying to send multiple emails, but the truth is that most people are not seeing every single email – and the people that get annoyed and unsubscribe were probably never going to buy from you anyway!

During my 4 day sale period I sent 6 emails and 2 of those emails I actually re-sent to anyone who hadn’t opened them within 12 hours… so that’s basically 2 emails a day over a 4 day period. Yes, that seems like a lot. Yes, it sort of made me uncomfortable. Yes, I had a bunch of people unsubscribe (less than 1% of subscribers overall). But most importantly, every single time I sent an email, I got a new influx of sales. 

8) Remember FOMO is real

Fact: people don’t like missing out on a deal. Every time I run a sale, I get emails after the promotion ends from people who missed out who BEG to get the discount. Using countdown timers like Motion Mail can help customers visualize how much (or how little) time they have left – there’s a reason a lot of brands use countdown timers – they work! FOMO is real and you are not “taking advantage of” your customers by reminding them that your offer expires.. so they need to act NOW!

So those are my 8 tips for maximizing holiday sale revenue – what other tips do you have for increasing conversions during a sale?!

3 Things I Did to Grow My Business This Year

3 things I did to increase my revenue this year - how I streamlined my biz and focused on a few small changes that doubled my recurring revenue.

In my last post I shared 3 things I quit doing to grow my business this year, but if you skimmed that post you might have thought – ok, so she quit a bunch of things, but how did that ACTUALLY grow her business?! Just “quitting” some things didn’t just magically increase my revenue – but it was quitting these things that gave me the time and motivation to focus on other things in my business that directly led to more $$$ in the bank, so here are a few things I changed up this year that have allowed me to double my recurring revenue in just a few months!

1) I started to focus on one thing

This one is really two different things (not to be confusing or anything)…

First of all, I started theming my weeks to focus on one aspect of my business at a time. Instead of working on #AllTheThings (content creation, editing, marketing, admin, accounting, planning etc.) every single week, I broke my months down so that I essentially focus on 1-2 things for an entire week. For example, the first week in the month is typically content creation week so I shoot / edit / upload all of the images for the Styled Stock Society and my clients in that week. Then I have a week where I focus on marketing and sales funnels – so this is when I will write and schedule emails, blog posts, social media content, etc. A third week each month is what I call my “flex” week where I work on business planning, website updates, and generally take time to do things like go to the dentist or schedule coffee dates with friends I haven’t seen in a while. Last but not least, I have a “free” week where I’m essentially giving myself permission to be free to do whatever I want (usually not related to my business). In the past couple of months I’ve been using this week to travel with Mochi (we went to Puerto Rico then Aruba) and it will be nice to have this time “blocked off” for relaxing and enjoying the holidays over the next couple months.

If you had told me a year ago (when I was constantly burnt out / exhausted) that I would be working less and making more money this year – I would have said sign me up for that ASAP!

The second part of this focus on one thing bit is that I’ve actually only focused on selling one thing – my Styled Stock Society membership. Whereas last year I was consulting, creating online courses, working with clients, running a stock subscription, creating affiliate income opportunities, and playing social media director for my Instagram-famous dog…  this year I’ve seriously streamlined my income streams and put the majority of my effort on just one thing: the Styled Stock Society. I’ve always been of the “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” mindset (and in reality I still have multiple income streams), but when I started focusing on marketing just ONE thing, my membership grew by over 100% in just a couple of months!

Quick tip: If you’re thinking about streamlining your business, I highly recommend focusing on one BIG thing at a time. Even if you have multiple products / services, you can pick one each quarter to focus on and you will probably see better results than if you are trying to market and sell everything at the same time!

2) I added a tripwire

I literally had “add a tripwire to my main sales funnel” on my to-do list for over 6 months before I finally used Bluchic’s Landing Page Templates to set one up.

Here’s the thing. I consistently have people signing up to download my free stock photos who are then added to an automated email sequence introducing them to the Styled Stock Society membership.

I wanted to add in a step – to offer the people who downloaded my free stock photos a limited-time offer to download a discounted bundle of stock photos in order to monetize my existing traffic as well as well give potential members an affordable “sample” of my images.. plus people who buy from you are more likely to buy from you again!

Bluchic’s Landing Page Templates made it so simple to set up my tripwire in less than an hour (you can read more about my experience here) and since setting up my tripwire, I’ve been able to convert more of my website visitors into paying customers! Whereas before, people were only downloading my free photos, I now have an average of 4-5 sales of my $13 tripwire every day – which adds a nice chunk of change to my revenue all on autopilot!

Quick tip: If you’re not ready or interested in investing in landing page software like LeadPages / Clickfunnels / etc. I definitely recommend Bluchic’s landing page templates for anyone using WordPress!

3) I created an evergreen email sequence

Aside from focusing on marketing / selling one thing and adding a tripwire into my sales funnel, the other thing that has made a significant difference in growing my business this year is creating an evergreen email sequence. I used to just have an automated mini series of 3 emails that went out to new subscribers to introduce them to the Styled Stock Society. I was also sending one-off emails to my list with tips for using stock photos or when I added new collections / ran special promotions, but I realized that a lot of my newer subscribers were missing out on older emails that might have tipped them in the direction of becoming a SSS member.

So instead of trying to send regular weekly emails to my list, I started adding relevant emails to my automated email sequence to create a more intentional evergreen sales funnel. Sometimes people need 5 or 7 or 11 touch points before they know/ like / trust me enough to buy from me, so automating those touch points has not only made my sales process easier but has also led to more consistent membership signups!

Quick tip: If you’re looking to up-level your email marketing game, ConvertKit makes it really simple to set up automated email sequences. Head over to this post to learn more about ConvertKit automation rules that have saved me a ton of time! 

What have you changed up in your business to grow this year?

3 Things I Quit Doing to Grow My Business This Year

3 things I stopped doing to grow my business this year - how I streamlined my small business to grow my revenue while doing less work.

You don’t have to do #allthethings to be successful.

Last year in my quest to figure out what it is I “really” want to do with my life, I launched WAYYY too many things. So this year has been all about trimming the fat. Getting rid of the things that 1) I hated doing 2) weren’t profitable enough for me to want to do more of 3) weren’t allowing me the freedom to live / work the way I wanted.

Streamline.

I’m not really into picking a word of the year, but I guess you could say that’s what mine would be.

One of the things that sort of bothered me about being a marketing consultant was that I felt like I was always telling people what to do. I mean people were literally paying me to tell them what to do, but in general I felt like I was constantly shouting “you should do this because….”

I’m sure you see / read / hear it all the time…

You should post on Instagram every day. You should blog every week. You should start a YouTube channel for the SEO benefits. You should be doing Facebook live videos to connect with your audience. You should launch an online course so you can stop trading your hours for dollars.

#realtalk – You “could” do all of these things and still not be any more successful than you were before.

I’m not saying any of these things are “wrong” or that you “shouldn’t” do them…

BUT AT SOME POINT YOU HAVE TO STOP LISTENING TO WHAT OTHER PEOPLE TELL YOU TO DO AND FOCUS ON ACTUALLY DOING THE THINGS THAT DRIVE YOUR BUSINESS FORWARD.

Wanna know what I quit doing over the summer that made absolutely no difference in my business?

  1. Blogging regularly – I used to publish new posts every. single. week. and long story short, I haven’t been doing that regularly this year. Yes, this has (slightly) affected my blog traffic, but more importantly it has not negatively affected my revenue! Quick tip: iI you don’t want to make time to blog regularly, make sure you have evergreen blog posts that can consistently drive traffic back to your site even when you’re not publishing new content. The main reason I continue to get consistent traffic > subscribers > customers is that I have Tailwind + BoardBooster working on autopilot to promote old posts!
  2. Being active in Facebook groups – I used to waste SO MUCH time on Facebook. Yes, connecting with other people in Facebook groups can be a great way to grow your business / make friends / build community… but it can also be a time suck. Personally, I wasn’t seeing the ROI from Facebook that I wanted, so I archived my own Facebook group and (accidentally) stopped being active in other people’s groups as well. Ya know what changed? Nothing. Most of my traffic / customers / clients come from Pinterest and Instagram so spending less time on Facebook has made no difference in my business other than having more time to spend on other things! Quick tip: You don’t need to be active on all the social media platforms – spend the majority of your time on the 1-2 platforms that have the highest ROI and don’t stress about the rest!
  3. Working with new clients – Yup. I had a lot of things happening over the summer (travel / moving / life / etc.) that made it hard to commit to custom photography projects in advance, so I decided to take a 2 month break from client work. I was slightly terrified at first (my client work made up roughly 1/3 of my total income as of May), but I had my biggest revenue months EVER without working with a single new custom photography client. This is the most surprising one for me because I honestly expected a dip in my revenue from making this decision, but I think removing client work from the equation gave more more time to focus on growing other income streams – and I didn’t hate it. I’m not giving up custom client work forever (for now!), but this revelation is definitely making me rethink how I structure my time and packages for the future! Quick tip: Sometimes you have to step away from one thing to move forward with something else. Don’t be afraid to change the way you do things in your business when they aren’t the best fit for the life you want to live.

Spending LESS time on all these things has led me to have more time to focus on other priorities like the Styled Stock Society and also to take advantage of other opportunities. Like…

So one more time…

You don’t have to do #allthethings to be successful.

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