Getting Black Friday right for WordPress products

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have the opportunity to be some of the biggest profit generators all year for WordPress products.

Hopefully you’ve been profitable all year and this isn’t – as with traditional retail – the sale event which makes you profitable, but it’s still a great opportunity and over the last couple of years I’ve seen the Thanksgiving period consistently provide a nice boost to WordPress business’ earnings.

Yet, it’s important to get Black Friday right. You need to create an offer which works for you, is attractive for your customers, and does not impede your ability to make money in the long term.

You shouldn’t take those three points for granted; this post gets into the how and why, and how to get Black Friday right for WordPress products.

Not all sales are equal

Pricing is consistently one of the highest-impact areas my agency Ellipsis advises clients on: it’s remarkably simple to change, and simple tweaks to pricing can often dramatically improve profitability.

We spend the vast majority of the time telling people to increase prices, and Black Friday is the opposite of this.

I thus need to start this section with a note: you can probably increase your prices, and discounts should be a rare exception (one a year, maximum, is good) rather than the rule.

Cheap is the marketer’s refuge for good.

The above is a badly misquoted Seth Godin quote, but it reinforces my point. You probably can sell more products at a lower price, but this is not zero-sum: it’s better in the long term to build a product worth more and to charge that price for it.

Regular sale periods or evergreen coupons can undermine your ability to make money in the long run by signalling to your customers that you will accept less than the full advertised price, thus they shouldn’t pay the full advertised price, and if no sale is on at the moment they should wait for one.

Discounts are powerful, but must be used responsibly.

Who’s your sale for?

Whether or not you regularly do a Black Friday deal regularly, you will get price-sensitive customers putting off purchases around the Thanksgiving period. This isn’t ideal, but is inevitable with so many sales happening around this time.

You probably want to pick up some of those customers who might have bought anyway, and you want to pick up “on the fencers” who would not have bought your product anyway but will get it at a lower price.

Black Friday sales tend to attract and reward new customers, but where you have a suite of products you should look to also reward existing customers. This can help avoid the feeling from existing customers that they should have delayed their purchase to get a better deal. This is not something you want.

This gives us three target groups. There is, in my opinion, a single way of structuring your Black Friday sale to meet all three of these groups.

You should offer a great deal, and make it a bundle

Part of the spirit of Black Friday is you should offer a great deal, and I agree with this. You want to offer a significant discount. This will get people’s attention and, to some extent, cut through the “noise” around Black Friday. A 50% discount can do this.

20 or 30% discounts are okay, but consumers are used to having discounts in those range from cart abandonment or evergreen coupons; 50% gets people’s attention.

You don’t, however, need to offer 50% off your individual products. This is where we need to talk about what your deal should be: if you have multiple products, your deal should be a bundle of those products.

Bundles are great because they’ll mix the value the customer receives: some will be a “must have” whilst others will be “nice to haves”. In the context of Black Friday, this means you can bundle together multiple products and still make this a good deal, whilst still taking a fairly high purchase price.

Your headline bundle can attract price sensitive customers who were waiting for a discount, and those who would not have otherwise purchased as it can still offer a great deal of 50% off – it’s just probably close to or above the price of an individual product.

You can then reward your existing customers by offering them 50% off the constituent parts of the bundle, something you’re not offering elsewhere. This makes sure nobody feels they should have waited for a better deal on their original purchase.

Here’s what this looks like in practice; this is what we have planned for WPShout’s two premium courses. WPShout has two products: Up and Running for learning WordPress development, and WordPress Security with Confidence for writing secure code. These sell separately and there’s no way of buying them together. You’d pay $197 for the top-tier of each course, or $394 for both.

We’ve got the following planned:

  • Our Black Friday Bundle will offer 50% a bundle of both courses, giving you both products for $197. This maintains a fairly high purchase price and does not undermine the price credibility of either product in the long run whilst still offering a steep discount and great deal which will attract the two new customer segments.
  • Existing customers on either course can get the course they don’t have for 50% off. This is not available to new customers. Thus, we’re rewarding our existing customers heavily.

Bundles are a fantastic solution for pricing conundrums like this one, and I’d highly recommend looking into these or rethinking your existing Black Friday plans if you aren’t using them.

If you only have one product, then bundling is more difficult but not impossible: you could liaise with complementary products and bundle with them, or offer something new. Free setup or consultation is a decent option here. You’ll just need to think outside the box a little 🙂

Now tell people about your offer

We haven’t touched on how to get your Black Friday deal in front of people. I won’t go into too much detail, other than to quickly recommend three routes:

  1. Email your current customers with a bespoke version of the deal.
  2. Add a “Hello Bar” or other branding to your site and/or checkout page.
  3. Get included in Black Friday roundup posts. This has the added benefit of giving you extra links to your site. SEO!

Where possible – so in your emails and on your site – include a countdown timer or other “urgency” to reinforce your deal will expire.

A final note on trust: make sure your deal actually expires at the time you say it will, and if you get customers who’ve bought within the last week or two emailing to ask for the deal, then do offer this. You don’t want anyone to have a bad experience with you.

You thus know how to get Black Friday right for your WordPress product! Build for the long term by being careful with how and where you use discounts, look to bundle so you can increase the original purchase price whilst still offering a steep discount, and make sure you take care of existing customers.

Let me know if you do this, and what the results are: I’m @AlexDenning, and my agency Ellipsis takes care of marketing for WordPress businesses – get in touch for a no-obligation chat if you’re after marketing help.