Black Friday is upon us. Like it or loathe it consumers still jump in the bandwagon and search for the best deals they can coming up to Christmas.

Chances are if you are a small business you cannot compete with the many offers that have been padding out consumers inboxes. For the last week or so these super multinationals got the jump on us all and started their deals early – we may as well just have Black November.

All is not lost though, and we still have Green Friday coming up on the 27th of November, giving us the opportunity to ask consumers to support Irish on Black Friday.

As part of our Boost My Business initiative, Fiona Alston asked Evelyn Moynihan, Brand and Commercial Director of Kilkenny Group, for some of her top tips on how to get your customers to support you this month.

Kilkenny Design are supporting Champion Green, a consumer support local initiative backing local jobs and enterprise, and here are some tips on how to get your customers on board.

Get your plan together – if you don’t have a plan together for the coming weeks then do it now. You should already be in the process of promoting for the occasion. Lay down an offer and a content plan each week for the next three weeks.

Use your social channels to let customers know where to find you online – Your social channels are going to be critical, use your platforms to get out the message that you are selling online and where they can find you. A lot of customers might not be aware that you are online or have an improved service online.

Really tell the story of your company – Whether you're a designer, a maker or a service provider - think about what makes you different and the benefits of customers going with your product or service. How many jobs do you create? What community groups do you support? What part does your business play in the local community? Why should people buy from you?

Make sure you are on the relevant directories for your business - Champion Green has a master directory where they have pulled in all the directories that are circulating at the moment. Make sure you're on them, because customers are going to them to seek out Irish and local businesses. You’ll find the list here.

Think about the current key consumer trends - There is a big surge in people buying gifts to remember as it's a very nostalgic and difficult time for people, they want gifts that last and aren't going to be thrown away after a couple of months. People are really into buying items of self-care and treating themselves - also areas like loungewear casual wear are really big at the moment. Keep an eye on other consumer trends and market your offering towards them - how can you meet that need when you're considering your plan?

Focus on what you can offer, not what you can’t – You may not be in a position to offer the large discounts other business can, so focus on what you can offer your customers. What are the best product ranges that work for you are this time? Can you offer added value like free shipping over a limited time period or think about offering a free gift with a purchase over a certain level? Make sure you plan out the promotions of your offers ahead of time.

Use this month as a recruitment ground - This period is really critical for winning over new customers so think about an offer or a free gift for customers who come to your site and purchase for the first time. Sometimes those simple levers encourages a customer in to purchase and then once they have witnessed the great quality and great experience that you delivered through your site you’ll win them over for good.

Tap into the expat community – We are coming into the uncertain time of whether people will travel home for Christmas or not. For those that aren’t they open up a huge market for online sales. Whether people are sending gifts abroad, or expats are looking online for gifts to send loved ones at home, you need to be on it. Make sure you are pushing out those key messages on your site and social media accounts. Can you send a gift to their loved one? Can you include a handwritten note? Can you send a piece of Ireland abroad?

Include your testimonials – Can people see the lovely testimonials sent in by your customers? Make sure they are visible on your website and on your social media channels. If Mary sent her daughter a care package to the States from your website, and wrote to thank you for the great service, tell people about it.

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