Holiday book marketing: Why you should skip Black Friday and focus on Cyber Monday

Black Friday is losing some of its cachet for holiday book marketing.

Retailers are offering more and more deals well before the Friday after Thanksgiving, so shopping on that formerly magical day is less necessary and even less appealing.

What’s more, the marketplace is crowded. You’d be hard-pressed to find a retailer that isn’t participating in some form, both instore and online.

There’s too much noise around Black Friday for me and other people with books and other products to sell. I recently turned down two opportunities to participate in group Black Friday promotions because it’s hard for small players like us to break through.

But the fact that everyone else is so focused on Black Friday (whether it makes sense for them or not) leaves Cyber Monday wide open for you.

More people are shopping online on Cyber Monday

This is good news because Cyber Monday — November 26 this year — is getting a bigger share of the e-tailing crowd.

According to the National Retail Federation, 81 million people shopped online on Cyber Monday in 2017 while 66 million did so on Cyber Monday. BestBlackFriday.com is predicting that the Cyber Monday number will increase to 95 million this year.

In addition, a Deloitte study reports that this year, while 44 percent of people will shop on Black Friday, 53 percent will do their online spending on Cyber Monday.

Don’t you want a piece of that?

How to use this for holiday book marketing

How can you leverage this huge online shopping event in your holiday book marketing plan? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Get thee on Amazon.

You know . . . on the off chance you aren’t there already.

This is important because NetElixir predicts that Amazon will be getting 40 percent of the online holiday sales this year. That haul is worth $38.8 billion.

How does that compare to other online retail sites? Last year, all the other online retailers sold a combined $3.6 billion. Ahem.

2. Drop your book’s price on Cyber Monday.

Price it at $.99 — that’s a deal price for most books.

If your publisher controls the price, talk about doing a price drop now. Don’t wait.

3. Promote your deal price.

Use email — tell your newsletter subscribers about it.

Shopify reports that last year, email marketing brought in more buyers to that site than other lead-generating options — search engines, typing in the URL directly, and social media.

Send messages in advance and again on Cyber Monday. People often need to be reminded a couple of times before they take action.

Work to get your special price offer into book deal newsletters.

Advertise on Amazon and, if it makes sense for your book, Facebook.

To support your social media efforts, create a deal price graphic that you can share with your Amazon sales page link.

Remember that people are often shopping for gifts. If your book makes a good gift — and you can explain why — play that up in your promotional campaign.

Make a choice

More people are going to be shopping online on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday. Rather than split your efforts between the two, pick one and focus on it.

Make that choice Cyber Monday. People will have their credit cards out . . . and they will want to use them. Take advantage of that.

Are you planning a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale, deal, or promotion? Tell us about it in a comment. 

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  1. Ms. Beckwith, I love your stuff, and, as an obsessive-compulsive, obnoxiously picayunish, nit-picking Grammar Grouch (my blog name), I must correct you on a word. You wanted “cachet,” not “cache,” which means a store of food or supplies, or whatever, and is pronounced “cash.” “Cachet” is pronounced “cash-a (a as in aid).” Cachet means credibility or respect, which is what you meant.

  2. Hello, Sandy!
    Thanks for all your good advice but this one fell flat. I have a print only non-fiction book available on Amazon. I emailed them about having a sale event. What a joke since I am not Michele Obama. Tried to work it through Ingram but that’s not feasible. My website takes Paypal orders, however that method doesn’t accommodate promo codes or discount coupons. Do you know of another way I can do this ’cause I really want to? Thanks, as always.

  3. Hi, Sandy!

    Thanks for that input. I had already gone to my printer. Their price change rule is 30 days minimum which is way too long for my purposes. Re the work around, I had aleady seen that. It is a very complicated (IMHO) “script” and/or a fee-based “third party cart”. The script option is downright frightening for non-techies (ME!) and the third party cart is costly and also complicated. I still have time to try to find a way to do this discount thing, but I fear I will not succeed. Maybe one of your other followers has a solution.
    FYI, I have also written to PayPal about their lack of service in not providing capability for a discount/promo code. I believe it is a real gap in their e-commerce service level.

    1. Lorraine, “printer” is not the same thing as “publisher.” If “B&B Publications” is the name of your printer and it has control of your Amazon account, than a 30-day notice for a five-minute task is pretty odd.


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