To Compete With Big-Name Brands, Here's How to Market Your Black Friday Sale Online Big-box retailers may seem to dominate the Black Friday game, but there's a way for small businesses to level the playing field on the most anticipated shopping day of the year.

By Courtney Jespersen

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Big-box retailers may seem to dominate the Black Friday game, but there's a way to level the playing field on the most anticipated shopping day of the year. If you want your small business to compete with the best Black Friday players, start clicking your mouse.

The Internet is a powerful and effective way not only to communicate with potential customers but also to ultimately get them in the door. An overwhelming 84 percent of shoppers consult online resources first when contemplating purchasing holiday gifts at brick-and-mortar small-business locations, according to a recent study by Gannett, a digital marketing company.

Additionally, 65 percent of shoppers believe mobile promotions are "powerful enough to influence them to buy holiday gifts in-store on Black Friday, Thanksgiving – and even Cyber Monday."

Related: Doing These 5 Things Can Help You Get More Ecommerce Sales This Holiday Season

When it comes to Black Friday, the power of the Internet is undeniable, which is why you should take advantage of online and mobile marketing in the days and weeks before.

Consider the following strategies when promoting your Black Friday deals and doorbusters.

Deliver marketing directly to email inboxes.

Reach your customers directly by sending out emails about your upcoming Black Friday sale. Major retailers such as Best Buy and Target generate buzz and build their email lists by encouraging customers to sign up to receive Black Friday news alerts. Include a similar sign-up feature on your website. This way, you can capture potential shoppers while they're looking for sales. Even if you haven't announced your Black Friday event, you'll be able to notify interested shoppers when it is. In addition to using email as a way to announce deals, try incentivizing the email sign-up list by sending out exclusive coupons as well.

Related: How to Prepare for the Fourth Quarter Slaughter

Use #hashtags.

Embrace the power of social media by offering coupons, discounts or Black Friday deal reveals to your Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Don't forget about Instagram and Pinterest, too. You can also use hashtags, such as "#blackfriday," to help your sale gain traction in the social-media universe. In addition to posting regularly be sure to make your content interactive, engaging and share-worthy. This content may include polls, contests, giveaways and pictures of your discounted merchandise.

Optimize your mobile site.

Once you've conquered your email and social media accounts, you'll want to bring your website up to an acceptable Black Friday readiness level, too. You should make your deals obvious and appealing both from a traditional computer browser and from a mobile device.

Shoppers will likely turn to your site via their smartphones for product research, for mobile coupons or to make a purchase. This means your merchandise and especially sale products should be clear and easily accessible on your website. This may help sway those indecisive shoppers who are still doing retail store comparison.

Build expectations.

Across all of these mediums, it's important to create a sense of urgency and specialty to your deals. Stand out from your competitors by highlighting what makes your store -- and sale -- different. Build anticipation by adding a Black Friday countdown clock to your website. Create excitement by previewing price cuts. Build eagerness by hyping a giveaway on the big day.

Remember, the Internet affords you the opportunity to market your small business Black Friday sale the way the Black Friday giants do.

Courtney Jespersen

Staff Writer at NerdWallet

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at, a consumer-finance website based in San Francisco. 

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