Are discounts a good idea? (reflections on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and holiday promotions)

discounts marketing sales Dec 02, 2022

How you holding up this holiday season?

How's business?

I am officially a million weeks pregnant (38+2 days 👀) at the time of writing this blog post and have been very very tired with a sick kiddo home this past week and oh ya know, growing this human being. 

So I wanted to get these thoughts out earlier, but here they are a bit later. 

A lovely soul reached out on Instagram asking what my thoughts are on Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales and just putting your stuff on sale in general. 

And even though Black Friday --> Cyber Monday is over, selling and holiday sales are certainly not. 

So I figure better a bit late than never, amiright?

Back in 2021 I worked with a marketing firm to support me in launching Made 4 More

They were adamant on NO SALES (and by sales, I mean discounts). 

The price is the price. 

Discounts diminish the value of your product (their words). 

I think this is a totally legit argument. I know business owners who purposefully price their goods and services to exactly what they cost and don't inflate their prices and so doing a sale will actually lose them money. 

Again, totally valid. 

I also, however, have a dear friend who runs a business and she shared that her customers are simply bargain shoppers. 

Those folks loooove themselves a sale. And...they'll wait for one. 

All of this brings me to the kind of answer most of us hate (but all of us need). 

Should I do discounts and holiday sales?


Here are 3 things I want you to consider if you're entertaining running a sale:

  1. Are your customers or clients motivated by a sale? Not all customers are discount shoppers and not all offers are well suited to a discount. If you don't know, now might be a good time to try it out and see what happens. 
  2. Does running a sale negatively or positively impact you and the business? Does it cause more stress, lose you money, or have some other crappy effect? Or, does it bring in new customers, let you offload old stuff, or not take really any more time or energy than regularly promoting?
  3. Is discounting in alignment with your goals and values? In other words, do you want to put stuff on sale? Do you feel good about this or is running a discount going to bread resentment?


There are plenty of role models out there that don't subscribe to the Black Friday frenzy. Patagonia being one of them. 👇

And there are also loads of companies doing the whole holiday discount and doing it well. 

As a purchaser, I can tell you there are a few things I bought on Black Friday and I did in fact wait for that day to come because I knew they'd be on sale. 

I also made a few purchases that I wouldn't have made otherwise had there not been a sale and if I'm totally honest, I didn't actually neeeed the things I bought (hi 👋  new pair of Madewell jeans that i can't wait to get into after this baby comes out!). 

If a sale is going to feel fun for you, is non-coercive, and is in fact helping you reach your humans, then I say go for it. 

But if you're feeling like you have to put your hard earned wears and services on sale just to keep up with your peers, or putting your stuff on sale is going to come at a burden to you, then I say nah.

Don't do it

At the end of the day, discounts are merely ONE of many tools I hope for you to have in your sales tool belt. 

And the reality is they're simply not for everyone. Remember, you're the expert in your business, not your peers. 

You do you. 

And if you're wishing you'd jumped on the Black Friday sale bandwagon and didn't this year, it's actually not too late. 

Did you know there are 34% more shopping searches on Christmas Day than on Black Friday?

Curious to see how your audience and clientele respond to a discount? 

Try running one at the end of this month from Christmas Day until New Years. 

Most folks are cashing in on gift cards, making returns and exchanges, and altogether just lounging on the couch phone in hand shopping. 

I know, I know. 

At this point you might be thinking, this isn't very anti-capitalist of you Emily to be telling me to try getting on the sales bandwagon. 

But the reality is what I want for you is to build a business that is ethical and non-coercive as well as profitable. 

Remember not to conflate anti-capitalist with being poor. 

You have bills to pay. 

I know that. I do too. 

And as I like to keep reminding you...I truly believe you can find a way to sell and market that is consent-based and affirming to you and your clients and customers. 

I'd love to hear from you about whether or not discounts are part of your sales strategy this holiday season. 

Tell me below in the comments:


Or no discounts?

And don't forget to consider now and again how you purchase - you might surprise yourself.

Speaking of sales...

As you may have guessed, I'm going on maternity leave in t-minus 5 days.

Hallelujah, get this baby out of me.  

And as a little "I'll be off for a bit, but we should still do rad stuff" gift for the holidays I have a pretty dope offer for you...

Join Made 4 More in the month of December and your 4 months in the program don't begin until February 1. 

Made 4 More will continue to run and be amazing even while I'm on leave. 

I have a slew of incredibly brilliant guest speakers coming in my absence as well as a highly qualified and totally lovely guest coach, 👋 Tori Janka, taking over. 

What does this mean?

It means you get FREE access to Made 4 More for all of December and January and then your official 4 months start in February when I come back from leave. 

That's 6 months of support for the price of 4. 

(hint: this is a good example of me checking all 3 of the boxes I laid out for you: many of my folks are motivated by the gift of more time in M4M ✅ running this discount comes at no additional work to me ✅ and it's fun and in alignment with my values ✅ )

So what do you say?

Ready to see what could change in your business with some concentrated support and a radical community at your back? 

Click right here to join now and pay monthly. 

Or click here to join now and get an extra private 1:1 with me in the New Year. 

Got questions? 

Shoot me a note right here. Myself or my lovely maternity leave support person, Tori, will get right back to you! 


Looking for support on how to build not only an equitable business, but one you're actually jazzed to show up for each day?

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