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When Should You Run a Sale in Your Small Business?

When Should You Run a Sale in Your Small Business?

On this week's podcast episode, we’re talking about running sales and discounts in your small business. This is a really important topic for any small business, whether you sell art online, products on etsy, or you sell in person in your city or town.

If you’ve listened to this podcast for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard us say before that sales are not a great marketing technique for handmade businesses and artists.


  • They don’t bring you a huge number of new customers

  • They can actually be really bad for your business because you’re going to make a lot less money on your products


But... there are a few good reasons to run a sale, so in our episode today, we’re going to share 4 good times to run a sale in your business and talk about a couple of different types of sales you can run.


>>>Also...Grab your spot in our FREE Etsy MasterclassHow to Grow Your Handmade Business with Etsy! We're going to teach you our 2 Secret Strategies that *really* make all the difference when it comes to Etsy, How to define your business (even if you haven’t started your Etsy shop yet), and how Etsy can help you make passive income (even on your days off, while you travel, or during family time) <<<


Listen here:


A good number of sales is 4-5 times per year.

So, how do you know when you should run a sale in your business? Here are our recommendations.

1. Run a sale when everyone else is running a sale

I’m just going to use America’s biggest shopping day as an example. Black Friday. It has been common for EVERYONE, even small businesses and artists to run sales during the weekend after Thanksgiving every year, and your customers are actively looking for a good deal, so if they see you post about a sale, they will take note of it.


2. Run a sale before your rates/price go up

This is a really common strategy for service-based businesses like coaching and courses, but you will also see it disguised as an “end of the year” sale in product-based businesses.

Basically, you announce to your audience that your rates or prices are going on at a certain date, usually January 1 but it can be any time and then you have a “sale” at the old rate up until that date. You can sell just at those old prices alone and you’ve probably seen shops sell like this or offer a last minute discount before the rate increase.

3. Run a sale when you want to clear out old products

If you want to switch directions in your handmade business or you have some inventory left of an older product that no longer speaks to you and you just don’t want to have it in your shop anymore, you can run a sale to clear out the inventory of those specific pieces.

I have done this in the past with a few sticker designs that I just didn’t love anymore and I wanted to make way for new stickers in my shop.


4. Run a Promotional sale/to promote a new product/launch day

This kind of sale generates excitement and lets you share your excitement about something new with your audience. If you’re launching your shop or a new product line or new color schemes, this is a good time to use a sale as a strategy to generate buzz and drive traffic to your store.

Some brands get really creative with this kind of sale too with like cute hashtags, social media tagging. Everyone knows what a #PSL is for a reason. Pumpkin Spice Latte! I personally don’t like drinking pumpkin candle flavored coffee, but Starbucks is a perfect example of such a strong campaign for Launch Day of their seasonal product.


Another strategy is to offer affiliate commissions or kickbacks to people who promote your sale. A good way to do this is with a coupon code that you can easily track. So, you give a coupon code to your affiliate person to talk about on their accounts and then you give them a small commission for every sale made using that coupon code.

So... those are four times that we recommend that you run a sale.

We wanted to give you guys a **little bit more,** so we’re also going to share 3 types of sales that we have used in the past in our businesses that have worked well for us.


1. Bonus sales - full price but with freebies

This is our favorite way to run a sale. You don’t actually lower your prices at all, but you include a freebie with every order, which you announce on all of your social media channels so that your customers know about it and have an incentive to order during your “bonus sale.”


2. Everything is on sale (only if you want to clear stuff out)

Perhaps you’ve got a lot of items pre-made and you just want to get them sold, or you’re ready to move into a new style or type of product so what you have for sale just doesn’t fit anymore. That’s not a bad thing, and putting your whole shop on sale can be a great way to clear out a lot of products really quickly.


3. Free Shipping

Customers LOVE this so...If you want to run a free shipping sale, be sure you’re really strategic about it. Limit the number of days you have the sale, advertise it as much as possible, and then move on after the sale is over.

Just Remember >>> The way to think about running sales in your business is not: how can I make a bunch of money in my shop today, but how can I use a sale as a marketing strategy.


If your shop is quiet and you haven’t had many customers lately, your first thought should not be to run a sale with big discounts or to lower your prices.

That will not help!

You have a traffic problem, not a pricing problem.

If you’re not happy with the amount of traffic in your handmade shop, listen to our other episodes What We’re Doing to Sell More of Our Art Right Now, and 3 Things You Can Improve in Your Etsy Listing Descriptions Right Now. That would be a good place to start.


When you’re strategic about sales and you run them with a goal and intention, you can have really great results that help with the long term success of your business!


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