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Holiday prep, part 3 - Black Friday & Cyber Monday and staying on track to make the most money
Episode 1810th October 2023 • Inside the Click • Inside the Click
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Welcome back to our weekly deep-dive on the Creator Economy.

This is our FINAL holiday prep episode in our three part series! This week is all about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the peak of Holiday shopping.

Below is what we discuss:

  • Where to start when it comes to planning your Black Friday/Cyber Monday content
  • How to make sure you get the 'last click' during this crowded time
  • Promo codes - what they mean for your earnings (and Monica's biggest tip for all of Black Friday/Cyber Monday!)
  • What to do ON Black Friday and Cyber Monday so you don't drive yourself crazy
  • The importance of having a backup plan
  • Holiday delays with reporting - when to freak out and when to be patient during this high-volume time
  • Testing new retailers to see if they work before peak sales time
  • Monitoring real-time so you can react but don't burn out

Let's Connect!

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Holiday prep, part 3


Monica: [:

I'm Monica.

I'm Michelle

and we are talking about holiday prep. This is part three of our holiday prep series that we have created so that you can make the most of the holiday season and really Boost your business in these last few months of the year.

Michelle: Yep. Most important one of the most important times of the year

Monica: Yes, so if you haven't gone back to our last two episodes on holiday prep We've talked about the landscape of what holiday really means how to start Posting holiday content in October when you're not ready to talk about Christmas trees yet.

g that period. So definitely [:

But today is really focused on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and making sure that Now is the time that you feel like you're setting yourself up for success during that crazy period because there's so much that you can do to Plan so that it's not chaotic the night before because that's already a chaotic time No matter what you're doing with family friends all of that.

So we're gonna make this episode the episode that's going to just Make it feel like you have it all under control.

elp take some of the emotion [:

That you have a plan. It's solid because a few years ago, either on Black Friday or Cyber Monday out of any creators control. I think this was the J crew site went down. There are going to be things that come up. Yeah. This is going to help you prepare. So you can react in a systematic data driven way.

Monica: Yeah, because things will happen. And I think this year, and this is a total hypothesis, but I was talking to my friend who works at Amazon about this. A lot of websites have been going down this year more often than usual. I think the other day Saks was down and then Sephora was down the other day.

re like that's where they're [:

And she was definitely saying people are cutting back on AWS subscriptions. And so what that means is Black Friday, Cyber Monday. I think it's safe to assume that if just on normal sale days, we're seeing this happen, we will be seeing websites down. Again,

Michelle: yeah. Oh, wow. Yeah. So a peek under the hood that totally makes sense.

eah, so that would be one of [:

Monica: Yeah, and I don't know how that works I don't know if it's like a yearly contract or five year contract where they have like x amount of server space I have no idea how the aws cloud works, but That's just like the bits and

Michelle: pieces of that.

Yeah, so it is something that you can do to plan for this is having potentially more than one retailer for a lot of the big things that you're looking to post, because if one goes down, then you can literally just be like, Oh, it's also here, even though it's not. 25 percent off. It's 22 percent off. It's still hearing.

You still get

this is a good use case for [:

However, because there's got to be some sort of connection That's happening where they even know. Oh, this is sold out now. I'm gonna automatically do it without anyone Because the creator doesn't have to do anything like Shopmy is like doing that in the background automatically, right?

You might never even know that the one that you originally linked to is sold out. I don't know how that technology

Michelle: works, but

when you behave on websites [:

What happens with affiliate links is you direct. The user to the website. But before that the affiliate company like talks to the website a little bit and they get information about the stock status or the sizes available or whatever, and so I'm assuming that if a site is down, they just would not get the call back from the website.

not going to redirect to you?[:

Monica: Yeah, that's a good point. Thank But regardless, the Shop My feature could be a good backup plan to have

Michelle: in your corner. Yes. And, okay. We'll talk about pre Black Friday. Right after this, but this is one thing where you really want to take any learnings that you have from Black Friday and then apply them to Cyber Monday.

e didn't happen so then, for [:

You know that you can make ahead of time a few backups to different retailers so that if people are saying, Hey, it's broken, not working, then you can just quickly switch out the link and be prepared in that way. So don't underestimate that time between Black Friday and Cyber Monday to make changes based on what did or did not work.

the year before their Black [:

Every day, different items were going to be on sale for 24 hours and then Black Friday actually came in cyber Monday actually came and they didn't really have a sale because they did it all beforehand and it's just so hard to. Gauge whether or not the big sale is going to be on Black Friday or if the big sale is going to be on Cyber Monday.

Or if it's just going to be the week before, which I feel like more and more places are doing even if you think about all the sales that are happening end of October.

Michelle: I've seen that more and more too, like some of the lead ups. But then also some of them end up running stuff still on black, like they try to create that urgency ahead of it and then they end up just having a black Friday cyber Monday sale.

I'm just like, okay,

everything on black Friday. [:

It's got to be more calling than black Friday and then it's sold out. I just, I think I go nuts with the fact that now Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the exact same thing because throughout the weekend these promotions are still going on too and I never know, even as a shopper, when I should pull the trigger.

ack to what we talked about, [:

less overwhelming versus if [:

And then like you, you get their calendar, and then you have the bass calendar, and then you have the sax calendar, and it's that is Even just thinking about that's extremely overwhelming, but if you're like, okay, I know that I want to focus on home products some capsule wardrobe stuff and jackets, and these are the ones that I've been featuring.

roducts let's lay out a plan [:

Yeah. That doesn't account for, though, the whole, is the time to buy now? Which I don't know how you do that.

Monica: I don't know. You're going to get buyer's remorse at some point during Black Friday, no matter what you do from a consumer standpoint, you just have to be okay with it. But I think that's really good advice because a lot of these platforms, even not during sale time, just every week, they send out email saying these are the sales that are happening.

ere, let's say. It's sharing [:

To be this resource of everything to everyone, especially during Black Friday, because then you have the additional pressure of everyone saying, this is the time to maximize your earnings. So now I don't want to do anything that would make me not want to take full advantage of that. And I don't think that mindset.

Is the mindset to success, but I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels that pressure coming in every direction.

never doing enough. Because [:

So you always feel the need to be doing more and then on top of that you have a naturally very crowded time where you're posting gap collages, ten other people are posting gap collages and it's just who's going to end up driving that person. To purchase

Monica: exactly because it's whoever gets that credit.

do you balance how often you [:

Because like you said, if five creators that someone follows are all posting to Gap, it's, the credit is going to go to the last link that consumer saw. But you also don't want to inundate. Your audience. So what does that balance look like? Is there, do you think we'll get to a point and how established this industry is where there is like a formula or secret sauce and making sure you're the one getting the last click?

eryone else is going to make [:

They have the visibility I don't agree with it. Mainly because I see so many people who have just started in this space in the last 6 months to a year who. Are extremely successful and they literally started from scratch, so I don't think that being new is always going to keep you at the lowest tier, but it is something interesting to think about.

It's like, how do you make sure, and now I'm like rambling, but I guess you make sure by whatever it is that you're posting, you're making sure that it's so compelling what you're saying about that product that they have to purchase it now. Yeah.

ent is so compelling because [:

Oh, this is a nice gap collage. Oh, wait. I want to see if someone else is posting a gap collage so that I can click on their link. Like they're not thinking that way. Yeah. And. I think that if you look at it from the creator lens, it's get this out there. Go. Everyone's clicking around on everything and they're not.

How do you browse the internet? Like you're going to be looking through things. If someone shares a product and they're doing it in a way that's like really funny or like they're having a nice moment with their kids or. It's just a deeper connection. You'll be like, oh yeah let me see that.

Or, that's [:

he couch and doing something [:


Monica: totally agree. I think also we've talked in past episodes about how Facebook clicks have been down this past year and how there is definitely like this trend of Facebook not really surfacing posts that have links while a lot of creators Did find a lot of success in the past of just like blasting Facebook with just links and being like, hey These shoes 25 percent off link.

There's so much good quality content out there for consumers to shop from I think that's just noise at this point and I already have a problem with that anyway Because I'm like There's no creativity behind it. What I love about this industry is the creativity, the point, of views that are original, like people sharing a day in their life.

And I think that's [:

There's creativity behind it. There's interest behind it. Instead of just being like. I would equate it to like the junk mail that you get in your mailbox where it's like these flyers and you're like never going to open the flyer because you know it's 15 percent off to some weird thing.

That's the equivalent to me.

Michelle: I would agree and it also... The perception of that junk mail is they're just trying to sell me something. Exactly. Not

this in my real life, why I [:

The higher the chance that you're gonna get a sale, so you're just gonna send. I don't know. I don't consider that creators. I consider that affiliate marketing. And I think there's a difference. Yes. And I will stand by that. And I know they actually, I don't even know if they consider themselves creators.

I think they know exactly what they're doing,

ck Friday, but you know that [:

Just Make sure if you are trying to do that, that then you wear the same clothes, right? But you want to put yourself in a position where it's not 4 p. m. Pacific time on Black Friday. And you're down 50 percent to last year, and you're just like, Oh, no, what do I do?

Monica: So I think also you can create a buffer for yourself right now with these sales that are coming up in the next few weeks that didn't exist last year.

So you can create a buffer for yourself of a little boost and then just in case and really like leverage that opportunity that wasn't there last year.

g on for probably a month at [:

Monica: Yeah. I feel like that's just like the reality of everything right now. I feel like Sephora has been even like running a sale for the last three months. Every time I look, it's this is 50 percent off, and I'm like, didn't we just have this sale? And then same with Ulta, I feel like they've increased the rate of them doing those like big sale months.


Michelle: feel like there's literally no point in buying a full price item anymore.

Monica: No, you should never. Yeah. You should never. Just

Michelle: wait a little bit. It's going to go on sale in the next like couple months.

Monica: So speaking of sale promo codes, I think this is a really interesting one because Obviously, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, it's promo codes galore.

in your promo code, but then [:

That's set to air.

get still a ton of cash back.[:

Oh, I'm gonna be getting four hundred back too. Yeah, so yes that. It is a factor, but then also, and then Monica, I'll send it back to you, but I just had this thought. If you have a, your own like more exclusive promo code, right? People in general just love exclusivity. That is going to create some urgency.

So then people will be like, Oh my gosh, she has a 50 percent off promo code and it's like her name's in it. And so that would create that urgency, but then are you going to get as much from that purchase? Yeah.

say. What's up with the like [:

Do not agree to it if they're saying 15, 20 percent because then no one's your audience is going to be like, why would I use your code? When on the website? It says also 20 percent off or it says something even deeper than that. So make sure you're negotiating with them and making sure that they're.

e spoken to that company and [:

And a lot of times when your code. And this is just even for a code in general, if J. Crews like sale 40, if they didn't tell the network and the affiliate marketing company that you're using the collective voice LTK, then you're not going to get credit because they didn't do a manual process and making sure that's going to get you commission.

at whatever platform you use [:

And then they will check that for you and then, if a retailer doesn't support promo codes, they will tell you that. And then you can be like, okay, maybe I shouldn't focus a lot of my time creating content for the store because everything I linked to, of course, the consumer is going to use a code if they see it on the website.

times it would be like, Oh, [:

And I would escalate that to the brand team and be like, Hey, can you talk to the brand to see if they can make it commissionable? If not, we need to get this out there and put in the help center. So LTK has a help center. Article with promo codes that I created and basically each week, it gets updated with what retailers have codes that are commissionable.

And then basically the rule of thumb is if the retailer and that promo code is not in that spreadsheet. It's not commissionable. And that is like my pride and joy that I did at LTK. That is like what I will take as like one of my most impactful things I created was this weekly spreadsheet of commissionable codes.

ms, the retailers, the promo [:

One, we say this a lot, just when it comes to data prep, have your goals clearly outlined. I would say 99 times out of 100, you're going to have sales and commission goals, but maybe this year you try something different and you're like, I just want to make sure that I'm giving as useful content to my people as I can. And so I'm going to be trying just to drive the most traffic. Maybe then you can use that data later, right? And be like, look how much I drove to you, whatever.

lly prefaces if you're going [:

So that's your framework.

Now when it comes to the exact products that you're posting, I think one, starting with the actual products and looking at what performs for you, what performed well last year, and then also what you're weaving into your life, because that's going to be the thing that is the most compelling, right?

People aren't going oh my gosh, all these links. I think we do that because we want to see what are people posting? Is it working? And all of that happening, but that's not how people shop. So figuring out ways that you're going to hook your audience throughout the day on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday and what you want to post and the products,

hose products for you and in [:

I can't forget about them. They are double my usual conversion rate. So I'll figure out a way to creatively weave them into here.

Then you do all of your homework. No assumptions. That the retailers, they are commissionable for what you want to post. And I would even say you have like a first option, second and third option, because that's part of your safety plan.

re are working correctly. Is [:

Monica: I think if you take the things that we shared, like you're going to be good. I really do. I really think that it doesn't need to be overcomplicated. If you just take everything that we just shared, the key theme is keeping it simple, staying true to yourself and to your brand and not. Trying to be in a million places at once and just and preparing I think yeah The key things and I think that if you do each one of those this might be your most Stress free Black Friday you've ever had.

he data that you're going to [:

But, you also need to have some contingency plans if things don't go the way that you think they're going to go. So like we talked about earlier, a retailer's site goes down so that in the moment on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you're not like, Oh my gosh, what do I do?

he ones that you're planning [:

Yeah. They're their own brand anyway. So finding a backup for some of the stuff, maybe Challenging, but if it's only two things, that wasn't really your bread and butter. But if you're going to be sharing a ton of things to Nordstrom and like it's 50 percent of your links and there's suddenly a problem with them, you'll need to have a backup that will make it so that you're not scrambling during the day.

ow how to react because they [:

Monica: Yeah. And that's such an important thing that now made me realize.

Reporting can be delayed during holiday. So you can expect sales to come through two to six days later than you're used to seeing them come through. So there's two reasons for this. One, Some of these websites are just so inundated with sales coming in that it's just taking them longer to process. And then the second is some retailers do not report sales until it has shipped.

ey don't report anything and [:

Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Sephora, you can definitely always count on will be delayed. But, that's another thing, you can just email support at whatever platform you do and you can ask them what you can expect with reporting times and they will be able to give you that information. So definitely leverage that.

It's free support, literally, you, all these platforms, one of the things they do best is that they will answer your questions.

Michelle: Especially if you know That the site was working and you did the homework ahead of time to make sure everything's commissionable. Everything's good. It can sometimes ensue panic if you don't see it right away.

ve done those things and you [:

Monica: If, now, let's say you email support, and you're like, hey, these are my ten retailers. Promo codes are the commissionable and then what's going to be the estimated reporting time for each of these because they're all going to be different and they give you those estimated reporting times. And let's say they say.

always in communication with [:

Is that if you report to them that your sales should have tracked, but they didn't, and let's say there is, there was an outage, you won't always get credited for an outage if you didn't reach out, because basically what they're looking at is the top creators that usually drive traffic to that, make sure they bonus them, then they take the creators that reached out about it, bonus them, and then everyone else that's we don't know how to allocate it. Definitely always reach out and either you'll get a bonus credit from the brand itself or the platform will give you a credit out of pocket for them.

y versus a potential outage. [:

And then there's a day where instead of 500, like 150.

Monica: Yeah. That is not an outage. That is a potential delay.

Michelle: Yes. So if you're. I think that a more alarming thing is if it goes from like 500 to literally zero or like maybe two. Yeah. Flag that immediately. Yes. If you're seeing a dip, but you are still seeing data, just know that okay, things were probably fine.

And it's just a little bit of a lag because the way to that, some of these retailers do this is they'll upload an Excel spreadsheet. Yep. It's not like It's not

Monica: fancy. It's not

it happens a lot, there are [:

Monica: Manual errors happen. Monthly, I promise you be the annoying person that's reaching out to support because I promise you'll start getting so much more credit for your sales. Yes, and if you don't,

Michelle: yes, advocate for yourself, but 100%, but also be discerning.

Monica: Don't take it, don't lie. Don't be, don't say, Hey, my audience, 20 people in my audience said they made a sale don't lie.

ur audience. So for example, [:

And a lot of times it would be like Hey, I shared this brand and I'm seeing zero sales, something's wrong. What they didn't know is how savvy I am and would look at their press performance for that brand. And I would literally be like, this is the first time you've ever driven. First time you've ever created a link to this brand, your audience probably just isn't used to it yet.

Now, had you been driving clicks and creating links to this brand over the last five months and it's like one of your top 20 brands, different story, but yeah, use critical thinking.

r Monday, if you did want to [:

Yeah. Start sharing it now. You would know okay, if you posted I still, I'm going to go look up that brand after this. If I posted a base luggage, and Because I was thinking about posting it on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, because maybe you see on the back end that they're going to up their commission to 40 percent and you're like, okay, got to get a piece of this post before and look if that even works.

Yeah, because we talked about this, I think maybe in the first ever episode, which now I want to go back and listen, because we're probably like, oh, my God, but no

Monica: cringy.

not convert is because they [:

So they like go and they're like, oh, yeah I do really like that luggage, but Nordstrom also has luggage and I'm just gonna buy from there because I know that I have the accounts like I want to get my points There's not so many reasons why a new even like niche retailer doesn't work

So if you're gonna try something which you should always don't be afraid to try new things but if you're gonna try something on Black Friday or Cyber Monday you can prime it in the Time leading up to it.

like looking at your emails [:

Monica: Yeah. And again, these platforms that you're signed up for linking.

The week before Black Friday, they publish what those sales are going to be. So you don't need to wait for the email because you're, you already have it. That's like the special bonus that you get for being is that you get a preview to what these sales are and you're just not allowed to share them.

Which I don't know if everyone knows the fine print at the bottom of all these is do not share with your audience Until the day but I promise you like there's nothing That will be surprising in your inbox on Black Friday that you didn't already know about if you went into the resources on these platforms

Michelle: Yes.

Yeah going back to what we said in the last full episode no one's hiding anything from you. No, they're not. They're not.

There was one other [:

You're going to have data set up, your content prepped, like backup plans, but you will also drive yourself crazy if every two minutes you're opening your phone and looking at your analytics. Yeah, it's gonna You're gonna be like, oh my gosh, I'm not doing enough not so Set specific time in the day where enough time has passed So you can really see if something is an issue like only set three times A day for 30 minutes where you're going to look make any pivots do it and then walk away.


do think reporting comes in [:

What happened the day before because I think from. Just the report, I think there's just not going to be new information, maybe with clicks. Okay. I take a look at clicks, but don't check it to look at the monetary.

Michelle: Amount yes the monetary

Monica: will come in almost immediately. I think, yeah, I can't remember on collective voice how quickly the clicks come through.

I think it might be hourly and then I believe it's every 3 hours.

midday one, that is where if [:

Monica: You could look at notifications

Michelle: and respond if you have the mental capacity, but it's a really slippery slope.

Just know that audiences in general are more primed for this. Like everyone is, right? It's Black Friday. It's Cyber Monday. People are ready to spend money. So just because you didn't look and adjust one thing, it's not gonna break your two peak days. Yeah. Or peak time.

's a size small it's true to [:

Yes, and then again with that resource help center articles on these platforms will tell you what the reporting times for clicks are. They all publish that's, it's not secret stuff like it's in the help center. You just have to go Google it or dig through it or it's just email support. Yeah,

Michelle: this year is going to be great.

little bit of work ahead of [:

Monica: Yep. So best of luck. Please share. Again, you can DM us at inside the click on Instagram. Or just if you post something and tag us in it and we'll re share it. We love re sharing y'all's stuff. So definitely do that. And if you are new here and haven't subscribed to the podcast, make sure you do leave a review, all the things. Each one really counts in making sure that we are getting you the best resources, tips, insights, all the things into the creator economy.

Michelle: And one other thing, we do have a daily sub stack. That we only pick a few articles or pieces of information and we digest it and share it straight to your inbox.

it's like the skim, but for. [:

So be mindful of key dates so that you don't forget anything as you're planning out the rest of the year.

Monica: Exactly. All right. Thanks for listening and we will talk to y'all on the next episode.

Michelle: Thanks everyone.




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