Let the Big Box stores duke it out on Black Friday. Small Business Saturday was created just for you, the independently owned shop. CNN Money reports that last year consumers spent a whopping $14.3 billion at local businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. With a little planning, you can still cash in this weekend. Whether you have a retail, non-retail, or service business, let your consumers know you are not a faceless behemoth corporation; you are part of their community. Use your smallness and individuality to your advantage with these 6 quick, low-sweat strategies for a great event.
Here’s 6 tips and strategies for a successful Small Business Saturday:
- Clean up your online presence: Now is a great time to do a little reputation management. Make sure all of your listings are correct for phone, address, and email. If you have negative reviews on any platform, apologize and ask for another chance. If you have compliments (lucky you!) say “thank you.” Clean up your website, too. Update product photos and remove links that don’t work. Add a message about Small Business Saturday.
- Set measurable goals: What do you hope to gain? More foot traffic, new customers, more sales from each customer, and better engagement on social media are all good goals. Set up a system to track progress.
- Bundle a deal for real appeal: Can you swing even 5% off? Merchandising two or three products together is not only visually appealing – especially with a bow and gift tag – it’s smart marketing. Your customers get a gift that’s ready for giving, at a slight discount. And you move more product. If you’re business is service-based, such as an auto repair shop, you can still bundle; just bundle gift cards/gift certificates. A hair salon might offer a free conditioning treatment or scalp massage with a cut and color service.
- Promote shopping on this day as a special community event: You still have some time before Saturday, so make the most of it and spread the word. If you have email addresses, send a newsletter. If you have deals, promote them on all of your social media channels. Use hashtags like “#SHOPSMALL”. Encourage people to ‘show the love’ on Small Business Saturday and keep dollars in the local community. Don’t be shy! It’s okay to tweet up to 4 times a day if you have something to say. Use lots of pictures. Of what? Gift-ready bundles. Festive aisles. Smiling employees. Let people know if you have special hours on Saturday, or any other day during the holiday season.Place some flyers from your business neighbors on the counter. Print up some of your own and ask them to reciprocate.
- Provide a great customer experience: How? Service, savings, fun.
– Make sure you staff up so that customers don’t have to deal with long lines
– Answer the phone, people may call to see if you have a certain menu item, product, or service
– Bust out the balloons, hire a costumed character, or make a bright sign for the window
– Pass out product samples, coupons for a return visit, or have cookies, cider, or candy on the counter
– Roll out the wrapping paper…tape and scissors, too, for a DIY wrapping station
– Hold a raffle for one of your own products or services, or for one of your business neighbors!
– Collect email addresses on the raffle tickets or comment cards
– Say Cheese! Set up a DIY photo “booth” with a festive holiday backdrop. It’s easy and cheap to make a foam core frame for your customers to use as a prop for their shopping selfies. Don’t forget to add your logo and a fun message. Consider offering them a $5 discount if they show you that they’ve shared it on social media.
– Say Thank You! Let customers know you are aware they have other choices, and that you are glad they chose you.
- Review your event: You can measure more than just sales. Other indicators of success:
– # of people that came to the store# of shares on social media
– # of coupons distributed# of coupons redeemed
– # of compliments
– The type of data captured on your comment cards or raffle tickets (names, email addresses, product preferences) is marketing gold.
Try these tips this Saturday and on other occasions for a successful small business event.
Patricia Ryan Thomas works with Daymond John’s Launch Academy where she shares tips and strategies for small business, marketing, and social media. Stay in touch: @PRTplus