You've probably heard of Small Business Saturday before -- this Shop Small event happens once a year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. American Express started this tradition to help drive sales for small and local businesses during the holiday season. Not only does it help bring awareness to small businesses, but it also brings communities together as they get out and support their favorite local business.
The event will come and go, but the impression your business makes will determine if first-time customers turn into loyal ones. Keep reading for five Small Business Saturday tips you can use to make it the best year yet!
1. Revamp your Web Presence
First thing’s first: Revamp the place consumers will go to find all the information they need about your business – your website, social media sites, and local listings. Anywhere that your business might be listed online, double check that all information is correct and up to date. Also check to see if the payment process is working (if you have one), customer service information is available, and any other information a customer would need -- like your phone number! -- is displayed correctly. There’s nothing worse than potential customers showing up to the wrong business location or calling a phone number that doesn’t work. Think of your web presence as a first impression. It’s most likely the place people will find out about you and you want to give them a reason to come check out your business in person.
2. Extend your Hours
This event happens once a year, so make it last by extending your hours. If your small business usually closes at 5 p.m., consider extending your hours to 7 or 8 p.m. This will make it easier for consumers to visit your business around their schedule.
If you choose to extend your hours for just Saturday or even the entire weekend, make sure it displays correctly on your website. You should also post on your social media accounts and let your audience know you will be open later than usual on those specific days.
3. Create an Experience
There’s something about the holidays and special offers that just go hand-in-hand. Since consumers will be shopping Black Friday the day before Small Business Saturday, it’s a good idea to create unique special offers that consumers can’t get anywhere else. You’re not competing with businesses taking part in Black Friday, but you want to give consumers a reason to get out and shop the next day.
So, think outside the box! What’s something you offer that the big guys don’t? Instead of promoting a single product that consumers can buy from you on the day of the event, you can invite consumers to enjoy an experience.
For example, a clothing boutique could offer treats such as cookies and drinks for customers to enjoy while they browse, or a pet store could create a theme for the event and dress up their puppies accordingly. Who can pass up walking into a pet store with puppies in costumes? This brings consumers into your store in a creative way other than highlighting the products you’re selling. Finding ways to stand out and create an experience for customers will give them a reason to choose you over your competitor.
4. Partner with Another Local Business
If you’ve lacked foot traffic on Small Business Saturday in the past, maybe it’s a good idea to partner with a local business in your area. You can find ways to complement each other's strengths and drive leads to each of your businesses. Let’s say you provide a limited supply of local organic produce. You can partner with a neighborhood bakery to sell homemade baked goods and highlight the ingredients that were used. Then sell the specific produce used with a recipe card on how to make it!
Whatever your business might offer, it’s a good idea to find out what other businesses are participating in Small Business Saturday and talk to them about partnering through the holidays.
5. Post on Social Media
Posting on social media before, during, and after the event is one of the most important things you can do. If you plan on creating an experience for your customers, you need to use your social media accounts to tell a story and engage your audience. Here are a few ways you can use your social media to drive leads during the event:
- Offer prizes, discounts, and other surprises to social media followers leading up to the event through giveaways and trivia questions about Small Business Saturday
- Start highlight weeks in advance what you will be offering the day of the event
- Host a live stream on the day of the event to encourage your audience to visit your business
- Give your social media followers a promo code specifically for them to use when they come in the store
Small Business Saturday is one day out of the year to try some new strategies and out-of-the-box ideas to get your business known and bring consumers into your store. As a corporate sponsor of Small Business Saturday, we love any initiative to Shop Small® and encourage you to do so! Let us know how you participate on social media with the hashtag #ShopSmall. And, download our free guide to find out more ways you can make your Small Business Saturday a success.