Small Business Saturday is a great way for small businesses to take advantage of the holiday shopping season. With a little preparation, it can give your business a great short-term sales boost, introduce your company to new customers, increase brand awareness, and more.
If you want to get the most out of Small Business Saturday, we have five tips to help.
Review your Online Information
Customers will be looking for small businesses to support, and many will be headed online to do so. That means Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity to review your business information on websites and services like Yelp, Facebook, and Google My Business. In some cases, you can add a note about any promotions that you are running. And if you are planning to expand your operating hours for the day—which you should do if possible—make sure that’s reflected online as well.
Update your Website
Many customers will check out a company’s website before setting foot in their store. And even on Small Business Saturday, a lot of shopping happens online. That means that if your business has an online store, make sure it is updated. If you don’t, you can still feature your most popular products and services prominently on your website, and make sure customers have clear directions to your store.
It’s also a good idea to use your website to highlight any promotions, events, or discounts you’re doing for Small Business Saturday. And make sure you clearly display anything that will be different, like extended hours or free shipping.
Let your customers know you’re participating by incorporating Small Business Saturday into your marketing efforts. Post on Twitter and Facebook, send out an email, write a blog post—whatever is part of your marketing efforts can likely benefit from advertising your participation in Small Business Saturday.
To help small businesses participate, American Express has free customizable marketing materials to show your customers that your small business is part of the event. There are a bunch of options, including website badges, social media banners, event fliers, and email templates. Choose what you want, customize it, and add it where you choose.
Offer a Discount or Promotion
You don’t need to try and compete with national companies. But offering a coupon that’s a little beyond what you normally do can make it feel like a special day and encourage customers to buy. If a coupon isn’t keeping with your brand or your marketing plan, you can feature other incentives. For example, if you sell gift cards, offer an extra $15 gift card for every $100 gift card purchase. Or offer free shipping or free gift-wrapping.
Make it Special
In addition to offering discounts or promotions, try to make Small Business Saturday feel like a holiday—not just a marketing ploy. Invite a local celebrity to come to your store for a few hours, perhaps to sign autographs or take pictures with customers. Reach out to local artists and offer to hang some of their artwork in your store for sale. Offer water bottles, face painting, raffle tickets, or free samples.
You can also set up a contest online or in your store. For example, you could encourage customers to post pictures on social media using a special hashtag, and randomly select one to receive a gift card. Host an ugly sweater contest, the best beard contest, or a photo contest. Anything that makes the day feel like an event rather than a chore.
Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity to increase sales, find new customers, and build loyalty. With a little preparation, your small business can reap rewards far beyond this holiday shopping season.