Tips for Small Business Saturday success
1. Do something special.
Small Business Saturday is a big day, so you should do something to mark the occasion and entice more customers to stop by. You can offer special promotions, host an event (like a kid-friendly activity, a shop-and-sip or a food tasting), bring in local performers or artisans, or add an extra incentive to shop, like offering discounts or donating a portion of the day’s proceeds to a local charity.
2. Get the word out.
Now that the movement is in its 11th year, most Americans are aware of it, but your community may not know that your store is participating in the day.
“This is one day out of the year where you can tell your story and harness the publicity that naturally surrounds the day,” said Brian Mattingly, CEO and founder of Welcomemat Services.
Even if you’re not offering any special discounts or events, you can share your business’s story on Small Business Saturday. Post on social media with the hashtags #SmallBusinessSaturday or #SBS, send out flyers or newsletters by traditional mail or email or post an ad in your local paper. Let people know you’re there, tell them what products or services you offer, and mention your excitement for Small Business Saturday.
3. Treat it as the beginning of your year.
The start of the calendar year is a hectic time for small businesses. Use Small Business Saturday as an early opportunity to assess the state of your business, said Kevin Miller, director of product marketing at Cherry Road Technologies.
Do you need to hire seasonal help? Is there new technology you can implement to streamline specific business workflows? Use Small Business Saturday to complete a holistic assessment of your business operations, Miller said. This can help you prepare for the next wave of big shopping holidays and the actual start of the calendar year.
4. Stock up on potentially popular items.
The last thing you’ll want is to run out of your most popular merchandise before the season even begins. That’s why it’s critical to understand your product or service demands during the holiday season, said David Gilbert, founder and CEO of small business lender National Funding. Plan strategically in advance, he said, and stock up on popular items. Look at the purchase history for your biggest shopping days to get an idea of what customers want, and place them in easily accessible areas of your store.
5. Offer special discounts and promotions.
Like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is a great day to offer special deals to entice customers. A 2016 survey by Infusionsoft and Pollfish found that the most popular Small Business Saturday promotions in 2015 were limited-time offers (24%), free gift offers (21%), coupon discounts (20%), and “buy one, get one free” offers (19%).
6. Reinvest in social media.
When business gets busy, social media is often the first thing to get pushed aside. But you should consider it a critical part of your marketing plan, said Mattingly. “Creative and purposeful content can capture the attention of consumers, which, in turn, creates shares and engagement.”
Ideally, you should come up with a plan to promote your Small Business Saturday offers two to three weeks before it happens. (It’s not too late if you haven’t started yet, though!) Decide which platforms you want to post on, what you will post, and what you hope to achieve by posting. Are you trying to drive more traffic to your store? Are you trying to increase awareness of your product?
Continue to post once or twice a week leading up to the day, making sure to include all necessary information, like your location and any relevant promotion or event details.
7. Boost your other marketing strategies.
In addition to your social media marketing, take the time to rethink your overall marketing strategy and increase your advertising efforts, said Gilbert. With Black Friday marking the official start of the holiday shopping season, now is a good time to beef up your local marketing strategy and make sure it maximizes your chances of success.
Gilbert recommends creating a comprehensive marketing campaign to draw customers to your store. In all your marketing materials, be clear about what you offer and why those offerings are unique to your store.
8. Partner up.
Do any other businesses near you offer products or services that are complementary to yours? For instance, is there a cheese store near your wine shop, or an outdoor gear retailer near your boat trip company?
If so, consider a partnership for Small Business Saturday. You could offer special discounts for shopping at both stores, sell product bundles, or sponsor crossover events – like wine tasting while shopping for cheese. This is a great way to build relationships with other small business owners in your area and strengthen your sense of community.
9. Extend your hours.
If you have the staff available, consider extending your hours on Small Business Saturday. This can increase traffic by giving customers more time to come in, making it easier for them to stop by before or after they meet their previous obligations or complete their regular shopping.
If you do decide to extend your hours, make sure you put the word out along with the rest of your Small Business Saturday marketing materials. Include it in your social media posts, newsletters, emails or newspaper ads.
10. Personalize your customer experience.
Your company isn’t the only one on the market on Small Business Saturday. To earn the support of your audience and keep up with your competitors (including larger corporations, which tend to be more convenient options for many shoppers), you’ll have to find ways to personalize your customers’ experience.
Ask yourself why consumers should choose you over similar businesses, then use that as leverage to attract customers. For instance, add a personal touch to your packaging, extra treats in customer orders, a handwritten thank-you note, customized items, or special deals.
11. Support your customers so they support you.
Good customer service is crucial – especially for small businesses looking to make a lasting impression. Make sure you have a solid team of workers to help answer phone calls, address questions or concerns, offer live chat support, and provide guidance when placing orders. By prioritizing your customers this way, you’ll show them you genuinely care and appreciate them, which is much more than most large businesses offer. Additionally, most sales will take place digitally this year, so it’s important for your customers to feel as much support from you virtually as they would in person.
12. Tweak your SEO strategy.
Search engine optimization is one of the most important strategies for a small business to implement, as it helps consumers find your website and learn more about your business. Without good SEO, you won’t be as visible to your audience, which can hold you back from making many sales. SEO is especially important this year, as many consumers are going to shop online rather than in person. In other words, a large chunk of your sales will rely on your SEO practices.
To improve your chances of showing up in search results, focus on using the right keywords for your business, publish blog posts with relevant content, create promotional content, and make sure Google shows where you are located so you can recruit members from your community.
13. Take advantage of resources from American Express.
American Express provides various resources to help small businesses gain visibility. For instance, their Shop Small Studio offers free materials to help you create posters, social media graphics, email newsletters, and more. Then, you can use your creations to promote your business across all channels, such as Instagram, Facebook, email, and your website. American Express also lists other resources, such as participating businesses where you can save on shipping and other services, and a PDF e-book with advice to help your customers practice pandemic safety.
Article source: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7354-small-business-saturday-tips.html