- Posted by Donna Amos
- On November 11, 2017
- marketing, small business, small business saturday
Small Business Saturday, November 25, 2017, started as an American Express initiative to encourage consumers to patronize smaller local businesses during the holiday season. It has grown to become a major part of the three major holiday shopping days. Smack in the middle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, since 2010, an estimated 88 million people have actively shopped small businesses on Small Business Saturday. It has become an unparalleled opportunity for small businesses to celebrate their existence as well as gain exposure, enjoy increased sales potential, and build community.
On Small Business Saturday in 2016, 112 million shoppers showed their love for their favorite spots, and spent a reported $15.4 billion at small businesses like yours. A record number of towns and neighborhoods organized to celebrate Small Business Saturday in 2016, and more local people and organizations support the day as never before. Use these suggestions to help your business cash in on Small Business Saturday, as well as throughout the entire year.
Major retail businesses waste no time promoting holiday shopping, often beginning at the end of summer. It’s already November, so now is the time to get started if you haven’t already set plans in motion. American Express freely provides personalized resources and advertising tools at www.shopsmall.com. To help support and promote Small Business Saturday, you can also download the Shop Small logo to display on your website and other advertising. Let others know you are part of the small business community that has much to offer.
Prepare your Website
Online shopping continues to gain popularity and small businesses with online shopping available can enjoy a distinct advantage. Make sure your products and/or services have been updated online and special holiday promotions are prominently displayed. Also, make sure your website can process transactions quickly and securely.
Ensure your website is mobile-friendly. According to Google, 74% of users say they’re more likely to return to a site if it’s mobile-friendly. More than ever before, consumers are shopping on mobile phones or other mobile devices. User experience is the key to sales and repeat customers. You can test your site for mobile-friendly access here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.
Provide Excellent Customer Service
Consumers care as much or more about the shopping experience as they do about the items or services they purchase. Small businesses have the premium ability to really connect with their customers and provide personalized service. In fact, many shoppers who choose small businesses over larger retail stores do so because they desire the more personal aspect of the shopping experience. Leverage that preference by demonstrating the value that small businesses place on customer satisfaction.
Use Social Media
Social media can be your greatest asset, if used correctly. The Facebook page for Small Business Saturday has millions of fans, making it a great resource. Always use the #SmallBizSat or #ShopSmall hashtags on Twitter and Instagram to highlight special offers or discounts. Consumers will be searching for great buys and many are active users of social media. Plan and execute a social media campaign on every channel you use to point consumers to what your small business has to offer.
Network with Other Small Businesses
Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate solopreneurs and entrepreneurs who operate their own business their own way. Why not network together with other local or like-minded businesses in your area? Perhaps you could offer joint specials with other local businesses or combine services into mutually beneficial packages. Talk with other small business owners in your area and get their ideas. The idea of working together to strengthen the local community is the primary driving force behind Small Business Saturday.
Use Great SBS Promotional Materials
American Express offers great promotional materials on their Small Business Saturday site that businesses can customize and download. Materials include an animated GIF, social media and website logos, email headers, and various print items. Customize yours or download the generic copies. All items are free.
Reward Your Customers
Consumers are always looking for special deals and discounts. Reward them for shopping small with you by offering a reasonable discount, free gift, complimentary snacks or gift wrapping, or a gift certificate. Consider also providing some way they can identify as a Small Business Saturday participant, such as a lapel sticker or shopping bag tag. The tag could even serve as a 10% off coupon when they return to your store in the future.
Promote a Local Cause
Consider donating a percentage of your profits from Small Business Saturday to a local charity such as a food pantry or homeless shelter. Choose a cause that truly resonates with your local community. This gives you another great marketing message to share in your advertising. You will be viewed as a responsible and generous community partner who is paying it forward by supporting a non-profit in your community.
Small Business Saturday can be an important part of your overall holiday marketing strategy. Celebrate entrepreneurship and local businesses in your area while showcasing your products or services to grow your business. What are some ways you have participated in Small Business Saturday? We’d love to share your stories with our readers. Record your tips and stories in the comments below. Thanks and Happy Holidays!