Small Business Saturday is fast approaching and businesses who want to reap the benefits need to get their marketing ducks in a row. To help with that, I’ve outlined some easy ways to promote your local business, both online and in more traditional ways.
What is Small Business Saturday?
If you haven’t heard of this great one-day event, let me fill you in. In 2010 American Express kicked off a campaign to promote small businesses who were losing out to the big box stores’ Black Friday deals. It was created to encourage shoppers to utilize the small, brick and mortar stores in their town.
As a small business, it’s very difficult to compete with big chains’ and online retailers’ prices. It’s these businesses that help out in your local community, volunteer to make events happen and pay local taxes. So, supporting them during your prime shopping months helps your town, too.
Small Business Saturday Marketing Ideas
I have compiled a list of some ideas to promote your business that I feel anyone can do, even if marketing is not your strongest area. And if you have questions, feel free to reach out!
Get the American Express Small Business Saturday Kit
Since American Express helped us create this holiday, they have created free, ready-to-customize materials that you can download for use online or have printed.
Customize your materials today!
Promote Ahead of Time
Make sure that any place your customers interact with your business lets them know you’re participating in Small Business Saturday. For example, have signs on your store windows, update your social media cover images and update your website’s homepage. This is also a great opportunity to utilize your email subscribers.
Promote on Social Media
Social media platforms have given us new ways to reach customers and promote ourselves. Here are some ideas on each platform:
Create an event on your business page that includes an offer for in-store use. You can set your offer to reach people online and redeem in store. Build suspense by posting sale previews in the event leading up to Small Business Saturday.
Be sure to invite anyone you know to the sale and encourage them to share it. Additionally, you can promote the event to shoppers that live within 15-20 miles from your location with a fairly small advertising budget.
If you’ve created your Facebook event, then consider changing your bio link to lead users there. You can do the same previews of sales and tell fans to follow the link in your bio for specials.
If you do not want to send them to a Facebook page, then make sure you change your link to go to a page on your website that has an email opt-in form so you can send updates about the sale via email.
Be sure to include your hashtags. Here’s what Best-Hashtags.com recommends: #smallbusinesssaturday #smallbusiness #shoplocal #shopsmall #smallbusinessowner #smallbusinesslove #love #handmade #motivation #supportsmallbusinesses #marketing #SmallBusinessSaturday #RetailTherapy #HappySaturday #Saturday #WereOpen #Open
Don’t forget to add in some specific to your sale items, i.e. #boots.
Promoting your Small Business Saturday specials on Twitter can help you reach younger audiences, as well as other businesses. This is a great place to tease your sale items and build up suspense. Be sure to promote each item more than once as this platform is fast moving and not everyone will see each post. And don’t forget your hashtags! You can borrow some from above 🙂
For anyone who is having B2B sales, sending a personalized invitation to local business owners in your network will stand out from much of the solicitations they receive. Keep in mind that this platform may have less activity the week before Thanksgiving since people are not working, so send invitations early.
The key to making any of the above social media platforms successful is to plan out your content ahead of time. You do not want to be rushed and risk forgetting details. Try to plan one week out at a time.
Team Up with a Nonprofit Organization
This time of year we all have the spirit of giving and it makes people feel good when their shopping dollars also help out an organization that is doing good for others. Teaming up with a nonprofit is a great way to give back and double your exposure.
Choose a cause that has meaning in your life and inform shoppers through storytelling. Let them see this cause means something to you…get emotional!
Be Unique to Stand Out from Other Local Businesses
Let’s be honest here, many local businesses are planning their promotions for Small Business Saturday, too. So how will you stand out?
Think outside the box on this one. Consider running a contest where people can win prizes for shopping with you. Or maybe select random numbers and offer the 40th, 62nd and 100th customer get a free gift. Or invite a local celebrity or dignitary.
Team Up with Local Businesses
You may want to consider teaming up with complementary local businesses to join forces and promote your sales together. Reach out to fellow Chamber of Commerce members and see how you can create a memorable experience for shoppers. Maybe each business can chip in for a big grand prize and create a scavenger hunt where shoppers have to go to each business for their next clue.
Consider the Shopper’s Experience
Every consumer wants to have good experiences when they shop. Think about what you can do to make it better for them. Maybe having a local magician performing magic for kids will help shoppers spend more time browsing. Maybe having extra customer service staff to help consumers find items for anyone on their list will help them feel less overwhelmed.
My point here is put yourself in your customer’s shoes and figure out how to make their shopping experience better.
I hope you can use at least a few of my ideas for promoting your Small Business Saturday specials. On the day of the event, don’t forget to take pictures and post them to your social media accounts all day to show the fun shoppers are having. Additionally, offer incentives for them to check in on Facebook so their friends and family keep seeing your brand.
Plus, you can use this day to build your email list. It will help you in the long run. Please consider joining my mailing list for the special contest I will be hosting for small business owners.
Until next time…
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