You own a small business. You have unique products and services, great customer service and you’re LOCAL. But many of your friends and customers still get caught up in Black Friday bargains and the Cyber Monday shopping frenzy.
Saturday, November 26 is just for you – it’s Small Business Saturday and consumers are being reminded to #ShopSmall. A national campaign calls on people to remember their hometown merchants and other small businesses that are keeping their local economy alive.
And while the countdown has begun, there’s still time to maximize your success and increase your sales on Small Business Saturday. But you need to move fast if you’re just joining the movement.
Here are a couple of sites that might interest you in preparing for the #ShopSmall movement, and if you Google Small Business Saturday, you’ll find more:
- The Small Business Saturday official website takes you to a special site, hosted by credit card company American Express, where you can download a folder with a Small Business Saturday tip sheet and customizable artwork to use on your website, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. It provides printable posters and flyers and even some messages to post, complete with hashtags, the pound sign symbol that makes it easier for people to search for postings of interest. As you post, be sure to include the words #smallbizsat or #shopsmall.
- If you read this before 4 p.m. ETA Tuesday, Nov. 22, you still have time to hop onto a conference call about Small Business Saturday with federal officials from the Small Business Administration and Health and Human Services Department. Go to sba.gov/smallbusinesssaturday for the conference call registration link and blog with 15 ways to take advantage of Small Business Saturday.
- Your local Chambers of Commerce and other organizations likely can provide you with information about any local initiatives. For instance, in Polk County, Lakeland Business Leaders members have been promoting #ShopSmall by getting in on the Lakeland Rocks movement with #ShopSmall messages. Painted rocks are being left all over town, some accompanied by gift cards to use locally.
In addition to these resources, here are a few tips for Small Business Saturday success.
- Use the recognizable and free Shop Small graphics mentioned here to tie your small business into this growing national initiative. Use them on your website and every social media account tied to your business. They are formatted to the appropriate size for social media and websites.
- E-mail flyers with Shop Small and any special offers to your existing customers. If you’re not asking every person who walks in your door for an email to keep connected, you’re missing out on a lot of return business. If you don’t have a great list, make it a priority for next year and promote during various seasons.
- Make sure your business looks (and smells) its best. Some will be first-time customers who saw online posts and you want to make the best first impression. Cinnamon, peppermint and evergreen scents (pleasant, but not overpowering) get people in the holiday shopping mode. And don’t forget music.
- Provide light snacks or at least cookies. Chocolate is always good. If it’s cold, make sure you’ve got apple cider or hot chocolate, especially if it’s a chilly day. Some people shop online because they really don’t enjoy shopping so you have to create a memorable customer experience. Maybe plan and promote special activities or entertainment at various times during the day.
- Shop Small and Small Business Saturday are growing national initiatives, so that makes them news. If you’ve got friends in the media, invite them to use you in their feature stories that day. Even if you don’t have contacts, just call the media and ask for the news desk and/or assignment editor, but be prepared with something visual and compelling to make your business a good choice.
- Use social media for customer engagement throughout the day. Take pictures of customers proudly holding their great finds and post them (with permission of course). Remind people throughout the day of any special events or entertainment. Ask the customers to go home and Like your Facebook and share your posts and their pictures with all their friends.
These are just a few tips to help you grow your sales on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 26. If you can’t swing it this year, maybe you can do even better next year with more advance planning and an overall marketing strategy. If you don’t have a marketing strategy, there are multiple business resources available to help with that as well, at no-cost. May your holidays be bright and your cash registers ringing.