The Holiday Season is the retail equivalent of the playoffs in sports. Businesses need to be firing on all cylinders if they want to meet or exceed their goals. Small businesses are no different, and often need to work twice as hard as the lager box stores to get people through the doors.
Enter Small Business Saturday.
What started out as a simple initiative back in 2010, Small Business Saturday has blossomed into an event small business owners would be foolish not to participate in. But with increased participation comes increased competition. How do you stand out and get customers to spend their holiday money with you? Here are a few suggestions.
Make it an event – Not every business has the ability to offer steep discounts like the big box stores. That doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to promote. You can:
- Offer a limited-edition item that can only be purchased that day or has a special price that day only
- Partner up with other small businesses in your location.
- Bring in a DJ
- Offer product/food samples to encourage purchases
- Create a “passport” with other businesses that rewards people for visiting all shops participating in the event
- Offer coupons for future visits with each purchase that are valid after the holiday season to help boost cashflow during historically slow shopping months
- Zero in on something that makes your business unique and make that the focus of your Small Business Saturday promotions
Get the word out – Once you have something worth promoting, you need to create the hype so customers not only know about it, but are excited as well.
- Make sure your employees are fully versed in what you are doing for SBS and that they make it part of every customer interaction leading up to the day
- Include fliers with every customer purchase
- Email your current customer base
- Post fliers around the neighborhood as well as community bulletin boards
- Check with your local Chamber of Commerce to see if they are compiling a list of participating retailers and offers
- Social Media –
- Talk up your participation in Small Business Saturday on your social media pages
- If you have the funds, a small, targeted spend on Facebook and Instagram can amplify your message significantly
- Include relevant hashtags in all posts about your participation (#SmallBusinessSaturday #ShopSmall) to improve the chances of being noticed
- Get involved in the conversations about Small Business Saturday, let people know why it matters to you and your business
These are just a few ideas to consider when getting ready for Small Business Saturday, but you need to get started quickly for 2018. Take what you learn from this year and build upon it for 2019.
For those who have an online presence, or those who are web-based only, make sure your website is prepared for the holidays as well.