Launched 7 years ago, Small Business Saturday — the Saturday after Thanksgiving— has grown into the biggest single sales day for a variety of different small businesses.
In 2016, an estimated 112 million Americans shopped at small businesses and independent restaurants. According to American Express, consumers spent over $15 billion, infusing cash into local economies.
Are you stuck without any plans for Small Business Saturday? Then read on! We have economical and easy ways you can prepare your small business for this special day.
Review Your Website
It’s no secret that your web presence is a critical component in your marketing efforts. Now is the perfect time to step back and take a look at your online assets.
Creative Click Media, a New Jersey based full-service marketing firm, suggests that you answer these questions to get started:
- Is your website easy to navigate?
- Are the most important details of your business front and center?
- Are there several places for customers to convert?
- Do you supply different contact options?
- Is your content easy to read?
- Do all of your images work?
- Do all of your links work?
Perform a Social Media Audit
A social media audit is the process of reviewing what’s working, what’s failing and what can be improved upon across your social media channels. Not sure where to start? Whether you’ve never done a social media audit before or are unsure if you did it right, Sprout Social has you covered with this comprehensive article: How to Perform a Successful Social Media Audit.
Reach out to the Community
It’s a sure thing that organizations and agencies that serve small businesses in your community have been gearing up for Small Business Saturday. You don’t have to go it alone! Reach out to the Chamber of Commerce in your area to see if they offer partnerships or cross-promotional activity opportunities.
Your local SBA office is another agency to explore. Find your chapter here: https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance. Politicians that representing your district have a vested interest in the overall success of local businesses. Call their office to see if support or special events are planned for Small Business Saturday. Additional resources to explore include:
Partner with Other Small Businesses
Small Business Trends suggests partnering with other small businesses - even if your business doesn’t have a retail store. Ask if you can put up signs at their locations or offer coupons for your services to people who shop at those stores. Keep relationships going so that you and other entrepreneurs can support each other’s efforts throughout the year.
Before the big day, strategize the best way to reach your target audience. Would a banner displayed by local schools increase awareness of your business? Most schools offer this option for a small tax-deductible donation. If you have the budget, consider placing an ad in a local community paper, magazine or website. Go grassroots and place flyers on community bulletin boards or hand out in high traffic areas. If you’ve established a relationship with another small business, discuss ways you can cross promote.
The eFax blog offers ways to increase awareness:
“A friend who edits a local newspaper says she is amazed at how few requests she gets from people wanting to have their stories told. She says she is sometimes desperate for feel-good stories about local business, and has to hound business owners for them. While some local papers may demand that you take an ad out first, if you call with a story idea and pitch it to the editor personally, you may be surprised at the reception.”
Online communities are a great way for small business owners to network, learn and grow their enterprise. Online forums explore topics from sales to social media to new technologies and more. You can learn what has worked – and what hasn’t – from other business owners across the world. The Lifehack Blog explores which communities are best for the hard-working entrepreneur: 5 Top Online Communities for Small Business.
Cater to the Kids
Even if you don’t sell child related products or services, focus in on the parents. Moms and dads will be much more inclined to visit your store if you have activities to keep the kids entertained while they shop. Some ideas are to hire a face painter, set up an arts and crafts table or giveaway balloons.
Keep in Touch
Don’t let customers forget about you after Small Business Saturday. Implement strategies to keep them engaged. Hand out branded swag (a shopping bag, a pen, note pad, etc.) upon check out or send a post-purchase thank you email. Train your sales staff to let shoppers know about future specials or new products coming soon.
Plan for Next Year
Finally, it’s never too early to start planning for next year’s Small Business Saturday. Make a note to visit the American Express Shop Small website during the summer to order supplies and get your marketing plan shaped up. There you can create customizable marketing materials for not only your physical location but also for an online shop and social media channels.
Another way to prepare for next year’s Small Business Saturday is to explore outside funding. With low cost funds, you can increase marketing, hire new employees, buy equipment, purchase additional inventory and more. An SBA loan is known as the “gold standard” in small business funding.