What is Small Business Saturday?
Black Friday and Cyber Monday tend to be dominated by big businesses. Small Business Saturday was introduced by American Express, in an attempt to redress the balance. Initially introduced in the US 7 years ago, an impressive 72 percent of U.S. consumers now know about Small Business Saturday. In 2016, an estimated112 million shoppers showed their support for small businesses on the seventh annual Small Business Saturday, setting a new record for the retail event in the US. Introduced to the UK five years ago, last year’s event in the UK is estimated to have earned smaller businesses an additional £717m of sales, up 15 percent on 2015.
This year’s small business Saturday will be November 25th in the US, and December 2nd in the UK.
Here’s our advice on getting ready to cash in on what is set to be the biggest Small Business Saturday yet:
Make a point of including Small Business Saturday in your plans for the season. Think of your goals and how the day can help you. It could be as straightforward as using the day to increase awareness of your business or to grow your email list by encouraging customers to sign up for special offers and news.
Your goals will help drive your tactics, so spend time researching and planning these.
Create a Special Offer
This is a great day to rally your customers and attract new ones by enticing them with special offers like a one-day coupon code, or a free sample. Whatever you do, go above and beyond to make your customers feel special and give them a compelling reason to keep coming back throughout the holidays and beyond. If you have a physical store, make sure any offers can be redeemed both in-store and via e-commerce as well.
Use Free Shop Small Resources
American Express, who founded Small Business Saturday in 2010, offers a number of free marketing materials to help you promote your involvement. These can be easily customized for your own business and include printable signage, free online ads, sample email templates and social posts and Shop Small logos. If you’re an American Express merchant, then you can also use the Shop Small map to make it easy for people to discover and locate your business.
Between Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media tools, it’s hard to keep up. But don’t despair; social media can be your greatest asset if used correctly. The Small Business Saturday page on Facebook has more than three million fans, making it a great resource. Always use the #SmallBizSat or #ShopSmall hashtags on Twitter and Instagram to highlight special offers or discounts when the topics are trending.
Update your Adwords by optimizing or adding keywords to match whatever deals you’re running for the big shopping days. These strategic changes, while minor, can really help you attract customers come Small Business Saturday. In addition, consider using geographic targeting. Geo-targeted messages on Twitter and Facebook will help you attract customers on the go.
Stock up on potentially popular items. The last thing you’ll want is to run out of your most popular merchandise before the season is over. It’s critical to understand your product or service demands during the holiday season. Look at what you sold during previous holiday seasons, and make sure that you order enough stock to cover you for additional events and promotions this year.