Every year, the United States celebrates Small Business Saturday during the shopping kickoff to the holiday season. It’s a brilliant concept that encourages customers to skip the major retailers and shop from local businesses in their area. Some customers visit local businesses in person, but an increasing number of people have switched their consumer behavior to largely shopping online. Or at least, doing a majority of their prep work online. This makes it more important than ever for small businesses to have a strong marketing strategy.

And even though Small Business Saturday is still several months away, let this start as an entry level to your toolkit to prepare for that day. Start looking for new ways to market your business online. This won’t just help you on Small Business Saturday — it will help you increase profits, pageviews and conversions throughout the year. Customers will start turning to you instead of major retailers, making you a competitive force in your area. 

1. Update Your Google My Business Profile

If you don’t already have a Google My Business profile, sign up today to take advantage of one of the most valuable tools for small businesses. When you have an active profile, customers can find your business on Google Maps. Google populates some of the information automatically, but if you don’t have a My Business profile, you can’t add more information or change inaccuracies.

Fortunately, it’s free to sign up for Google My Business and start managing your profile. Once you sign up, you can add extensive information about your business. This includes your hours, contact information, photos, website and much more. Adding as much information as possible makes your business look professional and established–increasing the likelihood that customers will drop by. They’ll also know exactly when you’re open so they won’t have to guess or call ahead.

When it comes to your local presence, there are lots of factors that Google My Business uses to help promote your small business. Factors such as keyword implementation, credibility through E-A-T for SEO, and improving your brand. While Google My Business helps build your small business through these efforts, it also requires effort from your side as well for the best results. As long as you use the tool in the way it is intended to benefit you as a business owner, it’s going to be a good decision in the long run.

If you already have a profile, make sure you review it before Small Business Saturday arrives. You might have outdated or inaccurate information on your profile without realizing it. Add clear photos of the inside and outside of your business so customers know what to expect when they arrive. You could also take this opportunity to thank people for positive reviews and respond to complaints. In the case of Google My Business, it will almost always be beneficial to have a profile to help optimize your business locally. You can build relevance and trust with your profile and see yourself start to rank higher on the SERP.

2. Incorporate SEO Into Your Website

A percentage of your customer base comes from Google searches and organic search. If you’re sitting at the top of the rankings, people in your area will spot your website when they search for a relevant keyword like “candle companies in ohio” or “resale shops near me.” However, if your website shows up on the tenth page, you’re less likely to get customers from spontaneous searches.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) boosts your rankings by adding relevant keywords to your website. For example, if you sell auto parts, you could add the text “auto parts in Illinois” somewhere to your front page. This increases the likelihood that your website will rank higher when a customer searches for that keyword. Since customers use a number of different search terms, it’s important to incorporate multiple SEO keywords into your website. Especially from a local standpoint, having a local SEO campaign helps benefit small businesses a great deal over time. Implementing local SEO services helps build trust and relevance for your website and small business. As Small Business Saturday approaches, you’ll want to make sure your local SEO is ready for customers to find your small business.

Keyword research is one important SEO step your small business could take to improve your rankings. For maximum effectiveness, you’ll need to incorporate terms naturally within your content. If you copy and paste a list of terms at the bottom of the page, it’ll look unprofessional and off-putting to customers. An optimized website slips keywords seamlessly into the text so your regular customers won’t even notice. If your content reads well, makes sense, and implements the right keywords seamlessly, this will all help your small business rank higher in SERPs.

It’s impossible to guess every single search term that your customers will use, but you can work with a company like Boostability to incorporate the most common terms in your web content. Other SEO enhancements include link building services, using alt and meta tags, local business directory involvement, and custom content writing that’s more concise and readable. These features, including more, work together to reach a wider audience and help increase your rankings and conversion rate.

3. Stay Active on Social Media

In today’s world, customers are more likely to hear about Small Business Saturday on social media. In fact, many customers won’t look at your website unless they want to make a purchase online. For this reason, it’s important to keep an active social media presence throughout the year. Signing up for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites is free, and some websites even give you a free business account with extra features. And frankly, your customers expect your busy to have social media pages to follow and get new information from. 

Some businesses make the mistake of signing up for an account, then giving up after a few months. Unfortunately, this just makes customers question whether you’re still operating. Gathering followers might be a slow process at first, but keep in mind that every person you reach is a potential customer. Post regularly, answer your followers’ questions, and take advantage of in-site advertisements so you can get the word out to people throughout your community. 

As this year’s holiday season approaches, make social media part of your Small Business Saturday marketing strategy. Post about Small Business Saturday in the weeks ahead so that your customers get prepared to shop. Make an event on your Facebook page so that your followers can show interest and get notification reminders. When the day arrives, you’ll see an influx in customers. This is because you drummed up enthusiasm and informed people who might not have otherwise known about the holiday.

4. Build Excitement Online

Many customers are happy to buy products from small businesses and support the local economy. However, some customers are even happier to support your business if you give them incentives to do so. Here’s a few ways you could get ready for Small Business Saturday through your website and social media:

  • Offer incentives to your customers like a free gift for the first 50 people or a discount for the first 25 people who place an order online. Make sure you post about these incentives ahead of time. This way, customers can prepare for Small Business Saturday.
  • Host a raffle. Tell customers that you’ll enter them in a giveaway when they complete a task like entering your store, making a purchase, or sharing a post online. The prize can be a product, gift card or free service. The winner might be so impressed with your product or service that they become a paying customer.
  • Promote sales and discounts that you’ll have on Small Business Saturday. You don’t need to drop your prices so much that it harms your business. Customers will be even more eager to shop if they feel like they’re getting a deal.
  • Get involved with local campaigns. If your town or neighborhood has a Facebook page, talk about promoting your business as you gear up for Small Business Saturday. They might already have an ongoing campaign for local businesses.
  • Launch a daily countdown as you get close to the date. When you get your followers excited, they’ll see Small Business Saturday as an upcoming holiday and not just another shopping date.

With this experience, you can start hosting promotions and giveaways to keep your customers engaged any time of the year.

Learn More with Boostability

Jumping into the world of SEO can be a little overwhelming. Here at Boostability, we offer extensive small business SEO services. This includes services such as link building, keyword research, content writing, alt and meta tag usage, and much more. Once you’ve optimized your website, you’ll see an increase in sales and profits, making our services consistently worth your investment. We provide solutions for small businesses by getting them to the first page of Google every five minutes. Get in touch with us today and you could be next!

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Kristine is the Director of Content with Boostability. She brings a decade's worth of communications strategy work to the company. Kristine has a Masters Degree in Leadership and Communications from Gonzaga University and graduated from BYU with her undergrad in Broadcast Journalism. She's worked in television news, public relations, communications strategy, and marketing for over 10 years. In addition to being a part of the marketing team, Kristine enjoys traveling, sports, and all things nerdy.