Small Business Saturday is a relatively new holiday that celebrates the worth of American small companies. It falls between Black Friday’s huge lines and Cyber Monday’s almost minute-long internet offers. While the purpose of this holiday is to encourage customers to visit local small businesses, it can be difficult for shop owners to create events, decorate their storefronts, and publicize their specials. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has pushed many businesses to adjust operations and in-person events, this will be especially true this year.
Whether you’re a first-time or a seasoned Small Business Saturday participant, these eight ideas will help you know how to make this holiday a huge success.
8 Ways to Strengthen Your Business Plans for Small Business Saturday
1) Participate in Local Small Business Saturday Events
The first step your business can take to have a successful Small Business Saturday is finding other local businesses, organizations, or small companies that have events scheduled. You and other business owners may benefit from increased visibility as a result of these events.
Check with your local business alliance, Chamber of Commerce, and Local First organization to see if they have anything planned for the day to get you started. If you don’t already know who they are, Google your town or county’s name plus “business alliance,” “Chamber of Commerce,” and “Local First.” Then, see if any of them have a Small Business Saturday event planned.
You may also ask other small business owners whether they’re doing anything special for Small Business Saturday in addition to checking with these groups. It may be time to take matters into your own hands if none of these organizations or businesses sponsor an event.
2) Host Your Own Event
Be the leader within your industry and throw an event if no events are being organized by local business owners or groups. Even if they are, it doesn’t have to stop your small business from creating your own event. You may plan to set up a folding booth in front of your local shop. Here you can hand out free Small Business Saturday swag and direct customers to participating businesses via flyers. This simple event planning checklist will help you keep track of your event planning and promotions.
You may also consider partnering with other local businesses to promote each other. For example, you could construct a Small Business Saturday map of your city that encourages people to follow a path throughout the day. By following this map, you could offer specific special discounts for shopping at two or more stores, sell product bundles, or sponsor crossover events. This helps build relationships with other small business owners in your area and strengthen your sense of community and what it means to be a small business.
3) Alert Local Customers via Flyers and Posters
You should absolutely let your frequent consumers know that you’ll be commemorating the day ahead of time. Flyers and posters are a great way to advertise your involvement in Small Business Saturday. Posters in your shop window and flyers in a prominent area inside your store will help to inform existing customers and passersby about the occasion.
Various online tools could help enhance your brand and make your store stand out. One option is downloading and printing American Express’s handy flyers or making your own with a basic, free program like Canva. A local design business can also create and print flyers for you (plus, you’re supporting more small businesses around you). Make sure you do this in advance to give your provider plenty of time to deliver your order. Remember, you’re not the only small business planning for a Small Business Saturday promotion.
4) Prepare Your Physical Store
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Preparing your space is a great way to make the best first impression and get new clients to return after Small Business Saturday is over.
If maintenance or cleaning needs to be done, take this as an opportunity to get that done before it gets too busy. You might also want to consider rearranging your store to accommodate more people and help sell your most popular or most profitable items. Be sure to place your products and services so that customers can find them easily and be accessible to them.
Plan strategically in advance and stock up on popular items. Look at the purchase history for your biggest shopping days to understand what customers want and will come for specifically. That’s why it’s critical to understand your product and service demands during the holiday season.
If you have the staff available, consider extending your hours on Small Business Saturday. This can increase traffic by giving customers more time to come in. This will make it easier to stop by before or after they meet their previous obligations, or complete their regular shopping. If you decide to extend your hours, make sure you put the word out and the rest of your marketing materials. You could also consider adding your product lineup online for those who can’t find the time to come in.
5) Take Care of Your Staff
Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday all require lots of work and attention on one of the busiest weekends of the year. While your business is preparing for Small Business Saturday, make sure your employees and staff are prepared as well. Here are a few tips to help your business take care of your staff:
- Everyone is accounted for: Make sure you’re fully stocked and staffed for this day. If you feel that you will be short-staffed, start thinking of hiring temporary or seasonal employees. Make sure you have a competent staff of employees to accept calls, respond to queries or issues, and assist customers with purchase placement.
- Customer Service: Think about customer service best practices that you want your staff to follow and plan a day (or days) to train your employees.
- Strengths and Weaknesses: Consider your team’s strengths and allocate tasks to each member to avoid confusion when your store is filled with eager customers. You may also plan on incentivizing your staff based on a specific goal achieved (sales, positive reviews, etc.)
- Incentives: Dealing with a lot of people on one day can be stressful. Always try to keep your employees happy, so they offer excellent customer service to your customers. Consider doing things on Small Business Saturday to keep their energy up and their spirits lifted. For example, you can buy lunch for everyone who works on that day or give them more rest breaks than usual, so they have time to recharge.
6) Personalize Your Customer Experience
On Small Business Saturday, your company isn’t the only one on the market. You’ll need to develop ways to personalize your consumers’ experience if you want to gain the support of your audience and keep up with your competitors. Ask yourself why customers should select your business over competitors, then use that information to acquire new clients.
Here are a few examples of how to add value in personalized ways:
- Free coffee and cookies for guests while they shop
- Include in every purchase a holiday postcard, handwritten thank-you letter, free event invitation, free class pass, etc.
- Free gift or personalized merch with any purchase over $50
- 20 percent off your next purchase when you spend $40 or more
- Free gift wrapping
These personal touches will make your customers feel cared for and encourage them to return far into the future, even without exclusive deals.
7) Plan the Exclusive Deals You’ll Offer
Similar to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is a great day to offer special deals to entice customers. Consider offering one product or a substantial promotion that isn’t offered any other time of the year.
Begin by brainstorming various concepts. Do you wish to use a straightforward model, such as a % discount? Or would you prefer to include a bonus with a purchase of a particular amount? The sky’s the limit! Allow yourself plenty of time to brainstorm special incentives for your customers on Small Business Saturday. Remember to keep it basic so that your clients can comprehend and benefit from it. For instance, a local yoga studio offers a unique option for membership on this holiday, which drives sales because of its exclusivity.
Once you know what your special promotion will be, next, think about what your marketing budget will be to get news of the promotion in front of your ideal customers. Once you know your budget, brainstorm the various marketing strategies you can use to spread the word.
8) Keep the Momentum Going and Track Success
Instead of thinking of Small Business Saturday as a single day, consider it the start of the holiday shopping season and the opportunity to build relationships with new clients. Follow best practices, such as collecting contact information so you can follow up with customers and provide them unique offers throughout the year. Then, add your new email subscribers to your mailing list and send a simple email to them. Learn how to express gratitude to your customers and make them feel special.
Your goal in any follow-up letter should be to remind your clients of their positive experiences with your business and persuade them to return soon. Include an offer to bring customers back into your store before the end of the year.
Finally, take a few moments after Small Business Saturday to analyze what worked and what didn’t. This could help shape your strategy for next year.
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