If you’re a small-business owner, Small Business Saturday should be on your radar. It’s November 30 – the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Last year Americans spent $5.5 billion on the day dedicated to supporting small businesses around the country, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
Though Small Business Saturday doesn’t draw the same crowds as Black Friday – 100 million shoppers compared to 247 million, respectively – it’s a shopping day that continues to grow in popularity.
The first-ever Small Business Saturday was held in 2010. In 2011, 44% of consumers were aware of the new holiday. By 2012, that number jumped to 67%.
For customers, it’s a day to shop local merchants while scoring some great deals. For businesses, it’s the perfect way to get in on the Thanksgiving weekend shopping frenzy and ramp up for the holiday selling season.
Small-business owners: Are you ready? Here are six tips to make the most of Small Business Saturday:
1. Consider your audience.
Do you want to reward current customers or appeal to new customers seeking a great deal? Know who you want to sell to for Small Business Saturday. This allows you to tailor your offer to your intended audience and get the best results.
2. Let your customers know.
Now’s the time to alert customers about Small Business Saturday and what kind of special offers you have in store for them. Remind them it’s the Saturday to shop local and why they should visit your business. Talk to customers in store, use social media and send e-mails. You can also hand out promotional products to hype your business and make it stick in their minds.
3. Create a sense of urgency.
Let customers know how long your promotion will last. Is it Saturday only? All weekend long? When something is in limited supply or on sale for a short time, it makes it all the more appealing to shoppers. Just look at how retailers use the logic of supply and demand for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can make it work for Small Business Saturday, too.
4. Get your branding right.
Every interaction with your customers is an opportunity to promote your brand. Everything from your store signage to your employees’ apparel should reflect your business’ brand. How do you want your business to be perceived? Kid-friendly? Elegant? Unique? Your branding should be consistent across the board. Also, instead of using plain shopping bags, make the switch to custom shopping bags. It’s an effective way to promote your brand while customers tote their purchases home.
5. Get to know other small businesses.
Don’t ignore the other shops down your street – you’ll miss out on valuable networking and relationship-building opportunities. You can also explore co-marketing for Small Business Saturday. By partnering up on your promotions, your marketing efforts are doubled while your expenses are slashed in half. For example, you could hand out promotional items featuring both logos. You’re able to reach a brand new audience while connecting with your own – all for half the cost when you split the promotional order with another small biz.
6. Put your best foot forward.
If there was ever a day for your store to be immaculate and your staff to bring their A game, this is it. Motivate your team to keep your shop looking its best. That means clean windows, a tidy, inviting sales floor, and all your best products on display. Remember: This will be many shoppers’ first glimpse of your business. Make it a memorable one so they’ll want to come back.
Small Business Saturday can be a big hit for your business. Take the time now to get your strategy and promotions in line. You’ll be setting yourself up to get a nice piece of the holiday sales pie, while cementing your brand in the minds of customers in your own neighborhood.