Small Business Saturday is on November 26th this year. This is the most important day for small businesses selling directly to the consumer. Any business can participate in the special day without any formal registration, however signing up with American Express, the founder of Small Business Saturday, can provide increased exposure/resources. As a entrepreneur, you are wearing a lot of hats. Sometimes it can be very difficult to set aside time to plan for and take advantage of days like Small Business Saturday. I put together a checklist to take the guesswork of out prepping for the big day. Download the printable version to track your progress over the next 6 weeks as you prepare to increase your brand exposure and ramp up sales.
Clean up your contact info/hours
Because of this special day, you will experience an increase of shoppers seeking to support local businesses. Make it easy for them to get to your location. Check your website, social media accounts and google listing to make sure all of them have the correct hours, address, phone number and any other pertinent information listed.
Are you open special hours for Small Business Saturday? If so, Google allows you to set special hours to keep your customers in the loop. https://support.google.com/business/answer/6303076?hl=en
Make a list of channels
It is important to think about the ways you can communicate with your customers and those in your community. Start to list ways you can push out information about your Small Business Saturday promotions.
A few ideas to get started….
- Social Media posts
- Your website/blog
- Local chamber of commerce (If you are a Moore County Chamber of Commerce member, be sure to let them know about your Small Business Saturday events/sales so that can also promote it through their channels)
- In-store signage
- In-store flyers to all customers during the weeks leading up to SBS
- Emails to your established list
- Paid social ads
- Paid radio ads
Note: While it is important to reach out to new customers who may be venturing out just for the holiday, don't forget about communication channels with your existing customers.
Determine sales and/or promotions
Small business Saturday was born from Black Friday. It is important to remember that shoppers are being overloaded with promotions. Do a raffle, host a sale or throw a party. Do something to stand out. Spend time writing out your promotion information in a sentence or two or a list if appropriate. If you are running a sale, be sure to include specific information such as exclusions and expiration dates. Save this in a convenient location so that you can easily distribute the information through your list of media channels.
Explore partnership opportunities
Is there a way you can partner with another local business? Do you have a brick and mortar store with a large enough parking lot to host a local food truck? Could a few local artisans commit to being in your shop to answer questions about their products? Try setting up a trade; perhaps you could hand out coupons for another store with every purchase if they committed to promoting your SBS sale on all of their social media outlets.
Get a FREE custom Small Business Saturday poster
Fill out this form to receive a printable poster customized with your promotions in your inbox, courtesy of Pine & Pixels. Posters are scalable and can be printed in a size you prefer.
Make an editorial calendar
You are going to be pushing out information across multiple mediums therefore it is important to have a plan so your messaging is consistent, effective, and worth your time. Promotions for special events should start at least 3 weeks in advance and specifics about sales/discounts approximately 2 weeks in advance. Shoppers are accustomed to planning ahead for Black Friday and are starting to plan out their shopping trips in advance as Small Business Saturday grows in popularity.
Create consistent visuals
Text paired with relevant visual content receives 94% more views than content without visuals. Work with a graphic designer to develop the graphics, flyers, emails, social media images, etc needed to communicate your events/sales across all of the channels you already identified. A designer will be able to create unified and professional designs that are easily recognizable as part of your brand. Consumers are getting inundated with messages this time of year so investing in stand-out design will reap benefits. Graphic designers can also assist with providing print/production times so that you are staying on track with your editorial calendar.
Using the the right hashtags will increase your exposure to your target market. Organizations and individuals passionate about Small Business Saturday will be searching hashtags like #smallbizsat and #shoplocal (and if you are local to Moore County: #shoplocalmoore). Be sure to note hashtags being used by your community and take advantage of them during this holiday.
Get ready for an influx of customers by preparing your staff with information about all promotions and events. Test run promotion barcodes and discounts if necessary. Now is also a great time to brush up on general customer service expectations with your team as it is crucial to make a great impression with all of those experiencing your company for the first time. Assign a staff member to snap a few photos during your event/sale.
Encourage repeat customers
What can you do on Small Business Saturday to encourage repeat customers? Giving customers a take aways such as a flyer in the bag with their purchase or a coupon with their receipt are great ways to extend your exposure with supporters of your business. Try collecting an email address with every purchase or with every raffle entry to build your email list.
Say "Thank you"
Post some of the photos taken during your event/sale on social media and thank all of your supporters!