Small Business Saturday falls directly after one of the biggest shopping days in the entire year: Black Friday. National retailers reap in huge profits each Black Friday, and they work hard to extend the profits of Black Friday in the days leading up to and following it. So, what’s a small business owner to do? It’s always hard for small businesses to compete with national chains, but there are a few strategies small businesses can use to stand out from the crowd and take advantage of Small Business Saturday.
Create an Annual Event
In order to stand out from the herd of other small businesses hoping to bring in some extra profit on this day, give customers a reason to visit your particular local business. Beyond offering some special deals on merchandise or services, turn the day into a true event. That means taking the time to decorate the space and plan out other aspects like refreshments, special drawings for prizes, and entertainment. You might consider offering complimentary glasses of wine, or non-alcoholic beverages, along with snacks. Invite a local band, a musician friend, or even a local high school jazz band to come play. All these special aspects will create an extra (and fun!) incentive for customers to come to your business. Another great idea is to pair up with a local charity to call for item donations or even donate part of the day’s profit. Customers will appreciate knowing that by shopping at your store they are also contributing to a good cause.
Spread the Word
Many local customers are interested in supporting and shopping at local small businesses. The catch? Without adequate advertising, they won’t know where to go. While mentioning the event to customers as they shop in the weeks leading up to the event is a good start, there’s a lot more you can do to spread the word about your business’s participation in Small Business Saturday. Social media is one of your most important tools for raising awareness and getting customers in the door. Use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote your event. For example, update social media profile and cover photos to an image promoting the event (Canva is a free website that allows you to easily create customized imagery). This also includes the use of popular hashtags, like #shopsmall and #smallbusinesssaturday to extend the audience that sees your event. Encourage customers to use the hashtag too to share the event with their friends. Facebook ads are another useful tool; you can set up a small radius to target potential clientele just in the local area, which helps to drive more local customers to your business.
Invite Other Local Businesses
Everyone knows that two businesses are better than one (that’s how that saying goes, right?). We recommend joining forces with other local businesses to help promote each other so that everyone wins. Not only will other businesses be able to help you get new customers that might not have heard of your business before, but it’s also good publicity when customers see local businesses working together to help each other. Try setting up a special deal or joint coupon between your business and a neighboring business. Another easy idea is to simply promote other businesses’ Small Business Saturday events on social media by retweeting or sharing their posts.