With December right around the corner, businesses big and small are looking to stand out this holiday season. The big kick-off begins right after Thanksgiving. Big box stores have Black Friday, online retailers have Cyber Monday, and smack-dab in the middle is Small Business Saturday.
This small business bonanza has only grown since American Express founded the holiday in 2010. Now every Saturday after Thanksgiving is reserved for supporting the backbone of American business.
But how does Small Business Saturday work?
For the busy business owner, getting involved with Small Business Saturday is simple. You don’t have to officially register to participate, but signing up with American Express will get you a starter kit to help you save time and advertise. And if your business accepts American Express cards, you can get a place on their Small Shop map.
There’s also an option to organize Small Business Saturday events in your area through their National Champion program — but it isn’t mandatory.
When it comes to how your approach the day itself, the sky is the limit on how to prepare. But if you want to go big, thinking small may be the answer. Here are our top 5 tips for a successful Small Business Saturday.
1. Update everything
The easiest way to get started is to make sure all of your online details are correct. This is the time to update your website, social media sites, and Google Business location, add a chatbot and highlight your offers on Facebook. If your business is entirely online, you can revise the SEO of critical pages or create a special landing page for your Small Business Saturday promotions to boost your inbound sales.
2. It’s all about the staff
Before we get to the customers, let’s talk about how you can involve your employees. Take some time out to review your customer service best practices and expectations, especially if you’ve just hired some seasonal staff. Consider offering rewards for the employee who shows the best customer service or comes up with the most creative marketing design for the store.
3. Promote, promote, promote
Whether you run completely online or have a physical store, you can get creative with helping customers customize their products, win prizes, or simply offer discounts on their next purchase. Once you have a unique offer, you can integrate it into your marketing. For example, you can use Google Adwords or Facebook ads, or decide to post special offers on each social media page. To get the maximum reach, you can use industry hashtags along with holiday-specific ones like #SmallBizSat or #ShopSmall.
You can also network, create partnerships, or host events together with other small businesses in your area. This will not only boost your business but strengthen your relationships with the community.
4. Master marketing
One way to get the most out of Small Business Saturday is to get more in-depth data about your consumers. One way is to speak to as many as possible during the day, but that isn’t always practical. Instead, you can host a small raffle or giveaway, and ask the customers to give out their email and maybe answer a few questions. If you learn more about your customers’ buying habits, you can create more relevant marketing campaigns for the months ahead.
5. Get personal
One way to stand out is to use personalization to your advantage. Using your new data, find ways to draw your customers in, whether that’s offering to thank you notes, gift wrapping, offering personalized merchandise, and more. This is a great way to ensure that your customer remembers not just what they bought, but where they bought it. Going the extra mile could even lead to some positive customer feedback.
At the end of the day, Small Business Saturday is about much more than selling. Yes, you want to move your product, but you can also use this time to connect with the local community, strengthen business relationships, and improve your marketing.