Small Business Saturday will be here before you know it, so we've put together a 5-step marketing guide that will help your small business brand knock it out of the park this year.
Related: 10 best social media campaigns you haven't tried yet
1. Focus on a single goal
There's a lot of hype around the biggest shopping weekend of the year. But that also means you have a lot of competition from retailers both online and off. To avoid burnout, it's wise to pick one goal and stay laser-focused on it.
Of course, that doesn't mean you can't use multiple tactics to achieve this goal. Let's say you own a beauty salon that relies heavily on referral business. Your goal may be to collect 200 referrals from existing customers. To make it happen, you'll probably use a combination of email reminders, social media posts, and an in-store event. As long as every tactic points to your goal, you're golden. Just be wary of offering competing promotions or asking for too much from your customers.
2. Take advantage of free design resources
American Express, the sponsor of Small Business Saturday, is offering several resources to participating small businesses. That includes downloadable templates for promotional material. These templates are good for showing your support of Small Business Saturday, but they don't do a lot to promote your brand.
So we created a free template pack for you to customize with your branding for Small Business Saturday. All you need to do is sign up for Lucidpress (it's free!), click the links below, then add your own logos and content.
Free digital templates (click to access)
- Banner ad (160 x 600) template
- Banner ad (300 x 25) template
- Banner ad (728 x 90) template
- Webpage header template
- Facebook cover photo template
- Facebook photo post template
- Twitter photo post template
- Digital or print flyer template
3. Look far and wide for ideas
Every industry has its quirks. So instead of telling you which ideas are best for your business, we'll show you how to find them yourself.
- Check with your local government and Chamber of Commerce. Often these organizations already have a plan for Small Business Saturday that you can easily piggyback on. For example, the state of Utah is running a "Shift Your Spending" campaign to encourage residents to allocate 10% of their holiday spending dollars to local businesses. Chambers of Commerce are also known to give out Small Business Saturday collateral, like postcards and storefront signs.
* Ask your peers for winning ideas. Do you belong to a trade organization? Connect with members to see what they've done in the past. Head to relevant subreddits and ask whether other business owners in your field have promotional ideas for the big day. Check out small business forums like Manta and see what fellow SMBs are planning. You can even request membership to a few groups on LinkedIn and join the conversation there.
* Sell for a season, not just a day. Recognize that your Small Business Saturday efforts should be part of a larger strategy for the holiday season. Sometimes googling "Small Business Saturday" yields the same ideas over and over. To get some fresh ideas, try searching for holiday-related keywords, e.g. [Industry name + holiday marketing ideas]. And be sure to check out the Small Business Administration's list of holiday marketing ideas.
4. Ramp up your customer service
The biggest shopping weekend of the year is also your biggest opportunity to get new customers and lock in repeat business. Creminelli Fine Meats is a local producer of delicious artisanal meats in Utah, and no stranger to the importance of customer service.
Creminelli's CMO Jeff Fuller says, "I have found that Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are all fantastic opportunities to attract new customers. The combination of social media, outdoor media, and buzz-worthy deals drives a huge boost in sales. The key is to have amazing customer service during that long weekend, so you can earn a repeat visit from those same consumers—and hopefully another purchase at full price."
Make your customers happy with personal touches like this birthday note from Creminelli's team.
Hiring additional staff can create a smoother shopping experience for your customers. What are other ways to delight them? Try using live chat to offer online shoppers the same great experience you're creating in-store. Send thank-you cards to loyal customers before the big day. Hire a photographer, grab some seasonal props, and invite customers to snap their holiday photos while they shop.
There are tons of possibilities. Just think about what your customers will value most, then plan an initiative around it.
5. Don't forget to follow through
You should have a simple way to gather contact info from customers on Small Business Saturday. This will build your mailing list so you can stay in touch year-round.
In all the hustle and bustle, make sure you engage on social media. Use the official Small Business Saturday hashtag #ShopSmall as you promote your business and chat with followers. Engaging on social media the day of an event is important, but more frequent posting is linked to higher engagement and loyalty from customers. We recommend amping up your posts both before and after Small Business Saturday.
And finally, it doesn't hurt to offer discounts once the new year rolls around. This will help you stand out in customers' minds from every other retailer.