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The small business’ answer to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, is a nationwide event that highlights all of the awesome things that small businesses, small business owners and entrepreneurs offer consumers. Small business owners help neighbors support neighbors, but they also offer an alternative to the big box stores, which can’t always provide the same level of care and support that an entrepreneur can.
Marketing your business for Small Business Saturday is a great way to make the most of the event. Best of all, you don’t have to spend a fortune in order to do so. In fact, there are several free ways you can market your startup or small business for Small Business Saturday. All you’ll need to do is invest your time, and perhaps a little bit of elbow grease. These tips are great to put into practice all year round, but if you haven’t worked on them before, now is a great time to start.
Post on your social media accounts
Odds are, your startup has social media accounts (but if you don’t, drop what you’re doing and go set them up immediately). Whether you use your accounts sparingly or monitor your news feeds like a hawk, you’ll want to develop a social media strategy for Small Business Saturday that lands you at the front of your customers’ minds. By being active on social leading up to Small Business Saturday, you’ll position your company to be top of mind as people scroll through their feeds after stuffing their faces at Thanksgiving.
The best way to tackle social media for Small Business Saturday is to come up with a plan. Consider a series of posts to run before, during and after the event. Talk about any special sales you plan to run, unique events at your store or any other creative sales tactics you might employ to make the most of the occasion. Be sure to include the Small Business Saturday hashtags in your posts as well (#SmallBusinessSaturday, #SmallBizSat and #ShopSmall), as this helps give you presence within the broader social conversation. Best of all, this tactic only requires you to invest your time.
Write articles and content for local publications
Small Business Saturday offers local news outlets with an opportunity to spotlight the shops and companies that keep their communities vibrant. This is a win-win for everyone involved, as it gets people interested in reading about local shops, supporting local businesses, and it helps drum up traffic to the stores mentioned in each piece.
So long as you’ve got enough time to spend on writing, consider penning a piece for a local news outlet or blog. Most will be happy to hear out a pitch if you have one—particularly if it isn’t self-promotional or comes off as advertising. Instead, consider writing about your experience as an entrepreneur in the community, or talk about your own tips on starting a small business.
If you’re feeling truly adventurous, sign up for Help a Reporter Out (HARO). HARO helps writers find expert sources for their articles, and you might find yourself quoted in their content, as well. You may not get to control what these writers produce, but you’ll likely get to mention your company in some capacity.
Run a contest or giveaway
Great marketing doesn’t just happen through media and press clips. In fact, some of the best marketing comes from word-of-mouth recommendations. Hosting a contest or giveaway can help you generate buzz about your company. Better yet, it can provide your current customers with an added incentive to shop while they’re making the most of Small Business Saturday.
If you’re a retailer, consider hosting a raffle for a gift certificate, product, or a unique package of items and experiences (even better if you can include other local businesses in the giveaway, too!). The more you can do to bring people to your store, the better. You’ll get to bask in the spotlight of Small Business Saturday and maximize your publicity by making the most of the event.
Conduct some search engine hygiene
Not every small business owner has time to go and Google their own business to make sure everything looks up to code about their company. Small Business Saturday provides a great built-in reminder to check out how your company appears to potential customers in search engines. You can make sure that your operating hours are up to date, that your phone number is accurate, and that your reviews put your company’s best foot forward.
If you haven’t dived into the world of search results for your company, this is a great time to get started. Googling your business helps you make sure your webpage shows up with an accurate, helpful description. Better yet, you can even take this opportunity to set up a Google My Business account, which helps provide customers with all of the essential information about your company without having to dig around for details.
Send an SBS-related newsletter
Newsletters are a great, inexpensive way to connect with your customers. You can drop information about upcoming sales, special events, or extended hours right into your subscribers’ inbox—all without having to pay for advertising. If you’ve already got a robust newsletter system in place, be sure to draft and send a message a day or two before Small Business Saturday kicks off.
If you haven’t set up a newsletter system yet, there’s still time to get one in the works before Small Business Saturday. It’s not hard to start sending out newsletters, so long as you have the time to write an email (and have something interesting to tell your audience!).
No matter how you go about marketing your business for Small Business Saturday, be sure to make the most of the event. Even the most modest marketing tactics can reap rewards, and this is your time to shine. Try out a few tactics and see which ones work. From there, you can innovate and build upon the successful techniques every year. Or, if they’re really a smash hit, consider using them all year round to boost traffic and sales.