Latest posts by Deborah Sweeney
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Most entrepreneurs are familiar with Small Business Saturday. The holiday, which falls on the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, celebrates shopping locally at small businesses throughout neighborhoods and communities. It gives small businesses the chance to boost their holiday sales and allows customers to learn more about local businesses and embrace the #ShopSmall mentality.
Support for small businesses matters now more than ever. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Small Business Saturday plays a critical role in helping to keep the doors of Main Street businesses open.
In 2019, an estimated $19.6 billion was spent by shoppers on Small Business Saturday, setting a record high total for the holiday’s 10th anniversary.
As the 11th anniversary of Small Business Saturday approaches, now is the time for local, mom and pop entrepreneurs to begin prepping marketing and advertising initiatives for the holiday. Ready to increase your overall visibility? Take a look at how to get started with the following strategies.
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Get on the Shop Small map
Did you know you can literally put your small business on a Small Business Saturday map?
American Express, creator of the Small Business Saturday holiday, has a feature on its website that allows small businesses to add their business listing to the official Shop Small map.
Adding your business listing to this map makes it easier for customers to find and support you, both in-store and online. Entrepreneurs may log in to view their listing after adding it to the site and edit any necessary details.
Speaking of business listings, now is a good time to check in on other spaces where your business has online visibility. Is the address for your storefront still correct on Google Maps? Have you responded to reviews left by customers on your Yelp and Trustpilot pages? Are all of your social media handles properly linked in resources like your website’s contact page and e-newsletter?
Conduct a thorough audit of the areas where your business can be found online to further increase your visibility with existing and new customers alike.
Create an email marketing campaign
Do not wait until Small Business Saturday to send out an email newsletter alerting customers that the holiday has arrived. Instead, utilize email marketing campaigns to build anticipation and awareness for Small Business Saturday well in advance of the holiday.
Here are a few ideas for your email newsletter themes that will engage your customers:
- Start a countdown. Count down to Small Business Saturday on your social media handles a week or two in advance. Send e-newsletters reminding customers that Small Business Saturday is just around the corner.
- Share sneak peeks. What kinds of discounts and sales will you be offering? Give individuals that sign up for your email list an exclusive sneak peek at the offerings and services you’ll be providing for Small Business Saturday. Plug these newsletter sign-up forms on your social media platforms to encourage shoppers to get in the loop and be among the first to know what’s happening.
- Create value. What else can email subscribers learn about your business? Use email newsletters as a space to share blog posts that educate readers on specific topics. You may also offer links to gift guides and wish lists in PDF format that may be downloaded and printed for shoppers to fill out, and videos where you show how to use your company’s products in everyday life.
Livestream Small Business Saturday
COVID-19’s guidelines for social distancing and mask-wearing makes it difficult to do some of the Small Business Saturday initiatives that many customers may be used to, like hosting a holiday-themed photo booth or in-store entertainment for large crowds.
However, you can still publicize your business via video livestream. Use Instagram Live or Periscope to film real-time snippets of the day as you and your team celebrate Small Business Saturday.
What should you film? Try some of these ideas on for size!
- Have an associate show off some of your products for sale and reveal if there are any free gifts or incentives to purchase with viewers.
- Give audiences a peek around your decorated storefront, highlighting special interior and exterior holiday touches just for Small Business Saturday.
- Encourage customers to ask questions or leave comments during the livestream. Answer as many questions as you are able to, and make sure customers know where to find you in-store as well as online.
Share your Small Business Saturday story
One of the simplest ways to increase business visibility during Small Business Saturday is to share your own story with your audience.
This is the perfect time to provide insight into where you came from and where you’re going in business. Who are you, and what’s the story behind your business? How long have you been part of the community? What do you love about Small Business Saturday? Who do you support, such as charities or other small businesses? Why does this holiday matter to you, especially during this unprecedented time?
Share your story through a blog post, video, podcast, social media platform, or any other avenue where you’ll be able to reach your target audience and authentically engage with them. Express your gratitude for existing customers and speak about how much you look forward to connecting with new customers through the opportunity to #ShopSmall together.