There’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but have you ever heard of Small Business Saturday? Well, it exists. Are you ready for it?
Held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the day was ironically created by credit card giant American Express in 2010. As most people flock to brand giants and wholesale stores on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is meant to help small and local businesses drive up their sales during one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year.
And it did. Last year, consumers spent approximately $5.7 billion on small businesses and independent merchants. Here’s a look at how you can promote your small business to your new and loyal customers.
Give a reason for consumers to visit you
If you play your cards correctly, you can draw people away from brightly decorated malls and chain stores. You just have to give them a good reason. The best way to do so is to appeal to their personalities. Though your customer persona may be different from a business in a different industry, here are some general examples of the type of people you’ll find and how you can appeal to them:
- The Happy Hipster: They only buy locally grown produce and scrounge around for products and gift ideas they can’t find anywhere else.
How to appeal to them: Highlight how your products are one-of-a-kind or show how your products are used in action.
- The Stressed-Out Shopper: Looking for a break from the holiday rush and traffic, these people want a relaxing shopping experience they can’t find at large outlet stores.
How to appeal to them: Let them know about your excellent and highly personalized customer service.
- The Store Favorite: And then you’ll get your loyal customers, people who have either visited or shopped at your store before.
How to appeal to them: Entice them to come back to your store with huge savings and deals they simply can’t refuse.
Market what you already have
If you’ve already got a solid fan base, there’s no point in trying to reinvent the wheel with only just a couple of days prep. Here are some basic – but powerful – suggestions to promote your business online:
- Get the word out on social: Create huge, compelling graphics to catch people’s attention as they’re scrolling through their Feeds, announcing any special promos, business hours, or deals you’re running on Saturday.
- Send out an email newsletter: Because the people in your email list are generally previous customers who have signed up for your updates or bought something from you in the past, they are the ones most likely to visit your store and purchase something. Therefore, further entice them by creating a coupon code they can use both online and in your actual store and promoting that coupon via an email marketing campaign.
- Create ads: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this is probably the one time in the entire year when people don’t really mind ads. Because this weekend is one of the biggest shopping seasons of the year, people are trolling the Web looking for ads. Therefore, appeal to the coupon-clipper inside of them and create geo-targeted social media and PPC ads to draw more foot traffic to your store.
There are many other different ways you can get the word out there and push people through your door. Ultimately though, you have to figure out the marketing channel that works the best with your business and do it.
Integrate your digital strategy with the real world
There’s often a gap between digital and real world strategy… when there really shouldn’t be. After all, what use is an online strategy if it has effect on actual people?
Here are just some ways you can better integrate your online and offline strategies:
- Prep your cashiers to collect email addresses at checkout: This is a great way to build up your email list and encourage customers to come back to your store long after they’re gone, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise for most consumers, as many retail stores do this nowadays. However, if you do get reticent customers, reassure them that their emails will be kept private and tell them you’ll send them coupons via email.
- Promote in-store social engagement – Whether it’s offering a discount for any customer who checks in at the store, creating prominent displays with all of your social media handles/hashtags, or running an in-store social media contest, promoting your social presence while customers are in your store can not only drive up your social engagement but also influence consumers’ purchasing decisions while there.
- Encourage online reviews – Building up your reviews not only improves your brand credibility but also boosts your local SEO. Therefore, incentivize people to leave you a review on your local directory listings, Google+, and/or social pages.
You don’t want your customers to forget about you after they make your purchase, do you? Well, in order to avoid that, give your customers some love and send them a quick thank you to show how much you appreciate their business.
Hand-written thank you cards, “Come back again” coupons, a personalized basket of your products based on their previous purchases – the sky is pretty much the limit here when it comes to your thank you. However, the more unique, sincere, and personalized your gift is, the more people will remember you and come back again even when it’s not Small Business Saturday.
As for the cost of your gift, think of it like this: you’re not so much buying a thank you gift but rather investing in and strengthening your relationship with your customers.
What’s your plan for Small Business Saturday?