For many small businesses the most wonderful and difficult weekend of the year is the weekend following Thanksgiving. While families are in the shopping mood, small businesses have a challenging task of competing for dollars on that weekend. Most small businesses don’t have commercials, large advertising budgets or enough profit in their products to offer large discounts. However, what small businesses can offer is a unique shopping experience, personal styling and buying services, immediate gift pick up and thorough product knowledge. They are on the ground and are carving a way for themselves through a myriad of competitors. Entrepreneurs are the backbone of America.
‘This weekend many entrepreneurs will be ushering in Small Business Saturday, “a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities,” according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.’ – Entrepreneur Magazine
If you haven’t already prepared, there is still time. Use your social networks and those of your friends. Walk the main streets of your town, start up conversations in the grocery stores, gas stations, and banks of your local community, this is where your loyal customers are. Below are 4 basic steps to help you master “Small Business Saturday”
1. Make the Most Out of Your Marketing Materials
American Express has been small business supportive with their amazing packet of materials from printables, to email templates to social media posts. Using these materials is akin to hiring a small marketing group to assist you, and it’s free.
2. Deals and Contests Make The World Go ‘Round
The combination of deals, contests and reciprocity can an effective marketing campaign. You may want to offer a “buy one, get one half off” sale, spending “bucks” that can be used the next time your customer returns, early morning or late night deals, hourly deals, whatever works. If you partner with a local floral or coffee shop they may want to cross promote, agree to host a sale together, hand out each others deals, include shopping “bucks” with a purchase in each others businesses.
3. Use social to keep your business social.
Make social media work for you. You may want to run contests, or hourly specials, extended shopping hours or possibly additional discounts when the customer spends above a certain dollar amount. Whatever promotions you want to do, get on social media and get going. If you need quick outreach, ask a few good friends to “share” your status. Doing this everyday may bruise your friendships, but asking them to help reach out just for the weekend is usually a well received request.
4. Don’t forget to have fun and say thank you.
Regardless if you are ready or not, the holiday shopping will still commence. Trust in your preparation and have fun. Show your customers that you are grateful for their purchases. Get to know your customers, inquire about their purchases, help them create a shopping plan for their loved ones. Yes, things may go wrong, but stay strong and smile, smile, smile.