The holidays will be here before you know it, and consumers are preparing to kick off the season by participating in early morning shopping sprees and fighting off turkey-induced comas. While major retail chains see large spikes in revenue with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they now have to share the weekend spotlight with local communities for Small Business Saturday.
Over the years, Small Business Saturday has gained national attention as consumers become more aware of the importance of small- and medium-sized businesses. Consumers spent over $16 billion for Small Business Saturday in 2015, which is a 14% increase from 2014. If you are either employed by or own a small business, then you’re likely already aware of this resurgence in loyalty to locally-run enterprises. So, what are you doing to promote yourself for this special day? Why should consumers choose to support your business the day after Black Friday?
Here are three easy ways you can prepare your digital marketing for Small Business Saturday.
1. Advertise Specials & Promotions That Make Sense For Your Business
If you’re in retail, it makes sense to run a special or sale on Small Business Saturday. You’re trying to get people in the door, so offering them a special bundled package or discounts on select products that your customers can gift to their loved ones is ideal. A day-of promotion is pretty straight-forward.
If you’re not in retail, your customers are probably reaching out more during the week. If Small Business Saturday isn’t when your customers are thinking of you, run a special or promotion the entire week after Small Business Saturday. You will have Thanksgiving and Black Friday to compete with for your customer’s attention, so running a special the following week will give them the chance to contact you after the craziness has settled down. Call it your Small Business Week Special, or Small Business Saturday Week-Long Sale.
Make sure you’re getting the word out with your online advertising. Whether you’re running ads on social media, pay per click, or display banners across the web, update ads with your promotion to go into rotation now. Give your message some time to sink in with your customers so they’re aware of your offer and are more likely to reach out when the time comes. It’s also important to make sure you update your social media pages and website with your offer so that you can send consumers right to the content after they click your ads. You don’t want your offer hard to find or nonexistent. It’s important to make sure that consumers also remember your website along with your ads.
2. Share Stories on Social Media About Helping Your Customers
While various social media channels offer platforms to advertise your business, it’s important to also have an approach that doesn’t involve just trying to drive revenue. Make your business’s brand more personable by creating posts that feature actual customers you’re helping with your service or products. Reach out to customers you’ve developed close relationships with and ask if they can provide testimonies to include in your posts. You may already have videos, blog posts, or testimonials of satisfied customers, which you can use now.
Showcasing stories about your customers helps position your business’s involvement in supporting the local community, which is what Small Business Saturday is all about. It makes the conversation more about what you do for others rather than just expecting customers to give you their business. Also, try to avoid just using reviews that are focused on your excellent customer service. This should be your chance to let your customers speak to how they benefitted from choosing you over your competitors.
3. Make it Known If You’re a Family-Owned & Operated Business
Since one of the biggest draws of Small Business Saturday is supporting local communities, describing your business as being family-owned and operated is a great way to distinguish yourself from larger corporations, chains, and franchises. Consumers need to know the businesses they’re choosing to support are actually small and locally owned. This isn’t to say that larger companies can’t be run by families, but this movement is focused on you.
Tap into the sentiment customers have for supporting family-owned businesses by creating new text ads for your search engine marketing campaigns, display banner advertising, and updating the header on your website. You don’t need to come up with anything flashy or snappy, just make sure you mention it as a bullet point. “Family-Owned and Operated,” will work just fine. It’s also important to make sure you have an “About Us” page that gives at least a brief history about your business, especially if it’s been passed down through multiple generations.
If your business isn’t family-owned and operated, you can focus on how many years you’ve been in business in the area, community events or initiatives you either sponsor or are involved with, and your employees who may be part of your local community. Small Business Saturday is all about shopping small and shopping local, so putting that lens on your business is a great way to emphasize that.
You can also find ways outside of your digital marketing to get involved with Small Business Saturday. Rather than relying on digital to drive awareness and sales, your online efforts should complement a more holistic approach. This is a great opportunity to get creative and become more involved with your community. Most of your customers are probably local anyway, so remind them to think of you when they’re choosing to shop small.