It’s an exciting time of year – Christmas is in the air, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and that’s before we even get started on all the business holidays: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, Small Business Saturday.
‘Wait, what is Small Business Saturday,’ we hear you ask, ‘and should I be involved?’ The answer is yes, of course; as a small business owner, this is a great promotion to get on board with.
If you’ve only just heard of it or you’ve been procrastinating a bit (we won’t tell anyone), we’ve come up with this step-by-step how-to guide to make the most of Small Business Saturday.
What is “Small Business Saturday” Anyways?
Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is a way of giving a boost to small, local businesses as opposed to the cyber giants and megastores promoted on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
It aims to encourage holiday shoppers to spend their money at brick-and-mortar businesses that are near them, are independent, and need support at this time of year. The hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday is a way of connecting with the campaign.
It’s great for you as a small business owner to reconnect with your customers and boost sales.
Using Your Procrastination as an Advantage
Don’t worry; we won’t judge you for being a procrastinator. Given that this is a procrastinator’s guide, I’m sure you know we’re on your side. When focusing on so many things for the holiday season, it isn’t easy to plan far ahead for every campaign.
Additionally, you can always leverage your procrastination to your advantage. A looming deadline creates a surge of energy and gets you super-focused on the goal at hand, which often results in some of our best ideas.
You’ll also find that as we get closer to the event, there is more buzz around it, and articles (like this one!) giving you ideas and resources so that you can take advantage of that as well. So let’s get some motivation going and get started on your Small Business Saturday plan!
Getting Started with Your Last-Minute Campaign
So what steps can you take for a successful last-minute campaign?
Collaborating with other Local Small Businesses
One of the best things about being a small business owner is the communities you can create with other local businesses in the area. Small Business Saturday is the perfect occasion to action that.
Teaming up with other businesses raises the profile of the holiday itself and the involved companies. You can cross-promote or offer freebies and discounts throughout the area. If someone spends money with you, for example, you can send them to the local café for a free pastry with their coffee. Maybe the group can invite a local celebrity or politician to do the rounds and further publicize the day.
It encourages shoppers to make a day of the event as they have more reasons to head to the local high street, and it also helps you form partnerships that will last throughout the year.
Taking on Social Media + Low-Cost Advertising
There’s a hashtag for Small Business Saturday for a good reason. It’s the perfect way to spread the word, and getting involved with that conversation will attract customers to your business. Make sure you add the hashtag to all your posts about the holiday.
Remember, social media is all about the story you’re telling, so involve your customers in your Small Business Saturday story. Share your planning and preparation for the day, take lots of aesthetically appealing photos to draw people in, and share videos and pictures of how people enjoy the event in-store.
This is where tools like Instagram Stories come into their own. You can take your followers on a journey with you, include interviews and videos on Stories, and encourage them to come on down to the store. Small business selfies will promote customer engagement and interaction on your channels.
If your product or service works well in images, then maximize the effectiveness of that. Pinterest, for example, is a network that harnesses the power of the image, so use it to share pictures of your product. Social media can be used as low-cost advertising, so make the most of it.
Don’t forget to promote your collaborators as well, to encourage that community spirit!
Incorporating Give Back Programs and Working with Charities
Small Business Saturday is all about connecting on a community level, so there’s no better occasion to include Give Back Programs and work with local charities. People are interested in it because they feel like they are involved in a more human project; that’s why they’ll be even more motivated if there is a charity aspect to the event.
Give a percentage of your profits on the day to a local charity – it’s a great thing to do, and you’ll be amazed by the positive impact on your sales. You could also have a system where for every five products sold, you donate one (if it works with your product!).
Sponsoring a local charity or organization is also a great way to incorporate charity into your Small Business Saturday. Perhaps they could get involved with your event too – for example, if you sponsor the local choir, they could sing in your store!
Have Fun and Enjoy the Season!
The essential step in our how-to guide is this one. Even procrastinators still have time to create a rewarding Small Business Saturday campaign; remember to enjoy it along the way.
It’s the perfect opportunity to be creative and to form relationships with the community long after the Christmas lights have come down, so make the most of it!