Small Business Saturday or SBS is an internationally recognized shopping holiday mirroring Black Friday and Cyber Monday to encourage local communities to support and recognize small businesses. Recognized as an official holiday in November 2010, SBS began as a American Express campaign to support small businesses. Using the hashtag’s #smallbusinesssaturday and #smallbizsat people around the U.S. took to Twitter and Instagram to locate and promote their favorite local spots.
In 2016, over 112 million consumers participated in SBS with over 72% awareness for the holiday. This year SBS falls on November 25th, the perfect time to cater to Christmas and seasonal shoppers. Here’s how your business can score sales, in more ways than one, on Small Business Saturday.
Since its introduction SBS has gained momentum around the world and you can get ready by doubling up on inventory and scheduling more employees for the weekend and following weeks.
Starting months ahead, establish a social media presence. Adding videos of customer testimonies, employees demonstrating how to use a product, or the owners recalling the funny tale of how the business got started creates relatable content to market your business.
Get it online too:
Remember that one family from Minnesota who bought the cute bear sweater from you back in February? They remember you too! You’ve made the impression, now continue making the sales.
Make sure you have an active shop online so that out-of-towners and couch potato shoppers can easily access your SBS deals. Be sure to retain email information for online customers to send them notifications on upcoming deals and in-store offers to bring them back in.
As a holiday, SBS is here to celebrate you so make this an event no one will forget. American Express offers free marketing tools such as flyers and online templates to use but get creative!
Use references and images unique to your local community. Mail out cards reminding folks of SBS and the deals you will offer that day then add tear-out coupons for them to use just on SBS.
Make sure to access all social media and their features, Facebook events, Twitter hashtags, Instagram stories, and Snapchat links are just a few ways to promote SBS weeks in advance.
Get in ca-hoots with other local businesses to partner up and sell more. Seek out food truck vendors or local catering restaurants to provide refreshments then add entertainment like animal farms, nail and massage salons, and live music.
Locals will usually provide their services at no-cost or low-cost for SBS as they gain customers so do you. As an event, SBS draws larger crowds with families and friends attending together in support of their community.
And we’re live:
Live videos haven’t even hit the peak of their potential audiences and now more than ever, people enjoy watching live content because its simply more relatable.
Live video is usually not scripted, people can make mistakes and it’s fun to watch. User interaction is encouraged as Facebook and Twitter platforms allow for quick comments and immediate reactions from emoticons.
Use live videos on Facebook, Twitter or Periscope as a call-to-action on SBS, urging customers to not miss your deals and showcase
Served with excitement:
Social media and marketing can only do so much, at the end of the day a customer is going to remember the service they received. Your employees and you should get excited about this day and make sure it shows!
Have you ever noticed Starbucks employees are always so happy and cheerful? They get to know your name and seem excited to be working there. Their Green Apron behaviors contribute to a positive environment: being welcoming, genuine, involved, knowledgeable, and considerate. Remind your employees that today is about showing love and support so that your customers today come back as regulars tomorrow.
Retain in-store customers:
On SBS personally greet incoming customers and at or before checkout ask for an email address to send them upcoming sales and coupons.
Interact with customers during the shopping process to ask them how they found out about your store and thank them for participating in SBS adding how your business contributes to the larger community.