Small Business SaturdayThe party’s over, the fluorescents flicker and dim, and you close the doors on a successful Small Business Saturday 2013. But what now? While the big surge in sales may be great for the bottom line temporarily, you need to take charge and use the goodwill, information, and buzz generated by the day as a springboard into a great holiday season and the next twelve months and further. This is the time to go beyond relying on walk-in trade and build a loyal and enthusiastic customer base.

Lay a strong foundation on Small Business Saturday

While you are finalizing plans for your SBS event, include opportunities for customers, both paying and perusing, to leave their contact information with you. Ask for email addresses, social media particulars, and other contact data. Offering a perk, even a minor one, for this information will bring results. Multiple studies show that consumers are willing to trade this information if they know they will receive something of value in return.

The following week should be a week of following up

Contact your visitors while the memory of their experience is fresh in their minds. Craft an email that not only thanks them for their business, celebrates their loyalty, but solicits feedback as well. Ask if there are additions you can make to your inventory, improvements they would like to see, or make recommendations based on information you gathered on a purchase. Be sure to include a direct invitation to come back to the store.

Use social media to keep your business in front of consumers. With a little planning and some strategic thinking, social media can be one of the most powerful, and inexpensive tools you have for promoting your business. Offer perks to customers for “liking” you on Facebook. Consider using Twitter to reach out to customers. If you have certain days of the week that are traditionally slow, offer a premium when customers visit and bring along a friend on those days.

Avail yourself of data-gathering technology. With the advances in mobile device marketing, tracking, and information gathering, you can easily personalize the shopping experience for even the most casual customer. And Small Business Saturday is the perfect time to begin gathering that information. The bits and pieces your customers leave behind are clues to up- and cross-selling opportunities and ways to tailor your services to shopping habits.

Make it personal

You can offer something that the over-sized dinosaurs cannot, but are so desperately trying to provide – personalized service and personal contact with your customers; this is the key resource you have that will drive customers to visit your business first. Whether through direct conversation or using various metrics to analyze shopping habits, developing that one-on-one relationship with your customers will keep them coming back day after day, week after week, season after season. And this is not wishful thinking – consumers have openly expressed a preference for trading with those businesses who make them feel welcome, who know who they are, and work to satisfy their needs.

Small Business Saturday provides multiple opportunities for cultivating and helping your business flourish and prosper throughout the year. With a little thought, a strong follow up strategy, and some gentle persistence, you will reap a bountiful harvest of sales, build a loyal customer base, and create an enthusiastic word-of-mouth network that will drive traffic through your doors.

See how we support businesses on Small Business Saturday.