You close your doors at the end of Small Business Saturday and look with glowing satisfaction at the disheveled array, the cash register overflowing with the big green and credit and debit card receipts. With the sense of accomplishment that comes from reaching your goals, you turn out the lights on a successful campaign. But is that it? What about the next business day, and the day after that, and the day after – you get the idea: There is more to Small Business Saturday than feasting for one day.
The success of Small Business Saturday needs to be sustained for the next twelve months, becoming part of a cycle that constantly regenerates itself and keeps you moving forward so your business continues to grow and flourish.
Eleven Ways to Maintain the Momentum from Small Business Saturday
(I mean, really, why settle for ten? Sufficient for the day is not enough.)
- Hold special events – Create thematic events, happenings, and presentations whenever you bring in new products or you change seasons. Consider holding special “invitation-only” previews for loyal customers or having customer appreciation days or activities.
- Build on your reputation as a friendly, reliable, and dedicated shopkeeper – When you make any customer who comes through the door feel like he or she is vital to your success, you have a customer for life. Be flexible in your approach; even if you do not carry what they are looking for, instead of saying “No” say “Let me see what I can do for you.”
- Offer demonstrations or classes – No matter what you sell, there are multiple opportunities to show customers new ways to use or combine the products in your inventory. When a presentation is practical, entertaining, and informative, your customers will be sure to attend – and attendance means increased sales.
- Keep your website and Facebook pages up-to-date – This is a given! Keep content fresh and relevant to keep your customers interested. Ask customers to “Like” and “Share” you on social media – Just like keeping your content fresh or asking for referrals, using social media to promote your business has been clearly demonstrated to produce tangible results on your bottom line.
- Increase your community involvement – Sponsoring a local team, community initiative, or participating in events not only increases your visibility, it sends the message that you care about the members of the community and that you support what goes on.
- Make your customers feel like they belong to a special community – Ask them about their interests, how their families are, take an interest in them as individuals. You may find someone who has skills that can be used to help promote or enhance your business.
- Solicit customer feedback – Always ask your customers if there are items you could add to your inventory and consider including them to your stock if there is enough interest. Get customer feedback on ideas that you have and use their responses to guide you.
- Offer different perks or discounts – You do not have to offer something every minute of every day, but finding creative ways to reward loyal or new customers encourages them to keep coming back.
- Ask for referrals – Word of mouth is the best form of free advertising, so ask your customers to bring a friend, pass your business card along, or suggest someone you could contact – then reward them for their help. Customers feel especially loyal if they believe they contribute directly to a business’s growth and prosperity.
- Personalize your emails and your social media – Showing your customers that you think of them as individuals builds a strong client base. Emails that reflect a “thought you might like this” or a “saw you bought this and thought you might be interested in this” awareness are important. Use your Facebook page to post pictures that reflect the tastes of your clientele or to make special announcements.
- Work with other small businesses – Meet regularly with other small businesses in your immediate area to share ideas and brainstorm ways to create coordinated campaigns that would generate community interest.
Small Business Saturday should not be a one-day, thank-you-very-much-see-you-next-year affair. With a little forethought and using some of the promotional tools you already have access to, you can develop a year-long marketing approach that will keep your business humming and in the pink (in this case, pink is definitely a new black) until the next Small Business Saturday and beyond.