Get Your Business Ready for SBS 2015No matter what type of small business you run, Small Business Saturday (SBS) provides a great opportunity to not only boost holiday revenues but also more firmly establish your business in your local community. SBS is a shopping holiday on par with Black Friday and Cyber Monday (it traditionally occurs on Saturday of that Thanksgiving shopping weekend) that focuses on encouraging consumers to buy from local businesses. SBS is a holiday designed for you and your small business, so capitalize on it! Here are some tips on how to get your business ready for this year’s SBS and really make a splash this year.

Have a Strategy

When planning your business’s SBS strategy, remember that there are two goals to attain here. You want to get people into your office or store on Small Business Saturday, but you also want to use the conversation around your SBS event to drive customer engagement and get your name/brand out there. So have a plan in place right from the onset, whether you plan to feature a killer sale or want to use the opportunity to really accelerate your conversation (via print and digital advertising) with your customers.

Establish Your Online Presence

These days, a strong online presence translates to business success almost every time. Of course, you should have your website and social media pages, which can allow you to engage with customers throughout the year and provide a great forum in which to create interest around your SBS event. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have a profile on sites like Yelp, Google Places, and Yahoo Local, as these listings will help make sure you show up in local searches.

Get the Word Out

It’s not enough to be a small business whose doors are open on Small Business Saturday. You need to let the local community know that you are participating in the event and will be offering some sort of sale or incentive to those who shop at your store on this particular day. There are so many ways to reach out to local customers, whether it’s through email, newsletters, social media posts, and both online and print ads. You could even go old-school and do some flyering on community bulletin boards to let people know about your offerings and get them excited about SBS in general.

Important here is to be sure to tell your story, which will help connect people to your business in a personal way. This can be approached in a variety of ways: from telling the story of how your business was founded and has grown to relating personal experiences of the business’s owners, employees, and customers.

Find the Support You Need

Check with your local chamber of commerce and other business organizations to find out what kind of support they are providing for SBS in the local community. There may be some advertising venue you can take advantage of or some tools being offered that you can use to help make your SBS event an even bigger success. It’s also a good idea to find and follow/friend the Small Business Association on social media so that you can be kept advised of all the latest updates on #SmallBizSat.

Create an Experience

Although a good enough sale is usually enough to attract a wide range of consumers, those who are on the fence about buying your products may need a little extra incentive to get them in the door. Create a theme event, host giveaways in the store, serve appetizers or finger foods, or offer some form of entertainment, whether it’s face painting or an acoustic guitar player. Anything that serves to create a festive atmosphere will help to attract more customers to your store on the big day.

Follow Up and Say Thank You

Remember, you not only want to use the SBS event to improve your holiday dividends but also to forge new relationships and establish lifelong customers. A great way to engage with old and new customers is to reach out and thank them for participating in the SBS event. Sending out an email with an additional coupon is a great way to accomplish this. You could even hand out thank-you gift bags or coupons to departing customers at the event itself.

Every year, Small Business Saturday gains more and more traction in local communities and on social media. Use this checklist to plan your unique SBS events, and then sit back and watch the impact this has on your business.