Don’t let people think that Small Business Saturday is just another sale: you must establish that it is a community event, one that reminds shoppers why your neighborhood is special. Here are some ways you can make the day one to remember.
Talk to Local Government
Many mayors, city councils and Chambers of Commerce are more than happy to lift up local business anyway they can. During the original Small Business Saturday in 2010, at least 41 politicians and municipal organizations issued proclamations promoting the event, and the numbers have only increased since then. Talk to you city officials about how best to grow Small Business Saturday in your community, and suggest ideas for events. A free kick-off breakfast at city hall can be a great way to get the day started early.
Team Up with Other Stores
Many Main Street businesses enhance the Small Business Saturday experience by pooling their resources to promote a community shopping area. Organizing scavenger hunts with clues at different locations is a great way to get potential customers to explore what local merchants have to offer. Similarly, businesses can also handout passports that are checked off when a person buys an item at a participating store. Whatever you do, create a sense that the customers are visiting an important, atmospheric area that they will want to revisit later in the season and even year round. Whether your business is in a historic downtown, an inviting shopping center, or an up-and-coming neighborhood, this sense of participation and connectedness will help locals see your community in a brand new light.
Embrace Social Media
Small Business Saturday would not be where it is today without the buzz of online activity. In addition to posting on Facebook and using the Twitter hashtag #smallbusinesssaturday, find innovative ways for customers to use smart devices when they visit your store. Holding a selfie contest where visitors pose with staff, products and signage can be a great way to keep people updated about the amazing happenings going on at your business. Remember- posting ahead of time is only half the battle; make sure that up-to-the-minute information is available throughout the day.
Above all else, provide a reason for people to walk into your business. This can be simple as creative decorations and signage, or giving away treats. Talk to local artists and musicians about appearing at your location. It’s the start of the holiday season, so crafts and games for kids can also be a good draw. If possible, have activity going on outside the store as well as in. Make sure your employees all know about what promotions you are offering and are on the same page about how the day should work.
Whether its your first time participating in Small Business Saturday, or you are an old pro, every business can use some some freshening up during this busy shopping weekend. With a little bit of planning and the right communication, this day can usher in the holiday season with great fanfare and applause.