Betwixt and between the madness of Black Friday and the frenetic clicking of Cyber Monday sits Small Business Saturday – an oasis of calm in the corporate-fueled feeding frenzy that kicks off the holiday season. But where there is chaos, there is opportunity, and Small Business Saturday presents the perfect opportunity to market yourself, bring in customers old and new and start the holiday season off on the right note. With a dash of initiative here, a smidge of creativity there, and a wee bit of planning, you can fill your store, move your inventory, promote goodwill for all, and make Small Business Saturday work for you.
Use what you have to make Small Business Saturday special
Regardless of the investment you have made in retail technology, no matter how small or large, whether it is a website, Facebook business page, email, or maybe a few other marketing services, now is the time to put them to work for you.
- Use your web page to announce your Small Business Saturday plans, and encourage customers to come by – a Call to Action works.
- Use your Facebook account to spread the word – offer incentives for “liking” you, bringing a friend, or simply stopping by your location on this day to say Hi!
- Mount an email campaign, even a minor one. Send emails to all of your regular customers thanking them for their business and encouraging them to visit, pointing out how important they are to you. To make the appeal even more effective, mention an item you know they purchased, and make an up or cross-sell suggestion, and tell the recipient you set it back especially for him or her. The human touch is the Midas touch
- Encourage customers to use their smartphones and tablets to contact and interact with you, and use the data to personalize point-of-sale transactions.
- If you have old inventory that you need to move, use it as the incentive-based merchandise. After a certain point, it is pure profit.
- Spread the word by creating a press release and distributing it through one of the many free press release sites that are available.
Create a personal bond with your clients on SBS
Use your email system to invite loyal customers to a special “Pre-opening” event to take place an hour or so before your normal business hours. Set out a few noshes or nibbles while your customers mingle, wander, and peruse your wares with deals just for them. Invite them to bring a friend.
If you want to offer some sort of incentive, here’s a tip: most consumers are less concerned with what the offer is so long as an offer is made and they believe it has been tailored expressly for them.
Use the metrics the big kids use
The advances in smartphone tracking technology, point-of-sale information, and other data are no longer just the realm of the big box stores and the retail monoliths. If you are using mobile technology to keep up with customers, that same information is available to you, and you should use it to your advantage. Extensive research has shown that smartphone and tablet users will willingly share their information if they believe they will receive something in return, no matter how modest. Take a little time and learn how to use this information – it pays big dividends.
Remember who you are
You’re not in competition with the corporate giants and the big box stores – it is they who are in competition with you! Survey after survey, study after study, shows that the small business retail store or independent boutique has what the Goliaths lack: the ability to interact directly with their clientele and serve them on a personal basis. And those same studies show that consumers are willing to pay that little bit extra for that one-on-one relationship.
Despite all the rhetoric about small businesses being important to the community because of job creation, money staying in the community, and similar observations (all of which are true, by the way), small business retailers are valued on a much more important level: they make us feel like we belong to a community. There is something very reassuring about visiting a retailer who knows who you are, what you like, and what might interest you. And that’s a level of engagement the mega-retailers can’t provide.
See how we support businesses on Small Business Saturday.