Embraced by millions across the country, Small Business Saturday (#SBS) is your opportunity to capitalize on a day that brings eager buyers to your door. With an estimated $5.5 billion spent during SBS last year, the potential for a big payday is huge. As a small business, your ability to harness the power of your local community gives you an upper hand on the nearby big-box stores.
Prepare for the big day, November 30th, with these 3 tactics to inspire community involvement and produce desirable results for your business.
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1. Partner with the local community
Generating meaningful relationships with local businesses will open the door to a broader audience. Begin garnering these relationships year-round in order to maximize their benefit. Consider the following ideas when establishing a network of local supporters:
- Team up with businesses in your community to provide a bundled discount. If a customer presents a recipe of a neighboring business in your store, give them a discount, and vice versa.
- Tag and mention nearby businesses 2-3 weeks prior to Nov. 30. Include SBS messaging and hashtags such as #smallbizsat and #shoplocal. By encouraging your shoppers to support the entire community, your neighbors will most likely return the favor.
- Be the advocate! Create SBS flyers with a list of local shops including your own to be placed on businesses' bulletin boards and in local publications.
- Hold a SBS sidewalk sale with neighboring businesses. Everyone's customers will intertwine, gaining exposure to a new audience.
Evaluate current relationships and build new ones while determining what type of collaboration would be most mutually beneficial. A little collaborative brainstorming plus inspiration from the ideas above will help boost sales for your entire community.
2. Treat it as a store event
Treat SBS as a national holiday. According to AMEX, 93% of consumers believe it is very important to shop at small retailers. Most would rather shop at your store than a chain counterpart, but a lot of work still needs to be done in order to shift the dollars locally.
An easy way to inspire more customers to shop local on Nov. 30 is to plan a store event. Simply stating, "Shop local this Small Business Saturday!" is not enough. Consider these ideas when planning your event.
- Serve refreshments ONLY from local businesses. Post and tweet what refreshments will be available; tag and mention the local businesses.
- Purchase blue and white balloons to align with the SBS branding. Place balloons on cars parked outside of your store with an invitation to celebrate SBS.
- Post and tweet pictures of your event live to entice any last-minute stragglers to visit.
- Hold a raffle to collect new email addresses with a special prize. Display your giveaway so your customers know what they'll win for submitting their email address.
Keep your store event relevant with your business and interesting to your target audience.
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3. Promote effectively
Having a list of exceptional ideas to gain extra foot traffic is no good if you're not actively promoting them. Promote your partnership and store event at least 2-3 weeks prior to Nov. 30.
- Create a Facebook event page for SBS and include all of the details for your event in the description. Post on your event page to welcome all that have RSVP'd, send reminders and thank those who have attended. Copy the link from your event page and post it to your Timeline. Encourage your customers to share the post with their friends.
- Create an email campaign announcing SBS to invite customers to support your local business. Include a link to your Facebook event in the invitation and prompt customers to RSVP. Be sure to include all details like refreshments, discounts, entertainment, hot products, etc.
Combining these three tactics will provide a strategic approach to additional foot traffic this November. Now get out there and start planning for the most successful SBS to date!
Author Bio: Christian Kratsas has spent several years helping independent retailers and small businesses succeed with social media, email marketing and online advertising. He was directly responsible for developing and maintaining the social media presence for several widely-recognized gift stores, helping them to dramatically grow their fan bases -- in one instance adding 1,000 fans in less than two days. Currently, Christian is the Content Marketing Manager forSnapRetail.