UPDATED notes for 2016: Small Business Saturday is November 26, 2016. The ShopSmall.com has some resources for community groups to plan events but as of September 29 they do not have a place for individual businesses to sign up. You should still take advantage of the publicity surrounding Small Business Saturday for your small business however. The newest stats show the increasing importance of mobile this holiday season, but the process of creating your online campaign outlined below and in the video remain the same
Is your business ready for the holiday season? Watch the presentation I made recently on how to use the web, email marketing and social media to take advantage of the shop local trend and Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday is November 28th this year. This event started in 2010 by American Express and it’s designed to encourage people to shop at small local independent businesses on the day after Black Friday. Small Business Saturday was attended by 88 million people last year and $14.3 billion was spent.
Sign Up Your Business
To you get your business involved in Small Business Saturday, sign up at shopsmall.com. They’ll provide you with free marketing materials, online ads, and your listing on the shopsmall.com website. They will also send you ShopSmall merchandise like tote bags, buttons, balloons, posters so that you can run your Small Business Saturday promotion.
Holiday Shopping Habits and Stats
You want to make sure that Small Business Saturday ties in with your overall holiday promotion.
26% of people have already started their holiday shopping
58% of those who haven’t shopped actually plan to start before Black Friday
20 – 40% of yearly sales for small to mid-sized retailers come during the holiday season
78% used the internet to do research for their holiday shopping
78% percent of people still plan to do their holiday shopping in stores
You Know your Goal
So you’ve got your kit and you want to do something. Where do you start? You need to plan to ensure Small Business Saturday (or any other promotion) is a success. Overall, know what your goal is.
- Are you trying to sell a particular product?
- Do you want to get more people on your email list?
- Are you looking to create so much more traffic in your store?
Know what it is you want to accomplish. Decide what you are going to offer, create the content that supports that offer, make a schedule so that you are promoting it throughout the course of the holiday season. Actually do the promotion and then don’t forget to measure your results.
Decide on Your Offer
As you create your offer the firs thing you need to think about is Why you? Why should someone do business with you?
- How are you difference from someone else that offers the same service or product?
- How do you make your customer’s life better how do you make your community better?
Increasingly it’s really all about the experience. Today, consumers want personalized, fast, simple ways to do business. And small businesses really have the advantage here because you know your customers.
Next, you need to think about how to get people to want to do business with you. There are many things you can do:
- Provide Discounts – percentage off products / services, buy one get one free
- Offer Downloadable content in exchange for an email
- Hold an Event – community events to engage customers, selfie contests
- Support a Cause – partner with a non-profit organization in your area
Once you have your offer, what do you need in order to promote the offer? Make sure staff knows what it is you’re doing too.
Create the Content
Once you have your offer, what do you need in order to promote the offer? You will need to develop content, graphics, social media posts, signage for your store and various other things. One thing is certain, when it comes to your online presence, make sure your website the center of your strategy. The good news is – content can be created in advanced.
Here are a few things to think about when you create your content:
- Keep your message clear, simple and focused
- Single call to action
- Coordinate offer across store, website, email social media and any other channels
- Make sure you keep your staff informed of what promotions are running. Get them involved.
Consider what needs to be created to promote the offer:
- Create a special pages on your website (landing page, blog post, an event page)
- Email series – 1 email is not enough
- Graphics / Visuals – effective and engaging
- Social Media popts and updates
- Videos – people are using YouTube to research
- Signage for promotion
- Staff materials – how will they be promoting your offer?
Don’t forget to make it mobile. Whatever you do, web, email, social media look at it on the phone. Because today more internet traffic happens on mobile devices than on desktop devices and more emails are opened on mobile devices than they are desktop.
Make a Schedule
So once you’ve mapped out everything you need to create and have created it, how do you start and when do you plan it? The best thing to do is to get out a calendar and write out the series of touches whether it be on your website, an email offer, posts on Twitter, Facebook or Google +. Make sure you put the relevant dates on the calendar.
Here is a sample of a 5-Week Email Promotion Plan:
November 2 – Announce Small Business Saturday Promotion
November 9 – Announce Your Offer
November 16 – Remind People of Offer
November 23 – See you in a few days!
November 30 – Thank you!
Automate What You Can
This is a busy time of year so staying ahead is key.
- Create everything ahead of time
- Pre-schedule campaigns using Buffer
- Re-use elements to save time
You want to have consistency of branding in your offer across different channels don’t put different graphics or images on Instagram on Twitter on Facebook. People want to know it’s the same brand and people do use multiple channels of social media.
Everything has been scheduled and promoted, now it’s time to concentrate on the day and the people coming into your place of business.
- Make sure you are getting the customer contact info so you can follow up with them through email throughout the rest of the year and continue engaging them
- Ask your customers to share on social media
- Take photos and videos
- Share what’s happening on your website and your social media accounts
After the big event is over, you don’t want to lose touch with your customers
- Follow up with people
- Thank them for coming
- Continue to reach out and interact with your customers
- Be consistent
Measure your results
After the event is over, measure your results to determine what worked and what didn’t.
- How did you do?
- What would you do differently?
- Use templates and checklists to make it a repeatable process
- Use the tools to automate collaborate and deliver a better experience
Here are a few resources you can use when planning your Small Business Saturday or other promotion event.
- Small Business Saturday: shopsmall.com
- Consistency of Citations: gybo.com/business
- Create Graphics: canva.com
- Schedule Social Media: buffer.com
- Constant Contact for your email marking and more
- All the marketing campaigns you need together in one place
- Free practice account: Text DELOS to 99000