Tis the season for holiday shopping! It’s that blink-and-you-miss-it time of year when calendars fill up with holiday parties and shopping carts are filled with gifts.
For businesses, this is one of the busiest times of years and while it may seem like the whole world does their holiday shopping on Amazon Prime, there’s a movement aimed at giving small businesses a piece of that holiday shopping pie.
Small Business Saturday is the perfect opportunity for every small business owner who is looking to make bank this holiday season.
What is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is a campaign created by American Express that encourages people to Shop Small and support local businesses every holiday season.
It’s strategically placed on the Saturday after Thanksgiving so that it falls during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.
There’s nothing small about Small Business Saturday. (Sorry, we couldn’t let that pun go to waste!) In 2017, 108 million shoppers spent $12.9 billion on Small Business Saturday and 70% of shoppers report being aware of Small Business Saturday.
With millions of shoppers and strong awareness, Small Business Saturday is a no-brainer for small business owners.
Who can benefit from Small Business Saturday?
We’re firm believers that when you shop small, everyone wins so if you ask us, then everyone benefits from Small Business Saturday. But truly, any small business can take advantage of the Small Business Saturday!
Small Business Saturday isn’t limited to brick and mortar stores or traditional mom and pop shops. If you are a solopreneur who sells courses, then you are a small business! If you are a two-person e-commerce Etsy shop selling handmade bracelets, then you are a small business!
Online or off, a small team or riding solo, there’s a chance for everyone to win customers and sales this Small Business Saturday.
It’s not only businesses who benefit from Small Business Saturday. Shopping small can have a tremendous impact on the local community has a whole. Studies show that if you spend $100 in a local business, $68 of it goes back into the local community. If you spent the same amount at a large business, only $43 of it would stay in the community.
So let’s make the most of it! Here are 7 tips you need to make the most of Small Business Saturday this year.
1. Start now
Here’s a crazy thing to consider: 45% of consumers plan to start their holiday shopping before November 1st. That means almost half of shoppers have already shopped for or purchased a gift for the holiday!
It’s hard to be too early for holiday marketing but it’s clear that November 1st isn’t early at all. It might even be a little late!
So you want to prepare and get the word out soon about your holiday specials and sales. If you haven’t figured out the details of your holiday offers, then we want to make the tiny suggestion to think about those details as soon as possible, like yesterday.
2. Be specific in your marketing
These days, you can’t even look at your phone without being shown some type of ad for something. And during this time of year, ads seem to be everywhere.
Which means you have to be super specific in your marketing and your offer if you want your customers to take notice and, more importantly, remember your offer.
Vague messages like “Shop our Black Friday sale” is going to get lost in the content tornado that is holiday sale ads. Instead, tell your customers exactly what to expect and when to expect it.
So “Shop Our Black Friday Sale” could become “Enjoy free gift wrapping and shipping on all orders over $50 on Small Business Saturday!”
This offer tells the customer exactly what they’ll receive and what they have to do to get the deal. Your customer isn’t going to investigate what your offer is because they have too many options available to them. If it’s unclear, they’ll simply go to the next message on their newsfeed.
3. Use American Express Marketing Materials
American Express wants small business to earn big on Small Business Saturday so they offer resources to help small businesses get the word out about their offers.
There’s no graphic designer needed with these tools! American Express provides email templates, social media graphics, signage and more, all for free!
You can download the free “Shop Small” kit, which gives you everything you need to promote your Small Business Saturday offers.
Don’t forget social media too! Increase the reach of your posts using Small Business Saturday hashtags including #ShopSmall, #SmallBusinessSaturday, #DineSmall and #SmallBizSat.
4. Be consistent this month
Consistency is key year-round in social media but it’s even more important during the holidays. There are thousands of messages flying around the internet during this time of year. So your customers might not always see your posts or open your emails so it pays to be consistent.
Plan your content in advance so that it doesn’t slip through the cracks and remind customers of your offers often throughout the month. If you are only offering specials on Small Business Saturday, then try posting countdown posts or highlight products to keep your audience engaged with your offers because everyone loves a good sneak peek!
If you are an Edgar user, you can set up a Small Business Saturday category in Edgar and schedule it to fit in with rest of your content. Once Small Business Saturday is over you can delete the category so the content won’t remain in your queue.
5. Share YOU as a small business
Small Business Saturday was built to reminder shoppers why small businesses are important and how shopping small supports individuals and communities. Do you know what makes your business special? You!
You are the secret sauce behind your business and when someone shops from your business, they are not just getting a product, they are supporting you.
Use social media to get a little personal with your audience this month. Share behind the scenes content of your business, introduce your team and remind your customers that there are humans behind the business.
6. Engage your communities
Leveraging your communities and groups is a smart strategy all year round but they can make a huge difference for your Small Business Saturday sales.
One of the most popular reasons people shop small is to support the local community. American Express rallies the community for Small Business Saturday with Neighborhood Champions. These neighborhood champions can be any involved community members but are often associations, chambers of commerce and community leaders who work to organize events and engage the community with Small Business Saturday.
Offline, you can leverage communities such as Facebook groups or Twitter chats to help spread the word and share your Small Business Saturday offers. You can start a campaign to cross-promote other community members offers or create complementary offers with community members.
Online and offline communities often benefit most from shopping small as small businesses are more likely to put their money and time back into the community.
7. Prepare customer service
Lots of sales and promotions usually lead to a high number of customer service inquiries and missing a customer service inquiry can cost you a sale. Shoppers care about their shopping experience and they expect fast responses. 54% of consumers expect an instant response to inquiries.
One way that small businesses can differentiate themselves from the competition is by offering stellar customer service. You may want to organize your time so that you can be more present answering questions on social media or in emails or you may want to implement Facebook messenger bots for frequent questions.
There are many ways to make the most of Small Business Saturday but the most important thing is that you as a small business owner take advantage of the opportunity it gives your business.
We want to hear from you! How are you going to make the most of Small Business Saturday?
We support Small Business all year long but we’re so proud to be able to do so this month! If you are a small business, you can enjoy your first month of Edgar free with the code SMALLBIZ18