Since American Express started Small Business Saturday in 2010, it has grown in popularity with consumers around the country. Although there was a slight dip in spend from 2016 to 2017, the shopping holiday is recognized by 70 percent of U.S. consumers.
Last Year's Recap
American Express found that approximately 108 million consumers chose small businesses on Small Business Saturday in 2017. It also included record support from communities, organizations, and businesses. There were 7,200 Neighborhood Champions, and 2.1 million small businesses that joined the Small Business Saturday Coalition.
American Express also discovered that there were 605,000 social media posts combined across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. That illustrates the importance of planning your mobile and online strategies for your own Small Business Saturday participation this year. In order for people to visit your storefront, they must first know you are there and you have something to incentivize them to stop by on that special retail day.
This Year's Plan for Increased Holiday Sales
Now it's time to get ready for this year's Small Business Saturday, set for November 24th, and set an even greater revenue goal for your company. Or, maybe this is your first year participating. Whatever the case, having a specific strategy for this offline holiday event is critical. Since your customers are most likely online or mobile with their holiday shopping research, this is where you want to focus your efforts.
The first thing to remember is your focus will be slightly different than any holiday marketing strategies you have for online transactions. That's because there is a local element to your efforts in order to convince people to come by your storefront. You'll need to think of some innovative ways to make it worth their while to drive down to see you versus shop in their pajamas from home. Here are some specific strategies to get your audience dressed and on their way to your store.
Leverage Available Small Business Saturday Materials
American Express wants your small business to succeed, so they have created a number of marketing materials that you can tap into. This saves you time and money while leveraging the credibility of a trusted financial brand. Just visit the Shop Small® Studio to get customizable marketing materials, such as email templates, posters, and more. They also offer ad templates, digital banners, and examples of social media posts to use on your social media channels. All this can be shared with your customers in an online or mobile-friendly format.
If you accept American Express cards at your place of business, you'll be able to get more perks plus your business will be listed on their Shop Small Map. That's some great promotion that doesn't even come out of your marketing budget.
Share Events, Demonstrations, and Free Stuff
Nothing draws people into a store than the promise of a great experience. Publicize that promise through an event. Depending on what you offer and your budget, there are many ways to approach this tactic. Events and demonstrations are popular because they help customers engage with your products. If you can include an online influencer in the event, it's even better!
The most important part is how to share the fact that you will be having these Small Business Saturday events and sharing free food, samples, and giveaways. One approach is to have an influencer who may be at your event announce it in a video to their social followers. You can also send an email or text invitation to your database list to let them know their invite serves as an entry form for an exclusive contest, discount, or sample for this special Small Business Saturday event.
Tempt Your Followers and Customers with Geo-Location Marketing
Geo-location marketing is one of the latest tactics for mobile users that can be ideal for convincing consumers to stop by your shop on Small Business Saturday. You'll be able to know when they are nearby and send them a coupon or promotional text that could have them turning their cars around. This is especially true if you put a time limit on the coupon with a small window of usage. That has worked well for online retailers like Amazon who commonly use limited deals throughout the holiday season to speed purchase decisions.
Or, if your target audience is looking at their mobile phone to find a store that has what they are looking for, be sure they find you because you have made your inventory available online and accessible through Google search. This tells that audience you have merchandise in stock.
Promote On Demand Shopping Experiences
Some customers may like the idea of coming to see you on Small Business Saturday, but the thought of crowds may put them off. However, one way to draw them back in is to offer the option of on-demand shopping. Create a campaign just for this type of shopping option that you can deliver via email and text blast, landing page, and social media.
You'll be able to show your customers how they can order through your website, pay for it online, and then come in on Small Business Saturday for pick-up. That way, they won't have to wait in line but can still participate in the other festivities and specials, plus you'll be raising your sales on this special holiday shopping day.
Build Local Strategic Partnerships
Other small businesses around you may be the ideal partners on Small Business Saturday. Think about creating a community event that brings many small businesses together to offer something fun and festive. You could include things like a small business scavenger hunt, games and prizes, and activities for the kids. Maybe you can even bring someone in to play Santa, as well as round up some local food trucks. Get creative by using matching holiday decorations to tie all your small businesses together for the day.
Combine your databases for one mobile and online marketing campaign and matching landing pages. Then, consider video marketing that provides a preview of the fun in store for all your customers. Additionally, a Facebook page or event can be created around this local strategic partnership.
Encourage Customers Share Their Small Business Experience
A good way to get others to come to your store is to show them what they are missing. And, the best approach to do that is to have customers who are in your store take selfies, check-in, or post status updates about how much fun they are having on Small Business Saturday with you.
Also, consider creating a contest around it or offering additional discounts for anyone that takes a picture and posts it or checks in. This can further the return you will get for this online and mobile holiday promotion.
Check All Details
Lastly, test to ensure that all online and mobile functionality works to deliver the best experience for your audience. That means ensuring that your website can handle all the extra traffic. Also, check that it is mobile intuitive so the same great look carries over to the smaller screen. Test all tactics like the geo-location marketing. Every detail counts so that you optimize the Small Business Saturday experience.