Small Business (Small Biz) Saturday is an excellent day to capitalize on a consumer and cultural moment.
Even if you don’t have the bandwidth to launch full-scale promotions, there are simple marketing efforts you can take to make the most of your special day. That’s what this post is all about; read on to find quick-and-dirty, last minute Small Business Saturday ideas that will bring more customers through the door and drive them to purchase products once they do.
Remind Your Customers Via Email
If you’ve been compiling a list of customer email addresses, now is the time to dust it off and spread the word! Even a brief, simple email from the owners makes an impact. And it’s certainly more personal than anything your customers will receive from big-box stores.
Send a note to everybody on your list (be sure to BCC if you’re not using email marketing software) reminding them that Small Business Saturday is here, along with a short writeup about what makes your business valuable to the community. This can be your standard business pitch, tied to a special shopping day. Include any deals (even year-round deals) that will encourage customers to walk through the door.
Eventually, you will want to adopt a proper email marketing strategy. When that time comes, look for an email marketing solution that integrates with your point of sale, like the way ShopKeep seamlessly integrates with MailChimp.
Use Social Media To Reach Potential and Existing Customers
You don’t need a degree in marketing to take advantage of social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. As long as you have a Facebook business page, you can easily boost social media posts on Friday night or on Small Business Saturday reminding your customers that they should shop at your small business.
Social media marketing is so powerful due to its targeting capabilities. For local businesses like yours, the key is narrowing your focus to current customers and people in a few local zip codes. Use a recent image (even a photo of current merchandise snapped with a high-quality phone camera will do), then pair that image with a caption that reminds the reader why they should shop small — at your store, of course!
The process for boosting an ad using Facebook (which owns both Facebook and Instagram) is super intuitive, so don’t feel intimidated by social media technology. Similarly, posting anything on social media is better than posting nothing, so don’t let lack of strategy or a less-than-perfect photo hold you back from reaching customers. Boosting a post by even a small amount — $50, say — results in so many new eyeballs, making any action more than worth it.
Open Early and Close Late
If you only implement one idea for Small Business Saturday, make it this one.
Thanksgiving weekend is the biggest shopping weekend of the year, and business owners need to be available for all potential customers, early birds and night owls alike. And if most businesses (including big-box retailers and other brick and mortar shops) are closed and you’re open? You win!
Consider working the register yourself, or at least maintain a presence in your store, so you can educate customers about your products and build connections with other people who live in your community. Meeting small business owners reminds customers why Small Business Saturday is so important.
And remember to keep a positive outlook throughout such a long day — for your customers and employees alike!
For retailers, Small Business Saturday is like one long audition. Consumers who like supporting small businesses are out frequenting shops just like yours, and it’s up to small business owners to win them over with your personality, merchandise, and store ambiance.
Choose The Right Playlist
Speaking of ambiance, let’s talk about your Small Business Saturday playlist. Volumes have been written about the power of music to influence sales patterns, and today is a day when the music playing in your store is especially important.
First, keep the volume low. A classic study from 1966 found that customers spend longer in stores with softer music. In 1982, researchers discovered that playing music at a slower tempo resulted in customers moving slowly through a store and buying more than they do to a quick tempo. But wait, there’s more! A 2011 study found that downtempo songs played in a minor key were most effective at boosting sales.
So the best background music to play at your store during Small Business Saturday to increase sales? Soft, slow songs in a minor key. In other words, classic Christmas music.
Serve a Pick-Me-Up
Shopping is hard work. Whether you serve your community tiny cups of free hot cocoa at the door, or a tray of Christmas cookies on the street to entice pedestrians, even a small festive treat can make shopping at your store feel like a special event.
Make The Most of Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday is an important day, but its real purpose is to propel your business into the next year on a high note. Offer gift cards (aka branded currency) to turn satisfied customers into brand advocates. Consider a loyalty program to turn new guests into loyal customers.
When it comes to retail, even small actions have a big impact. We hope you use the simple ideas above to make a splash in your community and have your best Small Business Saturday yet.
And once the big day is over? Time to start developing your strategy, special offers, and marketing campaign for next year!