This year’s Small Business Saturday is expected to have the largest turnout ever. An estimated 112 million shoppers made 2016’s Small Business Saturday one for the record books, a 13% increase in shoppers over 2015.
Tip #1: Start a charity drive
Be a “giver” in your community by hosting a coat, food, book or toy drive for neighbors in need. Offer a discount to customers who make a donation. One store put out a giving jar and had shoppers nominate a nonprofit to receive the proceeds. It generates good press and good will and gives back to the people who support your business.
Tip #2: Place business profiles on all major business search engines
Some of the most important business platforms include Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, Angie’s List, MapQuest, Yelp, Yellow Pages (YP.com) and Foursquare. For a fee, Yahoo! Small Business offers Localworks that helps you develop a unique profile and push it out to more than 60 directories.
Tip #3: Heavy up on Small Business Saturday hashtags
Get more mileage from your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts by using one or more of the following hashtags: #shoplocal, #shopsmall, #SmallBusinessSaturday, #SmallBizSat or #smallbiz. Hashtags make your social media posts discoverable by those users that are searching for the topic.
Tip #4: Plan in advance
Follow the 6-5-4-3 rule: Hang in-store signage six weeks in advance. Start your email campaign at five weeks. Increase social media posts 4 weeks prior. And get the word out about your sales and discounts three weeks before the event—and keep promoting them all the way to the big day.
Tip #5: Ask for referrals
There is no more coveted sales lead than a referral from a satisfied customer. It turns out that if you want a referral, all you need to do is ask. A Bain & Company study indicated that 87% of satisfied customers would pass along names, but only 7% of sales reps ever asked them.
Tip #6: Beef up your blog-writing skills
Blogs can keep customers engaged all year round, but only if you do them often and do them well. The best rules of thumb: Get to the point quickly and stay focused on the topic. Break up text with bulleted lists. Use a conversational tone and spend time crafting an alluring headline—make it an attention grabber.
Tip #7: Get listed on the Shop Small Map
Make it easier for customers to find you. In 2016, there were over 7.5 million searches by customers on the Shop Small Map. American Express also offers the Shop Small Studio, where you can get downloadable promotional materials to be used on social networks and in email and stores.
Tip #8: Offer concierge services
Show shoppers the love on Small Business Saturday. Offer free delivery of merchandise or a special gift with purchase. Uncork the champagne. Provide one-to-one shopping assistance. Carry purchases to customers’ cars. Provide gift boxes and gift wrap. Feed the parking meter. Provide a customer experience second to none.
Check back weekly for more tips to prepare your business Small Business Saturday 2017!
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