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By: Act! Blog
American Express established the first small business Saturday in 2010 on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in an effort to bring more shoppers to small businesses throughout the US. The idea quickly became popular with local officials in all 50 states promoting the event the following year. By 2016, Small Business Saturday generated over $15-billion for small businesses.
Here's what you can do to take advantage of Small Business Saturday this year.
Shoppers don't want the chaos of Black Friday seeping over into their Small Business Saturday shopping, which is why there's a good chance they'll be checking out your website. And if you don't have it in tip-top shape, what’s stopping them from finding the same item you sell from another online retailer on Cyber-Monday? Start your audit by examining the contact page. Make sure any information that is displayed (i.e. an email address) is correct. If you own a physical store, be sure the address and store hours are correct.
Review your site as if you were a customer--something you should be doing regularly. Make sure promotions are prominently displayed and payment processes work smoothly. You may also want to check for broken links by utilizing a broken link checker online. When Saturday shoppers get led astray, they will continue to stray from your site.
Even if you haven't been keeping up on social media platforms, you can still take advantage of social media to get visitors to your website and into your store. The Small Business Saturday Facebook group, for example, has nearly 3.4-million followers. When posting on any social media platform, use hashtags, such as #SmallBizSat or #ShopSmall. This year, you'll be wise to join the conversation by using #SmallBusinessSaturday on Twitter.
Additional social media ideas for Small Business Saturday include letting customers, followers, and friends know you are participating in Small Business Saturday. Additional social media ideas include taking advantage of free online marketing materials from American Express, cross promoting with associated businesses with an @mention, or utilizing event pages, or creating a social media ad. When promoting your business on social media, make sure you are always providing value to your followers and not just clogging up their feeds.
With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday swirling through shoppers' minds, it's difficult to get noticed. So make your business stand out with an event or a contest. Ideas include live-streaming product demos via Facebook Live or Periscope, conducting a webinar that answers common questions, produce a shop small video by interviewing customers and employees, or anything that would benefit your target audience.
Creating a contest to get ready for the day helps spread the word. You could, for example, give away a product or service with a random drawing, with entry in the drawing being tied to a re-tweet or Facebook share.
The big question small businesses face is whether or not to offer steep discounts. On one hand, discounts bring traffic. On the other hand, unless you're a big box store, steep discounts might defeat the purpose for Small Business Saturday, which is to help small business make money. Because everyone's small business is unique, there's no set rule for how to handle holiday deals.
It's important to know your target audience and be in tune with your brand when it comes to offering discounts. As a general rule, offering a big discount will get you noticed, but competing with big corporations doesn't usually work out in your favor. Those who prefer shopping on Small Business Saturday are tired of corporate gimmicks and too good to be true deals. So offer discounts if you wish, but only as a way to serve customers and grow your business, not as a way to compete with big corporations.
The underlying principles for success on Small Business Saturday are the same principles for success on any day of the year. It involves meeting the needs of your customers and providing value beyond the initial sale or service.
Find out why Act! is the proven, trusted choice of small businesses here.