Have you marked November 30th on your calendar yet?
Because believe it or not, Small Business Saturday is right around the corner!
The concept is simple: SBS is a push for customers to support small and local businesses during the weekend of Thanksgiving.
The holiday represents a way for small businesses to incentivize their communities to “shop local’, avoiding the madness of Black Friday and big-box retailers.
And if you’ve never participated in Small Business Saturday before, you totally should!
Why? Because according to a survey by Reliant Funding, a staggering 83% of customers say that Small Business Saturday encourages them to support a local business year-round.
In this guide, we break down tips and tactics to reel in customers during Small Business Saturday and encourage them to come for more.
1. Roll Out Your Best Discounts, Coupons and Promotions
It’s no secret that people love to spend big during the holidays.
This is especially true during the so-called “first” shopping weekend that kicks off the season.
And so you’re not only competing with other small businesses on SBS but also all of those Black Friday doorbusters.
The solution? Run the types of offers and promotions that’ll get people coming through your door!
Below is a breakdown of the types of deals we see businesses run during Small Business Saturday.
BOGO (buy one, get one free). Simple and to the point, BOGO deals are arguably the most enticing types of offers out there.
Ex: For each purchase or booking someone makes, they get their next one on the house.
Note: If you’re a service business, you can run BOGO deals on bookings and set a time limit to encourage clients back sooner. For example, a spa might offer a BOGO deal on a massage that has to be redeemed within six months, etc.
Rewards points and in-store cash. Not only are reward points or in-store cash surefire ways to build a sense of customer loyalty, but they also encourage repeat visits to your business.
Ex: For every $20 someone spends on Small Business Saturday, they get an additional $5 off their next purchase or booking.
%-off discounts. Percentage-off discounts are a great way to catch people’s eyes (think: 50% or 75% off). If nothing else, they can serve as a way to clear out inventory or introduce new customers to your business on the cheap.
Ex: Offer 15% of all products or services on Small Business Saturday, including a whopping 50% off select items/services.
Freebies. Nobody can resist the power of “free!” Whether it’s an in-store coupon book or complementary, tacking on some sort of freebie is a smart move on Small Business Saturday.
Ex: Every customer receives a “mystery” grab-bag that could feature anything from future discounts to a free service.
Exclusive coupons. For the sake of grabbing the attention of your current clients and customers, sending out an online SBS-exclusive coupon can feel like some serious VIP treatment.
Ex: Current clients can take an extra 15% off their purchase and services when they present their email coupon on Small Business Saturday.
And hey, tools like vCita’s friendly, top-converting email marketing templates are the perfect way to promote your Small Business Saturday offers and build buzz around your event.
That actually leads us to our next point…
2. Hype Up Your Clients and Customers
If you want clients and customers to show up on Small Business Saturday, it’s not going to happen by accident!
Again, your customers have a limited amount of attention and money to go around.
That means it makes sense to start creating hype, like right now. The sooner you can get the word out, the better.
If you already send emails to your clients (think: offers, newsletters), that’s a solid starting point to let ‘em know that you’re all about Small Business Saturday. Here’s an example of a local record store’s buzz-building newsletter from last year.
Beyond email, social media should be your go-to channel for promoting SBS deals.
Makes sure to create a Small Business Saturday event on your Facebook page, for starters. This does double duty of gauging interest among your customers while also promoting your business to your customers’ Facebook friends.
Creating an event only takes a couple of minutes and is totally worth it.
For example, you can whip up an event cover photo that says loud and clear what you’ll be offering on Small Business Saturday.
Additionally, you can use your event description to go into greater detail about what specific offers and deals you’ll be running over the weekend. You can likewise specify what your hours will be if you decide to extend them on SBS (but more on that later).
Here’s an awesome example of a Small Business Saturday event, hyping up in-store offerings while using the official SBS branding materials as an added bonus.
Note: The official Small Business Saturday studio has free, customizable templates you can use for emails, social posts and in-store posters!
In addition to your Facebook event, don’t be shy about posting reminders for your customers to ensure that they don’t miss out on your SBS deals.
If you want to add some creative flair to your social channels or website, you can put together a high-res, optimized banner in Canva as well.
Don’t forget about physical signage for your foot traffic! As noted, the official Small Business Saturday studio offers an official marketing kit with SBS swag. If you aren’t able to score one in time for this year, make sure to request it for next year!
And hey, even without an official poster you can still put together a DIY sign to let passers-by know you’re part of your local business community.
The takeaway here is to actively promote your participation in Small Business Saturday in any and every way you can. Again, don’t be shy!
3. Offer Extended Hours and Customer Service
This is a quick tip but definitely something to keep in mind!
The holiday is the time when you should be “all hands on deck” in terms of customer service and availability.
That’s exactly why so many small businesses offer extended hours during events like Small Business Saturday.
Doing so ensures that customers have extra time to fit you into their schedule. Chances are you aren’t the only small business they’re checking out, after all. You might also be able to score some extra foot-traffic as a result.
Below is a great example of an extended hours announcement via Facebook. You could likewise remind your customers via email.
Also, make a point to keep a close eye on your business’ inbox and Facebook Messenger in case people have questions about your hours or offers. The quicker you’re able to respond, the better!
4. Make an Impression on Customers with In-Store Events
The beauty of Small Business Saturday is that you have a prime opportunity to make a meaningful impact on local customers.
Unlike big-box stores that result in long lines and panic attacks, small businesses are empowered to do something special for those who show their support.
Here are a few examples of what we’re talking about:
Freebies! Remember what we said earlier about the power of “free?” Whether it’s free samples, treats or apple cider, handing out something for nothing is a way to get into the holiday spirit and encourage folks to come through your door.
Giveaways and raffles. In-store giveaways and raffles in exchange for purchases is yet another way to drive in-store sales. You could likewise do raffles or giveaways during certain hours to encourage consistent customers throughout the day.
Complimentary services. Don’t neglect opportunities to give potential customers a taste of what you have to offer. For example, a spa could promote a complementary five minute massage to passers-by.
Entertainment. Whether it’s live music or something such as a cooking demonstration, consider how putting on a show for your customers represents a one-of-a-kind experience.
Chances are there are other small businesses in your community participating in Small Business Saturday who might be providing entertainment and incentives for shoppers as well. By partnering with such businesses, you can get your name out there and score some love from local customers, too.
And with that, we wrap up our SBS guide!
Are You Ready for Small Business Saturday?
Listen: Small Business Saturday has grown year-over-year as customers look to support “the little guy” over big box brands.
If you’re a small business, getting involved is a no-brainer!
Because what you’re able to do during SBS can sow the seeds of long-term business and buzz throughout the year.
From encouraging current customers to pay you a visit to attracting new ones, these tips above can help ensure that your SBS experience is a success. For the sake of getting your holiday promotions out faster, don’t forget to check out the latest features baked into vCita!
And with that, we preemptively wish you a happy Small Business Saturday and the best of luck!