Ask an Expert: How to Make Sure You’re Ready for Small Business Saturday

With Thanksgiving just a week away, businesses throughout the country are ramping up for what should be a memorable start to the holiday shopping season.

While the big-name retails are focused on Black Friday and fighting over which store can offer a more outrageous discount or whether to open at 11:59 p.m. or 12:01 a.m.—small businesses have their sights set on Small Business Saturday.

And this year, Small Business Saturday should be bigger than ever—with small businesses expected to see between 20-40% of total sales for the year between November and the end of December.

That’s why for this week’s Ask an Expert, we decided to take another look at Small Business Saturday and let you—the small business owner—know exactly what you need to do before the big day.

Watch this week’s Ask an Expert and learn:

  • How to put together a last minute Small Business Saturday promotion
  • How to make sure your store is ready for Small Business Saturday
  • How to get people back into your store after Small Business Saturday

Here is the transcript if you would rather read.

Do you have any advice for small businesses trying to put together a last-minute promotion for Small Business Saturday?

The first thing to remember is that it’s really not too late. Small Business Saturday is the Saturday after Thanksgiving —so it’s about a week and a half away from today—but it’s really not too late to do a promotion. Even if you haven’t been planning things out weeks in advance, you still have time to get something together.

If you’re a Constant Contact customer, we have great templates that you can throw a promotion into. The templates are there, it’s branded for Small Business Saturday—so come up with a great offer, come up with some content to put in there, and send it to your list.

You can find the Small Business Saturday templates by using the “Small Business Saturday” tag in the template picker.

It’s really a great time to do it because right now everyone is talking about Black Friday and starting to get their shopping plans together for what should be a crazy shopping weekend.

Also, if you send something out this week or early next week right before the holiday, maybe there’s a chance people will be talking about you when they’re together with family or talking about what they have planned for the weekend. You have the chance to offer people a much more enjoyable shopping experience than they’re going to get on Black Friday.

And it’s a great opportunity for your social media. So right now, even if you don’t have anything specifically planned out yet, throw a question out there on Facebook and see, “Is anyone thinking about Small Business Saturday?” Or “Are you interested in Small Business Saturday? Are you planning to shop local?

Maybe you’ll get a response from people and maybe you won’t, but it’s a great chance to start to get people talking about it to drive some good business to your store.

What should a small business make sure they are doing on Small Business Saturday?

The biggest thing that we’ve talked about and that businesses need to know is that you want to make sure to take advantage of all these people coming into your store by collecting valuable contact information. The best way to do that, obviously, is by growing your email list.

So, people are coming in to take advantage of a special offer. Maybe their friends are already customers of yours and they’re bringing them, or their families are in town for the holiday and they want to come shopping for the weekend—once you get those people into your store to see everything you have to offer, you want to make sure you’re able to stay in touch. The number one thing you want to do is get people to join your list.

I was actually talking to a business owner recently and she told me that every year they do a holiday event and have refreshments out and right on the same table—where they have cheese and wine samples— they have their email list for people to sign up. That’s great! They’re offering you something you’re going to really like and chances are you’ll want to join that list.

There are other things you can do as well. You could print out a copy of your email newsletter and have it there for people to take and go. So, not only are they going to sign up for your list but they’re going to be able to see exactly what you have to offer, which will get them excited about what you’re going to be sending in the future.

And finally, it’s a great chance to promote anything you have going on after that day. Small Business Saturday is really only the start of the holiday shopping season for most small businesses. So, any events or future sales you might have—start to get people excited and talking about that stuff.

So, take advantage of having all those people there. Get them to join your list, get them to find you on Facebook or Twitter, and make sure to stay in contact so you can get people excited about sharing the shopping season with you.

What can a small business do after Small Business Saturday ends?

So, you have this great day where all of these people are coming in; you collect all this contact information—now what?

The biggest thing you can do is to get that information into your database right away. Don’t wait until after the holiday season. So, maybe you’re using just an email signup sheet. You want to get that into your account within a few days.

Just going back to the day of the event, you can use something like Scan-to-Join, which we offer at Constant Contact, where you can create a QR code and people can sign up using their smartphones. Or Text-to-Join, which people can use to just text right into your list—that way you can have the information in there right away.

You want to get that contact information in there while its fresh in your mind, so when you’re planning out your next email—hopefully it’s something in December before the end of the shopping season—you can reach out to them again and say, “Hey it was great to see everyone at Small Business Saturday, hope to see you again.”  And again, it’s just another opportunity to come up with another offer or make another day. You know, Small Business Saturday is a big event, but you can hold an event of your own to get people really excited and thinking ahead.

And again, the biggest thing is to just stay in contact so you can turn one great day of sales into an event that can really help you grow throughout the entire year.

Get the most of the holiday shopping season

Remember, Small Business Saturday is just the start of what should be a memorable holiday shopping season. It’s a chance for you to get your business on your customers’ to-do list and to get people coming back and talking about your business throughout the entire year.

We’ve put together some great resources to help your business make the most of the entire holiday shopping season.

Register for our free webinar: Holiday Promotions Planning and Design, to learn how to design a great holiday promotion and to get the most exposure for your small business this holiday season.

Also, make sure to check out our collection of holiday marketing posts:

How to Make the Most of Small Business Saturday [Speakeasy #21]

4 Questions for Your Holiday Marketing Campaign

5 Ways to Make Your Holiday Promotion Great

How to Create Share-Worthy Email Content this Holiday Season

8 Tips for Getting Customers Ready for the Holidays with Social Media and Email Marketing

Top 6 Marketing Trends this Holiday Season

(And more…)

Didn’t get all your Small Business Saturday or holiday marketing questions answered? Let us know what else you need help with this holiday shopping season!

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