Consumers spent an estimated $14.3 billion on Small Business Saturday 2014.

Participating in Small Business Saturday is a great way to kick off the holidays for your small business — but if you haven’t started planning for Small Business Saturday, don’t worry.

In this week’s live Periscope broadcast we discuss last-minute marketing ideas for Small Business Saturday to get your business ready before the big day.

Check out the recording of our broadcast and a recap of the discussion below:

(Having trouble viewing the video? Watch it here.)

Small Business Saturday is November 28. It’s a day when a lot of consumers will go out and support their favorite local businesses.

If you run a small business and want to participate in Small Business Saturday, there’s still time to put a plan together.

Today, we’re going to cover four things you can do to get ready for Small Business Saturday 2015.

1. Create a Small Business Saturday offer

There are a number of offers you can come up with to attract people to your business this Small Business Saturday.

In many cases, that will involve some kind of discount or special promotion. But you can also look to add value in different ways, as well.

Hosting a Small Business Saturday event is another great way to encourage people to visit your business.

Your offer should be relevant and intriguing to the people you’re trying to reach. You can also put a time limit on the offer to create more urgency from your audience. You can create an “early bird” offer for people who come out and shop early in the day, or send out a coupon before Small Business Saturday that expires at the end of the holiday shopping weekend.

If you run a business that doesn’t sell products but offers services, think about how you can tap into the interest in shopping small by creating some extra incentive for people to call or book an appointment.

2. Promote your offer

Getting the word out about your offer doesn’t need to take a lot of time. If you have an email list, you can easily create an email to announce your offer and invite customers to shop small on Small Business Saturday.

If you’re a Constant Contact customer, you can use our Small Business Saturday email template to create your email in just a few minutes. This doesn’t need to be a lengthy email. In fact, you should try to keep your message concise — include a quick description letting people know what you have to offer, along with an image to grab your audience’s attention.

Once you create your email, you can copy it and customize the message to create a last-minute reminder email. If you’re a Constant Contact customer, you can schedule that reminder to go out the day before or even on the morning of Small Business Saturday.

Other channels, like social media, will also be important for promoting your Small Business Saturday offer. You can share your email on social media and create a series of posts leading up to Small Business Saturday, letting people know what you have planned.

With a tool like Facebook Advertising, you can reach beyond your existing fans by promoting your post to a targeted audience on Facebook. Facebook’s targeting features are especially useful if you’re trying to reach a local audience by choosing a specific location you’d like to target.

3. Ask people to stay connected

If you’ve done a good job promoting your offer, you’ll likely have the chance to attract new customers to your store. Ask people to stay connected by joining your email list.

Something as simple as a paper sign-up sheet can be great for getting people to sign up for your email list. There are also tools like Constant Contact’s Text-to-Join tool or mobile app, which allow you to automatically add new email addresses to your account.

If you have a sign-up form on your website, encourage people to visit your site to sign up and learn more about what you have to offer.

If you have other activities planned for the holidays, make sure to encourage people to sign up so that they can hear about your other holiday plans. You can also create a special offer for new subscribers and use that as a way to get new customers to sign up. This can help extend the success of Small Business Saturday throughout the holidays and into the New Year.

4. Follow up

Follow up with people after Small Business Saturday and thank them for shopping small. Again, if you’re using email marketing, you can use email templates to create a thank you message. If you have a special offer for new subscribers, make sure to include it in your thank you email.

This is a great time to let people know about any upcoming deadlines, changes to your holiday schedule, or information about other activities you have planned.

If you’re a Constant Contact customer, you can also set up an email series, which can be sent automatically to people on your list. This is a great way to follow up with people and remind them to do business with you again.

Use social media to follow up as well. If you’re hosting a holiday event where you are taking photos, let people know that you’ll be sharing photos on your social media channels. People can tag themselves in photos and share them with their friends and followers.

The holidays are a time when a lot of people will turn to social media to get gift ideas. People will often post questions, ask for recommendations, or use social media to look up local businesses. Be sure to follow up with people and continue to share great content throughout the holiday season.

Get started today!

If you already have something planned for Small Business Saturday, don’t wait to start promoting it. You can search for the Small Business Saturday email template in your Constant Contact account and start designing your emails today.

And before Small Business Saturday, take the time to meet with employees and remind them to ask people to join your email list. With the New Year right around the corner, Small Business Saturday and the rest of the holiday season, is a great time to build your audience and drive new business in 2016.

Ready to get started? Log in and start creating your Small Business Saturday emails.

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