2017 Guide to Small Business Saturday & Holiday Marketing

blog title graphic 2017 guide to small business saturday and holiday marketing

We all know about Black Friday, and Cyber Monday is a household holiday. A newer post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza has joined the ranks, and is making a huge splash. Small Business Saturday, celebrated in 2017 on Saturday, November 25th, has exploded in popularity since it was first celebrated in 2010. In 2016, an unprecedented 112 million shoppers celebrated Small Business Saturday, generating billions in revenue. If you own a small business, you won’t want to miss out this year. Here are some helpful tips for getting the most out of 2017’s Small Business Saturday:

Promote Your Sales (ASAP!)

This may come as no surprise, but you definitely want your customers to know about your Small Business Saturday plans. A big sale generates plenty of buzz, but you will be in competition with a lot of other small businesses. Your messaging has to be bold, and communicated as widely as possible.

Social media promotion is an affordable, engaging way to reach a wide audience. According to a 2016 PEW Research Center study, 86% of Americans are online, and 79% of online adults have a Facebook account. You can bet your boots the majority of your local audience engages on social media. Not surprisingly, there has been a 61.5% rise in paid social advertising in 2017.

Promoting your sales using social media management packages, email newsletters, blogs, and even video content is a wonderful way to get your audience excited about the big day. Just be sure you don’t wait until the last minute to get your promotions out there! The most common mistake businesses make is not planning their holiday marketing soon enough. Don’t be a statistic–get started!

Know What the Competition is Doing

Your competition very likely has a plan for Small Business Saturday. Luckily, it’s getting easier to monitor your competition, thanks to the Internet! Without being creepy or insidious, you can investigate your competition’s marketing strategy for inspiration, and to make sure your deals aren’t out-shined. Be sure to keep it friendly, as competition should be motivating, not destructive!

For cues on your competitors’ 2017 Small Business Saturday and holiday marketing strategy, look at what they did in 2016. Scroll back a year on their social media, blogs, and video content. You can also see the public results of their engagement on social media, and free tools like Google Trends give you insights into what sort of buzz was generated.

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All Hands on Deck

The holiday season can be a staffing nightmare. Some folks take insane amounts of time off, holidays are peppered throughout the end of the year, and winter weather can make getting to work an impossibility. Plan ahead, and be sure to have a plan B, C,  and even a D to make sure your business is staffed and fully prepared for a massive response to your promotions.

If you’re fully prepared for a spike in volume, your happy customers will undoubtedly return next Small Business Saturday, and sooner! If you’re understaffed, understocked, and caught off guard by the holiday season, you’re missing out on some serious opportunities.

Educate and Advocate

Americans love small businesses. In 2012, the Public Affairs Council reported 88% of Americans view small businesses in a positive light, and 68% of Americans would prefer to pay more to help a small business than to save money at a big  box store.

Embrace the love! Thank your customers sincerely for helping a small business thrive, and take some time to educate them on the importance of these businesses for communities. Reinforce the importance of small businesses in the American economy, and that Small Business Saturday is helping to turn the tide against corporate consolidation.

Build Relationships

Part of what sets small businesses apart is the real relationships you develop with your customers. Box stores are populated by policy-constricted flunkies who are indifferent to your existence. Massive online retailers have cold, calculating, and by-the-numbers relationships with customers. Small businesses are more likely to remember your name, ask how the kids are doing, and talk baseball with you. When offering special holiday deals, lean in and really cultivate some relationships.

Even on high-volume days like Small Business Saturday, treat customers like they’re old family friends. Stress often brings out the worst in people, so use all your self-control to stay smiling, even if things get hectic. The holiday season is arguably the most sentimental time of the year, so supplement the lack of sunshine with a surplus of warm and fuzzy feelings.

Now, Time to Hit the Ground Running

Be sure to look at the winter months as an opportunity to grow, and not simply “the slow season.” The rising popularity of Small Business Saturday, paired with the widespread positive attitudes about small businesses in America, gives any business a chance to compete with huge retailers. Hit the ground running this holiday season, and you’ll be sure to defy your own expectations.

Looking for even more tips? Check out the U.S. Small Business Association’s official guide to Small Business Saturday, and the Shop Small website from American Express. If you’re a BizIQ customer, give your account manager a call for some one-on-one guidance on making the most of the holiday season!