How to Plan for Small Business Saturday this November
With all the hype and attention that surrounds Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s no wonder that some companies find themselves under-prepared come Small Business Saturday. This singular week in late November tends to be the busiest time of the whole year for retailers. As the shopping holiday gained popularity, American Express created Small Business Saturday in 2010 to help local companies not to be eclipsed by big box stores. American Express set the scene, but it’s up to local business owners to do the work. Follow these 5 steps to help create a killer plan for Small Business Saturday.
Acknowledge Small Businesses
Retailers aren’t the only stores that can capitalize on the holiday season, but so can service-based companies! Although they are often overlooked, service providers can still participate. A great start for both retailers and service providers is making sure to update listings on all local directories and review sites ahead of time, especially Google My Business.
Creating a Plan
Approaching Small Business Saturday with a thought out and a complete plan is the only sure way to keep nerves calm, drive results, and to not feel overwhelmed with tasks. A great marketing plan always includes a clear goal, a realistic budget, and an offer.
- The Goal – The most important aspect of any plan is the goal, for this sets the tone for the entire campaign. To best drive results, make sure that your goal is clear and concise and is, in fact, one singular goal. By setting several small goals, you are dividing your focus and will likely see average results across the board. Additionally, make sure that your goal aligns with your company’s long-term business and marketing goals. A few example goals are achieving higher foot traffic, running your company’s first Instagram or Facebook giveaway, generating more leads, or have a company hashtag trend on social media.
- The Budget – Although Small Business Saturday highlights local vendors, it’s not smart to blow your budget promoting for this one day. You’ll want to ensure that you’re stretching your budget throughout the entire holiday season. Cost-effective to free ways of marketing include signage, emails, and social media.
- The Offer – To best promote your business this weekend, you will need an appealing and satisfying offer. When deciding what to promote, try to get into the mindset of your customers. What is most valuable to the buyer? What is something that your store can promote that no one else can? A few examples of effective offers include gifts for purchases made that day, door raffles, and 50% off your service if you refer a friend during the week of Small Business Saturday.
Even the best of plans will fall flat without proper execution. Good intentions can’t deliver results and success on their own. Execution requires a deeper dive into specific actions to reach a goal. To discover your execution process, think through the following format.
- Who – Who are you targeting? Are you looking for new customers or to better engage with your existing customer base? What will be the mindset of your customers when they encounter your promotions?
- What – What materials will you need? Gift packages? Raffle tickets? Sign-up sheets? Graphics for social media and/or any new signage?
- When – When does each step need to be completed? When will you experience peak traffic?
- Where – Where will this take place? Will it be at your store, an online promotion, a community center event? Make sure that all equipment is updated and working properly.
- How – How will you be promoting these offers? How long will it take to do each step and who will be completing what? How will you measure results?
As Small Business Saturday fades into Cyber Monday, your job is not over, and neither should be your plan. Make sure that your plan includes a way to stay in touch with your customers. Maybe it’s through blog subscribers, a social media post, an email blast, or maybe a combination of the three, regardless, a follow-up is a key aspect to a solid marketing plan.
Take a deep breath, you’ve survived Small Business Saturday. Now that you have created and executed a great marketing plan, it’s time to reflect and see how you did. Gather all information possible to create objective and actionable insights. This includes your own assessment, employee and customer feedback, website and social media data and analytics, and sales reports. In your review, ask questions such as:
- Did you achieve your goal?
- Did you stick to your pan and execution strategy?
- Did you stay within your budget?
- What could have gone better? Was this planned for?
- What worked and what didn’t?
- How do you think it could have been better?
Reviewing your process is one of the most important steps in any marketing plan. This helps to frame all aspects of any future plans for your business.
Underneath all of the planning and stressing that surrounds the holiday shopping kick-off weekend, Small Business Saturday is about acknowledging the importance of local commerce. Local and small businesses are what make communities unique. Don’t get so caught up in the planning that you don’t take the time to connect with those who come in and out of your sore. A genuine thank you and a handshake can go a long way in making your customers feel appreciated.
By: Miranda Hardesty Hoffpauir