The day after Black Friday is Small Business Saturday. There are many ways you can get involved in this event that promotes buying from small businesses. Here are a few ways you can make the most of this time for your business even if you have very little time to prepare.
1. Be open. You can’t take part if you’re closed. In fact, you may consider extending your hours for that day or for the entire weekend. However, if you do, you need to market this on social media and your website.
2. Contact your local chamber. Find out how they’re celebrating and how you can be a part of it.
3. Bring your store outside. If the climate and space allow, consider bringing a rack or some other showing of your business out to the sidewalk to draw people in. If you do, have a sales associate there with a portable payment option for frictionless transactions.
4. Create specials for that day and post them to social media. Or tell people to watch your social media postings for exclusive flash sales.
5. Host contests or special drawings to build the fun.
6. Send out a special evite to your email list about Small Business Saturday.
7. Tell your business story on social media or on your blog.
8. Update your website with Small Business Saturday occurrences, specials, contests, etc.
9. Invite a band or DJ to your business to create a special atmosphere.
10. Giveaway fun swag for the first several patrons.
11. Offer samples of your products.
12. Serve delicious food.
13. Place a few cinnamon sticks in a warmer to add a delicious smell to your business.
14. Download materials from American Express, the organizers of Small Business Saturday. You can print images, watch how-to videos, and more on their site.
15. Call all hands on deck. Increase your employee coverage so that you can provide very personalized service. If someone is stopping by for the first time, you want to ensure they leave talking about you in a good way.
16. Give a “friends and family” discount to everyone to start the holiday off right.
17. Don’t base your marketing strategy on Box stores. It’s easy for a multi-million-dollar company to take a loss on a few TVs to get people in the door but you don’t want to do that. Instead, play up what makes you different (more knowledgeable staff, excellent service, etc.).
18. Give how-to demonstrations or show people how to use your products or services in a new way such as a DIY craft or food prep.
19. Form partnerships with other merchants. This can be really effective when you offer packages and referrals. A gym might work with a nutritionist to create a “wellness during the holidays” package or a nail salon might have a special offer with the local hair place. Even if you decide not to create a package of two business services, you can help one another through referrals.
20. Invite a costumed character to entertain the kids.
21. Give away something for free to the kids like a small snack or drink or host a craft table. It will keep them from getting fussy and give their parents more time at your business.
22. Invite a balloon artist or some other entertainment that will keep people in your store longer.
23. Set up a local celebrity sighting. If you own a bookstore, arrange for a book signing of a local author. If you own a spice shop, invite a local chef to come in and talk about using spice in holiday dishes. Make sure your local celebrity helps out with publicity by asking them to share your posts in their social media profiles.
24. See who else is celebrating. Search “Small Business Saturday” in your community to see who else is advertising their participation. In addition to the chamber, there may be other groups who can help you get the word out. Piggyback onto their celebration. When the water rises, it lifts all boats.
25. Do unto others. Just as you might look to get involved with others who are celebrating, make sure you are a good neighbor and retweet and share their Small Business Saturday posts and offerings.
Finally, a bonus tip: create something amazing that people will want to photograph themselves in front of. This can be a giant chair or a beautiful backdrop. Use your imagination. Then post a hashtag poster nearby so you’ll be sure to see what they share.
Even though Small Business Saturday is right around the corner, there’s still time to participate. Show your interest and help others find you through marketing and social media.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and WritersWeekly. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
Christina is an introverted writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.
25 Ways to Incorporate Halloween in Your Business at the Last Minute
Halloween’s almost here and that marks that time of year when every time you blink there’s another holiday right around the corner. It can be exhausting but also a fantastic time to reach out to existing customers and get new ones. Holiday marketing is fun and helps people get to know you better.
But if you’re looking at the calendar, you’re probably thinking you’ve missed your opportunity for Halloween. Not so. Here are 25 things you can do to make the most of Halloween at the last minute.
Procrastinators prepare! We’ve got you covered.
First, let’s start with thirteen easy social media post ideas and then we’ll cover 12 more marketing and fun activities to do at the last minute.
Social Media Post Ideas
Additional Halloween Business Marketing and Fun Ideas
If your business is seasonal, it probably feels a lot like feast or famine. You may love your seasonal crowds but hate the fear you won’t last long enough to see your next one. Seasonal businesses or businesses in towns with a seasonal draw struggle with year-round consistent revenue. While you might not ever achieve revenue equality throughout every month, a chamber membership can help you see a little steadier monthly income. Here’s how:
1. A Chamber Is Often the First Place Visitors StopMany visitors are conditioned to stop in at the chamber or the visitor’s bureau for information. While a chamber may answer questions about all businesses, it gives preference to its members. Being a chamber member can cause you to make the short list when the chamber staff are asked to give recommendations.
2. They Host Cash MobsChambers often host cash mobs for members. A cash mob is an event where the chamber invites people to visit a business on a pre-arranged day. Those patrons agree to spend a set amount of money (or more) at the business. Sometimes the event takes the shape of a lunch mob for a restaurant.
The chamber always informs the business ahead of time and some business owner choose to offer specials for the mob. They’re a lot of fun, particularly when the location is kept secret until a few days or even hours before the event. It’s a terrific way to get people to try a business or to help a business that is struggling in the off season.
3. They Provide Learning OpportunitiesIf you can’t balance out the monthly revenue, you can use your quieter times for additional learning that will improve your business. One of the first places you should look is your local chamber. They provide inexpensive (and sometimes free) learning for members on topics of interest, anything from social media to email marketing.
Learning more about these things can help you balance out your sales by bringing in more customers or expanding outside of your area. A ski town business may not make much in sales in May but if they can sell their products outside of the town through the Internet and digital marketing, they can flatten out those dips in revenue.
4. The Chamber Markets Year-RoundThe chamber is working to bring tourists to your area and improve the economy year-round not just in your high seasons. They are often assisting local businesses to find new angles to approach shoppers and visitors. Being a member of the chamber not only gets you referrals and featured in their business directories and lists but it also gives you a say in the direction they are taking. Your business voice can be heard as a member of the chamber.
5. They Attract IndustryChambers also work hard with economic development partners to bring large businesses to town. This means more jobs and skilled labor. Both things could equate to more business for you during the off season. When the number of inhabitants of your town increases, the number of potential customers for your business does too.
It can be difficult to make it through the slow seasons if you’re a seasonal business or a town with a busy season. Joining the chamber can provide you with many opportunities to help level out those revenue valleys. A chamber membership is a small price to pay to know it will help your business make it through another season.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.