Tips to make Small Business Saturday® a success

By Stephen Ball, SVP, Business Banking

Small Business Saturday® can deliver big results. Find out how you can kick off a successful holiday season on November 25.

There’s no doubt about it – small businesses are the linchpin of the U.S. economy. The 28 million small businesses across the country generate 54 percent of all sales according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. While big retailers start the holiday shopping season on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, small retailers have their own kick-off:  Small Business Saturday® on November 25.

The nationwide event is seven years old and has had a considerable impact on small businesses. Last year participating retailers took in $15.4 billion from 112 million shoppers – that’s 13 percent more Small Business Saturday® shoppers than in 2015. And in a year when the National Retail Federation is predicting a 3.6 percent sales increase over last year’s holiday shopping season, it may be time to add new promotional strategies for Small Business Saturday®.

How can you make the most of Small Business Saturday®?  Consider the following tips:

Deals draw customers. Special deals are a time-tested strategy for boosting holiday sales. Whether it’s a discounted price, buy-one-get-one or free products for the first 20 customers, incentives can help to get people in your doors.

Add to your advertising schedule. Many retailers have found it pays to add special marketing and customer communications for Small Business Saturday®.  But where is the best place to spend your promotional dollars? Small business software maker InfusionSoft® surveyed 2,000 Small Business Saturday® participants to determine which medium delivered the best return on their promotion budget. The answer: digital marketing.

SBS marketing strategy

Source: InfusionSoft®

Partner with neighborhood business organizations. The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) reports that close to 40 percent of small businesses have collaborated with other local business to promote Small Business Saturday® and drive business. Not only does this help build connections through organizations such as your Chamber of Commerce, but many associations offer cost-effective advertising and promotion packages.

Dress your windows for success. By promoting Small Business Saturday® on your business’ doors and windows, you invite shoppers in. And, because this is typically a day of high foot traffic in many retail areas, you ensure your message reaches those you may have missed with other promotions.

Do well by doing good. By offering a drop-off bin for food donations on Small Business Saturday®, you can help ensure everyone in the community is well-fed over the holiday season.  You can partner with one or several charitable organizations to give them added visibility and donations, enhance your business’ reputation and build customer loyalty.  Some businesses also give special discounts to shoppers who drop off canned or dried goods.

Have some fun. And treat your customers like guests. Offer holiday treats like cookies or hot cider or cocoa. And, if you can buy refreshments from another neighborhood small business, you can advertise that partnership with in-store signage encouraging customers to stop by other local stores as well.

Small Business Saturday® has become big business – and it keeps on growing.  With some preparation and creativity, including other ideas from the U.S. Small Business Administration, this is one day that could have a big impact on your bottom line.