Digital Media Marketing | 11.19.13
The Saturday after Thanksgiving is the day when millions of U.S. consumers pour into small businesses all over the country to “shop small” and support the local community – it’s called Small Business Saturday! And now in its fourth year, Small Business Saturday (which is November 30, 2013 this year) has become a well-established annual tradition for many small businesses to attract new customers and secure new marketing opportunities. Whether you’re all set for the big day or need some extra help preparing, we built out the marketing action plan for the small business owner to find the most success from this momentous event.
1. (Most Important) Understand the Customer
The key to having a successful Small Business Saturday event is to understand the buyers who will be shopping with you. Find out why customers are buying local. Larger brands can typically offer a better price, but local businesses can counter that with personalized products and services, exclusivity, community support, and convenience. Find what your business can offer to a customer that a big-time retailer cannot and be sure to show it off!
2. Create a Savvy Social Media Plan
The great thing about social media is that it’s the most immediate type of marketing you can do. Begin composing social media messages now to share in the days leading up to the event and the day of. Here are some things to try:
- Teases and countdowns leading up to your own Small Business Saturday specials help create a sense of urgency and exclusivity.
- Pinterest is a great place upload images or products that are going on sale in your store online or offline.
- Start pinning images that you want to feature or offer on Nov. 30.
- Create lists such as, “top gift lists” or “best co-worker gifts” that target customers looking for particular types of gifts or product categories.
- Feel free to post valuable content from eBooks, blog posts, and video marketing that helps direct users to your website and your other digital properties.
- Facebook and Twitter are going to be your best friends the day of the event, when many customers will be out and about with their mobile phones.
- Don’t forget to post updates about your store activity and promotions the day of, in real-time, to pull in the last rounds of customers into your store.
- Be sure to include hashtags to increase your visibility (hashtags can now be indexed in Twitter and Facebook). Event hashtags to include are: #smallbizsat #shopsmall and Twitter handle @ShopSmall. Twitter offers a free educational tool kit with tips for the big day.
- Go ahead and replace your cover photo on Facebook with upcoming promotions and deals, contact information, or a details about a contest. You’ll find the most success with a contest on Facebook. Hold a photo contest where users vote for their favorite or have them share a post to win a drawing for a giftcard.
- Facebook Advertising
- If you have a budget for it, try out Facebook advertising, which can help your posts find mega visibility and reach. Just create a post centered around the event and include a promotion and image and you’re set to capture audiences. Be sure to target promoted posts to your specific location and specific audiences who are interested in your particular product categories.
3. Craft the Perfect Email Marketing Plan
Emails are a great way to reach users who aren’t interested in your social media initiatives. Craft emails that coincide with your brand, specials, participation in Small Business Saturday, and support with the local community.
- Email Tease Campaigns
- Tease campaigns typically work really well. Send an email a week away from Small Business Saturday and a couple of days right before the event to show-off promotions.
- Or, set up an email campaign for the week of the event and unveil a special promotion each day of the big week.
- Create a sense of exclusivity by having customers click through the email to a page on your website to collect their email to send them “reminder” or “reveal” follow-up emails.
- Collect Email Subscribers
- To collect contact information, use the old pen-and-paper or try QR codes, which you place on in-store displays and banners that can lead customers to a landing page with a contact form.
- TIP: Small Business Saturday will be the ultimate event to collect new email subscribers, just be sure to place Small Business Saturday shoppers in a separate list so you can follow-up later. Creating personalized welcome emails are always a plus and make an impression for new customers.
4. Promote, Display, Share
If you’re a brick and mortar store, print out fliers and posters (like this) and hang them or pass them out in your local community. If you’re an online store, utilize the power of social media and create a specialty page on your website just for the event.
- Small Businesses can use this online tool by American Express to print out branded digital marketing and social media materials and order a free doormat and shopping bags.
- Remember to include QR codes in banners and other in-store promotional materials to help you collect new contacts.
- Encourage partners, employees, and team members to share information online and offline. This will help increase your visibility and establish you as part of the local community.
The key is to make marketing materials memorable. Marketing materials should help communicate the cause and encourage your community to take action. Make the store approachable and festive with free cookies and coffee, bright balloons and banners, and music. It’s the start of the holiday shopping season, after all!
5. Remember to Follow-Up
Finally, remember to follow-up with customers from the event with a thank you email. Thank them for supporting Saturday’s efforts and your business and even include an additional deal for a later weekend, if desired. This will help create a lasting impression and extra brand recognition. Additionally it’ll encourage them to become lasting customers and brand enthusiasts.