November is a time for giving thanks, starting holiday preparations, and of course, celebrating small business! That’s right—November 26 is Small Business Saturday. This day provides a great opportunity to promote your business and engage with your target audience. However, if you want to get the most out of this holiday, there’s a lot to consider. This post serves as a guide to help you come up with an effective marketing plan for Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday occurs on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in the US, in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Started by American Express in 2010, the goal of Small Business Saturday was to draw attention to small and local businesses that get eclipsed by big stores during this busy shopping time.
What started off as a small initiative has become a popular American tradition focused on celebrating small businesses—their hard working business owners, their contribution to the economy, and their role in the communities of which they are a part.
People typically think of SBS as something that only retail stores can do, but the truth is, any small business can participate. It may leverage the holiday shopping hype, but its main purpose is to celebrate small business.
While SBS is open to all small businesses, the benefits of SBS will only be felt by the ones who know how to use this day to their advantage. In order to use SBS to strengthen connections with your target audience and market your business, you need a plan.
There are many ways to approach Small Business Saturday with a growth mindset. The only problem is that this makes it easy to get derailed or overwhelmed. Taking on a multitude of activities will lead, at best, to average success in each. Focusing on one activity, on the other hand, will drive results.
Having a core plan in place for SBS will help you to stay on track so that you can actually see tangible results. The elements of a good plan includes a goal, a budget, and an offer; as well as execution, follow up, and review.
The most important element of your Small Business Saturday plan is the goal. Notice the singular use of “goal”. Once again, it’s better to focus all of your efforts on one goal than to distribute your efforts among many. This is a quick holiday!
To come up with your goal, think about what you want to achieve and what message you want to convey. Make sure that your goal for this holiday supports your long term business and marketing goals.
If you are still in the early stages of your business, you can always go simpler. For example,
If you are still unsure of what your goal should be, check out some of these marketing goals examples.
What’s your budget for Small Business Saturday? Even though SBS is a big deal, you don’t want to blow your budget on promotions. Remember that the holidays are around the corner, so you’ll want to create a marketing budget for those promotions as well. Many promotions can be done for free or at a low cost through signage, email, and social media.
Related: Marketing Without a Budget
In order to promote your business on SBS, you’ll need an appealing and satisfying offer. There are many options for the offer you present. For example:
Think about what will be most appealing to your customers, now or further down the road, and what you can afford to offer.
A plan without execution makes your goal useless and your success unattainable. Execution requires a deeper dive into the specific action you will take to achieve your goal, stay within your budget, and present your offer. To come up with the execution element of your plan, walk yourself through the process and ask yourself questions, such as:
When Small Business Saturday comes to a close, you still have one more thing to do: follow up! Make sure your plan includes a way of staying in touch with contacts you made from your marketing activities. You might send an email blast out a week later to your new subscribers with some helpful or relevant information, or simply create a social media post thanking customers for helping you to celebrate the day.
Your SBS marketing plan must include some time set aside to review everything—not just reflecting back on it in your head, but gathering information that can provide objective and actionable insights. This information should come from not just your own assessment, but also employee or customer feedback, and website data and analytics.
Reviewing your plan will allow you to get the most out of your SBS marketing promotion and improve upon future promotions.
Whatever you decide to do to promote your business on Small Business Saturday, make sure that you put a plan in place. You, your business, and your customers will be glad you did!