I love the holidays. I love small business. But before Small Business Saturday was created in 2010, there wasn't a whole lot of overlap between the two. For much of the country, holiday shopping began and ended with a trip to the mall. Now, many consumers already have it on their minds to make it a point to shop small. Luckily for you, that can mean big numbers for your business.
As long as we have a national month of mandated shopping in this country, we might as well take advantage as small businesses. Whether you have a product, a service, or a combination of the two, you can acquire more customers in the next 30 days than the other months combined. Keeping them after the Christmas spirit has worn away is up to you, but if your company has what it takes to succeed, the gift-giving holidays could be just what you need to take off.
Cash in on the "Big Four."
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday all loom large for shoppers. Whether all of them fit your business, or it only makes sense to take advantage of one or two, do everything you can to get the word out. Through newsletters and on your website, make sure to let customers know that you are preparing to offer great deals. Then actually follow through.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average shopper expects to spend more than $1,000 apiece during the holidays. That means that there are lots of customers eager to hand you their money. All you have to do is stand out from the competition.
For example, The Balance says that the most common in-store discount for Black Friday week is 20 percent. Can you afford to go a little deeper? If not, think of great ways to bundle products, create unique limited-editions, and anything else you can do to make shoppers come to you instead of your competitors.
It's a social media best practice to use hashtags to get new eyes on your posts, but it's especially important at this time of year. For the days we already discussed, don't miss #BlackFriday, #BlackFridaySale, #BlackFridayShopping, #CyberMonday, #ShopSmall and so on. Using the right hashtags could get you noticed by people who didn't even know they were looking for what you're selling.
Beyond the basics, it can be harder to know which hashtags will help most, so it's important to do some research. Come up with ones that you think fit your brand and check on Twitter or Instagram if they're popular enough to make it worth including.
Just don't overdo it. You don't want to clutter your posts.
Make It Easy for Customers
This can be a busy and overwhelming time for customers. Stand out by making purchases simple in thought and action. Get emails out ahead of time to let them know what discounts and products they can expect. Also, think through what motivates them as a consumer -- rely on that for your messaging and outreach.
There is nothing consumers love more than being highlighted. This might be a great time for customer testimonials. If you share some kind words from your customers, they'll want their networks to know that they're being featured, which is its own built-in marketing campaign. There's no better way to cut through the excess of information being thrown in your customers' way than making them feel like they're a part of your movement.
Make a Donation
It's great to let shoppers know what your company values are by making a donation to a favorite charity on #GivingTuesday.
And there are other business-focused reasons to give money to a foundation you care about. That act of support could help create a partnership that could be good for both of you. If you publicize in your social media, newsletter, or on your website, you could get other potential donors interested in a cause that matters. Even sweeter? Your charity of choice could do the same for your business in exchange, winning you new customers.
I say it's time to jingle all the way to the bank. I know it could be perceived as cynical to put a price tag on season that's supposed to be about togetherness and good cheer, but really, what could make you more cheerful than a successful business? Just ensure you are giving and marketing with authenticity to a group that makes sense to you or your business.
As long as people are buying what you're selling, the truth is, you're making people happy. And that's a gift that keeps on giving.