Black Friday might be retail's key event of the year, but the following day is a wonderful way for consumers to celebrate (and support) smaller stores and boutiques. And for owners, Small Business Saturday (SBS) is a great opportunity to promote special deals, discounts, and limited-availability services that can draw attention from new customers and give you a late-year revenue boost.
Here's how to plan for a successful SBS that will send you racing into the new year with sales momentum and fresh ideas.
SBS doesn't have the same universal name recognition as Black Friday, so not everyone knows it's coming. Tell your customers that you'll be participating in SBS, and why, at least a few days in advance. Post it on your website, hand out flyers, even create a Facebook event that will help remind people.
Successful promotions need great follow-through, so keep your head above water by blocking off enough time in the weeks immediately after SBS to handle any new work you book. If you unveil new services or launch an SBS offer in partnership with another small business, you'll need to build in generous estimates of how long your extra projects will take to complete.
More aggressive offers and more popular mainstream services will give you higher conversion rates on your SBS promotions. Along with considering your profitability and how deeply you're willing to discount in order to attract new customers, you should think about how a high conversion rate will affect your ability to deliver.
Consider setting some of your SBS offers to a limited quantity or a fixed number of customers per hour. And to manage your own workflow, decide in advance if you will finish SBS projects on a first-come, first-serve basis or if you will base it on the size of the project or other factors.
Retail stores routinely staff up specifically to handle Black Friday and the ensuing holiday crush. You don't want to get trapped having to adjust delivery times or negotiating for concessions with customers who already got an unbeatable deal on your work. Consider hiring at least a temporary virtual assistant to help you stay organized and to stick with your plan.
SBS traffic will showcase your business and your professional strength to a whole new audience. Use the opportunity to comb through your gig descriptions and any other e-commerce presence so that your messages are clear, your expertise is accurately and thoroughly documented, and your customers can easily find your most compelling offers. Better yet, get a colleague involved. Partner up with another SBS seller and take a look at each other's site using the critical eye of a skeptical new customer.
Small Business Saturday is a celebration of plucky small businesses driven by passion and talent. People are inspired by makers, entrepreneurs, and doers who are passionate and dedicated to their work. Take this opportunity to share your personal story on your site and blog.
Look back at why you started your business and how it has evolved, or talk about what you hope to accomplish by the next Small Business Saturday. A good, honest, and heartfelt story about why you work the way you work can earn far more loyalty from customers than a deep discount.
Have you had success with Small Business Saturday promotions in the past? Tell us about it in the comments below—and don't forget to #ShopSmall on 11/25!