Small Business Saturday is an interesting phenomenon. American Express launched the idea back in 2010 to encourage shoppers to patronize small, local businesses. The campaign struck a chord with the American public; participation has grown every year. Last year, consumers spent 5.7 billion.
This is obviously great news for the small business owner. A significant portion of the community values small businesses and what they add to the community!
But there’s bad news too, and it’s that we don’t see these sales spikes occurring periodically throughout the year. Sometimes it’s really hard for a business to make it from this Small Business Saturday to the next. Where’s the disconnect? What can small business owners do to get their once-a-year shoppers through the door more frequently?
The small businesses that are the most successful put a tremendous amount of time and energy into cultivating the relationships they have with their existing customer base. They use multiple communication channels – online, social media, print, television, radio and the in-store experience – to let their customers know they’re valued and important. Cheerful, regular communication is an essential component in increasing return traffic.
The other essential component in generating customer traffic is the sense that patronizing a small business is an event. The best brands put the spotlight on what makes them unique and special. In a world where all the Wal-Marts look pretty much the same, the shop that’s one of a kind stands out. Centering messaging on the idea that shopping with you is special and exciting will help boost customer interest. Well-designed and promoted events add to that sense of excitement. Think through what type of events you can run in order to give people a reason to shop with you. This list can include holidays, sales events, seasonal celebrations and more.
Finally, Small Business Saturday is successful in part because it taps into people’s feeling that they should support small businesses. It makes them feel good to do something that’s recognized as helping the community. We can keep that recognition going on all year long, with reminders of why shopping local matters. That doesn’t have to be your sole or even primary marketing message, but the fact you’re a small, local business should be part of your year-round messaging. It’ll help keep your community minded customers coming back.
If you need help maximizing your Small Business appeal throughout the year, give us a call. We’re here to help, with smart, budget friendly digital marketing plans designed to make your business grow!