The holiday season is fast approaching, and big retailers are already making plans for their Black Friday sales and events. Small business owners might not think they should participate in this significant shopping day. However, Black Friday kicks off a four-day weekend of shopping experiences that customers love. It’s followed by Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, and when combined, they can put small businesses in the black. Here are five ways that every small business can participate and succeed this year.
Be Community Minded
More prominent retailers have the luxury of a large advertising budget, and they allocate a great deal of it to the holiday season. Small businesses work with limited funds, and it can be downright impossible to compete head-to-head with them. Rather than standing alone, it’s beneficial to partner with other small businesses in the area. A community event, like a downtown sidewalk sale, scavenger hunt, art walk, live music, food, or other attraction draws people into local businesses.
Create a Unique In-Store Event
It’s difficult to compete with the sales that big-box retailers can offer, and frankly, it’s a waste of a small business’s time to try. That’s not to say they shouldn’t offer some great deals, discounts, and sales; it’s just not wise to make that the main attraction. It’s better to find a unique way to grab people’s attention and get them in the store. A retailer that sells women’s clothes, for example, might put on a fashion show featuring their best items using local ladies to be models, after all, they’re the target audience. Providing some beverages, snacks and comfortable seating and the sales will roll in.
Free Samples and Trial Offers
Everybody loves to get something for free, and Black Friday is a great time to give a little. Owners of a restaurant, yogurt shop, or coffee shop, can give away a free drink, appetizer, or dessert with any purchase. A service business should consider a trial offer, to show customers what they can do, at a discount of course. Another great idea is to offer a buy-one-get-one offer. For example, pay for a manicure, and a friend gets one for free. Customers will remember the business’s generosity long after the holidays are over.
Promote Yourself Shamelessly
The key to getting the attention a small business deserves is shameless self-promotion. One great way to do this is through social media. It’s a great place to hype up holiday events, sales, products and tout the exceptional customer service offered. Photos and videos help to ramp up interest and show off a small business’s accomplishments. A company should also encourage others to submit photos and reviews of their products. In the weeks leading up to the big event, it’s also a good idea to include a leaflet or flyer in every customer’s bag reminding them of important upcoming events.
Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday
American Express started Small Business Saturday back in 2010, and it’s been a smashing success. They provide a myriad of free marketing materials, aimed at helping small organizations with their branding. Every small business should take advantage of these free resources. They shouldn’t discount Cyber Monday either. Businesses that have an e-commerce website should consider following along with the bigger companies by slashing prices, offering free shipping, or other promotions. Those that don’t do e-commerce can still use social media and email to send out coupons, special offers, and reminders of their products, services, sales, and events.
This holiday season, small businesses don’t have to play second fiddle to the big retailers. They can capitalize on the shopping frenzy, and put some extra cash in their coffers by following the five tips mentioned above. It’s important not to wait until it’s too late though. Now is the time to start brainstorming ideas about how to make this season one to remember. Employees, customers, fellow small business owners, and local leaders are excellent sources for ideas on how to attract more business during the competitive season. By banding together and focusing on the local market, small businesses will not only see sales rise during the holidays, but they’ll also see an increase in overall sales throughout the year.