Halloween is over and we’ve officially cut the ribbon on the start of the 2016 Holiday Shopping Season. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be talking about things you can do to help your handmade business reach new heights, starting with a primer on two of the hottest days for online sellers: Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
American Express created Small Business Saturday in 2010 as a marketing campaign for their smaller merchants. A year later, The United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution of support for Small Business Saturday. Shortly after, state and local governments in all 50 states joined in and now more than 95 million shoppers are showing their support for small businesses on this special day.
This year, Small Business Saturday falls on November 26. That’s the day after Black Friday, which is so appropriate. After shoppers are done scouring the major chains for deals, they can turn their attention to the mom and pop shops in their area.
If you have your own brick and mortar store or a booth in marketplace, this day was made for you. But there are also plenty of ways online only shops can take advantage of this highly publicized event.
Tell the World You’re Small
The first thing you want to do (when you’re done reading this blog post, of course) is head over to the Small Business Saturday website. This year, American Express has a special treat for you – free, customizable marketing materials with your store name, location and what you sell.
In under a minute, you can create and download a collection of social media post graphics, Facebook headers, email templates and printable posters. It’s everything you need to tell the world that you’ll be participating in this year’s event. Once you have your graphics, start using them right away because Nov 26 is coming up fast.
Give Customers a Reason to Shop
In a recent survey, 83% of shoppers said Small Business Saturday inspires them to shop small. That means they’re actively looking for stores like yours, but you still need to give them a reason to choose you over the next small biz.
Discounts are the obvious go-to, but there’s no way you can compete with the chain store Black Friday deals and still make a profit. Instead, go for something a bit more creative like 1-day only gift bundles, a free gift with purchase or handmade gift wrap. Everyone loves to save money, but you’d be surprised how much more people are willing to pay for personalized service.
Celebrate the Day
If you have a physical location, make plans to party on Small Business Saturday. Decorate your store with balloons and streamers in the SBS blue and white color scheme. Offer free holiday cookies and coffee. Get shoppers involved (and staying longer) with DIY stations, craft classes, demos or games.
For maximum impact, combine forces with other small business owners in your area. Give shoppers a SBS map with a prize for customers who get a sticker at each store on the trail. Hire a DJ and throw a block party. Mix your products with theirs for a spectacular fashion show or QVC style gift guide.
If you’re online only, you can still team up with other online sellers to create a virtual treasure hunt or party.
Start Now for Success Later
November is a busy month for everyone; holiday meal prep, traveling, parties, gift buying, wrapping and exchanging. Add in the cold weather and the shorter days and it can feel like there aren’t enough hours to handle business as usual, let alone plan a special event. But if you can set aside a few hours a week to setup, plan and grow your business, you’ll be on your way toward making this your most profitable year to date.
Now that you’re done reading, click this link to download your personalized Small Business Saturday marketing materials and start spreading the good word.