On November 17, the Small Business Association (SBA.gov) hosted a tweet chat focusing on the approaching holiday season and more specifically, on small business Saturday. We gleaned 41 tips, (yes, 41!) from the best collective answers to these 8 questions asked by the SBA.
In case you’ve never had the pleasure of attending a tweet chat, let me start by telling you that you’re missing out. A tweet chat or twitter chat is a live event focused around a specific topic. To filter the topic into a single conversation a hashtag is used. For this chat, SBA used
#SmallBizHoliday. Tweet chats are tons of fun, plus they are super informative and can boost your business.
41 Tips for Small Business Saturday
1. Holiday shopping season is upon us. What should business owners do to prepare?
- Make sure your small business listing is up to date with holiday hours and holiday photos.
- In your brick and mortar, put up holiday signs.
- Business USA suggests “pairing products to make it easier for customers to purchase.” Be a merchandising magician this season!
- Ensure that both your regular and mobile sites are ready to handle the influx of traffic that comes with the holiday season.
- Send out a holiday-themed company photo for an extra promotional push and to stay at the forefront of customer’s minds.
- Tweet, Facebook, Pin or ‘Gram gift ideas. Ask followers about their plans, ideas, or traditions. Start a conversation with your customers!
2. What should small businesses know about shoppers this year?
- Shoppers are more reliant than ever on mobile. It’s imperative that your website is mobile friendly!
- Mobile affects more than your website. Over 50% of emails and newsletters will be opened on a mobile device! Design with a mobile mindset.
- AT&T Small Business reminds us that “78 million+ US consumers will shop solely on their smartphones this year!” Be ready.
- Focus your holiday efforts on what your demographic wants.
- Feature products and services that set you apart–shoppers want unique.
- Shoppers rely heavily on social media for buying tips and ideas. Engage with them on all social platforms.
- Shoppers want convenience: keep your website, blog, and social media updated and in sync.
3. What are some innovative marketing and sales tips/trends for small businesses this holiday?
- Offer free shipping! This will give you an instant edge over your competition.
- Build community with local media and other small businesses and cross-promote.
- Be available online and offline. Ensure that your information is current, easy to find, and be available to answer questions.
- Twitter Small Business advises remarketing this year to consumers who are more likely to buy from you.
- Gratitude goes a long way! Send out a holiday card to past customers.
- Use the Pulse platform on LinkedIn to share valuable insights. You are an authority in your business.
- Create hashtags for online marketing to encourage social sharing.
- In many ways, holiday shopping is just as much about the experience as it is about the retail. Make the experience fun. Make it personal.
4. How much should a small business invest in marketing for the holiday season?
- There isn’t a “one size fits all” to this question. The actual percentage spent depends largely upon how much holiday sales are a part of your annual revenue.
- Use free resources such as Instagram and Pinterest to increase brand recognition.
- Invest in accessibility. Consider offering free wifi to your shoppers.
5. How can non-retail businesses take advantage of small business Saturday and the holidays?
- Offer gift cards for services at a later date.
- Google Small Biz suggests capitalizing on trending topics to see what people are searching for.
- Support a cause in your community. Lead a volunteer day or activity.
- Partner with a retail shop to cross-promote and offer a package special for the holidays.
- Use text message marketing to alert customers of upcoming events throughout the holiday months.
- Who says retail has more fun? Host a holiday-themed customer appreciation event.
- Shift your focus to reflection as the new year approaches and use the time to recap the year. Outline big wins and send customers a note to thank them for their support.
6. Small business Saturday is November 28. What should small businesses owners know or do?
- Keep it simple and use the tools at your fingertips, like the official hashtags on social media (#SmallBizSat, #SmallBusinessSaturday, #ShopSmall) for SBS.
- AMEX Open urges small business owners to be as active as possible in #SmallBizSat. Doing so will help build community with other local business while simultaneously encouraging customers to participate.
- Stand out! Showcase your businesses’ unique products and services.
- Promoting goes far! Promote your brand and offer special deals or incentives to get local customers in the door. Build the buzz!
- Don’t forget the importance of signage! Bring local customers in with visible, external signs that highlight #SmallBizSat.
- Extend the event! Small business Saturday? How about #SmallBusinessMonth? This will allow you to stay engaged throughout the entire holiday season! Lead up to it with loads of hype and have an epic follow-up.
7. Where can small businesses get resources?
- Local SBDC’s are excellent sources of help and information.
- Build a community and tap into the network of other local business owners.
- Here in West Texas, take a look at Texas Unchained! There’s no better resource!
- Find a local agency to manage your social media and give you a consistent voice and allows you to focus solely on customer service. Look for a company with a team approach who will leverage your own efforts while building your online marketing.
- 8 Social Media Tips
- 2015 Holiday Shipping Deadlines
- 28 Ideas for Holiday Email Marketing
- 9 Holiday Marketing Ideas and Templates
- Advertising on Twitter During the Holidays
- 5 Ideas for Hosting a Knockout Customer Event this Holiday Season
- 25 Twitter Do’s and Don’ts for Businesses
2016 is upon us! Make it your year! Small business, big results!