In the spirit of the holidays and community, small business owners across the country are joining together on Small Business Saturday to encourage consumers to shop locally and benefit their own communities and neighborhoods. Sponsored and promoted each year by American Express, the “Shop Small” movement focuses on that special Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday to highlight the brighter side of holiday shopping.
In 2014, its fifth year, Small Business Saturday had 88 million consumers shopping locally, up 14.9% from the previous year, according to the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express. This one day dedicated to a single Saturday in November has become quite a big deal with over 65% of the US Population aware of Small Business Saturday and a reported $14.3 billion spent.
4 Tips Get the Most Out of Small Business Saturday
Sign Up at ShopSmall.com
At ShopSmall.com you’ll find a wealth of marketing materials, provided to you for free. Merchants who accept American Express as payment were able to register for promoted listings and year-round free online ads if they registered by Nov 16th, but every small business still has until November 26 to get free marketing materials and a free listing on ShopSmall.com where shoppers can go to search for businesses in their local area to shop with.
Get logos for your website, printable signage, event guides and even email templates to promote your business. With the help of Eventbrite you will also find event ideas, complete with guides, instructions, signage and social media post.
Be Easy to Find and Contact
When customers are doing an online search for local business, search engines are looking for the most relevant and accurate information. Both searchers and search engines rely on business listings to find the correct name, address and phone number (NAP), and both quickly disregard incomplete or inconsistent listings.
You want customers to easily find you on Small Business Saturday (and the other 364 days of the year) so it’s essential that your business name, physical address, and phone number are consistent and present on the dozens of directories and websites that feed search engines local information. It can be a time consuming task to take on – creating, checking and correcting your business listings – but not impossible and very necessary. A more efficient way to ensure you are being found with correct information that puts you higher in search results is to use cost-efficient Business Listing Management service that for a nominal fee does it all three for you.
If you don’t know where your business is listed online or if your listing is complete and accurate be sure to use the What’s Your Local Score? Tool at the end of this post. Enter your business name and zip code and you will receive a report that provides you with a visibility rating, a reputation rating and an overall score. The report also includes the breakdown of scans for reviews on over 20 sites and scans of the top 20 directory sites for your business and niche and a report of any discrepancies or errors.
Get Talking (and Promoting) on Social Media
You’ve signed up with ShopSmall.com so you’ve got a starter package to jump right into the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. The #SmallBizSaturday and #ShopSmall hashtags trends high over the next 10 days to use that short window to use the suggested social media posts and use the logo and images like profile pics and cover photos to easily customize visuals that entice your customers and prospects to come spend some time and money with you on November 28th.
Follow ShopSmall on your favorite social media networks and watch these hashtags to get inspired by what other small businesses are posting:
Support and Partner Up with Other Small Businesses
This is one of those great opportunities to lead by example and buy from small businesses in your community, but get some of your shopping in before Small Business Saturday. Shopping local is a great opportunity for you to meet your future partners in Small Business Saturday promotion. Just like you, most small businesses are lacking a huge marketing budget to accommodate extra expenses but if you work together you can create local marketing push that really gets you noticed.
It’s a little late in the game to start a committee, but still plenty of time for some cross-promotion, shared marketing, and good old fashioned community spirit. It can be as simple as walking your neighborhood and taking photos of items or deals you can’t wait to buy at other shops and posting them on your social media accounts the week leading up to Small Business Saturday and encouraging those establishments to do the same.
Customers want to see great deals and community-minded discounts from their local business – both old favorites and been-meaning-to-try merchants. Entice your community to shop in their neighborhood and once you’ve got them in the door make sure you make it fun and reward their support with top-notch customer service and something they can take away that makes them want to come back.
What’s Your Local Score?
Enter any business name and zip code and see how you show up on directories.
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