20 Hooks for Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving. If your small business is something that would benefit from partaking in Small Business Saturday, you want to do so to your full potential. So, what are your plans to make it a successful day?

This year, more than ever, you need a hook and you need to plan to promote that hook. If you haven’t created any sort of ecommerce site for your business. NOW is the time. If you don’t plan to sell any of your product online, then by all means, create a hook. So, what is a hook? Well, let’s talk a little bit about that word. When you think of a hook you think of the hook on the end of a fishing line where the bait is placed on and when a fish grabs the bait. They are caught and drawn in. Ok, we aren’t fish but the same concept can be used to draw people into your business.

One of my favorite stories of a fun hook that was used for holiday shopping was our own gift shop in Shartlesville, Pennsylvania called Choice Critters and Crafts. We had a store filled with Boyds Bears, Willow Tree Figurines, and Jim Shore Collectibles along with all sorts of unique gift items and candles. At that time, there was no such thing as Small Business Saturday, so we created our hook around Black Friday. We called, “It Pays to be Late Black Friday”. We knew that most of our clients would go out early in the morning to shop at the malls for the Black Friday deals so we didn’t compete with them at all. Instead, we went shopping ourselves in the morning and then would come back to the store, turn on all the beautiful Christmas Lights, and open the doors of the store at 6 p.m. and were open until midnight. Every hour we would have more special and more savings the later it got. By 11p.m. our store was filled with shoppers taking advantage of deals of up to 50%, 60% and 75% off. It was successful and fun. People looked forward to it every year. We’d be there until 12:30 a.m. because people were enjoying the event.

It was our fun hook.

What are you going to do to make Small Business Saturday successful this year? Let’s discuss a few fun ideas for you.

General Small Business Saturday Ideas

Idea #1: Plan to send out a Thanksgiving card to your best customers, either virtual or physical. Maybe include in the card a coupon of some sort that has a code on it. They have to come into the store to find out what the % off will be.

Idea #2: Maybe have a scavenger hunt. Describe items in the store but leave some of the details out of the description. Have them come into the store to find the item and when they do, they receive a % off the item.

Idea #3: Create a postcard with coupons for Small Business Saturday and send it out through every door direct mail, along with your mailing list.

Idea #4: If you’re part of a local merchant’s group and chambers, create a Small Business Saturday event and combine your efforts for marketing the event. I know in our town of Hamburg; our merchants do that and it has always been successful.

Idea #5: Create a unique shopping experience like the one suggested above. It doesn’t need to be Black Friday to do a Pays to Shop Late.

Social Media Ideas

Idea #6: Facebook Events. Whether you are having it that individuals can come shop in your store or you are doing an online shopping event, create a Facebook Event. Create a Facebook Shop on your Facebook page, too.

Idea #7: Online Coupon Bonanza. Remember that postcard with coupons we mentioned earlier? Utilize that by turning it into a photo for you to share on your social media accounts.

Idea #8: Get your website ready! How does your website look? Is it ready for the big day? Make sure it is up-to-date and everything is working before you start sending customers to shop online.

Idea #9: Prepare your posts for the holidays, have a theme to them like Advent has themes for each week to prepare for Christmas. Have a theme beginning as early as the first week in November to lead up to Small Business Saturday. You can take advantage of scheduling and schedule your posts out all in one sitting so you don’t have to worry about trying to remember to create a post.

Idea #10: Photos & Videos on your social networks. Begin to take photos of your most popular items. Send these through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Yes, get them up early.

Email Marketing Ideas

Idea #11: Create a sign-up form through your constant contact account and encourage individuals to sign up. If you want, you can entice individuals by offering a discount when they sign up.

Idea #12: List Building. Build lists of those who sign up. By using the lists and tags features in Constant Contact you are able to send specific messages to groups as small as 5 to as large as 5,000.

Idea #13: Send interest-specific emails to your lists. So, you’ve created your lists. Now create those emails specific to each list. Constant Contact doesn’t care if you send out 1 or 100 emails a month.

Idea #14: Don’t forget Social Share. Yes. Every email you send provides you with the ability to send it out through your social networks. By doing this you reach an even greater audience and cross-promote to everyone.

Idea #15: Don’t forget to use catchy subject lines. The shorter the better, remember less is more!

Out-of-the-box ideas

Idea #16: Give to a Food Pantry or, if four legged friends touch your heart, a shelter for cats or dogs. Ask your customers to bring in non-perishable items and for each item they bring in you take 10% off up to say 40% on one item they purchase. You will feel good, your customers will love you for it, and the cause will be better off because of your business. By the way, remember to take photos when you deliver the goodies and to post it on your social networks!

Idea #17: Mini Billboards. Yes, those yard signs you see, make some of your own to promote your Small Business Saturday Sale! Just a few words of advice on this, less is more!!! Five lines of text at 120 to 180 point type. Yellow background with black, blue or red are best seen. A picture if possible is good.

Idea #18: Online Billboard Promotions. While I’m on a billboard theme, take your same idea for the Mini Billboards and create excitement with graphics looking like billboards and using them as posts on Facebook and Twitter. Like South of the Border you can create curiosity.

Idea #19: Inserts. Yes, Inserts. You thought inserts were only for big box stores? Think again. With a minimum of 5,000* households at an average rate of $60 per thousand households, your distribution cost is only 6¢ per household. Plus, some papers are also offering the ability to add your insert to their online edition, this is a great benefit to reach more potential customers!

Idea #20: Remnant Space. Do you know that from time to time publications will offer remnant space? This happens only at the 11th hour of deadline when sales are light. To take advantage of these deals you need to be ready with your ad copy and money. Savings on remnant space can be 50% or more. All you need to do is ask.

We hope some of these ideas will help you prepare for Small Business Saturday! Need help to plan your Holiday Shopping Frenzy, include us to help you. We love to brainstorm ideas like this.

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