Small Business Saturday is November 28th and Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year, is November 30th. This year, it’s not going to be possible to have a big in-person shopping event where customers are packing your store. That doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make the best of this holiday season. Here are some tips for small business success during this key holiday shopping time.
Advertise Before and After Small Business Saturday
Black Friday will be a whole season this year from a few weeks ago through December! People will look to shop differently during the COVID-19 pandemic to stay safe and avoid crowds. Let your customers know that avoiding the rush will be more important this year than ever. Packages need to be shipped as soon as December 9th to reach your customers by Christmas, depending on your carrier. Encourage your customers to shop early so they can receive their packages in time and have a great customer experience.
Free Tools to Make Your Ads Look Professional
There are excellent tools available to help you make your social media posts look their best. Canva is an easy to use design software that has templates for social media ads. Making sure your ad is the right size and aspect ratio means your customers will see all the details on your holiday deals. Unsplash is another tool with a ton of free photos you can use as backgrounds for your ads. Create a simple image with key information on how customers can pick up their order from you. Spell it out – what are your products, services, hours, shipping, pickup, etc. Don’t assume customers know how to access your services on Small Business Saturday!
Video, Video, and More Video!
Use video ads to promote holiday specials. Customers are more likely to engage with video than photos or text on social media. You don’t even have to be on camera! Use your phone to show the products you have available if you’re not comfortable being on the video yourself. A recent survey reported that 90% of customers say that product videos are helpful in their decision-making process, and 92% of mobile video consumers will share videos with others. If you haven’t tried it before, Small Business Saturday is a great time to jump into the world of video advertising.
Holiday Theme Your Ads
Make your products seem more relevant for the holidays by including holiday decorations in your photos and video. Even if you aren’t offering Christmas décor, for example, you can add a bow, some fake snow, or a twinkling light to encourage customers to buy for the holidays. Photos, video, and websites should all be updated with a holiday touch to take best advantage of this shopping season.
Promote “Limited Time Offers”
Most of us already know that customers love a deal. Take advantage of that trend by advertising limited time offers for your customers. People will be receptive to free or discounted shipping offers. You can raise your prices to offset the cost of free shipping. Here are some ideas we’ve seen on well-crafted ads for the holidays this year.
- Free Shipping over $60!
- Limited Time Offer! 24 Hours Only!
- Save 25% on your order today!
- Buy $50 in gift cards, receive a $10 bonus!
- Buy more, save more!
Communication with your customers is extra important this year. Contactless buying and curbside pickup are incredibly popular, so expect that trend to continue into the holidays and beyond. As part of your holiday marketing plan, consider including “curbside pickup” in your Small Business Saturday social media posts to gain extra traction.
If you’re in a service industry – make sure your customers know what your safety protocols are. Are you wearing masks, sanitizing, limiting the number of people in your business? Reassure your customers through social media that you are keeping them safe when they are doing business with you. Be transparent and honest – your customers will appreciate it! Use social media, your website, and email marketing to communicate with your customers this season.
Sell the Solution
Offer your customers a solution to a common problem they may be experiencing. Instead of selling a product, sell them a solution that will help make their life better. Be in tune with your customers and what their pain points are. What do they want and need this holiday season and why?
- The holidays will feel different this year, but do you offer a product that can make the season feel cozier?
- Kids are having to learn remotely – do you have a product that can make learning more fun?
- Don’t want to cook tonight? – do you offer a special deal on takeout for my family?
- Do your customers want to send a gift but don’t have time to shop in person or don’t feel comfortable going out? You can offer gift wrapping and shipping services with a personalized note. Florists have been mastering this for decades!
- Maybe they had to cancel their company’s holiday party this year. Do you have a product or service that would make a great employee appreciation gift?
Gift Certificates – The Perfect Gift
Gift certificates and gift cards will be the most popular presents of 2020. Don’t currently offer gift certificates? You don’t need to invest in an expensive gift card system to get into this market. It can be a simple paper gift certificate. Over 20% of customers say they will be buying more gift cards this holiday season. Take advantage of this trend and offer a gift certificate deal for Small Business Saturday! If you are unsure about how to record gift certificates on your financials, give your accountant a call or talk to a Northland SBDC consultant who can help you plan for selling and redeeming gift certificates.
Be Found – Use Google My Business
In 2019, Google owned over 95% of the search engine market. Almost everyone uses Google to find your business, so claiming your Google Business Listing is critical! YouTube is the second most popular search engine, so posting your videos on YouTube can also be a great tool to reach new customers. Add a Google Post to advertise a Small Business Saturday special or sale you are offering, and use the COVID-19 update feature to keep customers up to date on your current hours.
Spend Money Wisely on Social Media
“Boost” your FaceBook and Instagram posts to people who like your page or follow you. Non-boosted posts only reach around 5-10% of your customers thanks to post algorithms. Post on social media at least twice a week, but you can post multiple times a day to reach more customers. They will not see all your posts, so frequent posting is important. Use “boosts” on posts that have good engagement to reach more customers. Spending $10-20 on a boost can help you reach a much larger portion of your current customer base.
Trends around video and stories are changing on these two social media platforms also. Instagram and Facebook “Live” videos are watched for 3 times longer than pre-recorded videos, so consider writing a script and going live with your next video. In Instagram, the use of “stories” is increasing, so post a daily story to capture more customers on Instagram. Need help deciphering all these social media advertising options? Sign up for services at Northland SBDC to access a marketing expert who can offer advice at no cost.
Want to Learn More?
Click here to watch a recently recorded training on Marketing For Small Business Saturday & The Holidays. This training is provided by Northland SBDC at no cost for small businesses! Join regional marketing expert Molly Solberg from MAS Marketing to learn about the most important things you can do to boost your Holiday 2020 sales. Need one-on-one help? Sign up for services at Northland SBDC to access a marketing expert who can offer advice at no cost.
Post by Vicki Hagberg, Small Business Consultant, Northland SBDC