Owners should plan for Small Business Saturday

Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday. Founded by American Express in 2010 and officially cosponsored by Small Business Administration since 2011, Small Business Saturday has become an important part of small businesses' busiest shopping season.

Today, the goal of Small Business Saturday remains the same — to encourage people to Shop Small and Shop Local during the busy holiday season.

If you are a small business owner, Constant Contact has developed a list of six ideas you can use to sell more this year and take advantage of the holiday.

• Own your identity as a small business.

Since customers want to shop small and support local, it's important to highlight your identity as a small business in everything you do. People want to hear your story. Share why you started your business, how you are involved in the local community and why shopping at your store is better than the big box stores or big online retailers.

• Craft a compelling Small Business Saturday offer or discount.

When creating a great offer or discount, think about your customer. What would appeal to them? What is your store known for? Whatever you choose, make sure you can deliver the goods. Here are a few examples of offers to consider: 15 percent off all new items; free gift with purchase over $50; free gift wrapping.

• Send out an email campaign to your customers.

Despite what people think, email marketing is not dead. On the contrary, email marketing is a tool that can help you reach customers and prospects directly in their inbox. And don't worry if you don't have an email list yet. You can start building one on Small Business Saturday by having people sign a guest book when they visit your store or give you their email in exchange for a discount on an item at purchase.

Once you have your list, open an account with an email client like MailChimp or Constant Contact to stay in touch with your customers.

• Be sure to share your promotion on social media.

Sharing your promotion on social media is a great way to expand your reach to even more potential customers. Create a series of posts that use the same content from your email campaign to promote the idea of shopping small. Post an announcement, a reminder, and a last-chance reminder to keep the buzz going.

• Prepare your store.

Think about your staff and their strengths. Assign tasks to each member to weed out any confusion when your store is filled with shoppers and keep the store running smoothly all day. Be prepared to snap photos that capture the excitement in your store.

• Keep the momentum going.

A small thank you can go a long way. Share some of your best photos from the day on social media with a simple note of thanks to everyone who stopped by throughout the day and supported your business.

For information on business topics, COVID-19 small business updates and resources or to schedule a virtual cost-free business advising meeting, call Brazosport College SBDC 979-230-3380 or email sbdcinfo@brazosport.edu.

Jennifer Finney is director of the Brazosport College Small Business Development Center. Contact her at 979-230-3380 or sbdcinfo@brazosport. edu.

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