Small Business Saturday is fast approaching and you’re using the #SmallBusinessSaturday and #ShopSmall hashtags, but your tweet is lost within minutes.
You’ve worked hard on your business, and you’re passionate about sharing your hard work but no one is biting. They’re not retweeting, liking, or sharing. You’re not seeing a return on your marketing efforts.
What if I told you that you can stand out from the crowd?
It takes some ingenuity and thinking outside the box, but it can be done.
It will take some hustle, but making a plan for 72 hours leading up to Small Business Saturday can be the difference between any other day and a huge spike in customers and profits.
Without further ado, here are some ideas for your startup to take advantage of Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday Countdown: 72 Hours
Find your unique value proposition
A unique selling point, or unique value proposition (UVP) is what you can offer that your competitor can’t (or is not currently doing). What do you do better than anyone else? How do you integrate your personal touches into what you do?
To find your UVP:
- Search for your competitors on social media.
- See what they are posting, and what gets the most likes or shares. Think of one way you can do better. This can be a better offer, more relatable language, or finding a completely different angle than what was presented (e.g., if your competitor advertises handmade goods, you can show images or stories of the people who made your own handmade goods.
- What hashtags are they using?
- Do posts at a specific time of day work better than others?
- If they posted an image, how did it look? Can you think of ways it can be improved upon (e.g., better lighting, different cropping, a different filter)?
- Search for your competitor’s online reviews.
- Go on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Google reviews, BBB, Yahoo, or Amazon to see what gets either mediocre or poor reviews. This is your ticket to differentiate.
- How does your product or service solve problems (or improve a situation)?
- You unique value proposition doesn’t have to be life changing. You can sell a product that beautifies a home and makes someone smile when they walk by.
- If you do solve a problem, make it really clear how you do this. For example, if you run a local store, solve the problem of finding well made local goods. Or solve the problem of having the best customer service.
- What benefits can the customers expect?
- Do you offer faster service? Higher quality? Are you friendlier?
What is your “one sentence”?
What defines your business? Is it a hobby? Are you passionate about disrupting a current industry? Do you want to save the world?
Sell people on your passion and why you are the best person for the job. We’ve had enough of useless business speak.
You should be able to explain what you do in one sentence.
Try this template:
[BusinessName] is passionate about providing ADJECTIVE (e.g. awesome/well made/spectacular etc.) NOUN [service/product/craft] because:
- HE/SHE is (relatable story to product/service/craft)
- [Store name] wants to make a difference by ACTION (e.g. donate 10% of profits to charity/help local economy/provide goods that last a lifetime, etc.)
- Is passionate about (service/product/craft)
Who is your ideal customer?
In the age of the internet, it’s not about business anymore – it’s about your customer.
- Who is this person?
- What are their struggles?
- What makes them happy?
- Where do they live?
- How old are they?
- Do other demographics matter (e.g., education levels, amount of disposal income)?
- How is your customer’s day made better by your product/service/craft?
- When will your ideal customer feel compelled to use your product/service/craft?
Small Business Saturday Countdown: 48 Hours
What language does your ideal customer use?
It’s important to get on the same level as your customer. While you may think it’d be great to advertise your hand painted egg poaching cups, maybe you should advertise hand painted “egg thing” instead because that’s what people search for in Google:
To find how your customers talk, use Quora, Yahoo, Reddit, and other forums specific to your business.
Audit your website
Our webpages are our 24/7 salesperson. The last thing you want to happen is to lose a sale because your website is slow, or a user can’t buy from you because your website crashes.
Here are some website tips:
- Make it really clear where someone can buy your product. Make a big button or text with an action. For example, instead of saying CLICK HERE, say GET 20% OFF MY ORDER or whatever your offer may be.
- Write compelling sales copy. Make your customers salivate at the thought of buying what you have to offer.
- If you run an online store, ask 3 random people (online or in person) to do a test order. Get their feedback and see if the order process was smooth. Take their suggestions on how to improve and implement.
- If you have a physical store where you want to attract in-person customers, make your address visible and easy to read. If you’re in a large city, include a map. Bonus points if you circle free parking spots.
Set SMART goals
When creating goals, they need to be SMART:
Let’s say you have a goal of making $2,000 in one day – Saturday.
It’s specific ($2,000), measurable (either you make $2,000 or don’t), attainable (depends on your business), relevant (the goal is tied to small business Saturday) and time bound ($2,000 on Saturday).
You can also make SMART goals for new clients, the number of customers that walk through the door, or the number of customers that sign up for future information.
Small Business Saturday Countdown: 24 Hours
What social media will you use?
Not all social media platforms are made equal. Instagram and Pinterest are great for physical products, you can take advantage of groups in Facebook (e.g. advertise on targeted forums), and Twitter advertises to a wide range of demographics but can be difficult to target.
Focus on whatever social media platform has performed the best, or you think would get you the highest returns.
Not sure what social media to use for your business? Check out this helpful guide.
Achieve your SMART goals
This can be a bit tricky, and really depends on your business. But let’s assume that on a normal day, you bring in about $700 on average. To make $2,000 in revenue takes some ingenuity.
- Can you create hype around your product or service on social media? Think of a way to create a compelling countdown. Maybe you can make an exciting announcement about your business or offer new products.
- Think of rewards, draws, or bonuses for social sharing.
- Advertising a sale is what everyone else is doing so really think outside the box –
- Air BNB got started in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention when they realized many of the attendees didn’t have rooms. They advertised rooms off of Craigslist, and sold Cap’N McCain’s and Obama O’s cereal to raise $30,000 of startup funding.
How can you hustle?
Small Business Saturday Countdown: 0 Hours
The day is here! You’ve made some great strides, but you’re not done yet!
You’ve attracted an influx of people, and now your job is to treat them with the utmost gratitude. They’ve spent their hard earned dollars with you, and not only do you want them to come back but you’ll want to get referral sales.
Provide great customer service
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. Respond to questions, praise, and concerns promptly. Quick responses have shown to increase revenues. One study showed that customers were willing to spend an extra $20 if they were responded to within 6 minutes.
- Promise and deliver. If you say you’ll respond within 24 hours, or deliver by a certain date, do it. If for some reason you can’t, let your customer know before the deadline has passed. Never, ever let it get to the point of having a customer track you down to see what the status is. You will lose consumer confidence and never get it back. In fact, 82% of consumers stopped doing business with a company due to bad customer service.
Use local hashtags
- Whatever business you are in, it is far easier to stand out if you target your city. Don’t be afraid to use local hashtags.
- E.g., if you’re in Edmonton, Alberta, use the hashtag #yeg #myyeg and #yegdt. You can also use something specific (and applicable!) to your business like #rivervalley or #sconamarket.
72 Hours (Wednesday, Nov. 23)
- Find your unique value proposition
- Find your one sentence
- Determine who your ideal customer is
48 Hours (Thursday, Nov. 24)
- Audit your website
- Know your customer’s language and use it!
- Set SMART goals
24 Hours (Friday, Nov. 25)
- Determine which social media platform will perform best for your businesss
- Put your SMART goals into action
0 Hours aka. SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY! (Saturday, Nov. 26)
- Provide excellent customer service that will bring people back for more and give you referrals.
- Use local hashtags to promote