Small Business Saturday is almost here. Across the UK businesses are preparing for an increase in attention as more customers come to support their local shops and exciting start-ups. December 3rd will be a great opportunity for small businesses who do get involved to show off what makes them special and unique and to bring in new customers.
While many businesses will be drawing in the punters from the high street, many more will see most, if not all, of their enquiries and sales online. If we’re not shopping online, then we are at least looking up shops online to check reviews or store opening times (and this is particularly the case when it comes to small businesses we may not have been to before).
Clearly then, businesses need to ensure that they have their online presence the best it can be ahead of Small Business Saturday. We sat down with the organisers of Small Business Saturday who picked our brains about what small businesses should think about for the big day.
How can online networking help promote your business in the run up to Small Business Saturday?
Small businesses have huge amounts of enthusiasm, but often need the support that big businesses take for granted. Online networking is so important because it gives small businesses a chance to learn from each other’s experiences, giving everyone the opportunity to learn and succeed. Why not contribute to online forums and share the issues that you’ve faced and how you managed to overcome them?
How can small businesses get their website ready for Small Business Saturday?
Most importantly, make sure your business has up to date location and contact information online. There’s nothing more frustrating than turning up to a business only to discover that their opening hours have changed or they’ve moved offices. It’s also important to ensure that you have a reliable internet connection ready on Small Business Saturday so that you can handle any additional traffic on the day.
How can your small business get noticed on Small Business Saturday?
Outside of getting involved in the online conversation on Twitter or local forums, small businesses should try experimenting with placing low cost ads on social media. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter now allow for low cost ads to be used which target your local area. It’s much more high tech than leaving flyers on car wind screens after all.
How can small businesses join up with others online to make more of the day?
Collaboration with fellow local businesses online is key. By using local blogs, forums, or even just searching on social media, you can quickly start a conversation with businesses in your area. Once you’re in contact, you can start organising events for the big day on your high street, or sharing special offers with each other’s customers.
How can small businesses make the most of the momentum from Small Business Saturday online all year around?
A burst of activity on Small Business Saturday itself is great, but businesses need to work hard to maintain that momentum. Try to get as many of your new customers to engage with you online, perhaps by offering special deals to those who engage with you on your social channels. Once you have opened that channel of communication, you can interact with your customers and give them reasons to keep coming back.
How can small businesses use digital content to promote Small Business Saturday offers or events?
Small Business Saturday will mean that small businesses generally get more attention, but your business specifically will still need to work hard if it wants to stand out. If you have them prepared, now is the time to use any eye-catching graphics or videos which help your business to jump off the screen and capture the attention you deserve.
What is the most important thing a small business website needs?
The simple things tend to be the most important. Your website needs a clear explanation of who you are, what you do, and how potential customers can get in touch. Increasingly too, a reliable and secure method for taking payments should also be built into your website.
Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity to get out there and find brand new customers or clients. Most people tend to want to support their local businesses as they offer something a little different, or that local touch. More often than not, the only thing holding them back is a lack of information, or not knowing that they exist. By growing online presences, small businesses can overcome these hurdles in an easy and affordable way.
In an era of increasing standardisation, small businesses have a vital role to play in bringing diversity and experimentation to a range of different industries. Whether it’s a new product or a new way of offering service to customers, small businesses keep the big players on their toes. Small businesses should celebrate all the things that make them unique and be active online so that the amazing things they do don’t go unnoticed.