In honor of Small Business Saturday, we had the chance to sit down with Gene Marks – the small business expert, whom you may recognize from Fox Business News, Forbes magazine, and the Huffington Post. In typical fashion, Gene was all about thinking big this year. Discover his expert tips to help capitalize on the most important day of your business year.
Yodle: What do you like most about Small Business Saturday?
Gene: It’s the one day of the year where small businesses are truly in the spotlight. And it falls on one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year too – sandwiched in-between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Y: What can people do differently this year to really capitalize on this retail holiday?
G: You know, it’s the day where the community is being asked to “think small.” But small businesses can be different. They should think big.
Y: We agree! Any suggestions on how to make this happen?
G: I think that there are a few ways to do this. One, Hold an event. The one thing that sets your small business apart from the big guys is your specialized expertise. You have passion and you take pride in what you do. Show that to the crowds! Consider holding a special seminar or two to train people on some area of your expertise and invite your customers to come in. The point is: teach and educate. Share with others what you know.
The second is, Give stuff away. Use Small Business Saturday to give others an opportunity to sample your products and services. Offer free gifts. Hold a contest that day with a big prize to be awarded the following week. Discount heavily. If all the predictions are right, you will probably have more foot traffic in your business than usual. These are people getting to know you. Give them something for nothing so that they can an idea of the kind of products and services you provide. If you’re as good as you know you are…they’ll be back.
You’ll entice more future customers with sugar instead of vinegar. And there’s nothing sweeter than getting something for free.
The third is, Promote Others. You’re not the only good business in town. Use Small Business Saturday to help promote your friends who run other small businesses too. Maybe display some of their products. Stack a few flyers on the counter promoting their stores or offer deals for their products if they buy some of yours. This is a great way to help the rest of the local small business community and build goodwill. And, depending on who you choose to partner with, they will hopefully do the same for your business. In turn, your customers get special deals from two places for the price of one. So everyone’s happy.
Y: Like all holidays, giving back during this time should be important too. Can you offer your expert opinion on how business owners can do so, while still following best marketing practices?
G: Small Business Saturday should be your opportunity to show how grateful you are to be a small business owner – after all, you do owe it all to your customers and community. Use this day to give something back to your customers through offers and great promotions. But while doing so, be sure to collect customer contact information along the way. And don’t be afraid to ask! Considering what they’re getting from you, they should be happy to have this exchange. And now you’ve got a good reason to offer them help, insights, and future promotions through newsletters and other communications well after this year’s Small Business Saturday is over.