With American Thanksgiving just around the corner (we in Canada already had our celebration), everyone south of the border will be starting to focus on turkey, plane tickets home, parades and Christmas shopping. Shopping you say? Yep, for many, Thanksgiving is all about shopping as the holiday retail season propels into high gear.
Black Friday as everyone must know by now is one of the biggest shopping days/events of the year and for business owners, it can be what makes or breaks the year.
But over the years, a new movement has even developed that is not about people lining up all night for big box stores to open at 4 am. It is a movement encouraging Americans to shop at small, independent businesses. It is called Small Business Saturday.
What is Small Business Saturday?
Labeled Small Business Saturday, countless individuals have pledged to shop locally and support their local economy on Saturday, November 24.
With a renewed focus on small businesses, the day presents an ideal opportunity for small brick-and-mortar business owners to connect with new customers. You know, like it used to be way back in the day.
But the question remains for the small business marketer:
After customers have walked in the door for the first time, how can you keep them coming back throughout the year? Having a day to use local business is great, but one day does not make a winning year. Repeat business is the be all and end all for most business owners.
Continue Engagement with Email Marketing
With the increased interest in small, local brick-and-mortar businesses (hence Small Business Saturday), it is important to get your subscriber list ready for a rush of new customers. As you may not see them again, you need to be ready for your one chance to engage and collect their personal details.
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of the day when it comes to email marketing and collecting contact info:
1. Create a plan for asking permission and collecting email addresses in your store. If the customer indicates interest in your product, then perhaps they will want to hear about future sales, promotions or new products. Consider offering an incentive for individuals to sign up, such as a coupon or discount off of a future purchase.
Where can you collect their email addresses?
- Ask for it at checkout. This has become a pretty standard practice, wherever you shop now.
- Have a signup sheet on your sales counter. Less flashy but it may fit the style of your business. Many shoppers do appreciate a simpler time before computers.
- Place a basket or fishbowl where they can drop in their email address or business card. Offer a prize and select one address to win.
- Post a QR code linking to your web form. This allows all those tech-savvy smartphone users to sign up right away before even leaving the store. If you are lucky, they will also check in, Tweet or like you on Facebook as well.
2. Have additional data that you would like to collect to segment your emails in the future? Asking a few brief questions can provide valuable opportunities for future targeted messages. Maybe if it was the first time or not in your store. How often they shop in person or online would be another good piece of data to have. You can also ask for social media handles or other ways of communicating (fax or SMS).
3. Individuals are typically most interested right after they first subscribe, so prepare your confirmation message in advance outlining the types of emails they can expect and give them the power to control this. Also, include a friendly welcome message thanking the customer for their business and point out other ways to interact like social media pages or the company blog.
4. Create small leaflets that customers can take with them that provide further information on your company and of course links to direct them to landing pages or sign up forms. You could even include a short online survey to collect further data.
5. The final step is the one you need to follow through on the most. That actually continues to reach out to these subscribers throughout the year. If you can convert a first-timer into a repeat customer, you are on your way to a great year of business.
As a small business owner, are you planning to participate in Small Business Saturday?
If so, how do you plan on integrating email marketing into the mix?
SimplyCast provides all the tools you need to create, send and track email newsletter campaigns.
Sign up now and have your online forms ready for the throng of new customers coming into your store on Nov. 26.
Learn more about Small Business Saturday on their Facebook page