With Small Business Saturday just around the corner, you should be ready to join your fellow small-business owners for a big day serving the people you love most: your customers and community. But let’s be honest—it would be nice to stand out from the crowd.
You can get that edge by dressing up your digital windows—your website and online presence—before the big day. With a few aesthetic tips and not a whole lot of time, you can up your brand’s beauty and make your digital presence all the more appealing to new and repeat customers alike.
And when I say “not a whole lot of time,” I mean it. Everything you’ll read below can be accomplished in less than an hour by someone with absolutely no graphic design experience. If you have a designer on call, they'll be able to do everything in even less time. Just forward them this article and go back to doing what you do best: running the business you love.
Beautify Your Website
Let’s have a look at the areas of your website that can be easily enhanced to welcome your Small Business Saturday shoppers:
Home page. If your website has a header image or a large area on the home page for a graphic, why not create a custom welcome mat for your Small Business Saturday shoppers? Head on over to the Small Business Saturday website, where you'll find an entire section dedicated to helping you promote the big day on your site. Here, you can download personalized "Shop Small" logos, ads and graphics, and find more visual support materials to add to your website. (Keep in mind that those assets can't be modified in any way.) These assets are fairly comprehensive—just download these resources and send them over to your graphic designer. It's the brand's way to make sure that customers can easily recognize the Small Business Saturday and Shop Small signs and graphics, bringing you fans of keeping shopping local on this special day.
A bonus home page idea: Why not have a lightbox that pops up to greet visitors when they visit your site, announcing your business' Small Business Saturday participation in the days leading up to the event? Use the assets created by American Express and have your graphic designer add those to a lightbox. Here, you can greet customers, tell them all about the event and even offer special deals tied to the big day.
Sidebars. These are the areas on either the right or left side of your internal website pages. You may already be populating these spaces with ads or links to other parts of your site. Why not create a custom sidebar image that promotes your participation in Small Business Saturday? Again, your graphic designer can get these done for you in the blink of an eye. Or you can use the professionally designed ads created by the Small Business Saturday team, which are fully customizable with your company name. If you want to take the DIY route, you’ll just need to know the dimensions of your sidebar area and whammo! You’re on your way to a great new sidebar image in minutes.
Blog. Who said words can’t be beautiful? It’s time to start getting the word out about Small Business Saturday to your email subscribers. For starters, you can get a special Small Business Saturday offer for your American Express card member customers just by registering on the Small Business Saturday website. If you already accept American Express, just visit the Small Business Saturday site, get registered and you’ll be able to offer your American Express cardholder customers an exclusive offer.
Here’s a tip for all the custom images you might create: Try a countdown theme. You can create multiple images that count down the days until Small Business Saturday on November 29. This way, you’re building excitement with your current customers, letting them know something special is coming.
Then, for the five days prior to Small Business Saturday, dive into a countdown drip campaign to your email subscriber list. This is an ideal way to share the deals you’ll be offering for the event that are exclusively for your email subscribers.
Examples of Small Business Saturday in Action
You can also take a few hints from two savvy communities that have banded businesses together for their own Small Business Saturday efforts. The Bedford Chamber of Commerce put together a passport program where they share all the participating businesses and their SBS discounts with the community. The Detroit Small Business Project has also created their own passport program, along with a neat, sharable video to promote details about the passport and participating businesses.
Beautify Your Social Media Presence
Now that you've got your website all jazzed up, it’s time to think about your social media presence and make sure it matches your Small Business Saturday brand of fantastic. For this, you’re definitely going to want to tap into your graphic designer or use Canva, an online-based easy-to-use design tool.
First step? Inventory the following social media assets in order to get ready for this special shopping day:
- Facebook cover image
- Google+ cover image
- Pinterest-friendly blog post images
Next, you need to get your hands on the Small Business Saturday marketing assets. Just head on over to the Small Business Saturday site, and register as a participating business. From there, you’ll be able to get the assets and send them to your designer or import them into Canva.
If you’re taking the Canva route, the site has made it so very simple to update your social images. It has pre-sized templates for all the types of images listed above. Just click on the template you need, and you’ll be given a blank canvas to work with and be able to choose from thousands of pre-designed layouts or even create your own. Then upload your logo and the Small Business Saturday assets, and get to designing. Again, keep in mind that these marketing assets can't be altered, but they can be added to a custom cover image without a problem.
And that’s all it takes to get your online presence ready for Small Business Saturday! It’s easy and inexpensive to let the world know that you’re one of the powerful few—the small-business owners of the world dedicated to helping communities thrive. And all you had to do was make a few graphics to let the world know you’re proud of what you do and grateful for the shoppers who allow you to do it every day.
Use the links below to get your business started on its own Small Business Saturday journey, complete with graphics, ads and promotional tools to let your customers and community know you’re proud to serve them:
- Register as a Small Business Saturday participating business here.
- Learn more about becoming an American Express merchant before November 29.
- Help your customers share where they’ll be shopping all over social media here.
- Get a free Canva account to add the special American Express-designed Small Business Saturday graphics to your own cover images and specail social media graphics. Thousands of free designs are available for savvy business owners like you.
Read more articles on Small Business Saturday.
Photo: Getty Images