Many small businesses participating in Small Business Saturday® are doing a lot more than just slapping a promotional sticker on their business's front door and hoping for the best. Instead, they’re innovating to see just how much they can get out of the idea of using Small Business Saturday to extend their reach in very creative ways.
What makes an extension strategy successful is knowing your strengths and building on them to attract business. Here are some ways some clever small businesses have built on their Small Business Saturday success and continue to reap the benefits.
Extend Your Social Media Reach
Nan Sutton, owner of Beaufort, South Carolina-based specialty boutique Lulu Burgess, was already experienced at creating video content when Small Business Saturday rolled around five years ago. Now she uses her YouTube and Facebook channels to promote the event and how her business is celebrating it. Sutton got started in video when her young niece encouraged her to shoot videos that showcased new products for her boutique. Now, every “Filmtastic Friday,” she uploads a humorous new video featuring herself or guests clowning around with the clever decorative pillows, toys and housewares from her shop. Small Business Saturday provides Sutton with a new angle to share with her YouTube followers on her weekly videos.
Extend Your Business Footprint
When small businesses band together, they can often offer customers something larger and more exciting than a regular shopping day. Some businesses take the initiative to do that themselves, but in Beaufort, the city masterminds the Small Business Saturday event.
Each year, the city council declares the day to be the "official" Small Business Saturday with a proclamation read by the mayor. Then Main Street Beaufort USA, a local nonprofit organization whose goal is to support and promote the downtown area, hosts a day-long event downtown, inviting all area businesses to participate. Weeks before the event, businesses can visit the nonprofit to pick up promotional supplies.
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the organization hires a popular local radio station to play music during a three-hour remote broadcast, which includes interviews with local small-business owners. Shoppers can sign up for giveaways.
Main Street Beaufort USA also hands out themed shopping bags, which helps extend the event throughout the year. “Shoppers love the bags,” says LaNelle Fabian, director of Main Street Beaufort. “We’ve seen people use them at farmer’s markets and other events during the year." Fabian estimates that at least 50 local businesses take part in the annual event, and many keep the floor mats down all year round—a subtle reminder to customers to support small business throughout the year.
This year, use Small Business Saturday as a launchpad to extend your business in new directions and set yourself up for success through the entire year.
Read more articles on Small Business Saturday.
A version of this story was originally published on October 28, 2014.