There’s nothing like the excitement around National Small Business Week. It inspires you to reconnect with your network, jumpstart fresh campaigns and reach out to potential new customers and partners. Along with this, you have a mini marketing army, courtesy of the Small Business Administration (SBA), which is creating greater awareness for the small business community.
The good news is that the week reminds consumers of the value that small businesses bring to local communities and the economy as a whole. The challenge, of course, is that nearly every small business will be inserting itself into the spotlight at the same time.
Below are five ways you can make your business stand out during Small Business Week and set a foundation for sustaining customers’ interest beyond the month of May.
1. Contact your local chamber of commerce or SCORE chapter. See what events they have planned for Small Business Week and how you can get involved (you can also check out Constant Contact’s Small Business Week event series at www.constantcontact.com/sbw). You can also tap into its resources to connect with other local business owners to host events that will raise each other’s profiles in the community.
2. Create longer lead campaigns. Take advantage of the heightened interest in your business that comes from Small Business Week and use it to kick off a longer campaign that entices customers to return throughout the coming months.
3. Send out a special edition newsletter now. Such newsletters will begin to generate interest and buzz around the specific activities and offers you’ll be presenting. It is also worthwhile to include a poll that leads readers to your Facebook Business Page to extend the conversation and give you additional insight into your customers’ interests.
4. Bring your community together through a local deal. Introduce the deal now and make it valid during Small Business Week. To make the investment really pay off, separate your new customers from longer-standing customers and the hours the offers can be redeemed. You can do this easily and discreetly using separate offer codes. This way you can get to know your new customers better while also strengthening ties to existing customers. Taking this a step further, consider running the deal with another local business so you can reach a broader audience. If you use a deal provider, be sure to look for one that offers you the ability to control every aspect of the deal.
5. Reflect the Small Business Week Awards. Create your own categories of awards, in which the winners can be featured in your newsletter and/or given special discounts and offers. Essentially, you’re using the national spotlight on Small Business Week to recognize that it wouldn’t be possible without your community of customers.
Rick Jensen is senior vice president and chief sales and marketing officer of Constant Contact.
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