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Sarah Haston: Gearing up for Small Business Saturday

Sarah Haston • Updated Nov 7, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Mark your calendar Small Business Saturday on Nov. 25. It’s a day where every shopper can play a part to support their local economy and the small business owners who provide the majority of our economic growth. 

Small businesses are the foundation of our economy – our community thrives on the fact that our residents either work at or own a small business. Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to show support for our friends and neighbors who throughout the year grow our local economy, as well as support many local initiatives and organizations.

“Shop Small” as a marketing message is designed for our retail small businesses, and we encourage you, if you have a product or service to sell, to be open for business Saturday, Nov. 25. The city of Lebanon would like to help you promote your business. If you missed our free digital marketing seminar – that’s OK. We are all using the same hashtags to push our messaging out further. Join us with #ThinkLebanonFirst and #ShopLebanonTN

Here are a few tips on how you can prepare for Shop Small:

• Invite your customers to follow you on social media with #ShopLebanonTN

From frigid temperatures to large crowds, there are plenty of reasons customers stay home, but a customer doesn’t have to stop by your brick-and-mortar establishment to support your business on Small Business Saturday.

Try enticing customers to order from home by designing online specials. Small Business Saturday themed specials or promo codes can increase orders from both new and loyal consumers. Offering unique specials to your online followers will help attract them to come in or order online. Posting new merchandise and promo codes to your followers throughout the day can help you capture sales from customers even after they return home. 

Remind customers to show love for local small businesses by using a digital Small Business Saturday badge you can display on your website and social media sites, these images are available online for no charge. Promote yourself as a small business that supports Small Business Saturday and invite customers to support you. Start telling your current customers now that you are asking for their support Nov. 25.

• Extend your hours: Foot traffic should increase on Small Business Saturday. Staying open an hour or two longer than usual can increase the likelihood of shoppers stopping by. Explore special prices that kick in after your normal closing hours or hourly specials. To show you’re participating in Small Business Saturday, decorate in advance with free downloadable signage from the Shop Small Design Studio. It is important that you promote yourself ahead of time.

• Team up: Already open late? Consider teaming up with another small business in your area for joint promotions. Whether it’s a free accessory or warranty for customers who shop with your partner or discounting their next purchase in-store, the extra incentive may be enough to make both you and your partner stand out from the competition. Partner up digitally as well and always tag your partners to find out ways on how your products complement each other.

4. Debut new items

While your store or restaurant may not be open every hour of Small Business Saturday, there is still plenty of opportunity to help drive business around the clock. Consider kicking off the festivities with an exclusive sale item Nov. 25 or even a door buster deal. You can raise awareness on social media prior to the unveiling, and use the custom e-mail template offered through Shop Small Studio to feature your special. By giving customers 24-hour notice, you may be able to generate excitement, as well as sales long after Small Business Saturday ends.

Please join the city of Lebanon, Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce and Historic Lebanon for our “Kick-off Rally” on Nov. 16 at City Hall. The event starts at 8:30 a.m., and you will receive free marketing materials, including posters to advertise and you will be a part of the consumer giveaway. We have designed a mobile experience for all of the shoppers that day, and they will have the ability to check into our event from their cellphone while they are shopping. One winner will be selected at random to win a large goodie basket. Each business owner will have an opportunity to win additional advertising during the fourth quarter of the year to help promote their business, as well. 

We encourage all small businesses to join us. We are also encouraging consumers to “dine small” by grabbing a bite at a local eatery. So, if you are a small restaurant, please feel free to join in the event with us.

Sarah Haston is economic development director in Lebanon. 

 

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