Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner. But what about Small Business Saturday? The event, which takes place in the UK on December 2nd, encourages small businesses to shout out about the work they do, while encouraging the rest to shop and buy locally. It's an annual event designed to encourage consideration.
Black Friday marketing is the most active time of the year. When you open your mailbox, you'll find it groaning under the weight of bargains. The same applies to social media, television, and news outlets. Black Friday ads are everywhere. There's no way to escape.
So here's a question. Coming just days after this media onslaught, can Small Business Saturday really provide a platform for small businesses to have their voices heard?I am the CEO of both Small Business Saturday and Small Business Bulletin. We spoke to CEO Michelle Ovens.
Retail industry depression
Small Business Saturday describes itself as a grassroots not-for-profit initiative and has been running in the UK for 11 years. This year's event comes amid continued economic uncertainty. In the retail sector, October's sales fell slightly year-on-year, following his 1.1% decline in the previous month. Meanwhile, inflation, the scourge of the retail industry, stood at 4.7% in October, down significantly from the previous month but still well above optimal levels.
It's all the more important that major companies focus on promoting Black Friday sales and moving inventory, but as Ovens points out, small local retailers can't afford discounts. do not have.
“Don't get involved with Black Friday. It doesn't help small businesses,” she says. It is mainly for large companies. Small and medium-sized businesses cannot afford deep discounts. ”
In fact, the main focus of most consumer-facing small businesses is to maximize revenue during the busy Christmas season and provide the necessary financial cushion during the slower months of the year, so every little bit increases sales. Discounts for the sake of money are counterproductive, she argues.
So how can small businesses take advantage of Small Business Saturday?
Well, there are some marketing benefits as well. The organization is inviting small businesses of all types, not just retailers, to register on its Business Finder website, and will also be offering a range of marketing materials and support. The national tour, in partnership with BT (British Telecom), will provide further marketing opportunities as well as workshops and mentoring. American Express also supports this initiative, offering cash back on purchases from small businesses.
Mr Ovens argues that small businesses should take advantage of the opportunity to promote themselves as national campaigns draw attention to their work. “Small businesses have a lot to tell when it comes to telling their story,” she says.
So what does that actually mean? After all, local shops, or perhaps small manufacturers or web design companies, don't necessarily have large marketing budgets. “You can talk to local media,” Ovens said. “Or send us a message on social media.
It may not be as simple as you think. Yes, social media offers free advertising and a means of engaging with potential customers, but only if you do it well. Not only does it require some knowledge of how social media works, but time is often a scarce commodity. The same goes for cultivating connections with local media and devising angles that journalists can leverage.
While the marketing support provided by Small Business Saturday is helpful, Ovens suggests that businesses can also spread the marketing burden by collaborating with other businesses. “You can also form a club with your neighbors,” she added.
This means actively promoting each other's businesses or working together to organize special events. “You can share marketing, you can share costs,” Ovens adds.
More fundamentally, collaborating with colleagues also provides a means for companies to step out of their own bubble and discuss common problems and how to solve them with other companies.
“It can sometimes feel like you're the only one facing a particular challenge,” says Ovens. “That's why talking to other people is helpful. So find a tribe of people you can just chat with. There are plenty of networking groups.”
Give customers a call to action
But ultimately, small businesses need to acquire new customers in order to increase sales. Ovens says existing customers can play a role through the power of advocacy. “You should encourage existing customers to share their experiences and ask them to tell a friend. Send your audience a call to action.”
And Ovens argues that small businesses tend to generate positive emotions. they are locals. They provide personalized service, including advice on the products they sell. They need to maintain a loyal customer base and they know that will lead to a superior level of service. They go one step further. “Whether you're a web designer or a window cleaner, that's true,” Ovens says.
Initiatives such as Small Business Saturday are not a silver bullet, but they can help remind customers of the importance of local traders. The challenge for small businesses is to take advantage of the opportunities created by increased awareness and tell their stories.
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