Are you using local and mobile marketing to attract business locally?
As a former merchant, I realize that your plate is full... every day: payroll, inventory, scheduling, employee issues... the list goes on and on. Now, Small Business Saturday is around the corner, and some of you are asking, "Is it worth adding to my plate?"
Well, let's see...
Your small business is about "shopping local," and informing those around you is key to attracting new customers and maintaining existing ones. According to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express, 47% of those aware of Small Business Saturday shopped at a small business on that day, and they spent a total of $5.5 billion.
Bottom line: Informing your local consumers is important to drive awareness, foot traffic, and sales for an event that celebrates small businesses.
Mobile provides a unique marketing opportunity to reach local consumers while they're out and about. We all know that they are interacting with these devices on the corner of the street, in the back of a cab, on a bus, or at the café. Having an opportunity to speak to them right then and there on Small Business Saturday is one of the advantages afforded by mobile marketing.
Tip: When thinking about your customers, think about how your voice can reach them via mobile. Here are some things you can do: Optimize your website for mobile, look at ways you can use mobile/SMS marketing, and consider advertising across mobile displays.
Mobile marketing gives merchants the ability to attract local foot traffic or influence the consumer's impulsive behavior or consideration set. A potential customer could be down the street or at home, a few blocks away. A local and mobile marketing promotion will help get the word out to local consumers while they are out and about and using their mobile devices. Never has there been a better time and easier way to reach consumers on the screen they look at most—their phone's.
In general, consumers are proud to support independent and small businesses in their communities. Often, they just need to know what you are up to and what specials you're offering or what activities are happening.
According to the National Retail Federation, 20-40% of yearly sales for small and midsize retailers take place within the last two months of the year. Small Business Saturday is November 30, so you don't want to wait for December to start attracting your local customers.
Tip: Consider creating a mobile ad for the days before Small Business Saturday. Think about your call to action: Telling local consumers "you are minutes or steps away from holiday savings" is a lot stronger than "holiday sale." Examine your message, and add location words to your copy.
Also, attract customers by offering gifts or a discount in return for checking in to your place of business on Yelp, Foursquare, or Facebook.
Last but Not Least: Care
Caring is about supporting your Main Street in order to boost your local economy.
Mobile affords you the opportunity to inform and attract local consumers, but it can also let consumers know that you care. In your messaging, let them know you care about your town and that they too can help their community. "I care, I shop local!" is more than a rallying cry; it is an imperative for keeping the community building blocks strong.
Inspire consumers via promotions that cater to the community, that provide a neighborly experience, or that promote local events, sports, or traditions. Small Business Saturday is a day to not only promote your business but also celebrate entrepreneurship and your place in the community.
Tip: In your mobile messaging, let your local consumers get involved with their community. Suggest that they bring a can of food for a local food drive or perhaps participate in a fundraiser being held at your location to benefit a local school or organization.
Here are your key takeaways
- Get the word out in advance that you are participating in Small Business Saturday.
- Celebrate the value of community and small business via promotions on the day of Small Business Saturday.
- Pledge with your employees to continue the spirit of Small Business Saturday every day going forward. (Check out www.isupportlocal.org.)
- Take a breath and relax after Small Business Saturday. Have a cup of coffee with some key employees and gauge your success. Discuss what you learned and what you can improve. Feedback from your employees and customers is key.
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