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Navigating Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday for your business

While many retailers mistakenly focus their efforts on Black Friday, fewer shoppers are doing the bulk of their buying on this once-sacred shopping occasion and instead choose to spread their shopping around. It can be overwhelming to keep up with the biggest retailers during the holidays, but it’s possible to boost profits from early November through the middle of January, with a focus on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday. With careful planning and a bit of creativity, what you do now can attract new crowds during a longer calendar period this shopping season.

Don’t Compete on Price

If you’re hoping to get budget shoppers to commit by winning the low-price wars, consider another strategy. Most small businesses cannot hope to beat the best price, and this isn’t what you want to be known for offering. Instead, emphasize why shopping with you is a fun and unique experience. Instead of offering the cheapest widget, tell your brand’s story. Do you have a higher-quality item? Is your customer service highest-rated? Are your employees supportive of charitable causes? Stress why there’s more to good business than price, and give your customers a reason to feel good shopping with you during the holidays.

Engage Influencers

The holiday season is prime time for bloggers and Instagram celebs, although it’s wise to spend some time learning how to best benefit from their audiences. Work with a diverse group of smaller, “micro-influencers” to get your brand message heard across the most social media feeds for the best price. Encourage influencers to share authentic experiences with their own photos, comments, and recommendations with promotional details worked in organically – rather than relying on scripted messaging and stock photos. (Be sure you follow proper FTC disclosure when working with bloggers and Instagram pros.)

Celebrate Small Business

While big-box retailers seem to get much of the buzz on Black Friday, the weekend is all about the mom and pop shop. With Small Business Saturday capturing more of the attention of buyers, it’s the perfect time to tout what makes you special. Focus your marketing on sharing how you’re better positioned to provide a personalized shopping experience, and why local business experiences are best for the community. Pair this pride with generous discounts, in-store freebies, exclusive online promotions and opportunities to participate in social media engagement campaigns. Customers love being part of meaningful movements; small business appreciation events capture this sentiment and turn it into a way to get new customers, too.

Embrace Email

Online shoppers are especially eager to get offers in their inbox during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday events, so be sure you start teasing your best promotions up to a week before the holiday starts. Since customers can become inundated with messages, use your subject lines to announce why they don’t want to miss out and be clear and concise with what the offers are. Use your finest deals to bring customers in-store as well; brick and mortar store shoppers use email, too!

As Americans experience a more robust economy, the importance of shopping Black Friday to get the lowest-priced TV isn’t as pronounced. Shoppers are willing – and able – to take a more relaxed approach to buying, and this includes shopping around to get the best overall shopping experience and incorporating other holidays (such as Small Business Saturday) into their routine. Luxury good sellers and those with a unique brand experience have the most to gain from expanding their focus to the entire Q4 shopping season with exceptional service that turns those holiday shoppers into lifelong aficionados.

Linsey Knerl
Linsey Knerl
Linsey Knerl is a Midwest-based author, public speaker and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the newest tech solutions and through awareness of industry regulatory changes and tax law.

See all posts by Linsey Knerl
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