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7 Tips for a Successful Virtual Small Business Saturday

Business Owners: 7 Tips for a Successful Virtual Small Business Saturday


Since its inception in 2010, Small Business Saturday has been a popular, easy way for people to support their local businesses. Unfortunately, with the pandemic still in full swing in the United States, the 10th annual Small Business Saturday — which will be held on November 28, 2020 — looks different than years past. For example, there will be more virtual events since you will need to navigate local regulations and support social distancing initiatives. Here are a few things you can do to set your business apart – and to entice shoppers.


1. Create a solid social media campaign. Social media is an integral part of any business marketing strategy — around 7 in 10 Americans use social media.  In a year like this, consider starting early with marketing emails. Be sure to set up a targeted schedule to announce your plans on each social media platform you use. Leverage hashtags like #SmallBusinessSaturday and #ShopSmall to make it easier for customers to find you. This gives you an avenue to actively engage on social, which can generate loyal followers who keep coming back for more content.

2. Focus on your language. People have a lot on their minds. Some shoppers may be dealing with virtual schooling for their kids, perhaps they’re without childcare, or they may have been laid off during the pandemic. Make their lives easier by keeping your phrasing clear and simple and use specific calls to action in your messaging.

3. Make shopping easy. An online forum is the perfect opportunity to create ease. For example, curated gift ideas for different “types” of people, such as the teen, the hostess, or the sports-lover, make it easy for shoppers to decide.  Send the ideas through email or via social media with links people can click to get directly to your purchase page. Make shopping a snap and you’ll snap up more customers.

4. Put together a theme. Themes are a fun way to get people excited about the day. They also showcase your creativity – and the value your business provides. Integrating exclusive deals in your theme increases customer engagement. For example, a “knit-a-thon” for a local craft store might offer discounts and prizes to winners who share their creative knit creations on social media and receive the most votes.

5. Incorporate gratitude into your sales. As a small business owner, you’ve been through a lot this year – and so have your customers. If there is any way — even in a very small way — to show your customers how thankful you are to them, you will make a big impression. This could be as simple as offering a small discount or free gift to each shopper who buys something on Small Business Saturday, or sending out a quick, pre-recorded thank you video to your loyal customer database.

6. Team up with others. See if other local small businesses are offering deals. Collaborate to broaden your overall exposure, perhaps with something like two-for-one deals at multiple stores, or discounts when people shop at other retailers that you’ve partnered with. Even a joint email to customers about the discounts being offered at several businesses can make shopping easier and increase your cross-promotional opportunities.

7. Talk about giving back. If your business has given back to the community during the past few months, share that in your messaging. Or, if you’re able, consider donating a portion of your proceeds from Small Business Saturday to charity. Do not be shy about what you’ve done for your community.


If you anticipate that the majority of your Small Business Saturday activity will be virtual this year, there’s reason to have hope — in 2019, there were an estimated 1.92 billion digital buyers, with eCommerce sales accounting for 14.1 percent of retail purchases worldwide. That is a lot of business opportunity! The techniques above will help you reach your customer base and build a loyal following that shops with you well past November 28.


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