November 30th marks the fourth annual Small Business Saturday, a day to support the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: more customers.
Why Shoppers Are Shopping Small
The trend for shopping small is increasing, with 35% of consumers stating that they like to shop at local small businesses, up from 27% last year. New research indicates why shoppers are drawn to small businesses for their holiday shopping
- 57% believe it’s important to support local businesses
- 49% are attracted to unique merchandise
- 39% say local businesses offer personalized service and suggestions
- 25% say area businesses typically offer good prices
Retailers Get Ready for Small Business Saturday
With five fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2013, many small business owners say they’ll be pulling out all of the stops to get customers into stores during the holiday shopping season.
For many of the small business owners who are aware of Small Business Saturday, the day will be a part of their promotional calendar. Of those small business owners incorporating Small Business Saturday into their holiday plans, 70% say Small Business Saturday will be helpful in attracting new customers. Additional findings from the surveyed owners reveal
- 67% will offer discounts
- 39% will collaborate with other small businesses to promote Small Business Saturday
- 36% will offer coupons for future offers or discounts
- 33% will offer a gift with purchase
- 33% will rely on social media most to promote Small Business Saturday to their customers
- 32% are starting their holiday promotions earlier than last year
- 21% will increase the number of employees working on Small Business Saturday
- Small Business Saturday popular with state’s main streets (thedailyrecord.com)
- How To Make The Most Of Small Business Saturday (openforum.com)
- How to Thrive On and Beyond Small Business Saturday (smallbiztrends.com)
- 6 Easy Marketing Ideas for Small Business Saturday (attention-getting.com)
- 4 Things Your Business Must Do Before Small Business Saturday (business2community.com)
Check out what Deborah Brody has to say about making the most of your business cards.
In this age of smart phone bumps and cloud-based contact lists, it may seem a bit old-fashioned to advocate for the business card. But the business card should be the ace player in your budget marketing arsenal. A business card is cheap (relatively speaking), portable and useful. It gets your information right into the hands (and hopefully, databases) of the people you connect with. Done well, a business card keeps you connected with your prospects and brings you business.
However, not any old business card will do. You should spend time (and money) to get this little piece of marketing real estate done right. If someone picks up your business card from a pile of cards, it should be immediately obvious who you are and what you do. Following are some tips to make the most of your business cards.
Spend the money to get professional graphic design. You could do this as part of a letterhead and/or logo package, if you are just starting out. You aren’t like everybody else, so why have a non-customized card? Make sure to use your colors, logo and maybe even an image.
Print your cards professionally, on good paper stock. Nothing says unprofessional more than flimsy cards printed on your ink jet printer. There are many online, digital printers that will do your cards for a fraction of the price you would pay a traditional offset printer, while making them look spectacular.
Make the best use of the space you have. This means using the back of the card, perhaps to list your services, provide your bio, offer a discount code or even have a version of your card in a different language.
Include as much information as possible, thinking of what would be relevant to someone looking to do business with you.
Information that must be on the business card includes:
- Your name and title
- Organization or business name
- Email address
- Tagline and/or short description of what your organization does (if not obvious from the name)
Other items you may consider adding:
- Twitter handle
- LinkedIn information
- Testimonials from clients
- Skype information
Finally, a word about design: Some folks get uber creative with their business cards, and in some cases, that helps to bolster their brand or show off their design chops. However, weird card shapes may be a conversation starter or be more memorable, but they are less likely to fit in conventional card holders or card scanners. Keep that in mind. Same goes for the layout. I prefer a horizontal layout, since that is how most cards are read.
During the holidays and at the end of the year, it’s common for companies to send more email and make more special offers. But be careful with those subject lines! You want to be sure they are in compliance with the law (the CAN-SPAM Act). You also risk annoying your recipients.
As an example, I received an email solicitation from an area publication to which I subscribe. And from which I have bought advertising.
The subject line said “Thank you and a gift.”
I figured, okay, a little appreciation. Nice. I open the email. There is no gift offer. There is an offer of a discount, which is not that great actually, to subscribe for another year.
Was I annoyed? You bet. Where was my “gift?”
Does this sound innocent to you? Calling a discount a gift, well, why not? Just marketing speak, right? Well, sure. You can be cute with words in marketing for the holidays in a lot of advertising contexts, as long as you aren’t outright deceptive.
But when it comes to commercial email subject lines, the law is really clear about truth in advertising. Everyone who works in commercial email knows this now, but I’m sharing this with you, so you don’t make the same mistake.
Your subject line has to deal with the content of your message. Sure, it has to tempt the recipient to open it. BUT you have to deliver on what you promise in a subject line. For example, you cannot say in a subject line: Free cheeseburger coupon inside! and then when the reader opens it, the body of the email mentions the caveat: with the purchase of a drink and fries. Free offers — and all offers — mentioned in emai subject lines have to come with no strings attached.
A discount is not a “gift.” A gift is something that is offered for free, with no expectation of return. The subject line would have been in compliance if they had said “Special Holiday Discount for Subscription Renewals,” for example.
What is working for your holiday email marketing efforts?
- Tips to encourage a journalist to read your email (publicrelationssydney.com.au)
- Email Subject Lines (betterwritinginbusiness.com)
- The Ever Important Subject Liners, Mailer Must Do(s) and Can Spam Act (blogs4bytes.wordpress.com)
- Here’s What’s Working In Email Subject Lines (webpronews.com)
- How to create a memorable email marketing campaign (cashzilla.wordpress.com)