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Small Business Saturday Planner - How to Benefit from Small Business Saturday for 52 Weeks
The American Express Sponsored "Small Business Saturday" Event occurs on Nov 26, 2011. Businesses will benefit from the Event much longer - if they approach it like a Trade Show with a goal of engaging prospects for long term follow-up.
Every business hopes to achieve banner sales this Saturday - but, the reality is that many will not. This is especially true for businesses engaged in the sale of "big ticket" items. Similarly, some businesses simply do not fit into the concept of suddenly getting a large number of buyers - just because American Express has advertised the date as a day to patronize Small Businesses. All of the advertising for Small Business Saturday suggests that it is a day just for Retailers, however, Service Providers can take advantage of the American Express advertising as an excuse to contact and reconnect with prospects.
The smart play for most businesses is to leverage the date for what it is - a scheduled Event. Just as a marketing manager must plan for major trade shows, so to, small businesses should think of Small Business Saturday as a unique opportunity to 'connect' with customers and prospective customers. Smart businesses should focus on forging or strengthening relationships with both established customers and potential future customers. A key objective should be to acquire contact information from potential customers - so the business can follow-up with them, and nurture them as leads.
Here then is a Basic Small Business Saturday Planner for 52 Weeks of Value:
1. Set a Specific Goal for Small Business Saturday (make it realistic - like "develop a list or database of 50 good prospects" - with full contact information)
2. If you haven't already done so, review and tune up your Unique Value Proposition (or Unique Selling Position, or your elevator pitch.
3. Craft a marketing message around your Unique Selling Position that is tied to the Small Business Saturday Event. Then make it as compelling as possible - and give people a reason to want to connect with you or your business on Small Business Saturday. An example could be: "One Day Event Only - In Honor of Small Business Saturday we will be Offering a Special Deal on...".
4. Offer am inexpensive "Free Giveaway" of some kind for Small Business Saturday.
The Free Giveaway could be as simple as a 30 minute consultation, or report of some kind, or perhaps some kind of digital product, or entry into a Contest.
5. Be certain to require that visitors "register" for your Free Giveaway by exchanging their Contact Information...and make sure that their contact information includes a valid email address.
6. Consider setting up a kiosk or computer where people can "Like" you on Facebook.
Building your Facebook "likes" is even more powerful than traditional list building.
7. Implement an automated Lead Follow-up System, so all of the Contacts in your newly formed lead generation "database" hear from you on a regular basis.
For best results: Do NOT try to sell to your prospects or leads all of the time. A good rule of thumb is to offer them Free Valuable Content at least 4 times for each 1 time you try to "pitch" them on your products and services.
Finally, recognize that the effects of the Great Recession are still evident. Smart marketers know that it is most effective to engage cold-prospects with free offers (ideally valuable digital content - which could be "instantly downloadable"
About the Author:
Brock Allen is CMO at Boston Online Marketing.net, which just released a new program called "Get 100 Customers" - an entry level plan professional services plan for small businesses to acquire more customers in the shortest possible time. Details can be found at http://www.BostonOnlineMarketing.net.
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Boston Online Marketing provides Customer Acquisition focused SEO, Social Media Marketing and Lead Generation consulting services for Small Business. The company just released a new services called "Get 100 Customers" which is an entry-level plan to help companies get more customers by leveraging its services. The "Get 100 Customers" Professional Services program starts at $97. Full program information can be found at: http://www.BostonOnlineMarketing.net.