With every upcoming holiday season, it becomes a greater struggle for the little guys to compete with the big leaguers. Black Friday and Cyber Monday (November 24 and 27) are approaching fast, and big-box retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and Target are already making a lot of noise in the marketplace, rolling out eye-catching markdowns and crazy-good marketing campaigns. We give you marketing advice because consumers are expecting deals and we want you to compete. Yet, there is an inside track that gives you, specifically, a chance to attract a different kind of shopper - one that actively supports small businesses. Small Business Saturday tends to get overlooked and you, as a small business (online store) owner, can and should use the day to your advantage. Shopping small is shopping local. A few years back, to help small businesses during the epic shopping weekend, American Express created Small Business Saturday. Every year, the Saturday after Thanksgiving (this year - November 25) encourages people to shop at their local ma and pa shops on main street. It’s become a relaxed, small(ish), and independent shopping alternative for shoppers. Compared to Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday is considered super chill, yet it rakes in some serious spending - in 2016, sales were expected to top $17 billion. We know, right? What a lot of people get wrong is that Small Biz Saturday isn’t only for the brick and mortar shops, but also for ecommerce stores like yours. As a small business owner, you’re automatically part of the movement so don’t pass up this opportunity to both connect with your community and showcase your online store. In this post, we give you quick last minute tips to make this Saturday work for you. Tip #1 - Use Shop Small in your marketing. Even though it’s the main event, Small Biz Saturday is part of a bigger initiative. Shop Small is a nationwide movement with a recognizable brand that celebrates small businesses every day. The Shop Small badge is a fail-safe brand element so use it in your marketing to let your community know that you’re taking part. Download their freebies and use them for your website, popups, and social media. You can also make free custom Shop Small designs to align them better with your brand across your storefront, social media, and email marketing. We also suggest you explore their FAQs. Remember: Use #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat in your social media. Tip #2 - Send the right message with your story. This Saturday, the advantage that you have as a smaller brand is that you’re the underdog, the David in the tale of David and Goliath. Your unique selling point is that you offer one-of-a-kind products with a story. That is how you stand out from the big-box retailers and that is what you should bring attention to. Match and group a few select products for Small Biz Saturday and update your product descriptions to tell a story. Not only will this add more personality and a human touch to your brand, but a carefully curated selection of items and gifts will simplify the buying decision for your customers. So get creative! Bando matches products based on categories strangers and friends. Strangers Friends Odd Pears kills it with their product descriptions. We love! Tip #3 - Find the right value for your deals. Offering incentives such as flash sales and discounts are a true and tested strategy for this shopping weekend to attract people to your online store. The tricky part can be to figure out what kind of a discount you as a business can afford. So how do you do it? Review your cost of goods sold, gross profit, and gross margin. Also, check what your competitors are offering. Once you know this, you’ll be able to find an offer that motivates your customers. What you should also consider is whether you’re targeting new or existing customers. You should always be offering your existing customers a reason to come back. If it’s new customers you’re trying to attract, a larger discount usually does the trick. And here comes the really important part - be ready with a second incentive that you will follow-up with once the first purchase has been made. The second deal can be a deal-breaker to get them onboard for the long haul. Remember: Send a pre-campaign to your email list ahead of time about when sales will start. Then promote your deals on your website and social media. Tip #4 - Boost your sales with ads. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get more eyeballs to your store. Facebook advertising is a great way to get more bang for your buck. So advertise your deals, set your budget, monitor results and target your advertising narrowly to people within your local community. How To Advertise On Facebook This Holiday Season walks you through the how-to of targeting ads, running campaigns, and creating visuals and copy that converts. Pair your Facebook ads with a strong presence on Instagram and you’ll have a one-two punch. Why Instagram? It’s a perfect storytelling platform specifically for visual products that allows you to build deeper relationships with your customers. If you haven’t already, get familiar with Instagram’s newest features and try out a story or two. Tools: We’re fans of designing in Canva and AdParlor is great for ad mockups. No time like the present. So there you have it, our last minute guide. To stand out from the bigger fish, leverage Small Biz Saturday and join the Shop Small community, tell your story, figure out deals that won’t make you go in the red, and advertize them to your local community. To make this Saturday a great day for everyone, drop by your local coffee shop or get that bagel from the new place just around the corner. One last thing. If you’re looking for last minute Black Friday or Cyber Monday resources, check out our Holiday Marketing Guide 2018. It’s packed with facts, examples, and freebies you can use for your store, including social media visuals, email marketing templates, and much much more. Now go make your mark!