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Posted at 12:37 PM ET, 11/12/2012

A digital marketing guide to prepare for Small Business Saturday

Last year, American Express estimated that 103 million Americans shopped at a small business on Small Business Saturday. This is 15% higher than pre-Thanksgiving projections. With the year’s most popular local business shopping day less than a month away, it’s important to include digital media in your marketing mix.


Customers are expected to “shop small” on Nov. 24. But how do you lure them into your store, not your competitors’? (Sarah L. Voisin - Post)
To get the full exposure and awareness that your small business needs and deserves, here are some digital marketing tips to help you prepare for this year’s Small Business Saturday, coming up on Nov. 24.

1. Think social

With Facebook recently announcing 1 billion users online, their audience is too big to be dismissed. Whether setting up a Facebook page, organizing events or building a fan base, social media marketing plans for Small Business Saturday are a must. Consumers are already used to interacting with larger brands online, so small businesses need to get on board to maintain customer relationships and build new ones. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, each of them should be on your radar for your marketing checklist – and even better, they’re free.

2. Be found

As a small business owner, it’s important that your company is listed in all relevant online directories, maps, apps and popular Internet websites all year round, but especially for Small Business Saturday. In addition to being a popular shopping day for local businesses, many consumers regularly visit online directories while on-the-go, to find local shops or restaurants. You don’t want your business to be left out or even worse, lose that customer to a competitor.

3. Make sure consumers know who you are

Websites are a standard showcase for local businesses and they’re a great way for local customers to get a taste of your business, products and services. Remember a website requires key ingredients such as prominently placed local phone numbers, email addresses and a form for customers to reach your business. Having your hours, driving directions, address and a map are also critical. As the online storefront for your business, you should ensure your site is professionally designed before Small Business Saturday, complete with videos, slideshows and photos, as well as links to other online platforms where you have a presence.

4. Be mobile-enabled

Forty-five percent of Americans 18 years old and older now own smartphone devices, according to data from Pew Research, so don’t forget to ensure your small business Website looks great when viewed from a mobile device.

Heath Clarke is CEO and chairman of Local Corporation, a local media company that connects local merchants and online consumers via digital marketing products and services.

Follow Local Corporation and On Small Business on Twitter.

By Heath Clarke  |  12:37 PM ET, 11/12/2012

Tags:  small business, small business saturday, retail, economy

 
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