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Small Business Saturday

Get ready for Small Business Saturday

10 things to make your Small Business Saturday go with a bang!

With Small Business Saturday just around the corner, the team approached me to ask for my tips to make sure you have a fabulous day. Even though you may not think so, there is still time for you to get involved, enjoy the day and pick up a little extra business along the way.
I’ve put together my 10 tips on how you can achieve that and have your day go with a bang. Read them, and then print off the handy infographic as a checklist!

1. The Small Business Saturday marketing pack

If you haven’t got your marketing pack yet, what are you waiting for? The team at Small Business Saturday put together a pack to help you promote you’re taking part. The best thing is – it’s free! So, head over to the Small Business Saturday website and download your pack now. Then, tell all your small business friends about it. They’ll thank you for it!

2. A kick-ass offer

A good offer will go a long way to get people into your business or on your website to spend money with you. You still have time to work out what you want to do. If you’re struggling with what that is, read this blog post. Don’t panic, just work through it systematically.

3. A promotional plan

Once you’ve worked out an offer, you need a plan to promote it. Don’t worry, it needn’t be hugely complicated. Remember two things: tell your email list and plan your social media to reach new people. Read this blog post for advice on a simple promotional schedule.

4. Automate – set it and forget it

You’re going to be plenty busy on 2 December, so don’t add the extra pressure of doing your marketing. Get as much out of the way as possible with automation. Schedule your emails and social media posts in advance and that stress will disappear. Read this post to learn more about email automation.

5. A way to collect email addresses

This is really important. The reason? You want to be able to keep in touch with every new customer, regardless of whether you have a shop or are an online business. Capturing email addresses is a great way to do that. So, make sure you’re prepared by having a clipboard and a form by your till if you have a shop. If you’re online only, have a box on every page of your website. Read this post for more ways to grow your email list.

Getting ready for Small Business Saturday

6. A working website

It doesn’t matter whether your business has a physical presence or is online only. You need to make sure your website is working before the day arrives. You need to give people every chance to find you, learn more about you and buy from you. So, test everything’s working properly before the big day.

7. Your smartphone

This is going to be your best friend on the day because you will want to capture the day in photos or on video. Make sure all the social media networks you used are loaded on to your phone as an app. This will let you quickly post any updates that you want to share on the fly. Remember to fully charge your phone overnight and keep your charger with you all day.

8. Comfy shoes

This might sound obvious or even a little bit weird. Having done more tradeshows than I care to remember in my career, I can’t tell you how important it is to look after your feet. Whether you’re in your shop, at an event or out and about shopping, comfy shoes go a long way. Don’t be tempted to try that new pair you bought, even if they are flat. Rely on the old, tried and tested shoes so your feet last the distance.

9. Plenty of water

Stay focused and full of energy all day by staying hydrated. Again, this is one of the best tips I learned doing tradeshows. Your body will thank you for it because you’ll be alert, be able to provide stellar customer service and show customers you’re the business they want to work with. The same goes if you’re attending an event. Stay on top of your game by staying hydrated.

10. Sleep

I know it’s in our nature to work all the hours we can. This is like any other event you might go to. If you’re married, think back to the advice you were given for the night before your wedding. The biggest piece of advice I received was to get plenty of sleep the night before. And it stood me in good stead. This is no different. You’ll expend huge amounts of energy, and maybe even have to do the same the next day, so give your body every chance of getting you there.

I hope you have a fabulous Small Business Saturday. I’ll be following the hashtag on the day, so if you post on social media, remember to include #SmallBizSatUK and I’ll be able to see what you’re doing!

Want to know what you should be doing after Small Business Saturday is over? Head over to my Facebook Page and Like it. All the goodies will be there next week!

Small Business Saturday marketing tips

Why Small Business Saturday isn’t over for you just yet

Small Business Saturday may have come and gone, but it’s not quite over for you. If you’ve moved on, STOP!

You still need to work out how well your offer did. Many small business owners I know often miss this step. Whether you achieved your goal or missed it, this last step is vital to ensure your time and money is spent wisely on future marketing activities.

Revisit your goal

Remember when you were setting up your offer, I told you that you needed a quantifiable goal? This was to give you a target to aim for, but also to help you understand, at the end of your campaign, whether you achieved it. So, the first thing you need to do is check how you did against your goal. Here’s a reminder of some goals you might have used:

  • Bring in 20 new customers.
  • Increase sales by 20%.
  • Increase repeat business by 15%
  • 20 attendees at networking event

Now, whether you hit your target, exceeded it or fell short, you need to know why so you can understand what worked and what you need to fix. This will help you to repeat the success you had or help you reach your target next time. To do this you need to look at all the marketing activities you did and figure out how well they worked.

If you followed my 3-step plan, you will have used email marketing and social media to promote your offer. Now is the time to look back at these and measure how they did. So, let’s go through how to do this.


If you used an email tool (like Constant Contact), and you should be, then now’s the time to start going over your reports. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Look at all the open rates. This is how many people opened your emails, which will tell you which of your emails was the most popular. Why do you need to know this? Well, when you know which email was opened the most, it tells you which subject line worked. That, in turn, tells you the type of subject lines you should use in future emails, so they are opened.

Pro tip: there’s a reason you should care about the subject line. It’s called the 222 rule, and it’s going to help you write great subject lines.

You have 2 seconds to make an impact to make sure your reader reads the first 2 words of your subject line and carry on reading the rest, so they open your email (2)today.

  1. Check your click rates. This is how many people clicked on the links you included in your emails, which will tell you what your readers liked reading about the most. Why do you need to know this? Understanding what your readers like will help you give them more of that content. The more content they get that they like reading, the more engaged they will be with your newsletter.

Pro tip: keep a list of the types of content that go down well with your readers and recycle them into blog posts, infographics, video tips or other formats.

Social media

Most of the social media platforms have built-in analytics tools. These are good enough to help you understand the impact of your social media efforts. Look at all your posts on your social media channels. Again, you’re looking for the best-performing ones. Which ones got the most likes, shares or comments? What’s this going to tell you? Actually, it’s two things. The first is the content that performed the best. The second thing is the post format that performed the best – was it an image, a video or a word-only post?

Pro tip: pay attention to the ‘reach’ figure in your analytics. This tells you which posts have been seen by your fans’ wider networks.

Now that you have the above information, you can look at what led people to take up your offer. Which email led to a purchase? Which Facebook post led to an event registration? Each metric will help you understand the bits of your campaign that led a person to action and helped you achieve your target. It will also show you what didn’t work as well so you can figure out how to change it or decide not to do it again.

Remember, this last step is important and will help you improve your future campaigns, so don’t skip it!

If want to talk about an aspect of your campaign that didn’t work, book a free 30-minute call with me to talk it through.

Downing Street

How a shopkeeper’s daughter made it to Downing Street

Small business has been part of my life from childhood. My family moved to the UK in 1972 from Uganda. At the age of 3, everything I knew changed, as we were told to leave our home within a matter of weeks. On arriving in the UK, my dad decided he wanted to live in Northern England and made the decision live away from his extended family – and my mum, sister and me. He worked hard and saved enough money for a house and finally my mum, sister and I moved to live with him. We were a family once again.

But it soon became apparent that my mum wouldn’t be able to work because the cost of child care was too prohibitive. Yes, even in those days! So, my parents decided to buy a business, meaning my parents had two full-time jobs; three if you count my mum looking after my sister and me.

From then onwards, my parents have had or worked in small shops. Some on a corner, some not!

What does this have to do with me going to Downing Street (yes, I am that daughter!) Fast forward nearly 44 years. Because this year, I decided to set up my own business. Yes, it was scary. Yes, it was exciting. And yes, it’s still both those things.

Small business is big news

Did you know that last year 608,100 businesses* were started in the UK? Or that there are more than 5 million small businesses in total? For me, that’s a staggering number and some of those are bound to be my competitors, so I knew I had to be serious about promoting myself from the very beginning.

When Small Business Saturday opened the applications for its Small Business 100, I got cracking. Now, owning your own business takes you waaaay out of your comfort zone. I had to make a video as part of my application. Me. A video. 13 takes later, I had something that I was pretty happy to submit (if I’m honest, I’d run out of steam by that point and the shut-off point for applications was looming.)

In August, I got the news that I’d made it on to the list of 100 businesses that Small Business Saturday promotes and champions in the 100 days leading up to Small Business Saturday. It was the most exciting day ever. Well, after my wedding day, that is! My husband and I were jumping up and down in my kitchen. From that moment, I knew had to squeeze every little bit out of this thing that I could. (Makes me sound like I’m horrible; I promise I’m not!) I threw away my marketing plan for the rest of the year – metaphorically, I still have it and it will see the light of day at some point. I then set about creating a campaign plan for Small Business Saturday.

Downing Street

More exciting than going to Downing Street

Here are some of the highlights of results so far:

  • 99 registrations to my webinar (my first one ever!)
  • An additional 98 email addresses added to my mailing list (and counting)
  • 36 entries in a competition to win 6 months of marketing mentoring from me
  • 36 new Likes on my Facebook Page on my Small Business 100 day (29 November)
  • A 412% increase in reach on my Facebook Page between 25 November and 1 December
  • A 157% increase in mentions on Twitter between 28 November and 1 December

Heading to Downing Street

So, what does all of this have to do with me getting to 10 Downing Street, you might ask. It’s simple, along with the great things I described above, applying for the Small Business 100 meant I was invited to a reception at 10 Downing Street. Something I could never have achieved on my own in the first year of business.

Downing Street

The second most exciting day of my life

Since people found out I went there, they’ve wanted to know what it’s like inside. It’s so immense, it could be the Tardis! I saw the bannister that Hugh Grant slides down in Love Actually, not to mention all the photos of former Prime Ministers. The room the reception was in had views of St James’ Park and it was genuinely jaw-dropping beautiful. There was so much art, I can’t even begin to tell you about the pieces I saw.

What did I do there? Well, I got to meet many of the other Small Business 100. Like Sugar Button Cakes, Etie’no Skincare, Askew Brook, Sam Loves Copy, Ben Towers (who’s only 18!) and many more. We heard from the Small Business Minister, Margot James and from Michelle Ovens, Director of Small Business Saturday. And we all had our photos outside that famous door. Did you know it only opens from the inside?

When I started my business (only at the end of March this year) I never dreamt I would be walking through number 10 Downing Street less than 9 months later. I’ve come a long way from being that shopkeeper’s daughter. But the hours, days, months and years of my parents’ hard work showed me that working hard for what you want is the ingredient you need most to succeed. So, now I’m off to do some more work! But while you digest all of this, think about what you’re going to do to support small businesses in your area. Do it on Small Business Saturday especially, but keep on doing it – that’s the important bit.

If you want help with your marketing (that’s what I do, in case you missed it) sign up for my weekly marketing tips.

*From Companies House

Small Business Saturday marketing tips

How to keep customers coming back after Small Business Saturday

You planned your offer, you promoted it, and when Small Business Saturday is over, you’re probably going to be thinking “what now?” Well, your work on your offer isn’t over just yet; there’s a bit more to be done! Now’s the time to consolidate all your hard work and make sure all those new customers you got keep coming back. The next step in your Small Business Saturday campaign is to turn your new customers into loyal ones who will buy from you again and again. But you need to give them a reason to. I’m going to take you through the two things you need to do to make sure that happens.

A simple thank you goes a long way

Remember when we talked about promoting your offer? One of the things I recommended you do was create a ‘thank you’ email to send to everyone who took up your offer. Well, now’s the time to get that out to everyone who came into your business or onto your website and bought something. We all love getting thank you notes, so why not send one to these customers?

Whilst you’re thanking your customers, how about giving them something to encourage them to buy from you again? It doesn’t have to be a discount. Here are some ideas:

  • A small gift with purchase.
  • Priority access to an event.
  • A free ‘how to’ guide.
  • A free telephone consultation
  • Invitation to a customer-only preview evening.
  • Access to a members-only part of your website.
  • Free delivery for orders over a certain amount.

As with setting your objectives for your original offer, try to think about what your customers would love to get. If you researched this with existing customers, put that knowledge to good use now. What they told you is invaluable to finding the right bonus offer to put in your ‘thank you’ email.

Read their minds

Impossible, I know! What’s the next best thing to reading your customers’ minds? Asking them. Now you have added to your customer base, it’s time to understand why they bought from you. People value being asked about what they think, and your customers are no different. So, work out the questions you want them to answer. Remember to make the questions about them – what they like hearing about in your newsletters, how often they want to hear from you, what would they like to buy from you? All the responses you get will help you develop your business, whether it’s how you communicate with your customers, or how you develop your products and services. What you do because of the survey responses will impact your business positively, and because it’s what your customers have asked for, they’ll buy from you more, open your newsletters more often, and, most importantly, recommend your business.

If you’re thinking it might not work, I did just this for one of my clients. They were sending two emails a week to their entire list. I put together a survey which asked for their feedback on the frequency of the emails and the content. The majority wanted one email a week with promotions being the most asked for content. The next email went out with what they had asked. I also split their list up to make the emails more personalised for the recipients. The amount people spent in the first month after these changes increased by £7,000!

By doing these two things, you’ll build on the success of your Small Business Saturday offer. It will help you develop strong relationships with your new customers, as well as understand their motivations for buying from you. In turn, your business will become stronger and more successful.

You don’t have to limit my three-step plan for putting together an offer to Small Business Saturday. It will work for any offer you want to run, so download your free copy today.

Small business Saturday

The insider’s guide to a stress-free Small Business Saturday

Getting ready for Small Business Saturday needs a bit of planning. You want everything to run smoothly on the day, and enjoy it. So, you need to spend some time thinking about how to maximise having all those people come into your shop or on to your website. From practicalities to things to make sure it’s a fun day for everyone, put some time aside to think about what you’ll need. Here’s my list, but I’m sure you’ll think of loads more once you get started.

Have an email sign-up form ready

If you have a shop, then you definitely need an email sign-up form at the till. This is the perfect opportunity for you to add to your email list. Of course, you’ll have a mix of new and current customers through your door. You want to make sure each and every one of them joins your email list.

A simple, paper form will work, but if you want to save time, use a free app, like the one Constant Contact provides. I love this because I can add someone automatically to the list of my choice right from my smartphone. Boom! There they are on my mailing list, and even have my welcome email in their inbox shortly afterwards.

If you’re not sure about collecting email addresses, there’s one important reason why you should. Once you have people’s email addresses, you can make sure you keep them up to date with all the news about your business, including any new offers, so they keep coming back to shop with you.

Tip: make sure you tell people the value they will get from joining your mailing list. There has to be a reason for them to give you their email address.

Make sure your website is in tip-top shape

If you’re an online business, you need to make sure your Small Business Saturday offer is front and centre on your website. If you can, have a big splash on your home page with a punchy headline. Link this to the page where people can find out more about your offer and buy/download/register, or whatever action you want them to complete. Remember that your website is your shop window, so make the most of it.

Capturing people’s email addresses is equally as important for you. You also want to make sure that you’ll be able to communicate with visitors once they have left your website. So, here’s the thing you need to do: make sure your email sign-up box is visible on every single page of your website. This may seem a bit excessive, but you have to remember that you have no idea which page people will move on to from your offer page, so give them every chance to join your mailing list.

If people will be buying right from your website, give them the option to join your mailing list at the checkout. This will likely be the last page they’ll visit if they’ve decided to buy, so don’t miss getting their details. Make it stand out so people can’t miss seeing it. You also need to give people an idea of why they might want to join your mailing list, so remember to tell them what’s in it for them.

Tip: you can use pop-ups on your website to collect email addresses too. The trick is to make what you’re offering in return valuable.

Are you stocked up?

Whether your offer will be available in a shop or online, you need to make sure you have enough of it. This is your chance to have a fantastic Small Business Saturday, and if you’ve followed the first two steps in my three-step plan, you’ll have done a great job creating and promoting your offer. So, don’t fall at the final hurdle by running out of stock early on. Work out what you will need and make sure you have enough.

Tip: if you do run out of stock know what you’ll say or do, and make sure you tell your staff what they need to say.

Flash, bang, wallop what a photograph!

If you have a smartphone, then this is easy. If the camera on your phone isn’t great, or you don’t have one, make sure you have a camera. Small Business Saturday is the perfect opportunity for you to capture what’s happened during the day. And it works just as well for people with shops or online businesses.

For those who have a physical shop, make sure you take pictures of people in your shop browsing and paying for what they’re buying. Get a few shots of people signing up to receive your emails. If you have a team, make sure you get snaps of them serving customers.

If you run an online business, make sure you take pictures of yourself at your computer, watching the sales come in on your website. You might be working on other things too, may something you want to build excitement for. Capture all the things you want people to see.

After Small Business Saturday is over, look through your photos and pick the best ones to share with your audiences on social media. Create an album on your Facebook Page, or create a collage you can share on other social media channels.

Tip: when posting on social media, ask people to tag themselves in your photos. It will make your photos visible to your followers’ friends.

Flash that smile

This is perhaps the simplest, but most impactful thing you’ll need. A smile goes a long way to showing people you’re approachable, and you’re having fun. Smiles are infectious – you’ll be surprised at how much more enjoyable your day will be with a smile on your face. And, your photos will look great too!

Tip: No tip here, just enjoy yourself and the smiles will come naturally!

Remember to get all the things you need for Small Business Saturday ready well in advance. That will mean you can spend time making sure everything runs smoothly, safe in the knowledge that the rest will take care of itself.

If you haven’t started thinking about your offer yet, download my free guide to get started today!

Small Business Saturday marketing tips

5 things you absolutely need to promote your Small Business Saturday offer

When you decide to create a Small Business Saturday offer, or any other type of offer, for your business, a really important part is to work out how to promote it. Let’s face it, if you don’t tell people about your fantastic offer, how will they take it up? So, spending some time up front on working out your promotional plan will pay dividends later on. I think there are 5 things that you absolutely need to promote your offer, and I’m going to take you through each one, telling you why it’s so important.

1.  A small business marketing platform

First of all, you need a great small business marketing platform. This will let you do a number of things, such as create promotional emails. Email marketing helps you reach your existing customers to let them know about your offer. Because who doesn’t want repeat business from their customers? They already know you and like what you do, and will see the offer as a lovely surprise from you. You never know, your emails may prompt them to buy more than just what’s covered by the offer. So, now you can see why it’s important to have a small business marketing platform that helps you to create professional looking emails.

Your email schedule doesn’t have to be complicated either. Let’s look at this simple three-email series.

Small Business Saturday marketing tips

With your first email, you’re telling your email list that you have a special offer that you don’t want them to miss out on.

The second email is a reminder. Send this just before your offer ends and let your email list know that your offer is coming to a close.

The third email is a thank you for all those who used your offer and shopped with you.

With a simple email plan, like this, you can very easily communicate your offer to your existing customers.

2.  Social media

Where email marketing is going to help you tell your existing customers about your offer, social media is going to help you spread the word to your prospects. That’s people who aren’t your customers, but could be. So, sharing your offer on social media will help you to reach potential new customers.

Again, you don’t have to have a massively complex posting schedule. Nor do you have to use all the social media channels. Figure out where most of your customers hang out and then use that social media channel to promote your offer. As with your email schedule, you might have a simple, three-post social media schedule.

Small Business Saturday marketing tips

Remember that social media is just that – social. So, take the time to interact with your followers so they will be more willing to share your content, making it visible to their friends and family. This is how you’re going to reach new, potential customers.

3.  Design skills

OK, you don’t really need outstanding design skills. But if you can’t afford the services of a graphic designer, you do need basic design skills. This is going to help you stand out in people’s inboxes (your newsletter) and on social media, where most social networks prioritise images over lots of text. So, brush up on those skills.

There are lots of great tools out there to help you. I love Canva and PicMonkey. They help me design graphics for my emails, social media, and my blog. Canva even has lots of free templates that you can use and adapt.

The other thing to do is think about the graphics you will need and get them done now. If they’re ready, you’ll be able to use them in an instant when you’re busy. Believe me, preparing your graphics will make it all so much easier.

4.  Automation

Here’s the clever bit. If you’ve figured out your offer, worked out your promotional plan, then you have everything you need to get things done in advance. Every email tool has a feature that will allow you to schedule emails ahead of time. Use this feature to get your emails set up and scheduled before you get too busy.

The same goes for social media. There are many posting platforms that let you schedule you social media posts in advance. Twitter and Facebook even have their own built-in scheduling tools. My preference is Hootsuite or Buffer. Having all your social media scheduled in advance means you won’t be worrying about promoting your offer on the day. It gets done automatically and you can focus on your customers.

5.  A plan

I love it when a plan comes together (I may be showing my age here!) But Hannibal never spoke a truer word! The final thing you’ll need is a plan so you don’t have to think about what you have to do. Make sure it’s all plotted out for you in a calendar, so all you have to do is the doing! I can guarantee that this will save you loads of time, leaving you free to promote your offer effectively.

I hope you feel more confident about putting together your promotional plan. The beauty of it is that this doesn’t just work for Small Business Saturday, it will work for any other offer you decide to do for your business.

I’ve taken you through step 2 of my 3-step plan to Small Business Saturday success. If you want to know what the other 2 steps are, download my free guide!

small business saturday marketing tips

Creating a Small Business Saturday offer in 3 easy steps

So, you’ve decided you need an offer for Small Business Saturday. I’m so glad you’re going to get involved this year. Figuring out what would make a good offer can be a bit mind-boggling, especially as you’re already busy. Well, you don’t have to worry about a thing. I’m going to take the pressure off you by helping you! Here’s a step-by-step process you can follow to create an offer that will work for your business.

First thing’s, first. What’s your goal?

Whenever you create an offer, you need to start with an end goal in mind. What do you want your offer to achieve for your business? Is it:

  • Finding new customers?
  • Encouraging repeat business from new customers or customer loyalty?
  • Persuading donors or advocates to give to your cause or spread the word?
  • Or growing your membership numbers?

Pick one goal and settle on that. For example, if you’re an e-commerce business selling, say retro sweets, your goal may be to increase the number of customers you have. On the other hand, if you’re a marketing consultant, like me, and you only want to work with a few clients at a time, your goal might be customer loyalty, i.e. selling more services to, or keeping your existing customers.

Once you’ve decided what your goal is, the next thing you need to do is attach a target to it. By adding a number to your goal, you really know what you’re aiming for. Because without a target, how will you know whether you’ve been successful or not? Simply saying “I want more customers” won’t cut it. How will you know when you’ve achieved “more customers”?

If you don’t believe, they won’t either

The next thing you have to work out is what your value is. By that, I mean why would people buy from you? What makes you different from your competitors? There are lots of businesses out there, so just what makes yours unique?

Next, think about the products and services you provide. How do they benefit the people you want to sell to? How would they make life easier for your potential customers? You’ll need to have this figured out so you can communicate it in your offer. Let’s go back to the online retro sweet shop. A benefit of using them might be that they offer free postage and packaging for orders over £20. Or they might provide a free gift-wrap service. It’s likely that if you’re ordering for a friend, it’s a present and wouldn’t it save you a lot of hassle if your order could arrive with your friend, wrapped and with a message?

If you’re struggling with answering these questions, pick a couple of your really good customers and ask them. You’ll be surprised at how willing they are to help. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what they value about working with you and the benefits your products or services provide. This will give you a real insight that you can use to shape your offer.

Time to get creative!

Armed with the above information, you’re ready to create your offer. Here are the main types of offers you can use:

  • Discounts like buy one, get one free, or a straight percentage off.
  • Downloadable content such as a guide or an ebook.
  • Event-led promotions such as early-bird tickets or buy one, bring a friend for free.
  • B2B services where you offer your expertise, for example by hosting a webinar.
  • Hints & tips to support a product or service you sell, for example, a free nutrition chart when booking personal training sessions.
  • Support a cause by giving exclusive access to an event for people who donate.

Because you did some thinking before you got to this stage, figuring out what people will love will be easy. Again, if you are worried whether your offer will work, test it out on a couple of your best customers. Ask them for feedback, which I guarantee you’ll get. Then give them a small present as a thank you for helping.

And there you have it. You know now how to create the perfect offer just for your business. But don’t leave it too late, Small Business Saturday will be here before you know it, so get cracking today!

I’ve just shared step 1 of my 3-step plan for a success Small Business Saturday with you. If you want to know what the other 2 steps are, download my free guide!

small business marketing tips

Help! Small Business Saturday doesn’t work for my boring, old business

Yep, I can hear it up and down the country. Lots of businesses, who sell to other businesses (B2Bs) bemoaning the fact that Small Business Saturday just isn’t for them. After all, you’re not an exciting 70s and 80s soul, funk and disco night for the over 40s, like Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet. Or a creative business like The Chocolate Cellar. Or even a fun retailer like Boo’s Toy Shop.

Guess what? My business is not one of the ones I mentioned, but I think it is exciting, fun and creative. What’s more, your business is too, and you can be every bit as involved in Small Business Saturday as the businesses I’ve mentioned. Here’s how.

Partner up

Have you thought about teaming up with other businesses in your area? Running your own business can be lonely and getting together with other businesses helps generate ideas. Easy for you to say, you’re thinking.

Well, I did just that. I met up with Fifth Dimension Chocolates to talk about how we could raise awareness of Small Business Saturday in Hillingdon. We decided that we needed to do something.

Small Business Saturday marketing tips

Catching up with Albert of Fifth Dimension Chocolates

Out of that meeting came Hillingdon Small Business. We’re on Twitter (@Hillingdon_Biz) sharing advice, tips and generally helping other small businesses in our borough.

Here’s the thing, though. We’re hoping to ramp it up enough to build a strong group that meets regularly, in person and online, to support one another. And if we come up with an idea for Small Business Saturday together, we all benefit.

Show your expertise

There are lots of businesses that would benefit from your expertise. Think about what you offer and how you can package that up so that other businesses can learn from you. What does that ‘package’ look like? Here are some ideas.

  • If you’re an IT company, you could create a step-by-step guide about how businesses can avoid cyber threats. Only people who book a consultancy with you receive the guide.
  • If you’re a web design service, like Askew Brooke, you might offer a free website health check to the first 10 people who fill in a form on your website.
  • If you’re a marketing company (like me – shameless plug) you might offer a free webinar about how to get ready for Small Business Saturday.

There are lots of things you can do to show off your expertise; you just have to find the right way for your business, plus a creative way to promote it. Which brings me to my next point.

Get creative

I know, I know. You don’t have the time. I disagree. B2Bs need to find a way to stand out, and that means you need to get your thinking cap on. Step out from behind the company persona and think about what makes you unique. Whatever you decide to do, it needs to fit with your brand personality and how you want to be perceived. You also have to be comfortable with it.

However, sometimes it’s good to step out of that comfort zone that everyone talks about. Here’s me doing it. If I can, you can too!

Find out what’s going on

You may think that it’s too late for you to plan your own offer this year (it isn’t, read my blog post on why you’ll be missing out if you don’t take part), but there are still things you can do.

Look out for events that are being run in your local area. What do YOU need help with to run your

Small Business Saturday marketing tips

Buying my mini Christmas tree from Uxbridge Flowers

business? Are there any seminars or workshops that you can attend? Yes, it’s a Saturday, but it’s also the opportunity to work ON your business rather than IN it.

The other thing you can do is support local, small business. Every year, I head out on Small Business Saturday to buy my Christmas tree from Uxbridge Flowers. I’ll take time to wander around the stall holders in the Pavillions Shopping Centre looking for Christmas presents. I also try to eat out at an independent restaurant.

Throughout the day, I ask business owners I buy from for a photo with me (if they agree – most do) and post on Twitter and Instagram. I use #SmallBizSatUK and the kind folks over at Small Business Saturday share my posts. So, get involved in what’s going on in your local area and plan what you’ll do for next year.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas about how your B2B can get involved in Small Business Saturday. It’s not too late to start. If you want to know how to set up and promote an offer, download my free guide.

small business saturday marketing tips

5 ways online businesses can get ready for Small Business Saturday

If you run your business online, you may be thinking that you can’t take part in Small Business Saturday. Well, you can, and I’m going to tell you five things you need to do to get ready for the big day. Make sure you put 2 December on your calendar; that’s when Small Business Saturday is.

Right, now on to how you can get your online business ready.

  1. Build an offer page for your website

Think about actual shops you’ve seen. Where do they advertise their offers? In their windows. Your website is your shopfront, so you need to advertise your offer there. Create a special landing page for your offer. Tell visitors the benefits of the product you’re offering and make sure you have great photos on the page. Whatever your offer is, money off, a free gift with purchase, should be front and centre – think about the size of the text along with the colour, so it stands out. Make sure you have a banner on your homepage that links directly to your offer page. It needs to be easy to find.

  1. Create a special email template

You want your offer to stand out, so create a special template to tell your email list about it. As with your offer page, think about how to layout the template so that it shows off the product you’re offering and tells readers clearly what the offer is. Remember to use the same colours as you do in your existing email template. It’s important that your brand is still recognisable by your readers. Also remember to think carefully about your subject line when writing your emails. Make them enticing enough so that people want to open them. You can schedule your emails in advance so do it before you get really busy.

  1. Design images and videos for social media

Small Business Saturday is all about getting existing AND new customers to your website. Using social media is a great way to promote your offer. Research has shown that posts with images and videos perform better on all the major social networks. Getting all these things ready up front will mean you can concentrate responding to any queries on the day. Use these tools to help you:

Video: your smartphone will do the trick. It doesn’t need to be hugely fancy, but if you do have some budget, spend it here. Make the videos generic enough that you can reuse them.

Images: I use Canva or PicMonkey to create images for social media posts and my blog. Both are easy to use and they have free options.

Scheduling tools: take the pressure off yourself and schedule your social media posts in advance. You can do this for all networks, except Instagram. Hootsuite and Buffer are the two most used ones.

  1. Download the marketing pack from the Small Business Saturday website

The team at Small Business Saturday has put together a marketing pack for all small businesses to use. It’s free to download from their website and contains logos and posters you can use. Think about all the places you can use these materials to boost your participation. I don’t have a physical location either, but am using banners on my website and plan to print off the poster and display it in a window at home. Every little bit of promotion helps get the message about Small Business Saturday out there, and it tells people you’re involved.

  1. Plan your follow-up

With the right offer and promotion plan, you’ll get people to our website and buying. But you need a plan for how you will follow up with each of them. This is your chance to keep everyone who bought from you to keep coming back. So, have an idea of how you will do that beforehand. Think about what you need to follow up with people – will you give them a coupon to use in January, will you invite them to a webinar? Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have everything in place to send out as soon as possible after 2 December.

So, now you know the things you need to do to plan for Small Business Saturday. All you have to decide what your offer will be.

If you need some help planning your offer, download my free guide.

small business saturday marketing tips

Why you’re missing out if you don’t take part in Small Business Saturday

You’re a small business owner, or you know someone who is. You want your/your friend’s/your sister’s/your husband’s business to thrive, don’t you? Of course, you do, and that’s the reason why you need to know about Small Business Saturday.

What’s all the fuss about?

I like to think of Small Business Saturday as one BIG day for SMALL business. But it’s so much more than that. There is a very hard-working team behind the day, who work behind the scenes to make Small Business Saturday a success. I know – they’re helping me, and thousands of other small businesses.

That’s why you need to sit up and take notice of this day – this year it’s Saturday 2 December. Put it in your diary now, because you’re going to take part this year, and I’m going to help you! Whether you’re a small business owner or someone who wants to support small businesses, there are things you can do to take part.

Before we move on to how I’ll help small businesses, let’s take a look at what you can do if you want to show your support for the millions of small business owners in the UK.

I don’t own a small business. What can I do?

Great question! The answer is to support small businesses in your area. Whether it’s a shop, an online business or consulting services. Every time you buy something from a small business, you’re not only helping your local economy, but you’re directly helping someone earn a living.

I know it’s not always convenient to use small businesses – we’re all busy people and sometimes ordering your weekly shop online from a supermarket saves you time. But what about the emergency pint of milk? I bet your local shop would be grateful for that business and more.

So, why not make a pledge to help make this year’s Small Business Saturday the biggest yet? You have Christmas shopping to do, so make 2 December the day you do it – all in small, independent businesses that will almost always give you a more personal service. Even if you don’t set foot outside your front door, I bet you can still buy all your presents online without ever going to the big boys. Go on, do it! If you’re struggling to think of small businesses you can shop at, then use the Small Business Finder. It’s a handy tool from Small Business Saturday and does exactly what it says on the tin!

And for every small business you shop in, spread the love on social media with photos and by tagging the business, using the hashtag #SmallBizSatUK. You’ll feel warm and fuzzy at helping a small business and the hashtag will trend at number one on Twitter, just like last year!

I’m a small business owner. How can you help me?

That’s easy – I’m going to help you build your offer, promote it and use the day to build on your success. Sound good? All you need to do is join me in whatever way works for you. I’ll be sharing my tips for a successful Small Business Saturday in the following ways:

Small Business Saturday marketing tipsSign up to join other small businesses just like yours who receive my weekly marketing tips.



Small Business Saturday marketing tipsLike my Facebook Page for daily tips to help with your marketing.



Small Business Saturday marketing tipsFollow me on Twitter and join over 1200 other businesses who tune in for marketing tips.



Small Business Saturday marketing tips  Find out how to create a kick-ass promotion in my free webinar. Register today!



I know that creating and promoting an offer can be daunting, especially if you’ve never done anything like it before. That’s why I’ve put together a comprehensive plan that I’ll share to help you capitalise on one BIG day for SMALL business. Make sure your business is ready for it.


small biz 100

How Marketing by Minal became a Small Biz 100 & how you can too!

I started Marketing by Minal at the end of March 2016. Whilst there were many things I was uncertain about, one thing was clear in my mind. When the applications for the Small Biz 100 opened, I would be applying.

What is the Small Biz 100?

I’m glad you asked that! It’s 100 small businesses chosen by Small Business Saturday to feature every day in the 100 days leading up to Small Business Saturday. Every year, Small Business Saturday has done a brilliant job of promoting that year’s Small Biz 100, and I knew that I wanted to benefit from the value they added to other businesses. If you want to know who the other businesses are, take a look at this article.

So, now you know what it is, here’s how I got there.

The application

Most of it was easy and took no time at all. I just had to think about all the reasons I thought Small Business Saturday is such a great idea and put those in my application. Because it’s a celebration of all small businesses, it really wasn’t that difficult to put down why I’m such a big believer in it.

I also had a bit of a plan about how I would help other small businesses in the lead up to Small Business Saturday (which is 3 December this year. Put it in your calendar!) I know that a lot of business owners will find it a challenge to create a marketing campaign to promote themselves on the day, so I decided that I was going to help them.

Now for the scary bit…

I had to make a video. Yes, me, the former marketing manager who was always the person behind the camera; managing the cameraman and the interviewee. I won’t lie, it filled me with a huge amount of dread. But, it had to be done. So, for the first time in my career, I downloaded some video software, took a big breath and went for it. But you can use your smartphone too. It doesn’t need to be complicated.

After the first take, I realised I had no idea how to edit the video, nor the time to work it out. So, 12 more takes later (yes, I’ll admit to that), I had a video I was happy to submit along with my application.

Fast forward to…

Friday 12 August, which I’ll remember forever. Why? It’s the first time my business has ever appeared in a national newspaper. The Small Business Saturday PR machine was underway and Marketing by Minal, along with 99 other businesses were featured in The Guardian. Not bad for a relatively easy application. I know there will be other opportunities along the way for my business, not forgetting my own day, which Small Business Saturday will announce. Make sure you follow them on Facebook and Twitter to meet all of the Small Biz 100!

What’s more, I now have a network of 99 other businesses I can share ideas with, help out and maybe even buy from. That’s not bad, is it?

How can you take part?

Just because you missed the application for the Small Biz 100 doesn’t mean you’ve missed out. Oh, no! There’s a whole host of information on the Small Business Saturday website that will show you how you can take part this year. So, get yourself over there and get involved – it’s free so what have you got to lose?

Apply next year

If I haven’t scared you off, then make sure you apply to be a Small Biz 100 next year. It’s the best thing I did for my business and it will be for yours. Here are my top 5 tips on what you should do:

  1. Join the Small Business Saturday mailing list. They will tell you when applications are open.
  2. Between now and next year’s application period, take lots of photos of you in your business, with your clients and of your products. You’ll need them for the application and beyond.
  3. Practice making videos now. They are a great way of engaging your audience on social media and in emails. If you start now, you’ll be better at it than I was and your application will rock.
  4. Start posting regularly on social media. It’s worth building your audience now because they’ll be some of the people you share your news with when you become a Small Biz 100.
  5. Start a newsletter and ask your current customers to join your list. Again, you’ll want to share your good news and who better than with your customers?

I hope you take part in Small Business Saturday this year. If you’re struggling on what you should do, join my mailing list. I’ll be sharing ideas on how to create and promote the perfect offer for the day and beyond.