The first week of May is National Small Business Week. Since 1963, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has used this week to highlight the strength of small businesses. That means more media coverage and more opportunities to reach new customers.
With the added attention on small businesses, take advantage of these seven tips to help your business stand out.
#1 Share Your Journey
During National Small Business Week, some customers pledge to shop exclusively at local businesses. They’re looking to put dollars back into their communities and discover new sources for must-have products and services.
It’s a great time to grab their attention. Collect your thoughts in a written post or video. Then, share it on email, your website, and on Nextdoor:
- Tell your story – What inspired you to become a small business owner? How many years have you been in business? How has your model changed or grown over the years?
- Reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic – Most small businesses have faced challenges during the pandemic. How did it impact your business? What enabled you to weather the storm? If you’re a new business owner, what inspired you to open your doors during this difficult period?
- Affirm what community means to you – What meaningful interactions with customers, fellow business owners, or community organizations have inspired you to keep serving your neighbors?
Leverage Free Business Posts on Nextdoor
When it comes to connecting with nearby customers online, Nextdoor is the place to be.
Once you’ve claimed your free Business Page, you can:
- Customize your page with photos, contact information, a link to your website
- Share your business story to add a personal touch to your Business Page
- Post for free two times a month. Reserve both of these for Small Business Week.
- Show up in local search results once you receive one recommendation
- Run paid promotions exclusively for your neighbors
Nextdoor users are enthusiastic about supporting local businesses, and posts that share owners’ stories and perspectives can gain a lot of traction. Use these features to get your story out during Small Business Week.
#2 Say “Thank you” to Your Customers
As a small business owner, you know how intrinsically tied you are to your customer base.
To that end, Small Business Week is an opportunity to give thanks back to the community that supports you. Reward existing customers and promote loyalty through strategies like the following:
Schedule a Gratitude Email
The people who already subscribe to your listserv are some of your biggest supporters.
Give your subscribers a big shout-out, thanking them with one of the following:
- A discount on purchases during Small Business Week (10%)
- A flat discount (i.e. $5 or $10 off on any purchase)
- A free gift with purchase
These can help drive sales while making your customers feel appreciated.
Create a Raffle Giveaway
Don’t have the inventory or budget to offer incentives to all your loyal customers?
A raffle can be a great way to expand your customer base and create brand awareness—all at a low cost.
Invite people to participate in a raffle by subscribing to your newsletter, tagging your business on social media, or putting their name in a jar when they enter your store. No matter what method you use, announcing the contest—and the winners - is sure to create buzz around your local business.
Run a Nextdoor Local Deal
Interested in running an online promotion? Nextdoor allows you to target customers in your specific neighborhood. That way, you know that the people seeing your deal are only a short drive or walk away.
- Use Nextdoor’s advertising tools to create a promotion that runs for a single day or throughout Small Business Week.
- Track the success of your campaign to plan for future Local Deals.
#3 Partner With Other Local Businesses
If your neighborhood business association regularly holds a festival for Small Business Week, you know the difference it can make in foot traffic and awareness.
If no one else has stepped up to the plate, there’s a great opportunity to lift up other small businesses while promoting yours.
Try strategies like the following:
- Cross-promote – Your social media reach only extends so far. By joining forces with another business, you’ll have access to their audience, too. For example, agree to create a post or put up flyers highlighting their business in your storefront.
- Create a coupon booklet – A coupon booklet or “small business crawl” can give customers more incentives when they patronize more small businesses. For example, pool resources with three or four other businesses to give a gift card or a free product to customers who make a qualifying purchase from all your businesses during Small Business Week.
- Team up on a gift basket – Whether you sell products or offer services, collaborate with other businesses to bundle your wares into a single, affordable package. For example, if you’re a chocolate maker, team up with a florist. If you offer web design, partner up with a local marketing agency.
#4 Host a Special Event
Another great way to cross-promote with other local businesses is to host a “block party.”
Safety is still important. But thanks to warmer weather and increasing vaccination rates, it’s more possible to hold outdoor events that can attract more people to your neighborhood and your business. However, virtual events can work well, too.
- Restaurants and bars can consider dining specials like prix fixe menus and tasting flights. Don’t forget to cross-promote other businesses with a coupon booklet or punch card. If your event is virtual, offer meal kits or takeout specials.
- Retailers and service providers can set up outdoor booths to take advantage of extra foot traffic for in-person events. Alternately, create an event webpage allowing visitors to browse online.
- Since Small Business Week falls in the middle of spring, it’s ideal for clearing your winter inventory with “spring cleaning” discounts and sales. For virtual customers, create a separate page on your website dedicated to Small Business Week promotional deals.
#5 Show Appreciation for Your Employees
Like your customers, your employees are also vital to your local business’s success.
While Employee Appreciation Day falls on March 4th, we think that Small Business Week is another opportunity to say “thank you”.
- Appoint an employee of the month/year and sing their praises on your Nextdoor page. If they’d like, let them say a few words themselves in a social media takeover.
- Buy your employees a gift certificate at another local business. See if that business wants to do the same in return, rewarding their employees with your products or services.
- Man their post at a weekend event so that they can fully enjoy the day. If you’re removed from day-to-day operations, use this chance to connect with customers while troubleshooting any issues in the workflow.
#6 Take Advantage of SBA Programs
Beyond the programs in your community, the Small Business Administration typically hosts business development events including webinars, workshops, and masterclasses.
In 2020, Small Business Week was completely virtual, which provided more opportunities than ever for business leaders from across the country to share resources and strategies for growth.
Keep your eyes peeled for this year’s offerings on the SBA website. No matter how long you’ve been in business, there’s always more to learn!
#7 Make the Most of Each Day
National Small Business Week gives you the opportunity to celebrate your business for a full seven days.
Take advantage of each day with strategies like the following:
- Scheduled emails to inform your fans throughout the week
- 7 days of deals to keep customers coming back to your store or website
- Incentives for repeat purchases like punch cards and added discounts
- Posts on social media, including takeover and cross-promotional posts.
A Celebratory Week for a Year of Strong Growth
Small Business Week offers a fruitful opportunity to grab customer’s attention while small businesses are already on their minds.
Besides the marketing advantages of Small Business Week, it’s the ideal event for connecting with your customers on a deeper level.
By sharing your story on Nextdoor and rewarding customer and employee loyalty, you’ll create deep bonds that will last well beyond the week and set the stage for a year of growth.
SBA. National Small Business Week. https://www.sba.gov/national-small-business-week
SBA. Virtual conference. https://www.sba.gov/national-small-business-week/virtual-conference
Keep neighbors updated on the latest information regarding your local business. Whether it’s changing business hours or updating your service offerings, claim your free Business Page to get started on Nextdoor and keep your nearby customers informed.