Have you finished your marketing plan for 2015? Make sure that next year’s Small Business Saturday is on it.

What is it?

This Saturday, 6th December, is the climax of the Amex-sponsored yearly promotion of local businesses. The idea behind the event is to wake people up to the quality and professionalism of small businesses in their area. But it also encourages business owners over the long term, with free workshops, networking events and talks by leading entrepreneurs on topics from HR to investment.

The event tours the UK, from Plymouth to Edinburgh, bringing small businesses support and advice. And boosting media coverage – the Daily Telegraph and BBC 5 Live are just two that cover the event – and spending.

How does it help business?

In 2013, customers spent £460 million in local businesses on Small Business Saturday itself, and 40% of all local councils supported the programme.  The hashtag #SmallBizSatUK was in the top three trending topics on Twitter for the whole day.

In fact, part of the programme’s success is its use of digital media, as increasing numbers of customers research  online before they buy. The Small Biz 100 feature is a clever example.

Digital and search smarts

Businesses can apply to be one of the Small Biz 100, with one of them then getting promoted online every day in the run up to Small Business Saturday in December. It’s a smart way to spread your marketing reach on the back of a larger event. You can find out how to get involved on the organisation’s website.

Of course, customers are a key part of any business’s success. So the programme actively encourages people to ‘be local champions’, sharing their appreciation of local businesses on their own social media by using the #SmallBizSatUK hashtag. This increases engagement in the whole programme, while also raising awareness.

And we haven’t touched on the value of localisation online. With Google prioritising local search results, the value of promoting your business as local has grown. It therefore makes sense to include activity that promotes local in your marketing strategy. Not just #SmallBizSatUK, but local partnerships, activities and successes.

You can also raise local awareness of Small Business Saturday as part of your marketing plan, making the most of digital localisation and national awareness of the programme (48% in 2013).

*All data from Small Business Saturday website.

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