Thanksgiving week is finally upon us! While most consumers across the country will be gorging themselves on delicious fall favorites with loved ones, still others will be small business saturday black fridayfinalizing plans to leave the feast behind in order to wait on line for those doorbuster deals (which seem to start a little earlier every year). For business owners, this week is more like a marathon than an occasion for reflection, but no matter the outcome you’ll be giving thanks once it’s all over!

Don’t let the craziness of this week be all for naught; come armed with a plan that will allow you to make the most out of your efforts, and drive more customers in-store. Be realistic about your goals for the long weekend and the resources or means by which you’ll be achieving them. Knowing more about your target audience and their priorities will help you to concentrate on the approach that will have the most impact. Oftentimes, it can be tempting to set your sights on all of the weekend’s events: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. But, if you can prioritize one or two of these, and approach in a thoughtful or new way that will engage your customers, you’ll find much more success!

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Set Yourself Up for Success By Knowing Your Target Customer

Black Friday seems to steal the show in terms of promotion and press coverage, but many times the only customers willing to sacrifice their Thanksgiving evenings, or brave the crowds and craziness are those in pursuit of a REALLY good deal. They tend to be motivated overwhelmingly by price and steep discounts, and tend not to have much loyalty to specific stores or brands. If you spend enough time creating compelling incentives to get them in-store, you have a chance of earning their business, but these types of customers can be capricious and may not offer much, in terms of lifetime value, to your business.

A well-executed plan to highlight a less flashy day, could be a better use of your resources. Of course, you should always do the math to determine what makes the most sense for your business and available resources (and which your available time and/or that of employees should inform). You can think of Black Friday as an opportunity to attract new, deal seekers; Small Business Saturday as a way to celebrate your business and engage with those customers who are already familiar with you, as well as welcoming some first-timers, and Giving Tuesday as a great way to use your business’s position in the community to team up and give back.

Getting More Value Out of Small Business Saturday

We studied the outreach among local businesses on Signpost’s platform during this same week last year to see if we could identify any insights to help you get a competitive edge this holiday season. Of all the communications during this same week in 2015, emails that were sent out on Small Business Saturday, had nearly a 29% increase in click-to-open rates, as well as redemption of offers. Businesses looking to maximize engagement should plan to send out an email or SMS offer this Saturday, to entice more customers to stop by and make a purchase.

This could be due to increased efforts in recent years to bring about more visibility and promotion to highlight the day. Consumers are embracing this less crowded day, both as an opportunity to celebrate all that local businesses do for their communities and to show support. By devising creative events, grouping products together in gift sets or bundles, and going the extra yard to make this hectic time easier for your customers while maintaining a fun and festive atmosphere, you can find great success this weekend. This isn’t limited to retail, or businesses with a physical location either; you can schedule promotions or services for this Saturday to help give your business a lift! Or, partner with other businesses in the community to offer exclusive pairing, bundles, or events at their space.

Looking Ahead: Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to engage with and give back to the community. If you start prepping ahead of time, you can get your clients involved and make it a real win-win for both charitable organizations and your business. Whatever you choose to do to celebrate, be sure to start advertising it ASAP, to give your customers advance notice. If your business will be closed, or if you’re running special donation-based drives, the sooner you can get it on their radar, the better!