Person paying with credit cardThanksgiving is just around the corner with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday right on its tail. Is your business ready? In 2014, consumers spent $9.1 billion on Black Friday and nearly $6 billion on Small Business Saturday. Keep reading for tips to help you take advantage of these high-traffic shopping days.

Make a plan. If your store is going to take advantage of Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, you’re going to need a strategy. Will you open early? What kind of deals will you offer? How do you separate yourself from the competition? Will you need to schedule additional employees to manage the extra traffic?

Many people think of in-store sales when they think of these big shopping days, but don’t forget about the online shoppers! Offering sales on your website can help you reach shoppers who may not be able to make it to your store.

Whether you’re opening two hours early, offering 40% off a popular product online or having an in-store giveaway, coming up with a plan will ensure everyone – your customers, your staff and you – know what to expect.

Spread the news. Once you’ve figured out your plan of action, start spreading the word! The earlier you start telling people, the more time they have to make plans to visit you. You may have heard of the Rule of 7: Customers need to see or hear your marketing message seven times before they take action. With this in mind, you’ll want to start sharing your plans early and often.

As early as November 1, post any information about your special plans on your website’s home page as a news item or exciting graphic. If your site has a blog, write a post about the upcoming sale. And don’t forget to post about it on your social media channels.

Get social and encourage engagement. Sharing your plans on social media can help you spread the word about any sales or special events you cook up.

Once you’ve started spreading the news, create fun and engaging posts teasing the online or in-store promotions you’ll offer. You can also use these posts to engage with your social followers by asking questions. Here’s an example:

“Black Friday is almost here! What are your shopping traditions? Be sure to visit us beginning at 5:00 a.m. for big savings!”

Giveaways and contests are powerful tools here, too. Running a contest where customers need to share a Facebook post, follow you on Twitter or check in at your location for a chance to win a product or service can help grow your social audience and spread the word about your business.

With nearly $15 billion spent over Black Friday and Small Business Saturday in 2014, there’s no reason for your business not to cash in with in-store or online sales of your own.

Need a hand getting your website ready? Talk to an ARI Website Consultant to learn how we can help.