Small Business Saturday occurs on November 30 this year, and if you haven’t yet planned how your business can get involved, there’s no time to waste. The annual event is an opportunity to make your mark in the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season.

If you want to join other small business owners who see a bump in their holiday season sales, consider these five tips for making this year’s Small Business Saturday a successful beginning to the season.

1. Review Your Website

While Small Business Saturday is designed to encourage consumers to shop locally, that doesn’t mean they won’t be looking at your website. At the very least, your website should clearly define who you are, what your brand is and what you bring to the table in terms of solutions or value for your customers. If your site is set up for e-commerce, that’s even better.

Take time to check your site for broken links and outdated product or service listings. Make sure your contact information is up to date and check to see how your site loads and functions on a mobile device. Finally, review the overall layout and design to make sure that it’s not clunky or hard to navigate. Be sure to tackle these tasks early, so you’ll have time to work out any kinks and make sure your business is ready for the seasonal rush.

2. Plan an Event

If you’re hoping to attract new customers — or entice existing ones to visit you — on Small Business Saturday, a sale may not be enough. Hosting an event can be a chance to engage with shoppers and raise visibility for your business. The type of event you plan depends largely on what your business is about.

For example, if you own a retail store, you could consider hosting a special preview event on Friday to give your loyal customers a peek at your Saturday sales promotions. If you run a restaurant, you could schedule a wine tasting. If you own a pet supply store, a pet-themed holiday party might do the trick. The key is to make your event unique and interesting, so shoppers will want to head your way on Small Business Saturday.

3. Give Customers an Extra Incentive to Shop

Planning an event can be time-consuming and, if you don’t have room in your schedule, you can still motivate customers to visit your business in other ways. Holding a giveaway drawing or raffle, for example, offers shoppers some extra motivation and it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time.

Offering a free gift is another option for giving customers an incentive to choose your business over a competitor’s this Small Business Saturday. And, it can be a great way to show your appreciation for patrons who shop with you consistently. You could also lure customers back by giving them a coupon or discount valid for a future purchase.

4. Fine-tune Your Marketing Plan

When it comes to Small Business Saturday, marketing is important, and it’s to your advantage to have a clear strategy for connecting with new and existing customers. Staging a killer event or a blowout sale won’t do you much good if the shoppers you’re trying to target don’t know anything about it.

For example, blasting out a sales announcement on all your social media accounts randomly might get you some attention, but scheduling regular updates to the channels that target your ideal customers may be more efficient and effective. For example, if you normally use print ads to spread the word, but your customers are digital-savvy, online ads might be a better investment.

One tactic you may consider is teaming up with another local business to offer a cross-promotion. Just remember, if you’re partnering with another business, to tag them appropriately on social media and make sure that they do the same, so you’re both getting good exposure.

5. Get Staffed Up

Last but not least, check your roster. If you’re anticipating a crush of shoppers on Small Business Saturday, don’t try to handle the crowds alone. Make sure you have enough staff to cover your operating hours for the day early on, in case you need to hire an extra hand or two. Remember to give yourself enough time to get new staff additions trained, so they’re prepared for the big day and the rest of the holiday shopping season.

If you’re considering adding temporary workers during your holiday season rush, be sure you understand what rules apply to these workers and how to recruit and manage them.

While Small Business Saturday is rapidly approaching, planning for it isn’t something you want to do at the last minute. Tweaking your website, finalizing your marketing strategy, planning your incentives and sales events, and covering your bases staff-wise can help ensure that you’re ready to make the most of this year’s event and the rest of the busy holiday shopping season.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.