Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Tip #282: Collaborate to Get More Customers

So, it’s November. That means Christmas is right around the corner, and so is another holiday that may or may not be on your radar. Small Business Saturday is scheduled for November 24 this year. Unlike Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which are largely dominated by big box stores, this is a day to celebrate small business and encourage holiday shoppers to visit the brick and mortar businesses that serve their local community.

One of the greatest strengths of the Small Business Saturday movement is the way it brings communities together. Not only does it help small businesses attract consumers in their local communities, but it sparks opportunities for those businesses to work together toward that common goal. This week’s tip serves up actionable strategies for collaborating with fellow businesses in your community.

Cross-Promote Special Offers and Events

When a favorite local business or a neighboring business is promoting a sale or special event, offer to help promote it. This could be in the form of a shout out on social media, placing their sales flyer in your customers’ bags or promoting their special offer or event at the bottom of your eblast as part of a “what’s happening in our community” section. Sure, you could do it purely out of the goodness in your heart, but chances are the right partner is going to return the favor.

Not only will this practice create great relationships with fellow small businesses (not to mention, champions for your business), but it will also give your brand awareness legs…long, lanky monster legs. By expanding your reach through partnering businesses, you will have the capability to reach consumers you may not have ever had the chance to reach on your own.

Team Up on Traditional Advertising

For many small businesses, advertising through traditional channels like print, radio and tv may seem wildly out of reach, but have you ever considered splitting the cost between like-minded businesses in your community? As an example, a group of retailers from the small Canadian town of Almonte, near Ottawa, shared the common goal of attracting more consumers to their small town. By teaming up they were able to stretch their resources and purchase an ad in a regional magazine, valued at $1,000, for only $80 a month. “We don’t necessarily get our own ad, but it’s for Almonte,” said Emily Arbour, the owner of Cheerfully Made Goods. “If the town’s busy, then we all benefit.” Read more about their story, featured on Shopify.com.

Although Small Business Saturday may be a great way to get the ball rolling, don’t let your collaborations end after November 24. Use the event as an opportunity to experiment with different partners and find out what works well for all parties involved. If you find a partnership that works, begin to brainstorm ways to collaborate throughout the year.

Bonus: Who Should I Collaborate With?

If you’re asking yourself “what other businesses should I be collaborating with?” Read Reach Local’s blog post for some ideas on where to look for the right match for your business. Also, if you haven’t done so already, apply to be a Small Business Saturday “Neighborhood Champion” and get connected with other local champions participating in the movement. Click here for more information about how to get involved.

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