Broomfield Chamber of Commerce

Easy Last-minute Bonuses to Drive More Sales During Small Business Season

150 150 Lauren Finamore

Written by: Christina Metcalf

Bonus offers are a great way to drive sales without discounting your products or services. It makes people feel like they are getting extra value—and these days, with inflation—that can make a reticent customer buy quicker.

But what if you haven’t thought out an entire marketing strategy around bonuses? Is it too late to offer one? Not at all. Below we have some ideas on how you can make the last few weeks of Small Business Season some of your best.

Offer a Bonus Gift Card

Give a small gift card ($10-20) with every purchase of $100 or more. The buyer will appreciate the bonus because of its versatility. The smaller card can be used as a tip for a service provider, a gift for themselves, a stocking stuffer, or a teacher gift. It’s like getting two gifts for the price of one.

Add a Coaching or Instructional Session

This is a low-cost bonus that can help an unsure customer act quickly when an expiration date is set. Offer your time as a bonus to a higher spend. If you don’t have the time to offer your undivided attention, give them a free pass to a class you’re offering in January. For instance, if you sell craft supplies, you can encourage novices to take up a hobby by bundling a starter kit of knitting materials and throwing in a free class to learn how to use them. Which brings up…

Bundling Goods That Go Together

You can create a nice gift basket or starter kit and package it beautifully for a very thoughtful gift. If you’re a service provider, think about a few items you could add with a gift card for your services. You might even be able to work together with another business to include their goods with your services.

Provide a Bonus Download

Create an electronic freebie for download with purchase. You could also use this freebie to build your e-mail/mailing list, no purchase required. Both are good ways to give your audience something of value in exchange for their contact information. This allows you to stay in touch throughout the year.

Give a Bonus Review

If you are a service provider, you could offer a free/bonus audit or review with the purchase of a service package. For instance, if you’re a web designer, offer a free SEO audit.

Provide Free Shipping or Delivery

Offering free shipping is a great way to entice people to buy. Set a minimum spend for free shipping or you could run up expenses with very little revenue to show for it. Setting a minimum also incentivizes people to spend a little more to qualify for it. Another option to drive purchases is offering free delivery. If you do this, define your delivery area or gas costs could eat into your profits.

Throw in Some Goodies

December is the ideal time to give away samples, especially to people who are already buying from you. If you sell food, add a giveaway to every purchase. If you don’t sell food, include a small treat with a cute message about how important the customer is and how much you appreciate them supporting small business.

Be a Personal Shopper

If you have the manpower, you could offer free personal shopping via Facetime where you walk someone around your business virtually and help them pick out their ideal gifts. You can also offer this service without the Facetime component and do the shopping for them yourself. In that case, make sure you perform your due diligence to find out the likes and dislikes of the person you’re shopping for.

Rethink the Click: Support Small During Small Business Season

150 150 Lauren Finamore

Written by: Christina Metcalf

Online shopping is so convenient. Just open a browser and click a couple of times and your holiday gifts could be on their way. But this holiday season we’re asking you to rethink the click and support local small business. It’s good for you and good for them. Here’s why:

Rethink the Click: Shop Small this Holiday

While you can still shop online from local businesses, there are a lot of benefits to rethinking the click and making holiday shopping personal again. When you shop in-person you get the following benefits:

  • Seeing happy faces. For some areas it’s been a while. It’s therapeutic to see smiles again or just mouths in general. When you shop in person you can interact with people. Social interaction is good for brain health and promotes a sense of safety and belonging.
  • Getting your steps in. While it’s no marathon, getting out there and visiting local businesses is more active than sitting on the couch clicking.
  • Spending less. Have you ever ordered so many things online that when you get a notification that a package is coming, you’re unsure of which one that could be? While people generally spend less in single shopping sessions online than they do in person (the cart total helps with that), collectively over the season, you could spend more because items will arrive at different times. Out of site truly can be out of mind when ordering if you’re not careful.
  • Feeling serendipitous. When you shop in person, there’s always a chance of those unexpected finds that you stumble over. Online you’re at the mercy of the search engine.
  • Making memories. In-person shopping can be an event. It’s social. People gather to shop and explore the sights and sounds of the season. Playing Christmas music while shopping on your phone isn’t nearly as fun as enjoying a hot chocolatey beverage near the town ice rink.
  • Experiencing bonus. Many small businesses are offering more than just products and services this season. Some have DIY classes, makers groups, tastings, and holiday instruction parties. Shopping in person is an experience.
  • Avoiding eye strain, neck pain, and shoulder stiffness. Spending too much time online can lead to eye strain, neck pain, shoulder stiffness and other aches. Instead, put your phone down and get out there.
  • Teaching the next generation that there’s life outside of the internet. If you are the type of parent who believes in limiting screen time, then in-person holiday shopping is a terrific lesson to pass on. According to a 2022 Junior Achievement Survey, 60% of teens want to start their own businesses. Shopping in person for the holidays will help them have a greater appreciation for being a small business owner.

This holiday season, shop small and rediscover the joy of in-person shopping. Sure, there are some inconveniences but there are also a lot of rewards. Enjoy them all.

An Effective E-mail Nurture Campaign for Small Business Season

150 150 Lauren Finamore

Written by: Christina Metcalf

It’s small business season and if you’re part of a small business you’re probably looking for ways to make the most of your Q4. While mega retailers and big business are slashing prices, that’s not the best way for you to be competitive. Small businesses often operate on smaller reserves and slashing prices to the point of taking a loss decreases the revenue you’re bringing in. You need something that builds on connections. That’s the small business superpower.

One of the best ways to do this is through an e-mail nurture campaign. To accomplish this, you need an e-mail list. Ideally, you already have a list of past customers. If you don’t, start collecting emails immediately. After all, it’s much easier (and cheaper) to sell to someone who has purchased from you before than it is to influence a potential buyer for the first time.

In this article, you’ll learn how to create an e-mail nurturing campaign that will reengage past customers. With e-mail marketing you can schedule emails to “autofire” and send based on a schedule and/or actions. For instance, if the recipient opens your e-mail and clicks on the link, the next e-mail they receive will be different than if they had not opened it.

Reconnecting with Previous Customers Through Email

Use the following formula to create your own email nurture campaign for past customers.

E-Mail #1 Reestablish the Relationship

The first e-mail in your e-mail series will reestablish the relationship you had with this past customer. Using your business tone, craft a message that tells the recipient, “it’s been a while. We miss you. Here’s what’s new in our business.” Make sure you include why they should care. Speak to what’s in it for them.

Other options include an end-of-year thank you message, a summary of the year, or a project that helps you shine. For instance, “In 2022, we donated 543 bags of dog food and here are some pictures from our happy shelter friends who seem to be enjoying the food.”

Set the next e-mail to hit a couple of days after the first.

E-Mail #2 Build Momentum

Tell your recipients a story about something that impacted you recently. Then give them a treat. For instance, you could share a story about gratitude or family. (These are especially welcome during the holiday season.) Then offer the email recipient a download that ties into your story. A good way to do this is to talk about what you’re thankful for such as your loyal customers. Offer them a free gift-giving guide or create a helpful download based on what you sell such as a “Cooking with wine recipe e-book,” if you sell wine.

Allow them to claim their “gift” by clicking a button. This requires them to act. Then you can see who clicked on the code and who didn’t.

Set the next e-mail to hit a couple of days after the first. Because you created a clickable link in your last e-mail, you now have record of who clicked and who didn’t. At this point you could segment the clickers from the non-clickers and create a tailored e-mail for each. But you don’t have to. You could also just send the same e-mail.

E-Mail #3 Stay Connected

Continue telling more of your story. This could be a continuation of the feel-good story in e-mail #2 or it could be building on the theme but with a different story. You could also talk about your “why.”

Invite them to stay connected with you somewhere else like a specific social media platform or invite them to an event you’re hosting. The point here is to extend an additional invitation and keep them connected.

If you’ve segmented your e-mail based on who clicked and who didn’t, add a line about the freebie you offered hoping that they enjoyed it to those who opened. To those who didn’t open, offer them the freebie again with some language around “not sure if you saw this” or “in case you missed it, it’s still available here…” and additional language why the freebie would make their lives easier or interest them.

E-Mail #4 Invite Them Back

Give your past customers a reason to spend with you again this holiday season. Perhaps you’re hosting a special event with discounts. Maybe you’re rolling out a loyalty program. Whatever the special is, make sure they know about it and use language that ensures they feel like a VIP. They’re receiving a special invitation because they are your very valued past customers. That messaging can go a long way from moving someone from the passive state of reading an e-mail to actively buying.

In this e-mail, you also want to give them another opportunity to buy from you in case they can’t make your event. For instance, invite them to explore your website and purchase online. If you don’t have E-commerce on your website, consider sharing your items through social media and encouraging people to call or e-mail you with orders.

When creating e-mail nurture campaigns for small business season, remember what makes your business special. You want to focus on the experience and the feeling that buying local provides. Big business can offer deep discounts. Small business can offer memories of a joyful holiday season. That seems like a pretty great way to stand out.

Save a Small Business This Holiday Season

150 150 Lauren Finamore

Written by: Christina Metcalf

It’s officially Small Business Season, and that means it’s time to give a little love to small businesses. With rising interest rates, soaring costs, and online competition, small businesses are feeling the crunch. This season, do a little extra for your neighbors and make a concerted effort to shop small. If you do, you could be saving a small business this year.

How to Save Small Business Without a Lot of Money

Besides being job generators, small businesses flavor our towns. They attract tourists and bring money from other communities into our own. A quaint Main Street and shopping district attracts a lot of people. If we don’t support small business this year, we could lose those businesses and lose the attraction factor for additional spending.

Yet not everyone has money to spend this holiday season. According to GOBankingRates over 1/3 people surveyed plan to forgo tipping their service providers or providing them with a Christmas bonus. People are looking for ways to save and many are coming up short. Still, there are many ideas for saving small business that won’t cost you anything.

  1. Write reviews of your favorites on a variety of sites. From Facebook to Google, industry-specific sites to local spots, reviews influence buying decisions. Writing a review is free.
  2. Tag friends when you see something they would like on social media. When a small business shares something you like on social media, tag a friend. Not only will your friend see the post, but all their friends will as well (permission settings allowing, of course).
  3. Check-in at businesses. Even if you’re not buying, when you check in at a business that is providing social proof that you are visiting this business. It creates a crowd mentality that the place is worth checking out. Ever decide not to eat at a restaurant because there are no cars in the parking lot? Checking in helps create a (virtual) crowded lot, which drives people to check the business out.
  4. Share images from the business. Take pictures. Share details about your experience. Photograph their calendar of events. Share anything that would draw people in. When you’re not directly affiliated with a business and you share, people see that as an endorsement and they’re more likely to act.
  5. Join their newsletter or mailing list. Now may not be a good time to buy but joining their mailing list and forwarding helpful information to your audience can help match a buyer with a needed product or service.
  6. Answer questions. If you see a question about a product or service on a group, give some suggestions. These types of referrals are hot leads for your favorite small business because they know the person asking is already in the market for what they sell or do.
  7. Post a round-up on social media. Create a list of your favorite businesses, restaurants, or service providers or post a daily “thankful for small business post” and feature a new local business each day. Write a “best new businesses” post for businesses that opened this year. Get creative and tag the business whenever possible.

There’s a lot you can do to support small businesses without spending anything. Giving them your time and promoting them to your audience can drive buyers to patronize them. For the biggest impact, make sure that everything you post is visible to the public and encourage people to share your posts. Your efforts might just be saving a small business this season.

How Small Business Season Keeps Money in Our Community

150 150 Lauren Finamore

Written by: Christina Metcalf

By now you’ve likely seen the statistics that shopping small/local keeps roughly $68 out of every $100 in our community, whereas shopping at a national chain means about $43 remains here. Why is that important and what does it mean to you and your family? A lot more than you may think.

How Small Business Spending Makes a Big Difference in Our Community

Where Do the Dollars Go?

While it’s difficult to track the exact path of a dollar spent locally versus one spent at a chain, you can imagine it looks something like this:

That image is an example of what’s called “indirect impact.” Indirect impact is felt when a local business owner or employee spends the money they make locally but it’s not the only kind of impact that can be felt by spending local.

Johnny Goes to Band Camp

When your son or daughter has a school expense like a club trip, sporting event, yearbook expense, camp, or graduation program, do you email Elon Musk to fund it? No. You ask your local pizza parlor or favorite small business owner. They get their name listed as a sponsor and your child is one step closer to their goal.

Small Nonprofits Win

Along the same lines of sponsors, when it comes to local nonprofits and raising money for local causes or even natural disasters, it’s the local businesses that come through. They understand the importance of helping neighbors. Yes, large companies give hundreds of thousands of dollars to large nonprofits. We’re not discounting that. But local charities and nonprofits are often not on their funding radars. Chains are doing their part donating to the United Way and national groups like the American Cancer Society. Local charities often rely on local support.

We Enjoy a Better Quality of Life

According to studies compiled by the Institute of Self Reliance, “the more locally owned businesses per capita that a community has, the better off that place is on many of the other indicators of community health. The larger the share of transactions in our economy—buying, producing, investing—that involve a locally owned business, the more thriving, equitable, and resilient our economy and community can be.”

Local Vendors and People Win

During COVID and immediately after reopening, there were supply chain issues (we’re still feeling them in some industries). Many of those issues were due to lack of transportation or lack of labor in the transportation industry. That caused many businesses to look for local options to meet their needs.

When local businesses pay for things they need to do business (like inventory, utilities, equipment and pay to employees) locally, that has a direct impact on the local economy.

Chains and local businesses pay a salary to local employees so they both have a direct impact on the local economy. However, a chain is limited in where it can get its inventory, equipment, and other items from. These costs are probably paid to, or dictated by, corporate. A small business owner makes those decisions themselves and can choose to keep some of those purchases local as well.

Jobs Are Plentiful

In times when jobs are needed most—in high unemployment—local businesses are there. According to the article “The Contribution of Large and Small Employers to Job Creation in Times of High and Low Unemployment,” which appeared in the American Economic Review, “…in times of high unemployment, small businesses both retain and create more jobs than large firms do.”

Where you spend your money is an investment in the growth and prosperity of our area. You’re either investing for maximized returns on your holiday dollars by spending local or you’re not. We hope it’s the former.