The biggest shopping day weekend of the year is fast approaching! Have an open house with specials to encourage local shoppers to get out and support your small business! This is the kick-off weekend for what will result in 30% of retailers' sales for 2016! Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 by American Express as a counterpart to big-box retailers' Black Friday and e-commerce's Cyber Monday as a way to encourage the support of local brick-and-mortar businesses. Small Business Saturday's sales were up 14% in 2015 and are expected to increase in 2016!
Celebrating this shopping holiday can be especially helpful if your dance school is located within a shopping mall complex that is popular with holiday shoppers. Your location will already be getting increased foot traffic on this day, so take advantage of it to spread the word about your studio and its upcoming performances!
Here are a few ideas and recommendations:
- Conference with owners of small businesses near your own to see what they're doing to encourage sales and participation that day.
- Put a sidewalk sign out in front of your studio with balloons encouraging strolling shoppers to drop in for a bite to eat and some entertainment or a free dance class!
- Spread the word ahead of time around town and on social media with free Small Business Saturday marketing materials from American Express.
- Decorate your studio lobby for the Holidays. Be sure to post your Nutcracker Ballet's poster in a prominent place!
- Encourage ticket sales to your Nutcracker Production (especially if it happens this weekend!) Offer a sale on tickets or include VIP backstage passes with ticket sales placed on Small Business Saturday.
- Offer a free treat to shoppers who drop by (snacks, coffee/hot chocolate, or a Nutcracker Treat!).
- Offer Art Buttons with your Dance School's name to everyone who makes a purchase. Other shoppers will see these adorable designs and ask where they can get one!
- If your studio sells dance class punch cards, offer 1-2 free punches with a punch card purchase.
- Offer a free drop-in dance class! This would likely have to be an ongoing dance class of mild to moderate intensity so that folks dropping by can watch and/or participate without getting hurt. Try offering a variety of dance style instruction over the course of the day. Post the schedule on your sign out front as well as inside the lobby.
- Have ongoing mini performances of variations or scenes from The Nutcracker Ballet (if you're performing it) or routines from past or upcoming dance competitions.
- If your dancers are performing in the studio, sell Autograph Books to visitors to collect dancers' signatures in on this day and at upcoming Nutcracker performances!
- If your dance studio also runs a retail shop in-house, this is the perfect time to offer specials on your inventory to kick-start the holiday sales for your store. Offer a percentage off or a free gift in appreciation for their support. Be sure to stock up on plenty of inventory so you don't sell out and miss potential sales!
This may seem like a lot to take on right in the middle of Nutcracker season, but we believe that in the right location with the right sort of events to pique the interest of your audience, the time and energy invested will pay off!