5 Ways to Make Small Business Saturday your Best Shopping Day this Holiday Season #ShopSmall #SmallBizSat
Thanksgiving hasn’t even arrived and I’m already hearing Holiday music every where. I wonder if there have been studies done correlating people’s spending habits to the music they hear? With the amount of emails I get and ads I see about Black Friday and more recently Cyber Monday, it makes me feel like both businesses and consumers have mastered these two designated shopping days. So today, I’d like to give you some insight on yet another day you can shop to get into the Holiday spirit. That day is Small Business Saturday. This year Small Business Saturday is on November 30th, 2013! Taken directly from Wikipedia:
“Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. First observed on November 27, 2010, it is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores respectively. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local”.
Being a small business owner myself, I love the opportunity to support other hard working individuals. Small businesses create jobs and small businesses boost the economy. Let’s show as much support for our small businesses this year as we do to the big box stores. To make this the best Small Business Saturday for you, here are 5 ways for you to make Small Business Saturday your best shopping day.
1. Register your American Express Card- American Express originally coined and promoted Small Business Saturday and they continue to encourage consumers to shop small on this day. To make Small Business Saturday even more successful, American Express will generously give you a $10 statement credit if you spend $10 or more at a small business on this day. You must register your card in advance here. It takes just a few minutes to sign up here. After you’ve registered your card, you can check out American Express’ directory of small businesses that are participating in their promotion.
2. Shop Smart- Just like you strategically plan out your Black Friday shopping trips, plan out your Small Business Saturday shopping. Think about things you may need, people you want to give gifts to, small businesses that may be owned by friends or family and check to see if any businesses you love are offering specials. I’ve made it a tradition each year to spend Small Business Saturday shopping for things that I’ll use to host friends for my birthday in December. (Speaking of birthdays, make sure you check out 13 Happy Birthday Promotions for You). I know I’ll have to spend money anyway, so why not take advantage and Shop Small on this day. Last year I bought party supplies at a Liquor Box, one of the top local markets in La Jolla. The owner was extremely friendly and he proudly had a “Shop Small” sticker on his window. He made to sure remind me to sign up for the American Express promotion (I had already done it but it was great that he was promoting it). The year before that, I bought delicious cupcakes for friends to enjoy from CUPS.
3. Use your social influence- Help everyone enjoy a day dedicated to supporting small businesses. You always hear small business owners saying that “Word of Mouth” is their most successful form of marketing. Well Social Media is the largest form of “Word of Mouth” so make sure to spread the word online! Tweet with the #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat Hashtags, encourage your friends to sign up for their statement credit on American Express. Share this article and others promoting Small Business Saturday.
4. Dine with Friends- If shopping isn’t your thing, then take this opportunity to try a new restaurant or revisit your favorite one. What a great day to make an excuse to catch up with a friend. Thousands of restaurants are considered small businesses so you’ll have plenty of options to satisfy your culinary cravings. If you both have registered American Express Cards, politely ask the waiter to split the bill so you both get savings. Dining with friends always reminds of the time I met Keith Ferrazzi, the author of my favorite business book Never Eat Alone.
5. Take advantage of Small Business Saturday promotions- Aside from the American Express promotion, see if any other small businesses are offering promotions. I was very happy to receive my first email promoting Small Businesses by Uber, a transportation company that makes a mobile application connecting passengers with drivers. They encourage consumers to sign up for the American Express statement credit and use it on an Uber for $10 off. They also have many small business stories on their blog. (Side note: If you’ve never used Uber, you can use my code: UBERSDMEL for an additional $10 off your first ride. ) Yep, beat the Holiday traffic by taking Uber instead. Pay attention to other small businesses who may be offering specials or promotions on this day.
If you have any other tips on how to be a successful shopper on Small Business Saturday please let me know in the comments. Likewise, if you’re a business owner and you’re offering a promotion for Small Business Saturday, please comment below as well. Happy Small Business Saturday!
October was National Eczema Awareness month. For the first time, I posted about this disease, I passed out stickers, bracelets and did my best to educate everyone about Eczema both online and in person. I was extremely grateful for everyone who showed their support by wearing my stickers, reading my posts and in general educating themselves more about this horrible disease.
Now that it’s November I want to make sure that Eczema awareness continues all year long. Social Media has revolutionized the ability for us to spread information. It’s also revolutionized the way fundraisers are being held. Gone are the days of holding 24 hour telethons and in are online fundraising campaigns. I have personally donated to a plethora of online fundraising campaigns from causes to helping needy kids to cancer research and animal rescue yet I have never donated to a cause that directly impacts me. Not sure why I never thought to do this, but now is a better time than never.
I’m launching my very own online fundraiser called “Itching for a Cure”. My goal is to find a cure for Eczema. It’s taken me over 20 years to finally speak out about this skin disease. I have been living with moderate to severe eczema my entire life and have tried every treatment imaginable, yet am still not cured. Every doctor and medical professional will tell you that it’s a chronic condition with no cure, so it’s time for me to take matters into my own itchy hands. I WILL LIVE TO SEE A CURE FOR ECZEMA and I 100% believe this.
You’re probably wondering, what is Eczema? Eczema, also known as Atopic Dermatitis is a skin disease. The symptoms include dry, sensitive skin with an intensive itch. Luckily, eczema is not contagious and cannot be transferred from skin contact or bodily fluids because I would not wish my suffering on any human being.
This campaign is to help Eczema sufferers all over the world. If you would like to donate to a cause that directly impacts me, I encourage you to make a contribution. All proceeds of this campaign will go toward finding a cure for Eczema. The money will be distributed to things such as the National Eczema Association, Eczema support groups and Eczema research. My goal is to raise as much money as possible until there is a cure. I am aiming high with $113,000 because 13 is my lucky number and I want to have access to as many resources as possible in my quest to find a cure. Even if you donate $1, every single penny is appreciated. I’m itching for a cure and look forward to having you join me in my quest.
You can read my entire story and struggle with Eczema here. Thank you in advance for your consideration and taking the time to read about Eczema. Even if you’re not able to make a contribution, perhaps you can share this with someone who cares about the cause at least you are a little more educated about the cause. Thank you all so much, I’m itching for a cure and grateful for an opportunity to raise funds.
I’m currently in Downtown Las Vegas at the Tech Cocktail Celebrate conference. It’s been a few years since I’ve been in Vegas for a conference and I’m doing my best to follow my own tips on how to avoid conference fatigue in Las Vegas. I would like to thank Tech Cocktail for inviting me to this innovative event. It’s an honor to be here in the company of so many successful entrepreneurs and leaders in the tech industry. Tech Cocktail has traveled the nation seeking the hottest new startups and brought them all together here at Tech Cocktail Celebrate. The startup competition that’s currently happening reminds me watching the show Shark Tank. Hopeful entrepreneurs are sharing their business to the audience and panel of judges and up for grabs is $10,000 along with other prizes. I’ve talked to over a dozen startups and am amazed at their enthusiasm and ambition for their companies. To contribute to their success I have created a list of tips that I feel will be helpful for startups to continue their quest for success with both consumers, investors and in this case judges of the startup competition.
1. Keep your pitch short, sweet and on point- I walked around the expo/ startup pavilion this morning and there were several companies that just lost me when trying to explain their company. After leaving their booth I still had no idea why I would use their product. These companies all tried to give me a really long pitch with information that was not relevant to me. The companies that really caught my attention were the ones that could explain their product/service to me in just a few sentences and make me immediately feel like they were giving me a solution to a need.
2. Practice and time your presentation- When presenting to investors or in a competition like the one currently being run at Tech Cocktail Celebrate you have a limited amount of time to speak. Here at the competition, when your time ends, there is a corresponding loud “cowbell” ring. Most companies weren’t done with their pitches when the bell rang because they spent too much time on information unrelated to their product/service such as talking too much about their own background. If an investor or judge is interested, they will most likely ask you about your background after your pitch. I do a lot of public speaking and have learned that it’s extremely important to time and practice your speech to ensure you’re within the time constraints so you’re able to get all the important information across.
3. Make sure your demo works- Nothing is more disappointing than having a demo that doesn’t work. Have a backup plan, have a backup plan to your backup plan and make sure that even if your demo stops working, no one will ever know because you’re so prepared with your back ups.
4. Answer tough questions before they are asked- Investors, judges and even consumers ask the same questions over and over again. Tough questions involve revenue, growth model and safety concerns. Include these answers in your pitch or presentation so that you’re already overcoming objections before they’re asked. This also adds an element of credibility to your company because you’re touching on subjects that really matter. This can even be done on social media. If your startup has a blog (which I highly recommend) utilize your blog and other social media channels to provide answers to commonly asked questions.
5. Know your numbers- This tip is pretty straight forward. When someone asks you a numbers questions, you should know the answer immediately. Know how many people are already in your community, how many users you have, how much revenue you’ve made, how much profit you’re made, etc.
6. Stop saying “we haven’t done any marketing”- As a marketing professional, this phrase makes me cringe! Not doing any marketing is nothing to brag about. I have heard it from at least 3 different start ups already. And after this phrase usually follows a list of publications and blogs the start up has been featured in described as their PR. PR itself is part of your marketing strategy so to say that no marketing has been done, is false. Maybe it’s because I specialize in marketing but if i’m going to invest in a company I want to hear all their strategic marketing plan and how they’re going to reach out to people who are potential customers. Rather than down playing your marketing, show that you really understand how to successfully market your startup by talking about marketing successes.
I am fairly new to the startup scene so as much as I hope that people can learn from this post, I also want to acknowledge that I’ve personally learned so much myself just by being here. I’ve learned about new technologies, marketing strategies and I’ve been inspired to have a more positive mindset about succeeding in anything you set your mind to. Thanks again so much to Tech Cocktail for this amazing opportunity. If you’re at Tech Cocktail Celebrate I look forward to connecting with you.
Hello Marketing Melodie readers! It’s been a busy summer/fall for me. I’ve been teaching social media workshops and classes, creating marketing classes, working with clients to optimize their online presence and I’ve also been traveling. I’m grateful that no matter where I travel to (my most recent trip being to Chicago), I am always happy to return to home sweet San Diego. Now that I’m back I have some time to share things I’m working on. I’ve been hosting Digital Media Now workshops for a few years now. Our Digital Media Now for Yogis workshop this summer at Riffs Yoga Yard was such a success that we’re bringing it back! If you want to learn how to use social media to grow your business, then you’re in luck. The next Digital Media Now for Yogis is coming up on Saturday November 2nd, 2013. Here are all the details:
Workshop Topic: Personal Branding on Social Media- With an abundance of digital technologies available, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when creating your own marketing strategy. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to navigate digital marketing and social media tools such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to attract more clients, grow your business and be a valuable resource in your industry.
- Date: Saturday November 2nd, 2013
- Time: 12-1:30pm
- Cost: $39 Early Bird (Before Oct 25th), $49 Regular Price
- Location: Riffs Acoustic Music and Yoga Yard- 5510 La Jolla Blvd La Jolla, CA 92037
- Register: Click HERE to sign up and reserve your spot
- Actionable content and tips you can implement NOW (No Opportunity Wasted) to start marketing yourself as a yoga/ fitness professional.
- Knowledge on how to serve as a trusted subject matter expert and resource in yoga and fitness.
- Understanding on how to use Social Media tools to create a compelling brand.
It is recommended that attendees bring a laptop. If a laptop isn’t available, please bring a notepad and pen. It’s been almost 6 months since the last Digital Media Now for Yogis workshop. Within that time the social media landscape has completely changed, new tools have surfaced along with new opportunities to market your business. My workshops are different every time and my material is always updated to reflect the continuously changing landscape of social media. If you came last time but want to come again, I guarantee you will learn something new!
If you run a yoga teacher training program and are interested in having this valuable program as part of your training, please let me know and I’m happy to discuss more details with you. I look forward to seeing you at Riffs in a few weeks and remember to reserve your spot by registering in advance HERE.
“What the heck is a pink mustache doing on that car?!” was my reaction when I first saw a Lyft vehicle. If you haven’t heard of Lyft, they are the hottest new alternative for getting around town. I am a huge proponent of car services. Even though I live in San Diego which is a commuter city and virtually everyone owns a car, I love any chance I get to reduce my drive time and gas emissions. Whether it’s carpooling with a friend, carpooling in a car service or just walking when I can, I feel good about doing something that’s more sustainable for the earth.
I first heard about Lyft before they launched in San Diego in July. They hosted a fun launch party where they invited local media, social media influencers and other community leaders. They also gave us all a $50 credit to try out the service so of course I couldn’t refuse. Getting a ride in a Lyft feels like getting a ride with a friend. I’ve used it a handful of times now and have only had good experiences. The drivers are all so friendly and positive. I like it so much that I want to share my tips and experience so you can Lyft off to your destination in style just like me.
Step One: Download the Lyft App- http://www.lyft.me/app
Step Two: Set up your profile. You will be asked to connect your Facebook account and add your credit card number. The app syncs to your Facebook account as a way to verify your identity. The driver will be able to see your profile photo before picking you up. Your credit card is placed on file but you won’t be charged anything until after you ride.
Step Three: The app tracks your location through GPS (make sure GPS is on) so all you have to do is click the “Request Ride” button and once a driver accepts your ride they will know where to pick you up. You’ll see a photo of your driver, their car and you also have their phone number. I recommend calling the driver to let them know of any specific instructions they may need when picking you up.
Step Four: Wait for your car to arrive. It will have a big pink mustache in front! Then hop in and let your driver know where you want to go.
Step Five: Once you’ve arrived at your final destination the app will give you an option to make a “donation”. All rides are donation based. There is a suggested donation amount that will pop up. You can decide to pay that amount, more or less depending on your experience. You’ll submit your payment and then you’re done!
It’s much easier than finding a number for a cab, calling and requesting a cab and not knowing when the cab will show up. There will also never be a cash transaction so if you don’t have cash, no worries. I’ve been such a proponent of this car service that Lyft reached out to me and gave me a unique referral code for my readers and friends. Use SDMEL for a free $20 credit if you’re a first time user. Redeeming the code is simple: Click on the “Payment” tab in the app and you’ll see a section that says “Enter a Lyft credit code”. Type in “SDMEL” and you’ll immediately receive a $20 credit.
There you have it, an easy set of instructions for downloading the Lyft App and $20 in your pocket! Just to give you an idea on the cost of rides. I took Lyft from Mission Valley to Mission Beach on 4th of July and it cost $25. I also took Lyft from Mission Valley to downtown San Diego for Comic Con and it cost $20. I’ve been picked up in a Mercedes and a BMW. It definitely feels nice to ride in a luxury car to your destination.
Enjoy your Lyft and remember CODE: SDMEL for $20 OFF YOUR FIRST RIDE!