Small business owners, customer engagement is your secret weapon when it comes to boosting sales throughout the year, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on all those key dates for launching a promotion.
Make the Most of the Holidays
Everyone loves a holiday. It’s an excuse to be part of something exciting, and you, as a business owner can extend this opportunity to your customers.
You can go about this in many different ways, but the most popular methods include:
- Updating your social media, especially Instagram, with a themed picture celebrating the day
- Include themed images and updates on your website
- Send out marketing emails marking the day and any offers you have going
- The chalkboard outside your storefront is a powerful tool - use it to tell people they can celebrate with your brand
- Create themed items, services or special offers that run for a limited time only
To make sure you never miss out on a weird, wonderful or nationally important way to show you’re doing your bit, and help get customers clued-in to your brand, here is Square’s guide to the top dates in the second half of 2017 for your diary. We’ve even thrown in those important legal dates for your business admin to help you stay on top of vital deadlines.
Workplace Pensions Staging Dates
For the later half of 2017, staging dates for the workplace pension will come into effect. That is, the set date from which you are legally required to start paying into your employee’s pension scheme. The precise date can vary from business to business; to make sure you don’t miss your staging date, you can check out our guide.
1st July - World Canada Day
No small event on the UK calendar, even Trafalgar Square is transformed to celebrate the national holiday of Canada. Own a clothing store? Get white and red goods up front, and blast some Justin Bieber. Own a coffee shop or bakery? Get the maple syrup flowing.
4th July - Independence Day
We’ve all heard of Independence day but few of we Brits have had the chance to experience it, so offer your customers something they can’t resist: fresh pumpkin pie, American candy packed with every order or just a twitter feed stuffed with Jeff Goldblum’s alien-killing wisdom.
July 24th - National Tequila Day
Not just an excuse to get your patrons a bit tipsy, holidays like this help bars and restaurants network and encourage customers to sample as many of them as possible on their tequila-themed crawls. Get in touch with fellow independent bars and join forces for the day, or if you’re a shop or hairdresser, why not throw your own little happy hour in recognition? For bars, this is also prime time to push your premier spirits as part of tequila flight or cocktail specials.
6th August - International Friendship Day
A great one for your social media activity. Showcase the friendship between your own team and let customers see behind the scenes. Coffee shops, offer a two-for-one deal your sweet treats for anyone who brings a friend, or just refuse to sell a gingerbread man unless they buy his mate (at a discount), too.
8th August - International Cat Day
Everyone loves cats. You’re sure to be able to work this into your brand somehow, even if it’s just a terrible pun on your social media. Brand engagement can be as simple as a new customer liking your Facebook post, but one click leads to another, leads to another!
September 1st - Organic September
A creation of the Soil Association, small businesses that promote going organic can align themselves with something much bigger this September. One for the coffee shops, cafes and bars, take the opportunity to educate your customers on precisely what organic is, or stage something a bit more fun, like blind tastings. Beauty and clothing can be organic, too, so push those items to front and centre and see if you don’t win a whole new wave of green-minded customers.
18th September - National Cupcake Week
British Baker’s excuse to get us all a bit fat, National Cupcake Week also provides the perfect excuse for a bit of fun and fundraising in your small business. Sponsored bake-offs documented on your social media, a free-reign on the cupcake creations you sell to hungry patrons and a stage for showcasing your creative talent – perfect for a bit of an Instagram assault - can draw new customers in.
1st October - International Coffee Day
A day to appreciate the world’s appreciation of coffee, International Coffee Day is a party every coffee shop is invited to, so you can extend an exclusive invite to your customers. Stage a special event, get together with local coffee shops and make sure your passion for your craft is known.
20th October - Breast Cancer Awareness, Wear It Pink
One of the UK’s most iconic charities, think pink and do your bit for this noble cause. Sign up and make your good deed official. Themed goods, donations made from every purchase, fun fundraisers and generally showing your support for this charity will help customers get to know you and your brand better.
31st October - Halloween
A seriously important day of the month, whether it’s serving up spooky cocktails, decorating your shop front or livening up your social media with a few scary pranks, Halloween is a theme customers love to engage with. Brits are up for investing in a bit of scary fun, with £310 million being poured into this holiday last year. For bars or coffee shops, arrange a scary film screening or your own fancy dress party – every sort of business can get in on the spookiest night of the year.
Autumn 2017 - Small Business Commissioner Scheme
Expected to come into effect this Autumn, the Small Business Commissioner Scheme is set to give small businesses like your own a helping hand when it comes to payment disputes with bigger companies. There will also be advice and information available for small businesses on things like contracts and resolving disputes.
1st November - National Novel Writing Month
Perhaps not as well-known as most events, independent coffee shops should delight in National Novel Writing Month and hosting their own Write-Ins. A month when aspiring authors set themselves the challenge of churning out a novel in 4 weeks, twice-weekly meet ups in coffee shops are the norm for these wannabe-writers, and offering them the perfect place to let their words and imagination run free might win you some very loyal customers.
5th November - Guy Fawkes Night
Let the glitter flow, a bit of sparkle on this day is entirely forgivable. Themed offers and tasty treats are sure to be appreciated – sticking a sparkler in your cupcakes might not be too subtle, but neither is a Catherine wheel.
24th November - Black Friday
An American import that sees shoppers go a bit mad, there is just as much to be gained from getting involved in this madness (limited-time offers on your goods) as not (offers on a coffee and a cake to escape the crowds). A well-hyped event, wet your customers’ appetites for your deals by emailing or posting about them weeks in advance, much like Amazon does. When the big day arrives, your customers won’t have to think about if they will shop with you, they’ll already know precisely what they want.
27th November - Cyber Monday
Same thing, different day, except Cyber Monday encourages people to stay in the safety of their own homes. This is where your business’ online presence can come into its own, with marketing emails, social media posts and dedicated landing pages to your limited-time deals.
30th November - St. Andrew’s Day
He may not be as well-known as St. Patrick, but that’s all the more reasons your customers might appreciate you acknowledging this day. Add a bit of tartan, shortbread or deep-fried Mars bars to your offerings, novelty is a powerful tool for customer engagement.
2nd December - Small Business Saturday
A day made just for you and your business, councils, societies and large companies all commit to giving small businesses the chance to shine, including a national bus tour. This push to get small businesses the recognition they deserve really works, too: customers spent £717m with small businesses during Small Business Saturday last year. Get involved and help put your business in the spotlight.
15th December - Christmas Jumper Day
The perfect excuse to look ridiculous, or just ridiculously festive, sign up to Christmas Jumper Day and make a meaningful difference to children’s lives, all while bringing a smile to customer’s faces, and hopefully even more of them through the door.
25th December - Christmas Day
The big one. You should be dedicating more than just today to this major holiday, preparations begin as early as September, and your business is no exception. Make sure everything from your social media to your shop front to your employee’s choice of wardrobe reflects the festive spirit. If you have special offers in mind, roll them out. Offer a mince pie to your customers as they browse your goods, replace coffee with mulled wine as your give your client a trim – bars and coffee shops, make good use of those festive spices!
31st December - New Years
Everyone is a little down after Christmas, so it’s your job to cheer them up. Push your healthy food options for those who have overdone it, or your drinks deals for those looking to seriously celebrate. If you sell fashion get a look book together for killer new year’s party looks, whatever your business, make sure to wish all your customers a happy new year.