Holiday Business Trends: Valentine’s Day

The most romantic holiday of the year is almost here, which means big love for restaurants, bars, florists, and other local businesses. Last year, SinglePlatform’s customers employed a variety of tactics—some traditional and some more daring—to sweep patrons off their feet on Valentine’s Day. Here are a few creative marketing ideas from our clients.
Specials

From custom tasting menus featuring chocolate, strawberries, champagne, and oysters to special prices on bouquets of roses to spa gift card promotions, our customers pulled out all the stops to offer something romantic and decadent for Valentine’s Day.

Live Music

Mood music can make or break a romantic setting. To set the right tone, some of our clients brought in string quartets and live bands for the occasion; one bar even had a special Valentine’s Day karaoke event so that patrons could serenade one another.

Giveaways

Some of our restaurant clients, who know that freebies can often win over fickle hearts, wooed couples with giveaways such as cigars, roses, desserts, even champagne. If free champagne doesn’t contribute to customer loyalty, we don’t know what will.

Speed Dating

Valentine’s Day can often be a less than stellar holiday for singles. One of our clients decided to bring singles together by hosting a speed dating event. If you’re a natural matchmaker, it may be just the thing to boost your business in February!

Anti-Valentine’s Day Parties

For those more jaded bachelors and bachelorettes, a few bars threw anti-Valentine’s Day parties. One of our clients hosted a costume party featuring angles and devils; another offered drink specials for “non-Cupids”.

The Bottom Line

Holidays are meant to be embraced and enjoyed by businesses and consumers alike. Get creative with your offers and events, and your patrons will be sure to swoon.

Holidays in the Food Biz: December Edition

It’s December, which means that the holiday travel, shopping, and feasting season is in full swing. For small businesses in the food industry, the resulting increase in store visits and orders in the last month of the year is cause for rejoicing. But during the hectic season, it can be difficult to think of interesting ways to draw in new patrons and engage existing customers.
SinglePlatform’s small businesses in the food industry have taken advantage of the holidays in a variety of ways to boost their business, reward their consumers, and give back to the community. Here are a few marketing ideas to consider for your own business:

Holiday Gift Cards

Beyond encouraging customers to dine with you or make purchases during the month of December, you can also encourage business in the new year with holiday gift cards. Many SinglePlatform clients promote gift cards as a stocking stuffer or last-minute gift idea.

Host Holiday Parties and Meals

Help alleviate your customers’ holiday hosting stress by opening your doors for large group parties and meals. You can:

  • rent out your entire establishment for private events, or accommodate smaller gatherings with reserved rooms
  • offer special menus for pre-holiday, post-holiday, and day-of holiday dining
  • or even, as one of our more creative clients did, host an “ugly Christmas sweater” party to get some use out of previously neglected gifts and keep the festivities going through to the start of the new year

Holiday Crafts

Even those people who aren’t ordinarily inclined toward craftiness get into the DIY spirit around the holidays. A few of our local businesses have hosted in-store craft events for adults and kids alike.

Donations to a Local Charity

Several of SinglePlatform’s clients participated in donation drives of toys, canned goods, and other items to benefit their local communities. This is a great way to give back to those in need during the holidays, and an easy way to contribute positively to your brand’s image.

The Bottom Line

However you choose to market your business during the holidays, make sure it’s meaningful for your customers and your community, in addition to being meaningful for you.

5 Facts About Small Business Saturday

As a small business owner, you probably already know that Small Business Saturday is the local-merchant equivalent of Black Friday or Cyber Monday. This year, Small Business Saturday falls on November 30.
In honor of the upcoming holiday, we’d like to share 5 interesting facts about Small Business Saturday that you may not know:

Fact 1: AmEx Launched Small Business Saturday in 2010

American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010 to help independent merchants get more exposure during the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. Their initial marketing campaign included national radio, TV, and social media ads.

Fact 2: Social Media Loves #smallbizsat

Since its launch last year, Facebook’s Small Business Saturday Page has received over 3.2 million Likes. In 2012, Twitter offered $1 million in free ads for small businesses during the holidays. And hashtag #smallbizsat was used on Small Business Saturday over 200,000 times last year. That’s a pretty impressive showing for the new holiday on the block.

Fact 3: Over 100 Million People Shopped Small in 2012

After the first year, many people were skeptical about whether Small Business Saturday would become a permanent fixture. Participation by both merchants and consumers in subsequent years has proven these skeptics wrong. Over 500,000 merchants participated in 2012, attracting over 100 million consumers.

Fact 4: Half of Small Businesses Ran SBS Marketing Campaigns in 2012

According to NFIB’s Small Business Saturday Insights Survey, 47% of independent merchants used Small Business Saturday as a way to draw in new business in 2012. Of these merchants, 67% offered special deals for customers who shopped on Small Business Saturday.

Fact 5: Small Business Saturday Generated $5.5 Billion in 2012

Spending surpassed expectations last year as both consumer awareness and turnout increased, generating $5.5 billion in revenue for participating businesses.

Gearing up for 2013

Are you ready for Small Business Saturday 2013? Don’t forget to download your custom banners, signage, logos, and more from AmEx, and make sure to spread the word beforehand to current and potential consumers.

We wish you all the best this year, and hope to see you when we shop local over the Thanksgiving holiday!

Holidays in the Food Biz: Thanksgiving Edition

Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday that conjures up visions of plates heaping with food, families gathered around a table (or television) together, and turkey-induced naps on the couch. It also calls to mind big dollar signs for businesses, especially those in the food industry.
SinglePlatform’s restaurants, bakeries, and food wholesalers have tapped into the Thanksgiving spirit in a variety of ways to boost their business. Here are a few ideas to help you make the most of the upcoming holiday.

Help with Dinner

Hosting Thanksgiving can be an ordeal for home cooks, even experienced ones. Our businesses have extended a helping hand by providing fresh ingredients such as the main-event turkey, shellfish for stuffing and appetizers, and specialty produce. Other clients sell bread, pies, cakes, and other baked goods to take the pressure off shaky bakers. Some of our users even provide the entire feast, letting customers focus on socializing rather than slaving over a stove.

Entertain the Night Before

Out-of-towners often show up the night before the feast—but few people are eager to cook a big meal two days in a row. Our restaurants have run specials and discounts on “Thanksgiving Eve” to give hosts a break from entertaining their guests’ taste buds.

Host the Whole Family

Whether it’s a rustic buffet, multi-course prix fixe menu, or something in between, dining out can be a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving. Some of our businesses open their doors to their customer family every year, hosting feasts that are worthy of advance reservations.

Take Time Off

It’s rare that small business owners take a break, but Thanksgiving is a great time to consider a day off. Many of our clients close up shop so they can rest and recharge with friends and family before the holiday season shifts into high gear.

Whatever your plans are for Thanksgiving, be sure to tell your customers how thankful you are for them.

A big thanks to all of our SinglePlatform clients. We’re lucky to work with such a great group of businesses!

Creative Halloween Marketing Ideas for Your Business

Holidays present a great opportunity to connect with new customers, and Halloween is no exception. Costumes and candy galore make for an occasion worth celebrating. But sometimes, turning your enthusiasm into a business promotion can be a challenge.
Our SinglePlatform clients have come up with some creative ways to tap into the Halloween spirit for their businesses. Here are a few ways to bewitch customers during the upcoming holiday:

Do Something for Kids

Parents are always looking for fun, safe, local events around Halloween. Some of our clients have offered pumpkin painting, caramel apple dipping, and trick-or-treating for kids at their establishments; others have offered a free item or discount for kids who come in costume. Now that’s something the whole family can get excited about!

Host a Costume Party

Kids may be the main focus of Halloween, but adults also like to dress up and do the Monster Mash. Several of our businesses have thrown costume parties for their customers, offering prizes (in one case, $1000 cash!) for the best costume of the night.

Provide Live Entertainment

If costumes aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate. Live bands, DJs, dancing, even torch throwers and stilt walkers—all have featured in our clients’ festivities.

Offer Special Items

Our restaurant clients have offered a variety of themed drinks and dishes featuring seasonal flavors like pumpkin and apple. Specials can also be themed around Halloween-related colors, themes, and services.

Spread the Word

Once you’ve nailed down your plans, make sure to promote them on your listings pages, website, and social media channels. SinglePlatform makes it easy to publish announcements about seasonal events and product offerings across multiple sites and apps, or you can do it manually.

However you decide to celebrate, we hope you have a spooktacular time!

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