As a live answering service for thousands of businesses nationwide, small businesses have a special place in our hearts. Making up 99.9% of U.S. businesses and 47.5% of the workforce, small businesses play a critical role in the economy.
That’s why American Express created a holiday just for small businesses in 2010, and it’s paying off. On SBS in 2018, 104 million shoppers spent a new record of nearly $18 billion at small businesses.
This November 30, take advantage of Small Business Saturday to promote your small or local business. Whether you’re online or brick & mortar (or both), there are numerous tactics you can use to encourage shoppers to support small businesses this season.
As folks prepare for shopping this weekend, they may look you up, so make sure your address and contact info is up-to-date and accurate on your website and social media.
Pro tip: Tweak your website if needed, to make it more mobile-friendly. Boost your local presence on Google MyBusiness and Google Maps – so your business is easy to find and locate. A lot of people are encouraged to patronize small businesses on this day, and they’ll likely be looking you up on their smartphone.
Ramp Up Communication
In advance of Small Business Saturday, make sure that your contacts are in the know about the shopping holiday and any discounts or promotions you might have. A targeted email campaign can help you build anticipation.
Pro-tip: Craft an enticing email subject line to grab attention, and make sure that there’s a plain-text/accessible version so that users get the point even if your images don’t load.
Take Advantage of Free Resources
Check out AmEx’s Small Business Resource Center, where you can easily create custom posters, social media posts & more.
Pro tip: This year, they’re also giving a free trial of Ripl Pro, which you can use to create even more engaging social content.
Don’t Worry About Deep Discounts
This isn’t Black Friday. Shoppers are shopping on Small Business Saturday because they want to support their local economy. Provide great value, but don’t undervalue yourself.
Pro tip: As an alternative, consider creating some kind of contest or incentive to get customers excited.
Make it an Occasion
Create an event on social media, invite your community, followers, and members of the local media. If you’re involved in local community groups, share the event.
Pro tip: You could open early or close later. Some communities have events like this going on anyway, so you can get involved with a group of businesses. Think about being the first or last stop on a small business hop.
Ask the Chamber
Some local chambers organize Small Business Saturday events or publish lists of participating shops and vendors. Reach out. It never hurts to ask, and you could get some free publicity.
Pro tip: If you’ve got any contacts in the local media, they can also tip you off to opportunities like these.
Make it Shareable
Don’t be short-sighted. This could be the beginning of a season-long event that takes you through the end of the year. What cost-effective, creative ideas can you think of to get locals in your area excited?
Pro tip: If you want to get people engaged on social, make sure you’re leveraging relevant hashtags like #shopsmall, make sure your loyal customers are tagging you, checking in, and helping to share your message.
Partner With Other Businesses
Is there another business in your community that you can collaborate with? You can cross-promote or co-market your services, create a service package, or even host an event together.
Pro tip: If the collaboration goes well, you could continue working together in the future!
Small Business Saturday is a great time to boost your sales heading into the holiday season — and you don’t have to be a retailer to take advantage of the hype. Even service providers such as salons or auto detailers can capitalize on the day, it just takes some creativity and planning.
Here are even more resources from American Express to help you prepare for Small Business Saturday 2020: