I can’t believe it is already the holiday season. Thanksgiving is already around the corner but, before I talk about the importance of giving thanks, I want to bring up something you may or may not be preparing for: Small Business Saturday.
The Facts about Small Business Saturday
This phenomenon happens after groups of people come together and eat so much turkey they go into a tryptophan coma that puts them in a vegetative state, preventing them from getting out into the world until Saturday morning.
Ok, so maybe that really isn’t what Small business Saturday is all about, but what do you really know about it?
- Was started in 2010 by American Express
- Was started to encourage shoppers to visit brick and mortar shops after online shopping became popular
- Gave discounts to small business owners with AMEX accounts
- Created incentives for AMEX card holders that went shopping at these locations
- Was marked an “officially” recognized day in 2011 by the U.S. Senate
- In 2014, it was estimated that $14.3 billion was spent at independent businesses in the U.S. that day
Don’t believe me, watch this video from American Express.
But why should I participate?
So, now that you have your facts straight, I ask you, why should you participate? Well, it’s simple: because people want to spend money and you have something they want (or need). What’s a better way to get into the holiday spirit than to join up with your fellow small business men and women, to create some holiday cheer by working together to keep spending local? How’s about keeping tax dollars going to groups that give back to your local community like schools, police and fire departments and parks and recreation. It also helps that sales on days like this help make up for the not-so-great days that you may have had over the past year. Lastly, it’s a way to create some comradery amongst small business owners in your area, which can create future partnerships of value.
Tools to make your day eventful
Here are a few links American Express has to help you pull off your event:
- America Express marketing kit – Jump on board the bandwagon and take advantage of free resources that only cost you a bit of printing and the payroll to put them up
- Small Business Saturday Facebook – I am seeing questions and answers flying as small business owners are preparing for the big day. Have questions, ask them or find some best practices here.
- Make it a bigger event – Market your event on Eventbrite or take advantage of other great ideas of past small business Saturday winners. What worked for them might work for you in your neighborhood.
Their tools are free and easy to use but, how do you take advantage of something like this on your website and social marketing tools?
Here are a few easy ideas:
- Add the event to your business event calendar – Let your customers know when you are open and what makes this day so special and different from other days (that also means you have to do something different and make it special for them like having a gift card drawing, serving free coffee, cookies, or champagne)
- Add it to social media and invite your fans – Make sure they know about your great event and if you are partnered with other small business in the area, let them know.
- Change your profile picture – Make your social media profile reflect your support of small businesses and make sure you use #ShopSmall.
- Advertise on other sites – Are you partnered with a group promoting Small Business Saturday? If so, trade a promotion with a small business. Example: If you are a hair salon, partner with a bakery and promote their product while they promote your salon.
- Send targeted email invitation – Your customers want to feel special, like they are personally invited to your business on those days so send them a direct email invitation. It’s cheap, easy and can be personalized to fit your various customer categories.
- Contact the media – Do you have something really special happening at your store or do you want to make sure to get maximum coverage? Call the media to take pictures of small business Saturday happening in your store. It may not impact you that day but, free advertising could help you the remainder of the season. (Also, make sure you link your website to any media coverage)
- Use the event as a day to thank your customers – Offer special pricing or special product as a “thank you” for your customer purchases over the year. Make this available both in-office and online to maximize your sales.
Whether you participate in the American Express campaign or not, taking advantage of this day and working with your fellow small business owners will only help you be a stronger small business with more relationships, it could add a substantial amount to your bottom line or increase awareness.
If you like this, share it on your favorite social media and use #ShopSmall (because we are a small business, too!)