Five Ways to Prepare for Small Business Saturday

Author: Caron_Beesley, Contributor

As an official supporter of Small Business Saturday, we’re happy to share insight into this special day for small businesses. Here’s a great blog from the Small Business Administration website to help you get the most out of this national promotion. Visit the SBA site for more great tips on preparing for November 29.

November 29 is Small Business Saturday! That’s right, the day after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday is your chance to make a lasting impact in your community by encouraging shoppers to shop local.

But just how big an impact does the day have? According to research by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business, consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday in 2013 spent $5.7 billion with independent merchants (a four percent increase over the previous year).

It also gained attention at the highest levels. President Obama championed the day and 41 state governors issued proclamations in support of the campaign.

Small Business Saturday is fast becoming a holiday tradition, and it’s an especially powerful opportunity for brick-and-mortar retailers to boost holiday sales. Here are five steps you can take to make November 29th a big day for your small business.

1. Incorporate Small Business Saturday into Your Bigger Holiday Marketing Campaign

Make a point of including Small Business Saturday in your plans for the season. Think of your goals and how the day can help you. It could be as straightforward as using the day to increase awareness of your business or grow your email list by encouraging folks who stop by your store to sign up for special offers and news. Your goals will help drive your tactics, so spend some time scoping these out.

2. Create a Special Offer

This is a great day to rally your customers and attract new ones by enticing them with special offers like a one-day, time-bound coupon or a free sample. Whatever you do, go above and beyond to make your customers feel special and give them a compelling reason to keep coming back through the holidays and beyond. If you do business online, make sure your offer can be redeemed via e-commerce as well.

3. Market Your Business with Free “Shop Small®” Resources

American Express, who founded Small Business Saturday in 2010, offers a number of free marketing materials to help you ride the wave of participation and promote your involvement.

These can be easily customized for your own business and include printable signage, free online ads, sample email templates and social posts and Shop Small logos. If you’re an American Express merchant, then you can also use the Shop Small map to make it easy for people to discover and locate your business.

4. Rally Your Neighborhood

Could your business become a neighborhood champion of Small Business Saturday? Why not host a pancake breakfast kick-off with your business neighbors? Or get your community out for a fun run in support of shopping small.

To help you promote your event, take advantage of the Small Business Saturday Event Kit that includes welcome mats, shopping bags and more! You can also explore ideas for events here.

5. Learn from Businesses That Previously Took Part

Need some inspiration? Read the stories of businesses who used Shop Small® marketing materials to support their participation last year. For example, Little Man Ice, a Denver-based ice cream shop, boosted its sales by working with other businesses in their neighborhood to market the day on social media and display personalized signage in their window. They also let neighbors know their location by putting it on the Shop Small map.

Children’s fashion boutique, Pippen Lane, achieved a 20 percent increase in sales that day by organizing an event to attract customers on the day and promoting it using Shop Small email templates and social posts.

Published: October 29, 2014, on the Small Business Administration website, SBA.gov