How to Cash In on Small Business Saturday


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Small Business Saturday will fall on November 25th this year. Are you ready?

Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday was observed for the first time in 2010, promoted by American Express. The company promised cashback to customers who shopped small and used their American Express card.

The name “Small Business Saturday” remains a registered trademark of American Express Corporation. But it’s become a lot more than a marketing gimmick; Small Business Saturday is now a big deal.

According to Grasshopper Resources, in 2016, 112 million people went out to shop small on Small Business Saturday, and 81% of them encouraged friends or family to shop or dine at small, independently-owned retailers and restaurants on that day too.

That added up to big dollars—$15.4 billion.

Some stores experience as much as a 20% increase in sales on Small Business Saturday. Add in the other benefits—namely, the heightened awareness among consumers of the benefits of spending with smaller businesses, which increases the likelihood they’ll buy small on other days—and it’s not only smart to participate, it’s vital.

So, what can you do? Here are five tips for making the most of this important shopping holiday:


1. Promote on Social Media
If you’re on social media, use the official hashtag, #SmallBusinessSaturday. You can start using the hashtag a few days before, and mention anything else you’ll be doing for the holiday — from special product promos to stats and info on the benefits of shopping small.


2. Take Advantage of Free Resources
Make use of the free, customizable materials offered by American Express to promote the date. They have templates and tools for customizing signage and other promotional material quickly and easily.

Also, see if you qualify to get listed on American Express’ Shop Small Map. If you quality, apply!


3. Educate Your Team
If you have signage up, make sure your staff understands what it means and knows some basic stats on the benefits buying local. Also, remember to make sure everyone thanks customers for “Shopping small.”


4. Have Small Business Saturday Selfie Contest
Tell customers if the snap a picture of themselves in the store on Small Business Saturday using both the hashtag and tagging you in the image, they’ll be entered to win a gift certificate or other goodies. If you go this route, be sure to print up some signage explaining the giveaway, send an email out to your newsletter subscribers, and encourage staff to mention it in the days leading up to the day itself.


5. Cross-Promote Other Events
Use the day to promote other things (already) on your marketing calendar. If you’ve been planning a holiday party or anything special heading into the holidays, use Small Business Saturday to get the word out.

Of course, be sure to plan Small Business Saturday into your marketing next year—after all, it’s not everyday that you can benefit from the marketing budget of a company like American Express.

 

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