Small Business Saturday has finally entered the cultural vernacular, with U.S. consumers spending a total of $5.5 billion with independent merchants on SBS last year, according to US Chamber statistics. American Express has a series of recommendations, which every local chamber member should read, learn from and put into practice ASAP.
Build Momentum Leading up to the Day
After seeing great success on SBS the past few years, some businesses rallied their community to “shop small” multiple times per year. This helped the business owners to cross promote their neighboring businesses and also encouraged the community to keep the momentum going all year round.
Work Together with your Small Business Community
The owners of Hardscrabble worked together with other small businesses to combine their SBS efforts last year. The group of small businesses created a network on social media, leveraged AmEx’s free marketing tools, and offered discounts to customers who presented receipts from other local businesses.
Take a Cue from the Big Guys
Offers like door-buster deals, deep discounts on select items, and more aren’t just for Black Friday. Since 2010, DJ Crater boutique in Chatham, NJ, made a decision to open their doors three hours earlier than normal and offered “early bird specials” to their customers.
Small businesses are nimble and able to make quick decisions. From surprise giveaways to last minute incentives, flexibility gives small businesses a distinct advantage over larger retailers. Portola Coffee Lab in Costa Mesa, CA had lines of customers out the door from 7 to 8 a.m., so they deployed a handheld point of sale device to ring up customers in line who wanted coffee beans and gift cards, enabling even more sales and quicker service.
Embrace Social Media
American Express offers free marketing resources to promote Small Business Saturday. Royal Razor in Baltimore, MD used the tips and tools to throw a Small Business Saturday event and set up a photo booth for people to share their new haircuts on social media, further promoting their business and bringing in even more new customers.
CREATE AN EVENT TO PROMOTE SMALL BUSINESSES.
Throw a parade on your main street. Host a community block party or downtown fair. Design an event that showcases what local businesses have to offer and inspires people to participate and shop small on the day. And, don’t forget that you can leverage existing events in your town to help make the most of Small Business Saturday.
MAKE IT EASY TO SHOP.
Offer free parking for the day and close down streets for pedestrians. The easier it is to shop, the more people will do it!
MAKE IT MEMORABLE.
Dress up the town with signage, banners, and balloons to help the cause stand out and call your community to action on the day.
GET THE MEDIA AND LOCAL OFFICIALS INVOLVED.
Local media is always looking for a good story. Engage local officials, local celebrities and media contacts, and let them help amplify your message.
START A COUNTDOWN.
Start a countdown the week before Small Business Saturday. Enlisting the help of small businesses and your local newspaper is a great way to build the excitement.
ENGAGE MORE SMALL BUSINESSES AND HELP THEM PARTICIPATE.
The more small businesses you can get on board, the bigger the day can be.
ENGAGE THE WHOLE COMMUNITY—INCLUDING THE KIDS!
Create a festive atmosphere with face painting, balloon animals, and cotton candy to help attract families with young children.
CREATE A SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY CIRCULAR.
Use the Sunday paper to highlight all the special Small Business Saturday offers from local small businesses.
ADVERTISE IN THE NEWSPAPER.
Contact your local newspaper about including a Small Business Saturday ad or one-pager in papers in your neighborhood.
In meetings. At the grocery store. Over dinner with friends. The more passionate you are spreading the word; the more others will be doing the same. It's contagious.