Small Business Saturday rolls around in the midst of the holiday season every year to celebrate small local businesses everywhere.
On the fourth Saturday in November, Americans are encouraged to shop small and buy local, whether online or in-store, even if they could find what they need somewhere else.
If you’re a small business owner, this is your day to reach more customers than almost any other time of year.
Let’s take a look at how Small Business Saturday got its start and how you can use it to your advantage with seven super simple Small Business Saturday ideas.
What is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday (SBS) got its start on November 27, 2010, and was sponsored by American Express. In 2011, the Senate agreed that SBS should be official, and the government has supported it ever since.
With that kind of support, a day that originally started in Massachusetts became a nationwide celebration of small businesses everywhere.
By 2013, even local neighborhoods celebrated it.
In 2014, American Express, which trademarked SBS, promoted it across social media and encouraged participation everywhere. By 2015, SBS had become a tradition for both businesses and shoppers.
Small businesses got their own special holiday and shoppers gained a sense of hometown pride when they visited local businesses in their community. 2015 was also the most successful yet with $16.2 billion dollars spent.
7 fantastic Small Business Saturday ideas
You can reach your customers on SBS in dozens of ways, but these seven Small Business Saturday ideas are the most effective:
1. Show your similarities with the local community
Small businesses typically have strong community ties. In order to promote your small business in a way that shows those ties, outline the ways that you do so.
Share your story with customers both on your website and in your storefront that outlines the ways you participate in the community.
For example, on social media, your company could highlight its latest donation to a local charity or a department’s visit to a local park for a team event.
With this Small Business Saturday Marketing idea, you appeal to emotion and show that you’re in business for your customers, which motivates your community to support you.
2. Promote a special
There’s no better time to have a promotion than Small Business Saturday!
The community wants to celebrate you, so you should celebrate them in the form of a special sale. Not only will it show appreciation for your customers, but it will also attract new customers. You can let everyone know about this upcoming promotion by:
- Posting on social media
- Sending an email to subscribers
- Creating a Google My Business Post
- Writing an update on your blog
- And more
If you maintain an online store, you can also update your design to include a banner that announces this promotion. For example, the banner could say, “25% OFF SITEWIDE” to let everyone visiting your site (even non-local traffic) about your Small Business Saturday promotion.
3. Use multiple marketing strategies
You’re probably already marketing your small business. But in the week leading up to SBS, invest even more time in marketing to reach as many people as possible.
For example, you can take the lead on this Small Business Saturday promotion idea by:
- Posting on social media — and hosting a giveaway to drive engagement
- Creating a promotional email campaign to keep subscribers informed (and excited) in the days leading up to Small Business Saturday
- Launching an ad campaign with location targeting to reach potential shoppers in your area
- Updating signage outside your store to inform local residents
With most of these strategies, you’ll want to include essential information like the promotional dates, special offers, and where to ask questions or seek help.
4. Hold a contest
Contests are one of the best ways to get customers to your store on SBS, which is why we mentioned it in an earlier Small Business Saturday marketing idea.
You can announce the contest on social media and encourage customers to participate.
You should also include a description of the prize as an incentive. For example, maybe shoppers earn an entry for every $1 they spend at your store.
This arrangement encourages people to shop at your business because they have the incentive of earning a prize, like a gift card, from your company. When brainstorming contest ideas, though, remember to think of ideas that offer easy entry and appeal to most of your audience.
5. Partner with your next-door neighbor
If your storefront neighbors another small business, partner with them to promote your businesses together. You could even tie this Small Business Saturday marketing idea with an earlier one: Host a contest.
You and the partnering business could offer a giveaway, for instance, that provides winners with a gift card to your business and the partnering company.
With this idea, you’ll help each other reach more shoppers and increase your chances of earning new customers.
6. Make customer service your top priority
Even if your team is overwhelmed on SBS, make sure to cater to every customer.
One of the biggest benefits of running a small business is that you’re able to create personal ties with your customers, as opposed to huge corporations that likely don’t know their customers on a first-name basis. Extend your warmest thanks for their support and answer any questions they may have.
In doing so, you’ll show how much you appreciate them.
If you need help managing all the questions and purchases, especially those coming from online users, think about investing in a chatbot. With a chatbot, like on Facebook, you can provide quick answers to common user questions, like your shipping times, return policy, and more.
7. Increase your ad budget
Investing in ads is one of the best Small Business Saturday marketing ideas because it helps future customers become aware of your brand before SBS.
PPC ads on social media and search engines show customers that SBS is just around the corner. You can use them to promote any specials you’re offering to attract customers to your store.
Plus, you can use location targeting with these ads to limit your advertisements to the clients that matter most to your business.
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Make Small Business Saturday a success
WebFX knows all about the importance of Small Business Saturday as we specialize in digital marketing for small-to-midsized businesses, and we have all the resources to make you stand out.
Just in the past five years, we’ve helped our clients manage more than 12.9 million transactions with strategies like search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, PPC advertising, and more.