Small Business Saturday is a celebrated event that supports local businesses and encourages consumers to shop within their communities. Founded by American Express in 2010, this day has grown into a nationwide movement, boosting sales for small businesses during the holiday season. In 2022 alone, according to the Small Business Administration, consumers spent over $17.9 billion on this date, so it’s worth it to see how this event can help your business grow by planning and executing effective strategies. Also, Small Business Saturday isn’t just for retail, as many businesses can promote and benefit from an association with this date. We’ve pulled together a list of suggested ways to participate, and although you may not be able to work on all of them, try one to see how your business can attract new customers or engage your current ones. By shopping locally, the concept of community gets a boost, strengthening the bonds of a community, and your business is a key part of the fabric of the community.
1. Create Special Offers
Entice customers with exclusive deals and discounts. As a small business, you know how to create promotions tailored to the occasion that offer real value to your customer. Limited-time offers or bundled products can encourage shoppers to buy from your business instead of larger retailers. Just like retail stores, non-retail businesses can offer special deals and discounts to customers. Consider offering a discount on services or a free consultation to attract new customers.
2. Promote Your Participation
Spread the word about your involvement in Small Business Saturday. Utilize your website, social media, email marketing, and local advertising to inform your customers. You can also join the official Small Business Saturday promotion to reach a wider audience.
3. Make Your Brick and Mortar Location Festive
Decorate your store, restaurant or location with Small Business Saturday-themed decorations and signage. Create a festive atmosphere to attract more foot traffic. For non-retail, consider offering a workshop, seminar, or hosting an open house to showcase your services and products. This can help you attract new customers and build relationships with existing ones.
4. Leverage Social Media
Harness the power of social media to connect with your audience. Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X to showcase your products and promotions. Encourage followers to share their experiences with your business on these platforms. Also, using hashtags already associated with Small Business Saturday (like #SmallBusinessSaturday and #ShopSmall) can help locals discover your participation and help you reach a wider audience.
5. Collaborate with Other Local Businesses
Consider collaborating with neighboring small businesses to cross-promote. You can create joint marketing efforts or organize events that attract a larger crowd. If you are not a retail business, consider partnering with one to cross-promote. Partnering with others can help you reach new customers and build a stronger sense of community.
6. Offer an Exceptional Customer Experience
We know this is a focus for your business every day, but this date is a good time to ensure that your customer service is top-notch. Friendly and knowledgeable staff, a well-organized store, and a positive shopping experience can leave a lasting impression on customers, leading to repeat visits.
7. Prepare for the Digital Shopper
Not all Small Business Saturday shoppers will visit your physical store. Be ready for online shoppers by updating your website, optimizing for mobile, and offering easy online ordering and shipping options.
8. Capture Customer Information
Leverage Small Business Saturday as an opportunity to collect customer information, such as email addresses, even if it’s just via a clip board and not online. Emailing or sending a postcard card later will allow you to continue marketing to these shoppers and build lasting relationships beyond the event.
9. Express Gratitude
Make sure to thank your customers for choosing to shop small. A simple thank-you note, a small token of appreciation, or even a follow-up email expressing your gratitude can go a long way in building loyalty.
10. Plan Ahead
Preparation is key to a successful Small Business Saturday. Begin planning well in advance by setting clear goals and objectives. Consider factors such as inventory, staffing, and promotions. The earlier you start, the better you can manage the details.
Small Business Saturday is a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to shine and connect with their community. By following these ten tips, you can make the most of this day and set the stage for a successful holiday season. Remember that the key to Small Business Saturday is not just boosting sales but building lasting relationships with your customers, which can benefit your business throughout the year.