Small businesses are the heart of the national economy, representing 99.9% of all US businesses and employing two-thirds of all American workers. They are also critical to local economies, providing essential services to the community and using a local workforce.
If you’re a small business owner, you can take advantage of Small Business Saturday in various ways.
This article will give the history of Small Business Saturday, tips on building your own marketing campaign, and how you can continue to increase your revenue beyond this one day.
Small Business Saturday: A Brief History
American Express started Small Business Saturday in 2010 as a marketing campaign. It was held the Saturday after Thanksgiving (and still is) and is now part of the Black Friday or Cyber Monday weekend.
It was created specifically to encourage people to shop at local brick-and-mortar businesses.
In 2011, it was nationally recognized by government leaders and promoted as a holiday. Since its inception, Small Business Saturday has generated approximately $120 billion in revenue for small businesses.
Most people are aware of the holiday now, and communities have embraced it, supporting local businesses in droves.
In 2022, revenue on Small Business Saturday reached $17.9 billion, and more than 50% of Americans surveyed said they will shop on the holiday in 2023.
Small Business Saturday Marketing Campaign Ideas
- Prepare now
- Hold a unique event
- Donate a portion of your sales to charity
- Special sales and discounts (In-store & Online)
- Go crazy on social media
- Open earlier, stay open late
- Offer free gift wrapping
- Make, display fun festive signs
Small Business Saturday is a massive opportunity for local businesses to have a great day of revenue and gain new customers who will return for future purchases and hopefully tell others about your business.
Whatever you decide to do to take advantage of Small Business Saturday, you need to prepare yourself and your staff for record traffic and sales.
Make sure you have plenty of inventory, particularly of your best-selling items. You don’t want to start running out of things halfway through the day and lose potential sales.
You also need to make sure that you’re well-staffed. You don’t want people to wait too long in line or be unable to get questions answered.
Excellent customer service on a particular day, or any day, is essential. Customers who have an outstanding experience at your store are much more likely to return to shop again!
Hold a Unique Event
Holding an event gives customers a little extra incentive to enter your business. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
You could partner with a local restaurant to do a food tasting or spread finger foods for shoppers to snack on.
You could also create a menu for kid-friendly food event and hire a clown or face painter.
The possibilities are endless. Get creative and try to think of something related to your business.
You could also do a kid-friendly event and hire a clown or face painter. The possibilities are endless. Get creative and try to think of something related to your business.
Anything that attracts customers will pay off.
Donate a Portion of Your Sales to Charity
The holidays tend to bring out the best in people. They give more to charity during the holiday season than at any other time.
Donate a portion of your sales to the local food bank or another local non-profit.
Another addition to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend is Giving Tuesday. What a better way to spread good tidings of great joy than giving to those in need.
Special Sales and Discounts (In-store & online)
Of course, people are always looking for bargains – hence the success of Black Friday – so you can generate sales by offering great deals.
Offer a special discount on purchases for new customers who sign up for the rewards program. It’s a great way to keep new customers coming back!
Also promote and include a special discount to generate new foot traffic to your shop. It's a great opportunity to capitalize on user-generated content for social media engagement.
Encourage shoppers to tag your location, and use your branded hashtags.
Go Crazy on Social Media
Whatever special thing you’re doing for Small Business Saturday, whether it’s an event, donations, or a sale, you’ve got to get the word out.
Post about it, invest in some ads, and encourage people to spread the word. You can also promote Small Business Saturday to support other local businesses.
Use the hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday in all your posts and ads.
Open Earlier, Stay Open Late
Open the doors early and stay open late! Shopping is a marathon during the holidays, so give people more time to take advantage of your business.
You can even offer special discounts for the first and last hour you’re open. That can get people lined up at your door first thing in the morning and make staying open later worthwhile!
Offer Free Gift Wrapping
The holidays can be overwhelming without having to worry about gift wrapping. If you offer to wrap up your customer’s purchases, it’s a bonus.
If you are so inclined, you can charge a small fee. Most people will pay a few extra dollars to save themselves wrapping time.
But offering free gift wrapping is a guarantee to get more people in your door.
Make, Display Fun Festive Signs
People are out there who aren’t fully aware of the holiday, so that you might get some spontaneous shoppers.
You can bring in customers who may have yet to plan to shop at your store by putting up signs outside and on busy nearby roads.
Promote whatever you’re offering for the day on your signage to remind people that it’s Small Business Saturday.
Support Small Business Saturday
The 'Buy Local' movement has grown dramatically over the last decade, and Small Business Saturday has helped to fuel that growth.
As a business owner, you can embrace the support of your community and help your business thrive by taking full advantage of this increasingly popular shopping holiday.
Make the most of it, and you can grow your business, not just for the day but into the future.