Taking Advantage of Small Business Saturday

The weekend after Thanksgiving is going to be busy, busy, busy! Your customer base is going out holiday shopping, taking advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. In the middle of all that chaos, smaller businesses can get overshadowed by larger corporations. That’s where Small Business Saturday comes in!

American Express founded this day back in 2010. It always falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and is a day dedicated to highlighting and promoting smaller businesses during the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This day is important as it gives a much needed boost to small businesses that don’t have the same resources or advantages of their large corporate counterparts.

Hippo Marketing knows how daunting it can be, trying to get noticed among all the big corporations, especially during the holidays. So we've written up 10 ways to take advantage of Small Business Saturday this year.  

Do some online housekeeping.
Double check that your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) and store hours are up to date on your website and across all of your social media accounts and local listings. It’s easy to forget to update all of your business accounts as you grow, and busy shoppers may not know that you’ve moved or changed your hours. After you’ve made sure that your store information is up to date, review your website from a customer's perspective. Are your promotions front and center on the home page? Is your checkout system running smoothly? Is your inventory up to date? These are things you should be consistently checking throughout the year, especially during the holidays!   

Take advantage of freebies.  
American Express does all of the heavy lifting for small businesses this time of year. They offer resources like signs, email templates, web badges, posters, and customizable marketing tools all for FREE! If you haven’t requested these supplies from AmEx yet, hurry! The cut off is Friday, November 10! There’s still time to download these materials and customize them for your business, and make sure to check if you are eligible to order American Express’ full suite of Small Business Saturday materials.

Register your business and take advantage of American Express’ resources here.

Extend store hours.
If you typically close shop at 5 p.m. on Saturday, you should consider extending your hours until 9 or 10 p.m. Familiarize yourself with events going on in your community on Small Business Saturday and plan your store hours and marketing strategy accordingly. If you do end up adjusting your hours for Small Business Saturday, make sure to tell shoppers of the change on your social media accounts and on your store website.  

Resist the doorbuster sales.
You may be tempted to follow in the footsteps of bigger companies and promote deep discounts “Black Friday Style,” but you shouldn’t. Those big doorbuster sales work for major corporations like Walmart or Best Buy, but that doesn’t mean small businesses should follow suit. Remember: your customers aren’t coming to you for the discounts, they’re coming to your store to support local businesses.

Boost other small businesses.
Small Business Saturday is all about supporting and celebrating small businesses, so share the love and shine some light on your fellow local stores. Sharing their social media posts, or tagging them in your own social posts, is an excellent way to do this and they’re likely to return the favor!

Don’t get left behind.
Thinking Small Business Saturday is only for stores that fall under the “holiday shopping” category? Think again. Even businesses like Cleaning Services can benefit from this shopping event by offering discounts and promotions. Simply associating your business with Small Business Saturday will let you take advantage of some of the free marketing happening online and in your community.

Social Media.
Tell your Small Business Story through your social media accounts! Take photos of your in-store displays, go Live and let your audience watch as you decorate the store for the holiday season, share pictures of staff who will be working on Saturday, etc. Let your customers join you as you prepare for the big day, but don’t stop there! On Saturday, post photos of fast selling items, winners of any contests or promotions you have running, and remember to use the hashtags #ShopSmall, #SmallBizSat, #SmallBusinessSaturday, and any other hashtags that relate to your business.   

Refresh advertising copy and creative.
For Small Business Saturday, you should update your ad keywords, text, and images to reflect your current offers, promotions, location, and any extended hours. This will help your business climb to the top of customer searches and help your exposure on social media.  

Encourage check-ins.
Customer check-ins on social media help spread the word about your business to their friends. Encourage customers to check-in at your store by offering discounts and promotions for those who show you or an employee that they’ve checked-in on a social platform like Facebook or FourSquare.

Have a selfie contest.
Ask shoppers to take selfies and other pictures of themselves and share them on social media, tagging your store in the post and using one of the Small Business Saturday hashtags. Then, after all the Small Biz Saturday chaos has settled, go through the entries and choose the most creative, liked, or unique photo(s) to win a prize!   

Once the holiday season has come to a close, go over your Small Business Saturday marketing strategies and evaluate what worked this year and what didn’t. Take this information and repurpose these tactics for use beyond the holidays. This will be a great way to strengthen the relationships you created with your customers and business partners all year long.