This year marks the fourth anniversary of American Express’s Small Business Saturday campaign. All around the country, small businesses will encourage customers to “shop small” on Saturday, November 28th, 2015.
And whether it’s your first time participating or you’ve been celebrating for years, there are a few Small Business Saturday ideas you should really take advantage of in 2015.
Start Promoting Now
Getting out in front of this promotion is important, because it helps shoppers plan where and when they’ll spend money on gifts. Shoppers are starting earlier than ever: The numbers from a recent CreditCards.com survey indicated that 15% of Americans began holiday shopping earlier than last year — starting as early as September.
So how can you get the ball rolling on promoting your participation in Small Business Saturday?
Add a special image/cover photo to your social media accounts.
Add a reminder to your email signature.
Put up a sign in your window, and decide if you want to get placement on the official map.
Host a Special Event for VIP Members
You want to thank your most loyal customers, right? Well, if you’re hosting a special event that coincides with your Small Business Saturday celebration, you can reward them by giving them VIP access.
That might mean letting them come in before the store officially opens so they get first dibs on your sale items, or having them come to a special, members-only after party with food, entertainment, and guest appearances from local celebrities.
Think of how you can show your best customers you appreciate them by giving them extra-special care on this day.
The official hashtag for the day is #ShopSmall, so be sure to use it in your social media posts that promote the event and during the day itself. This makes it easier for people to find participating businesses (especially when they’re searching locally) and reminds shoppers that you’re proud of your small business status.
Offer an Incredible Deal
In 2012, research showed that 67% of participating businesses offered a special deal or discount on Small Business Saturday (and that was three years ago already).
That being said, a special one-day-only discount gives your customers one more reason to spend their money at your store. That doesn’t mean trying to compete with big box stores and doing a price match for any and all competitors, but it does mean offering some specialty items they can’t find elsewhere at a great price.
Improve Your Customer Experience
One of the advantages you have as a small business is your ability to create a unique personalized experience for your customers.
You have the means to make every shopper feel special as soon as he or she enters your store — so do it! Think about wow-ing your shoppers with little things, like:
Carrying their purchases out to their cars for them
Having a greeter at the door who offers a free sample or hands out a coupon
Upping the holiday feeling with festive decorations and music
Offering free gift wrapping
Perfecting your returns process for super fast service
If you can win them over with an amazing customer experience, they’ll remember to skip the hassle of the big stores next year!
Play up Your PR by Giving Back
Most local media outlets aren’t going to help you promote your Small Business Saturday event — but if you pair the event with a way to give back to your community, you create a more compelling story that media folks may be apt to pick up on.
Think of a local organization or charity you’d love to help out this year, and then decide how you’ll support them with your promotion. It could be:
Collecting food/toys/gifts for a local charity at your location
Donating a percentage of all sales that day
Matching donations collected during the day
Then reach out to local media outlets to see if they’d be interested in helping spread the word. A special promotion like this is the perfect way to celebrate the season of giving.
Take Advantage of Small Business Saturday
There’s one day a year dedicated to celebrating small businesses—so don’t miss your chance to join in. Get your planning started today and help your community shop locally.
What other ideas have you seen that work well for Small Business Saturday?