4 Ways to Celebrate and Differentiate Your Business on Small Business Saturday

Saturday, November 25th, is Small Business Saturday. You should already be thinking about ways you can get your small business involved. This event was created in response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a way for those who want to buy local and support small businesses to get in on the action.

In 2016 we saw a record 112 million customers come out and participate, spending an estimated $15.4 billion. An estimated 72% of consumers were aware of the day, and that figure stands to grow in 2017 (as it has every year since it started 2010). It’s also a day to celebrate small businesses, going local, and the people and communities that are making that happen.

As you’re making your plans for November 25th, let’s look at some ways that you can celebrate and differentiate your business.

1. Throw an Event

This is straight out of the hyper-local marketing playbook. Throwing a special event is one way you can stand out from the big box stores and internet mega-businesses of the world. Think about it this way: You have actual real estate that’s near your customers. They can come in and be a part of your community, and throwing an event gives them the invitation they need to show up.

If you’ve been building a mailing list (and if you aren’t, you should start), it’s fairly easy to get the word out and make sure people drop by. Your business is going to determine what kind of event makes sense to hold—but think outside of the box. Maybe there’s a local community or arts group that is looking for a place to host something. Maybe you can offer free samples like a wine or coffee tasting, or get an expert to come in and share some knowledge. The possibilities for creativity here are endless, so start thinking about what your brand is all about and how you can host something that meshes with it well.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Promote #shopsmall

While awareness of Small Business Saturday is at an all-time high, it’s important to realize that as a small business owner or marketer, you play a role in building that awareness. For one thing, hop on the #shopsmall hashtag and get the word out on social media to help build the conversation. You never know who will stumble upon your content, and you just might bring in a few new customers.

If you have something going on, remember to promote it! Small Business Saturday is a great excuse to build an email campaign and put some muscle into really driving customers to come in. Investing a little bit of time and resources into planning some promotion and making creative or content for it will pay great dividends.

You can create customizable marketing materials for your physical location, online shop and social media with the Shop Small® Studio, located here: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/studio

3. Boost Other Small Businesses

Part of the whole #shopsmall mentality is that when small businesses work together to make something happen, everyone wins. Rise with your circle instead of worrying about whether someone’s doing a better job than you. This can be as simple as sharing other small businesses’ content on social media, or you can put in the effort to make something really special happen together.

If you want to make cross-promotion really work well, you need to think about who your ideal customers are and what other things they might appreciate or fit into their daily schedule. Basically, if one part of their identity is your brand, then what are the other parts? This is how you identify natural complementary partners you can work with to collaborate with and cross-promote. If you’re a shoe store, then make a deal with a gym to pair sneakers with a discount on membership. If you sell wine, then maybe there’s a cheese shop or a restaurant around the corner you can work with on a special menu pairing or free tasting.

Finally, don’t underestimate the value of location. Think of it as an excuse to get to know the neighbors. Take a walk around the block, reach out to people, and see if you can put something together. You can get access to everyone’s customer base, plus give new people a reason to come out to your business and see what’s happening.

4. Be a Force for Good

Co-sponsoring a charity or other good cause is a great way to get people excited and enthusiastic about your business. Offering to donate a percentage of your sales on Small Business Saturday can be a real separator on a day that may have a lot of different places competing for attention.

People love to feel like they’re making a positive contribution to the world, and if you’re smart about matching the right cause with your brand, you can go a long way towards turning customers into advocates.

What You Can Do Right Now

Small Business Saturday is coming, and you need to have a plan for how you can jump on the #shopsmall bandwagon. Last year saw a large number of people come out, and this year promises to be even better.

Here are some things you can do to make your small business stand out:

  • Get creative about throwing an event at your location.

  • Don’t be afraid to latch onto the #shopsmall branding, and use it as a cause. Create customizable marketing materials for your business with the Shop Small® Studio, located here: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/studio

  • Partner with other small businesses that make sense for smart cross-promotion.

  • Consider teaming up with a charitable cause that aligns with your brand.

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