You’ve been working hard all year to build your business. Now the biggest shopping weekend of the year is just around the corner. Small Business Saturday is your chance to connect with your community and boost your holiday sales. The right promotion can help you stand out from the big box stores and bring in new customers.
But where do you start? With some planning and creativity, you can craft an exciting event or offer that will have people lining up outside your doors. By engaging your customers and spreading the word, you’ll build buzz, increase traffic, and ring up more sales. This is your opportunity to show everyone what makes your small business so special.
Keep reading for 10 promotion ideas to make this Small Business Saturday your most successful yet.
What is Small Business Saturday?
As a small business owner, Small Business Saturday is your chance to really shine. Held annually the Saturday after Thanksgiving in the U.S., this shopping holiday is all about supporting local retailers, merchants and service providers in communities across the country.
Created by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to shopping at small, independent stores and enjoying all the benefits of local businesses. The goal is to drive customers to shop locally at the many neighborhood stores that help shape their community.
The day presents a huge opportunity for you to attract new customers and boost your holiday sales. According to the National Retail Federation, over 51 million consumers shopped at small businesses on Small Business Saturday in 2021. With the right promotion, you can tap into this dedicated customer base.
Why Small Business Saturday matters for your business
Small Business Saturday is hugely important for small business owners, and here are a few reasons why:
- Small Business Saturday represents one of the biggest sales days of the year for many small businesses. According to research by American Express, total reported spending among U.S. consumers who shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday reached an estimated $23.3 billion last year.
- Small Business Saturday allows you to tap into increased customer goodwill. Consumers genuinely want to support small businesses in their community, so you’ll likely see an influx of new and loyal customers alike on this day.
- Small Business Saturday helps raise awareness of your business. By promoting your participation leading up to and on the day itself, you increase visibility and top-of-mind awareness for your brand. Use hashtags like #ShopSmall #SupportLocal and #SmallBusinessSaturday on social media to tap into the national conversation.
In summary, Small Business Saturday is a chance for small business owners to tap into a surge of support from their local community and beyond. With the right promotion and customer experience, you can turn this day into one of your most profitable of the year and build momentum to finish strong in the holiday season.
Small Business Saturday ideas for success
As a small business owner, Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity to boost your sales and raise brand awareness. As you can see from the graph above, most small business owners planned to offer discounts in 2022 to attract more business. Here are some other ideas for success:
Craft a compelling offer or discount
Run a special offer, like 20% off purchases or a free gift with purchases over $50. Exclusive deals will motivate customers to shop small with you. Promote your offer through social media, email, and in-store signage leading up to Small Business Saturday.
Reach out through email
Send an email series to your subscriber list in the weeks before Small Business Saturday. Build excitement by previewing your sale items or featured products. Include a call to action like “Stop by on Small Business Saturday for our biggest sale of the year!” Remind customers again a day or two before the big day.
Be loud on social media
Use hashtags like #ShopSmall #SupportLocal and #SmallBusinessSaturday to raise visibility. Post about your business and products, share behind-the-scenes photos, and highlight your amazing staff. Upload eye-catching images to attract attention. Engage your followers by asking questions and responding to all comments.
Stay Open Longer
Consider extending your business hours on Small Business Saturday, even staying open later into the evening. The longer you’re open, the more opportunities customers have to shop and support local businesses like yours. Let customers know about your extended hours through social media, email marketing, and signage leading.
Host an Event
Create an experience for your customers by hosting a special event. Things like complimentary refreshments, product/service giveaways, demonstrations or tastings are a great way to drive foot traffic and boost sales. Get creative with the theme and make it social media-worthy so people will want to share photos from your event, increasing visibility for your business. Events can even be virtual, just like the example in the image above.
Partner with a neighboring business
Another way to get your business name in lights this Small Business Saturday is to partner with a neighboring business to offer a joint promotion and cross-promote to each other’s customers. If you’re a dog walking business, partnering with a neighboring grooming business to offer a package deal is a great way to increase your reach and encourage new and repeat business.
Following these tips will help ensure your small business has a successful Small Business Saturday with strong sales and lots of community support. Make the most of this important shopping event and your hard work will pay off.
Planning ahead for next year's Small Business Saturday
Planning ahead for next year’s Small Business Saturday is key to success. Think about what worked well this year and build on it, while also trying some new promotions to keep things fresh. Here are some tips to start preparing now:
Review and improve your promotions
Look at the email campaigns, social media posts, in-store signs, and deals you offered this year. See what resonated most with your customers and double down on that for next year. At the same time, come up with a couple new ideas to test, like a giveaway or contest to increase excitement. The earlier you start planning, the more polished your promotions will be.
Set a sales goal and work backwards
Decide on a reasonable increase in sales for next year’s Small Business Saturday. Then figure out how to achieve that goal through your marketing and promotions. For example, if you want sales to go up 25%, estimate how many new customers that would require and develop a plan to reach that many people through social media, email lists, and community outreach. Breaking down the big goal into smaller milestones will make it less overwhelming.
Build your email list year-round
Don’t wait until next November to start collecting email addresses. Make it a habit to ask every customer if they want to sign up to receive news and special offers from your business. Offer an incentive like a discount on their next purchase to encourage them to join your list. The larger your email list, the more people you can reach with your Small Business Saturday promotions.
With some advance planning, next year’s Small Business Saturday can be an even bigger success for your business. Start making improvements now and build momentum leading up to the big day. Your future self will thank you for the effort you put in today.
Set up for Small Business Saturday success
With some strategic planning and creative marketing, you can make the most of Small Business Saturday and boost your holiday sales. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new promotions or take risks to spread the word about your business. Your dedicated customers and community will appreciate your efforts. And who knows, maybe that extra bit of outreach is just what you need to gain some new loyal patrons.
The holidays are the perfect time to celebrate small businesses, so make sure your voice is heard. Put these tips to work and enjoy the boost in your bottom line. Small Business Saturday only comes once a year, so take advantage of the opportunity and make this your most successful one yet!