Black Friday is seen by many shoppers as the start of the holiday shopping season and the biggest day of the year for retail shopping, with Cyber Monday as a close second. While these days drive huge sales for big businesses, nestled between them is Small Business Saturday, the shopping day dedicated to local small businesses.
What is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday began as a 2010 ad campaign by American Express, who saw that the rise of online shopping and the Black Friday media blitz was hurting local retail. The idea took off. Spending on holiday gifts bought from small businesses ballooned from $5.5 billion in 2012 to $16.2 billion in 2015. Each year, small retailers join in by putting together special offers and running weekend-long sales.
When is Small Business Saturday 2023?
Small Business Saturday is the day after Black Friday and two days before Cyber Monday. This year, it falls on Saturday, November 25th.
How to market your business for Small Business Saturday
At first, it can be daunting to compete with large retailers for your customers’ attention, but these eight marketing tips will help you prepare.
1. Get the word out
Promoting your business today requires more than putting signs on the sidewalk—you’ll need to take a multimedia approach. Start posting ads on social media, use your email marketing list to let your customers know about your upcoming deals, and keep your website up-to-date.
2. Tell your story
Why should customers come to your store instead of shopping at a big retailer? Your story is what differentiates you from your competitors and grounds you in your local community, so tell it in a way that captures attention. Share your origins and your values as a company. Consider creating a professionally made video—the investment can be worth it in the long run, especially if your video can be used beyond just the holiday shopping season.
3. Partner with local businesses
Partner with another local business to create joint offers, and use each others’ locations and website to promote your products and services. You can create cross-promotional marketing campaigns, share loyalty programs and discounts, or collaborate on services.
4. Offer an incentive
Customers are always drawn to giveaways or knowing their money is going to a worthy cause. Announce that you’ll give a free gift to your first 100 customers and donate part of your proceeds for the day to local charities or nonprofits.
5. Create an event
It’s a good idea to create buzz around your brand, and one way to do this is to plan an event that happens during your sale. Host live entertainment, a contest, or activities for children like face painting. Be creative and try something different that will keep customers talking after the holiday season is over.
6. Encourage repeat business
Small Business Saturday is a great time to launch or strengthen a loyalty program. Reward your customers by emailing them coupons and promotions not available to the general public. If you have products or services launching soon, offer advance access or discounted prices for loyalty club members.
7. Collect customer information
By capturing contact information from customers, you can reach out to thank them for shopping with your business, as well as collect information to inform your future marketing campaigns.
You can get customer information in several ways—start a loyalty club, run a contest, or organize a giveaway.
8. Gather data and learn
Learn from the data you collect from your customers. Meet with your employees after your Small Business Saturday sale or event to discuss what worked and what didn’t work about your approach. Everything you do this year can help inform your strategy next year.
Make the most of Small Business Saturday
You can maximize your Small Business Saturday and other “shop local” initiatives if you fully participate and gather data to analyze your service and sales. Don’t be afraid to innovate, and make sure your brand and story are compelling to potential customers. The holidays will be here soon—don’t wait to start developing a strategy.
Want more expert marketing tips for your business? Check out our comprehensive guide.