Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to celebrating and supporting small businesses across the nation. Shoppers may be eager to support small business and shop locally, but you won’t see these shoppers by sitting back and watching the show. In order to leverage the excitement of Small Business Saturday to facilitate your business goals, you have to promote your business! Whether you’re only able to make a last minute effort or have the ability to run a detailed campaign, there are opportunities for every business on Small Business Saturday. Here are some Small Business Saturday ideas to help you make the most out of the day.
The first thing you should do is make sure your business can get found by shoppers on Small Business Saturday. Update your online listings in popular directories like Google My Business, Facebook. and Yelp to make sure you show up for relevant searches. Your Google My Business listing is of the utmost importance here—take the time to optimize your GMB listing; it’s worth it.
Small Business Saturday is all about celebrating small business, but in order to stand out above your competitors and grab the attention of overstimulated shoppers, you’ll need an attractive offer. Some basic ideas for offers on Small Business Saturday include:
• Buy one get one free deals for people shopping with friends.
• Discounts for same day appointments.
• Bundle services into packages and offer them at a discounted rate.
• Create holiday gifts out of products or services, and those who purchase the gift get a discount or free service.
• Free gift with purchase.
• Discount for signing up for blog, newsletter, or providing contact information.
• Purchases come with a coupon for holiday services.
Your Small Business Saturday offer can serve many purposes and support many business goals. It can be:
• Given out on that day to attract customers.
• Revealed beforehand on social media to increase engagement on social media.
• Redeemed later on to encourage return customers.
Another idea for promoting your business on Small Business Saturday is to run an event. Even if your focus is around celebrating your small business, you should still include an offer that incentivizes customers to attend.
If you have a brick and mortar location, here are some ideas:
• Gyms can have a free post-Thanksgiving workout for interested potential new members. Serve snacks and drinks afterward with free t-shirts, and have place where people can sign up for your blog or newsletter.
• Hairdressers and salons can offer a discount for customers who sign up for their email list or offer a bundle deal for holiday services.
• Host an open house at your business with free cake— everyone loves cake! Ask people to sign in with their email address and name, so you can stay in touch with leads and announce future business promotions.
• Dentists, physical therapists, and chiropractors can run an open house where shoppers can come in, recharge with snacks and drinks, and take a break from shopping. Hand out swag with your business information on it.
If you don’t have a brick and mortar location, you can still host an event if your office accommodates people. If this is your slow season you might even consider offering a discount for advance purchases. This is good for seasonal businesses like painters, landscapers, or tutors. For example:
• Landscapers can pass out reusable shopping bags with their logo on it
• Massage therapists can partner with a local business to offer chair massages to shoppers.
• Financial planners can host a workshop on how to budget for the holidays and the new year.
For these ideas, you might have a sign out front to attract foot traffic, but be sure to promote your event online too. For example,
• Create social media posts the week before and the day of to attract attendees.
• Utilize Facebook Events or Eventbrite to encourage people to attend and to get a ballpark headcount.
• Reap the benefits of landing pages! Create a landing page for your event or offer to encourage users to follow through in converting.
• Post pictures from the event as it is happening. Get creative and have fun with Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.
If you don’t have a space to accommodate people, fear not! You can always rent a space nearby or partner up with a local business. Or, you can run an event online, such as social media contest or giveaway. With the proper social media campaign strategy, you can leverage Small Business Saturday to achieve your business goals.
While Small Business Saturday is for everyone, promotion ideas are sometimes easier to execute for retail businesses and those located on busy streets. If you don’t fit into that category, consider partnering up with a business that does. Partnering is a great way to increase your exposure across a relevant audience, maximize profits, and tighten your ties within the community. For example,
• Physical therapists and massage therapists can offer free or discounted chair massages at a boutique store during peak shopping hours.
• Home service providers can partner up with furniture or home goods stores and offer their services at a discount. In exchange, the home service providers can promote that store through email, social media, and their website to encourage more visitors.
• Landscapers can offer a free yard cleanup or discounted package at hardware stores, and promote that store across their marketing channels.
• Preschools can partner with yoga instructors to offer a prenatal yoga class.
• Find a small business who will take on a small business guerrilla marketing campaign with you.
When considering partners for Small Business Saturday, don’t just think about the most popular places. Think about businesses that share your values and target audience. This way you can leverage the partnership to strengthen your brand messaging and increase your exposure to the right people.
As a small business owner, you may not have the time to coordinate an event, and hosting an event might make it hard for you to manage higher customer volumes on that day. One idea for Small Business Saturday that won’t have you preoccupied on that day is to do a write-up for the local media. For example:
• Produce a round-up of stores in the area that you recommend for shoppers (cater it to those in your target audience or niche market if possible). Perhaps those stores will pass out your flyers or coupons for a promotional offer.
• If your business has a unique story or strong roots within the community write an article on the history of your business. At the end, you could talk about special deals you are offering for Small Business Saturday, or invite the media to come and interview customers on that day.
• Another approach would be to write an opinion piece on the importance of Small Business Saturday. Acknowledge hard working business owners, highlight the role of small businesses in the economy and their contribution to the community. Not only will business owners and shoppers appreciate it, you can stand out as a committed member of your community.
Thanks to the benefits of social media, this type of publication can also increase your online presence, before the week before Small Business Saturday and even long after.
There are a number of other ways to utilize social media on Small Business Saturday. For example:
• Run a Small Business Saturday giveaway
• Write a blog post that is relevant to SBS, your target audience, and your business, and promote across social.
• Leverage existing social media groups, such as on Facebook and LinkedIn, to promote your special offers and sales.
• Cross promote email offers with social media posts.
• Offer a discount on your product or services to the first x number of new followers on this day.
• Ask a blogger or social media influencer to feature your store in a roundup blog post.
• Use Small business Saturday Hashtags such as #SmallBizSaturday,#SmallBusinessSaturday, and #ShopSmall.
• Engage with the official Small Business Saturday @ShopSmall account.
You can also use social media for Small Business Saturday discount codes:
• Reveal a promotional code on this day only.
• Reveal a promotional code during the week leading up to SBS, that followers can only redeem on SBS.
• Provide a promotional code on SBS that is redeemable at a later time, such as for holiday appointments or winter services.
This post was published November 2016 and updated November 2018