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Bike Shop Marketing

A Guide to Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is a holiday designed to celebrate and promote the roughly 30 million small businesses in the U.S. Started in 2010 by American Express as a way to boost sales for the little shops that may otherwise be overlooked, it’s always the Saturday sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  

You may already be on board with this holiday, especially if you’ve seen it boost your bottom line. If you’ve never celebrated Small Business Saturday before, now is the best time to start!

Small Business Saturday is on the Rise

Last year, 104 million shoppers participated in Small Business Saturday, accounting for a record $18 billion in sales. Not only did these shoppers patronize local businesses, they also championed the merits of dining local. With this new sales-driving holiday, about 59% of small businesses now say they depend on Small Business Saturday to make or break their year. [Source:Business Wire]

Promote the Benefits of Customers Supporting Local Businesses

Studies show that of $100 spent at a local business, $68 stays in your local economy versus only $43 staying if spent at a large business [Source]. That’s huge! This is a great talking point as you work with community members and neighbors to plan an event or sale.

Nearly Two Thirds of Small Businesses Recognize the Holiday

About two thirds of small business owners plan to offer some sort of deal, sales event, discount, or in-store promotion. With that sort of showing, you don’t want to miss out! 

Create a special deal or a discount on certain items. If you have slow-moving inventory, consider a BOGO (Buy One Get One) option. Customers love free things – think of something you could include as a free gift with purchase on transactions over a certain dollar threshold.

Even though we are now in the digital age, shoppers do still spend more in the store than online. So make the most of the customers you have as they visit your store on this big day.

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Partner With Your Local Organizations to Boost Visibility

The best thing you can do is work with your local economy. Find out what your community has planned already. Talk to your Chamber of Commerce, retail groups, and business organizations. There may be an event planned for Small Business Saturday – see if you can still get in on it. 

Think about other small businesses in your community that you could partner with. Consider working together with a restaurant or coffee shop to have a cross-promotion – a $5 off coupon at a partner restaurant with every sale. Or see if you can put some of your brochures or products at a nearby neighborhood restaurant.

Tell Your Customers the Story of your Small Business

As other small businesses around the country are promoting themselves, you need to make sure your story is heard, too. Write about your story and tell why you’re in the business you’re in. Share it with customers in an email or blog post as you encourage them to shop small and local this holiday season. A personal touch and an honest story will go a long way in driving loyal customers to your store. 

Figure Out a Social Media Strategy 

In this era of technology advancement and constant contact, you are out of touch if you’re not promoting your business on social media. It’s worth the time to create an account on Instagram and Facebook. If nothing else, customers like to see proof that you’re a credible business with a website and social media accounts. 

Even if you aren’t doing a huge sale in your store, you should still post on social media leading up to Small Business Saturday. Encourage customers to shop local, shop small, and eat local. Use these hashtags in your posts.

  • #SmallBusinessSaturday
  • #ShopSmall
  • #ShopLocal

If you’re still looking to craft a marketing campaign for the full sales weekend, see our article on Black Friday strategies here.

It’s All About Making Customers Part of Your Community 

Studies show that customers are more likely to frequent businesses they feel connected to. Brand loyalty is increasingly driven by an alignment of company values with personal values. Customers, especially younger customers, want to be part of something. They want to feel like they’re contributing to the greater good. So use this as you craft your call to action for customers to shop local on this Small Business Saturday. 

By crafting a personal message, promoting your special offer, and working together with your local community, you will see the benefits of Small Business Saturday.

Looking for more advice?

Overcome the challenges facing small to medium sized businesses with help from some of the expert advice below… 

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