It’s that time of year again. Small Business Saturday (SBS) is just around the corner.

SBS takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Part of the Shop Small® movement started by American Express in 2010, it focuses on celebrating small businesses and helping communities thrive.

With over 104 million shoppers participating in 2018, the event had a record-setting $17.8 billion in sales. So it is no surprise that 59% of small business owners say that Small Business Saturday contributes significantly to their holiday sales each year.

Below are 11 ways your business can participate, promote, and drive attendance to your store during this year’s Small Business Saturday:

Small Business Saturday Promotion Ideas

1. Make It an Event

What better way to celebrate being a local, small business than to throw a party? Invite your staff, customers, friends, and family to participate.

Ways to Entice People to Attend Your Event

  • Decorate: Make your store a place to see and get in the spirit of the holidays with festive decorations.
  • Music: Invite a local band to play in your store for a couple of hours.
  • Activities: Get the entire family involved with games, face-painting, or photo booths.
  • Special Guest:Invite a local celebrity or political figure to attend.

2. Partner with Other Small Businesses

Take advantage of American Express’s Shop Small Passport. Visit your neighboring local businesses to see if they would like to take part in the event. Then work together by inviting your customers on a scavenger hunt where they will collect stamps from their favorite local businesses. With each stamp, they receive a special discount or treat.

And don’t forget to promote the event on social media using #AmexSBSChampion, #ShopSmall, and #SmallBizSat!

3. Offer a Special Discount or Promotion

Everyone knows that this is the weekend of crazy deals and significant discounts that shoppers wait for all year. Take advantage of this expectation by offering one of your own.

Example Offers

  • Buy One, Get One Free
  • % Off a Service or Product
  • Gift Wrapping for Free
  • Free Gift with Purchase
  • Free Workshop
  • Raffle Ticket Entries with Each Sale

4. Reward Participation

Get your customers involved by offering them a special discount or gift when they take part in an activity in your store on Saturday. Examples of this could be something as simple as a free hot chocolate or 25% off one item.

Customer Participation Ideas

  • Tag your business in a small business selfie.
  • Check-in on social media while in your store.
  • Buy an item.
  • Just show up!

5. Tie it to a Local Cause/Charity

Support a local business and charity at the same time? That’s a no brainer! Join forces with a cause you want to stand behind. Use the event to raise money by offering a percentage of your sales or provide support by donating an item of need every time someone makes a purchase at your store over a certain amount.

Local Causes to Consider

  • School Group or Club
  • Humane Society
  • Food Bank
  • Adopt-a-Family

You can also tie this into GivingTuesday, which follows a few days after Small Business Saturday.

6. Spread the Word Through Your Customers

Your current customers are your biggest advocates. During the weeks leading up to it, encourage them to participate, and to invite their friends and family. Also, encourage them to share the event through social media. Use brand-relevant hashtags as well as popular Small Business ones (see tip #8 below!)

7. Build Hype

Who doesn’t want a sneak peek at the special discounts and promotions that will be offered? Use social media, email blasts, text messaging and in-store conversation to give them insight into what deals you are going to have on that day. Don’t give away everything though!

8. Promote via Social

Small Business Saturday isn’t just a shopping experience; it’s a social experience. So, where better to promote it than on your social media networks?

Tips for Promoting Small Business Saturday on Social Media

  • Utilize popular hashtags such as #ShopSmall, #SmallBizSat, #SmallBusinessSaturday, #SupportLocal, and #ShopLocal.
  • Create a Facebook event. Include details such as special hours, activities, and sneak peeks of promotions.
  • Add the event to your Google My Business listing so anyone who is searching for you will see the upcoming event details.

9. Signage

Print posters and flyers to use in-store and post around the community that highlights any fun activities or promotions you plan to have that day. Take advantage of American Express’s Shop Small Studio for free downloadable posters, social posts, and email templates.

Where to Hang Flyers

  • Community Centers
  • Coffee Shops
  • Partnering Local Shops
  • Town Hall
  • Local Schools

10. Reach Out to the Press

Your local news stations and other local publications love Small Business Saturday and are most likely going to be doing specific segments highlighting local businesses. Reach out to them early to let them know you would like to participate!

Ways to get the Press Involved

  • Ask them to list you as a participating business.
  • Offer to do a pre-event interview.
  • Invite them to broadcast from your store.

11. Run Local Ads

A sure-fire way to get the word out is to run an advertising campaign targeting your local area.

  • Run a paid social media ad on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Incorporate a targeted Google Ads campaign.
  • Place an ad in the local newspaper.

Like American Express, Vivial has a passion for helping small businesses. We want to be there for you every step of the way and provide you digital marketing products, services, and resources you need to grow within your local community and beyond. By utilizing these Small Business Saturday promotion ideas, you are bound to have your best SBS event yet!