Editor’s note: With thousands of retail stores planning to celebrate Small Business Saturday, we thought it was the perfect time to bring back and update last year’s tips on how to make the most of it.
In 2018, 42% of American adults either shopped or dined at an independently owned store on Small Business Saturday. While the holiday may never be as big as Black Friday, there are still plenty of opportunities to increase business and gain new customers.
Started in 2010 by American Express and the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation, Small Business Saturday gives independent retailers a chance to offer sales, promotions and exciting activities with the aim of bringing their communities together.
And why not celebrate? The day can help bring in new customers, highlight the significance of brick-and-mortar stores, and foster a sense of community by encouraging consumers to support local businesses.
This year’s Small Business Saturday is November 30, and we’ve got a few ideas that can help you make the most of it:
- The Shop Small Studio. Sometimes, you just need a little help from your friends. Luckily, there are tons of resources available to independent businesses through the Small Business Saturday website.
Looking for new ideas this year? Want to plan an event at your store on the day? The Shop Small Studio has downloadable templates to help with almost anything you need, from event flyers to planning checklists and other customizable materials.
- Two birds, one stone. A common piece of advice on Small Business Saturday is to host an event, but casual companies have a chance to go even further and promote the products they sell at the same time. Why not grill up some hamburgers with a winter theme? That way you can draw people in and show them they don’t have to stop grilling in the winter.
On a simpler note, you could set up a few fire pits in the outdoor area of your store and serve wine, showing how enjoyable it can be to have a drink by a warm fire on a brisk winter day. There are countless ways turn an event into something more—the key is playing to your store’s strengths.
- Give it away. Everyone loves free stuff. But more importantly, everyone loves the idea of free stuff. Find a product to give away, and try to make it a product that makes them want to come back for more.
You could give away one Adirondack chair, for example, and when the customer realizes they need another for their spouse, they might come back and get another. Or maybe try giving away an accessory, which in turn could spur the customer to buy more accessories or furniture to finish their outdoor area.
- Socialize! Social media is a great way to get the word out about your Small Business Saturday plans. And you’ll want to announce your plans early so people have time to plan ahead. Use hashtags (#SmallBusinessSaturday) and custom graphics to let people know what you’re doing. You can even try promoting some of your posts on Facebook or Instagram.
Because these platforms allow you to narrow down your audience when promoting content, you could put $50 toward one post and reach thousands of people. Even better, because it’s a local event, you can drill down even further to reach people in your city or within 50 miles of your store. Don’t underestimate the power social media.
- Small Business Every Day. Find out about Small Business Saturday too late? Unable to participate this year? Small Business Saturday only comes around once a year, but that’s not the only time you can promote your independent business. Take some of these ideas and use them throughout the year. There’s never a bad time to promote your store and shopping locally.
Community is at the core of Small Business Saturday. If you give people a reason to come in, provide an excellent experience and connect with consumers, you can build a loyal customer base for years to come.