In 2010, American Express unveiled the Small Business Saturday event in Roslindale Village, Massachusetts. The goal was to encourage more shoppers to buy goods and services from brick-and-mortar retail businesses during the year-end holiday season. In its soon-to-be six years of existence, Small Business Saturday has achieved this goal, rapidly becoming one of the top shopping days of the year; rivaling such counterparts as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
In 2015, more than 95 million customers patronized small businesses (including retailers and restaurants) on Small Business Saturday. This represented an 8 percent growth from the year before. Also, "total spending among U.S. consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday reached $16.2 billion," increasing by 14 percent sales of $14.3 billion in 2014.
By creating a way for customers to save money at smaller alternatives and drive more money into the local economy, small businesses throughout Metro Detroit are able to enjoy the same holiday benefits as the big players in any industry. Whether you own a retail store, gift shop, restaurant, brewery, bike shop, or salon... Small Business Saturday is a holiday designed to let you make the most of whatever you have to offer. While sales and discounts can be great, there are actually plenty of other ways Metro Detroit's Small Business Owners can promote their products and services on Small Business Saturday. Here are a few ideas to try:
Support local causes - People love supporting local businesses because their purchases can actually benefit the local economy instead of going right to large corporations. And you can highlight that local aspect even more by supporting local charities or causes as part of your Small Business Saturday promotion. You can donate a portion of your proceeds or even invite members of a local group to spread the word about a cause at your location.
Social Media - Go all out on social media. If you've been diligently building your social media networks, now's the time to kick into high gear. Consider offering special deals to consumers who use your Facebook check-in page, for example, and join in Twitter conversations using hashtags #smallbizsat, #shopsmall, and #dinesmall. Come up with mini-contests, customer preference polls--anything that spurs interaction with your target audience. The potential benefits of getting some social media buzz going are significant, so be prepared to take an active role ahead of the big day, or appoint someone in your business to devote time every day to social media postings.
Create a unique hashtag - There are some dedicated Small Business Saturday hashtags already, which you can use to promote your sales or events. But you can also create your own hashtag to encourage customers to share their experiences visiting your business. This can help you keep track of what people are saying about your business and increase your reach on social media.
Host a contest or giveaway - You can encourage people to share information about your business on social media or online even more by hosting some kind of contest or giveaway. For example, you could ask customers to post a photo on Instagram or Facebook of their purchase or experience at your business and then offer a free gift or money off a purchase to the person with the most creative photo.
Get social in your local community - Find out what's happening in your community. You can be sure your local Chamber of Commerce is aware of Small Business Saturday. Contact their office and find out what types of promotional activities are planned and see how your business can jump on the community bandwagon. Another winning strategy is co-partnering with like-minded small businesses in the neighborhood, particularly those whose products and services complement your own. Sharing the costs of advertising in local media outlets and offer discounts to each other's businesses can be a way of getting more customers into one another's store.
Other cities throughout Oakland County with Main Street Downtown Shopping Districts participating in Small Business Saturday are: Berkely, Clawson, Plymouth, Livonia, Canton, Royal Oak, Southfield, Mt. Clemens, Oak Park, Rochester, Wayne, Farmington, Novi, just to name a few.
Create a gift guide - For stores that sell holiday gift items, either in a retail setting or online, gift guides can be a great way to appeal to shoppers. You can create a gift guide that includes some of your products and include it in a blog post, email newsletter or even direct mail to give your customers ideas about how they can use some of your products throughout the holiday season.
Small Business Saturday is all about small businesses supporting one another, and the spirit of the season is "the more, the merrier." Many small companies do not have the advertising budget or the manpower to host an amazing event single-handledly, but coming together with other local businesses can be a game changer. Be creative, and see how you can join forces with other participants for a successful Saturday.
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