Small Business Saturday will take place on November 30th, 2013. This annual event focused on the promotion of small businesses in local communities is in its 4th year now, and has grown by leaps and bounds since it was first launched in 2010 by American Express.

For the uninitiated, Small Business Saturday is “a day dedicated to small businesses across the country” by encouraging members of local communities to get out and “Shop Small” the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. Falling directly between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this day gives small businesses a chance to compete on their own terms.

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We’ve talked before about the benefits of content marketing — the strategy of providing engaging, relevant content for fans, followers, and website visitors to interact with. It’s great for SEO, your brand, and driving traffic to your website and social profiles. Now that you’ve got a content strategy in place, do you know what kinds of things to share in order to make your content go the distance?

The infographic below, provided by WhoIsHostingThis.com, compiles a number of studies to give content creators a clearer idea of what kinds of items are most likely to be shared, what elements to include, and how viewers interact with your content.

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If you don’t have the budget for glossy magazine advertising or high-profile online ad placement, you might still be able to achieve the results you’re looking for (without spending big bucks) through industry newsletters and listservs.

Think about your target market for a minute. Who are they? Where do they get their news? What groups might they be a part of? What communications are they already receiving that you might piggyback on? There are three big advantages to advertising and partnerships of this kind:

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In the modern world of business, the reality is that most customers are shopping with credit cards, not cash or checks. This means that owners of brick-and-mortar small businesses have one more element to prepare for in their business plans: how to accept credit card payments.

The good news is, as mobile technology has advanced and the number of small businesses nationwide has grown by leaps and bounds, a number of great options have emerged. One of the most exciting right now is LevelUp, a Boston-based startup.

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If you’re looking for a way to access your local community in an unconventional, less promotional way, event sponsorship is a great option. Not only does it get more eyeballs on your company name and logo, it can also be a really effective brand-building tool.

Discussing a Levi’s sponsorship of the GranFondo bike event, marketing expert Greg Fisher says, “Participants are having an exceptional experience…and your brand is right there. People recognize and remember that your brand helped them have their best day of the year [on their bike].” Basically, it’s all about helping people associate your brand with a positive experience they had.

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Ah, procrastination. The mortal enemy of the small business owner. With so many things to do, and hats to wear, and so little time for it all, entrepreneurs really need to be on top of their game to make it work. And for some lucky (or very disciplined) individuals, this kind of organization and focus comes naturally.

Then, there are the rest of us. Before anyone gets upset, nobody is saying that procrastinators are necessarily less productive, intelligent, or hardworking. It just takes a lot more energy for us to settle in and focus on the task at hand. We can be just as reliable about meeting deadlines as non-procrastinators — we are just up a lot later the night before.

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If you’re looking for a great way to expose your local community to your small business, one way to go is to leverage the fame of a local celebrity. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to know that people place a higher value on the opinion of a celebrity than they do on the rest of us regular people. Wheaties doesn’t pay athletes millions for endorsements just for fun, after all. But since you (I’m guessing) don’t have Wheaties money to spend on celebrity endorsements, you’ll have to get a little craftier and maybe think a little smaller.

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As we continue with our discussion of ways to leverage your local community for your small business, we would be remiss not to talk about local clubs and organizations.

There are a number of benefits to joining local organizations. First, it’s a great way to network with other business owners who you might be able to partner with in the future. Also, your business might offer a product or service that an individual in the organization would be interested in. Or maybe you are looking to learn from people who have gone before you and benefit from their knowledge on things like local laws and ordinances, vendors they’ve used, opportunities you might not have heard about, etc. Finally, when you attend functions and are a part of a group, the other members feel a sense of loyalty and genuinely want to help your business succeed through referrals.

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There are lots of ways to promote your business and many vehicles with which to get your marketing message across to potential customers. But sometimes the very best way to deliver your message effectively is to hold up a mirror to your potential customers and show them that people just like them have found what they were looking for with your products or services.

Today’s Webs example site does just that. By showcasing the successes of their past clients, brothers Tyler and Travis Blessing of T-N-T Fitness do a great job of letting their product speak for itself. The ‘before and after’ technique of marketing is a very effective one because it speaks to people who are searching for something as the person they are right now. Some marketers choose to show shoppers the ideal of ‘what could be’ thinking that people will be inspired to by their products based on the results alone. But many times people are doubtful that a product or service will work for them as well as it did for the person in the picture. Showing them a ‘before’ allows them to see themselves as your customer.

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Our series on local promotion for small businesses continues today with a look at the wildly popular review site, Yelp.

Whether you are an avid user of Yelp or have never used it at all, there’s no denying its importance for small businesses. Yelp’s mobile and desktop applications help users not only discover local businesses, but rate and discuss them as well. And unlike social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, your business can be found on Yelp whether you put it there or not. Considering that nearly 1.1 million reviews have been written on Yelp to date, that fact should give you pause. How many people have reviewed your business so far?

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