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.

If you own your own business, there are lots of resources on the Small Business Saturday website for you to take advantage of. On the website, you can:

– Put your business on the Shop Small map for American Express Card Members
– Link to the OPEN Forum to see what other businesses are doing right now
– Download customizable signage to print for your store
– Access sample social media posts and email campaigns
– Get online banners and Shop Small logos

Whether you have a brick-and-mortar location for your business or not, Small Business Saturday is for you regardless. If you currently work from your home and do most of your business on the web, here are some ways you can spruce up your website in preparation for November 30th:

1. Make sure you get a piece of the search engine traffic pie during this time. American Express will be doing a lot to create awareness of Shop Small and Small Business Saturday, so the time is now to ensure that those terms appear on your website. If you have a blog, write an article about the event. If not, consider adding language about the day to your homepage, or adding a new page to your website entirely just for the occasion. Make sure you have this done by mid-November at the latest to give Google a chance to crawl your site and start ranking you.

2. Check that your business’ details are correct everywhere you appear on the web. On your website, on your local profiles (Google Local, Yelp, Yahoo!, etc.), on your social profiles — everywhere. The last thing you want is for people not to be able to find your hours, phone number, or your store on the day they’re most likely to be looking for you.

3. If you have an online shop/web store now is the time to stock those virtual shelves. Put all the products you have available in your store, and try to think of new ideas as well. Especially important if you provide a service instead of a product, now is the time for gift certificates. If you’re an interior designer, you might not think you have anything to sell online — but you do! A gift certificate for a 2 hour consultation would be a fun holiday gift, no?

4. If you have a physical location, make sure that you are properly stocked and staffed for Small Business Saturday shoppers. There might be some new faces in your store that have never experienced your products and service before and you want to be sure they get the best first impression possible.

5. Promote it! People love to feel like they are part of something that their community is rallying around. If you haven’t already, download the signage, social, and email promotional materials from the Shop Small website and start telling everyone you can about it. You might just pull a few people away from the big box stores’ Black Friday sales if they know there is a more pleasant alternative that benefits their community coming the very next day.

Have you participated in Small Business Saturday in the past? Tell us what you thought!

About the Author: Sarah Matista is the Online Content Specialist and resident blogger at Webs. Loves branding, marketing, whales. Get more from Sarah on Webs’ Blog and Google+.

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