Photo by Andrew Robles on Unsplash

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have now become household names that are even recognized as holidays in some states, always have hysterical shoppers in a frenzie looking for colossal bargains. However, many people don’t know that in between these two days of discount insanity exists another very important shopping day – Small Business Saturday.

What is Small Business Saturday?

In contrast to the online and larger retailers that use Black Friday and Cyber Monday to woo frantic shoppers with bargain basement prices, Small Business Saturday, which launched back in 2010, is a way to encourage shoppers to show their support to local entrepreneurs by shopping small businesses within their own communities.

Why it’s so important to small business owners

According to last year’s numbers, support for local shops soared to a record-breaking high with over 112 million shoppers patronizing their local small businesses – an increase of 13% from the previous year. And, while Small Business Saturday awareness continues to grow rapidly, many small business owners are still not taking full advantage of what Small Business Saturday means and just how important it is for their small business.

From a marketing standpoint alone, Small Business Saturday is a great way to gain new customers that you can then promote your business to throughout the year through email and social media campaigns. After all, for a small business owner, gaining a new customer is much more difficult than maintaining a current one, so Small Business Saturday is a great way to accomplish acquiring new patrons. In addition, it’s a wonderful way for small business owners to compete with larger chains and online retailers by offering comparable deals and incentives.

Also, the promotion of Small Business Saturday is essentially handed to you on a silver platter. It’s yours for the taking. American Express, which founded Small Business Saturday, has a variety of free online marketing gimmicks available to every small business owner. From social media banners to a plethora of events, they are all there for you to take advantage of. Their website offers a variety of free marketing materials, branded with the day, and your business info. All you have to do is go online, give the name of your business and specialty, and an assortment of marketing materials is generated for your disposal. They even offer a way for small business owners and community leaders to get involved, called Neighborhood Champions. Champions rally around small businesses in their areas, hosting a wide range of events, all geared towards bringing awareness to local brick and mortar shops. Last year alone, over 6,700 people signed up to help encourage small business shopping in their communities. There are even fun activities for kids, such as the Small Business Passport, which is a passport that your child can carry with them to get stamped at every small business they shop. Again, as a small business owner, you need to be aware of these types of promotions so that your store can participate.

In regards to social media, using the marketing materials American Express provides, is a good start. Another is to use the following social media hashtags on all your social media posts: #ShopSmall, #ThinkBigShopSmall, and #SmallBusinessSaturday. In addition, with over 3.4 million likes, you’ll definitely want to follow Small Business Saturday on Facebook as a way to stay up-to-date on all the latest news and information regarding the day. Don’t forget, this is the one day of the year dedicated to you. You’ve earned it, so get involved. Offer sales, incentives, and loyalty rewards. Get vocal on social media by promoting these deals and using the corresponding hashtags. You can even offer snacks and refreshments, free gift bags, and other things that will get people excited to walk in your door. The possibilities are endless!

Why it’s so important to shoppers

As we all know, small businesses bring communities together, help keep local money local, provide more jobs and pay higher salaries than larger retailers, and can even increase the value of nearby homes. By shopping a small business, you are helping build a thriving community in your own area. Small businesses also pay sales tax locally, which means the money you spend at a local small business goes to pay for schools, parks, and police and fire stations in your own city. In addition, by shopping a small business, you’re not helping a CEO buy another holiday house, you’re helping a local family purchase a home, put food on the table, and send their kids to college. Aside from the stellar customer service you’ll receive, small business owners regularly go out of their way to compete with larger chains and, because of this, you might be surprised that you can find the products you’re looking for at your local small businesses for less than what you’d pay a larger online retailer. Retail prices are not created by stores, but by vendors, and small businesses use the same vendors as everyone else. Not only will you find great deals, but you’ll also find original and unique gifts that you definitely won’t find anywhere else. This is because small businesses are dedicated to product diversity and, if they don’t carry a product you’re looking for, they will usually be able to help you find it. Small Business Saturday is a great way for you to get all your holiday shopping done while having fun and also getting to know members of your community. So, get out there and shop small!