With fall in the air and holiday shopping on the horizon, many consumers — and businesses — begin planning for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But over the course of the last 10 years or so, another annual shopping event has been garnering an increasing amount of attention: Small Business Saturday.
This is great news for small business owners everywhere, but it doesn't come without some planning and preparation. If you truly want to make the most of Small Business Saturday, then a few targeted strategies can help you attract customers and maximize profits this holiday season.
What Is Small Business Saturday?
Before exploring the best ways to capitalize on Small Business Saturday, let's first take a look at its roots.
Believe it or not, the holiday was started not by small businesses themselves but by American Express. The financial giant introduced Small Business Saturday in 2010, and in 2011 the U.S. Senate unanimously agreed to officially designate the day.
Small Business Saturday soon proved to be a nationwide success, and by 2019 a whopping 70 percent of Americans were aware of the holiday. Most importantly, Americans spent almost $20 billion at independent retailers that same year, a $2 billion increase from 2018.
People have a variety of motives for shopping local — in a 2020 survey conducted by Intuit, respondents cited reasons such as:
- Keeping money local (57.3 percent)
- Connecting with their community (37.6 percent)
- Supporting local creators (37.6 percent)
- Receiving better customer service (28.2 percent)
- Helping local nonprofits (19.4 percent)
But regardless of shoppers' reasons for supporting independent businesses, it's clear that they want to. American Express' invention of Small Business Saturday simply gave them the avenue and opportunity to do so.
Why Is Small Business Saturday Important?
For entrepreneurs who stand to benefit from the day, it's clear why Small Business Saturday matters. But what may not be as apparent is that Small Business Saturday benefits all Americans.
That's because small businesses are the heart of the U.S. economy, and you don't have to take our word for it: According to the SBA, small businesses generated an astonishing 44 percent of the country's economic activity in 2019.
But the revenue earned by small businesses doesn't just support the economy at large — a study from American Express found that for every dollar spent at a small business, about two-thirds (67 cents, to be precise) stays in the local community. What's more, each dollar spent generates an additional 50 cents spent in the local community:
In this way, the spending generated by Small Business Saturday positively impacts the financial well-being of business owners, local communities and the nation's economy in very real ways.
How to Leverage the Power of Small Business Saturday
You know what Small Business Saturday is and why it matters, but how can you reap its benefits as much as possible?
Polish Your Website
Especially in the wake of the 2020 pandemic, a user-friendly online shopping experience is essential for businesses big and small.
After all, the Intuit survey mentioned above found that during the holiday season of 2020, 15 percent of consumers shopped from local businesses online:
At the same time, 20 percent of American small businesses were actively working on digitizing portions of their business operations, no doubt in anticipation of customers' increased desire to shop online.
The lesson here is that a significant portion of your customers will likely want to purchase local products or services online, and chances are that at least some of your competitors will be able to meet that desire.
So if you want to maximize profits this Small Business Saturday, make sure your website is ready.
Level Up Your SEO
A top-notch website won't do you much good if none of your customers can find it, so it's important to focus on improving your SEO efforts before Small Business Saturday rolls around.
For instance, you can:
- Create or flesh out your Google My Business listing.
- Increase your social media activity and engage with more users.
- Ensure your site is mobile-friendly.
- Check to make sure that your content contains the relevant keywords you're trying to target.
- Make an effort to publish content specifically about Small Business Saturday on social media and your own site.
Implement Smart Email Strategies
While upgrading your website and SEO tactics rely on luring people to come to you, email marketing allows you to reach out to customers directly.
To make sure that your email marketing campaigns are delivering maximum results this Small Business Saturday:
- Build your email list with enticing special offers, snappy calls-to-action (CTAs) and links to subscriber-only content.
- Send welcome emails to everyone who joins your list.
- Personalize your emails to make each recipient feel more valued and connected to your business.
- Use free tools like Mailchimp or Sendinblue to automate tasks and save valuable time while preparing for the holiday rush.
- Send emails to remind subscribers that Small Business Saturday is coming up and highlight some of your best products or services.
In the end, remember that by helping your business make the most of Small Business Saturday, you're not just boosting your own bottom line — you're also doing your part to support the economy of your community and country.
And if you'd like to spend more time preparing for Small Business Saturday and less time crunching numbers, consider Incfile's small business accounting and bookkeeping services. Our experts will focus on managing your accounting and taxes so you can focus on doing what you do best: making your small business thrive.