AMEX_Shop_Small_AllText_RGB_Solid_LogoWhat big promotional activities and specials are you planning for the upcoming Small Business Saturday on November 30? Many participating small business owners – 33 percent – plan to offer a free gift with purchase to reward Shop Small buyers, according to the second annual Small Business Saturday Insights Survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and American Express.

Whatever the incentive, many small business owners polled plan to pull out all the stops to get customers into their shops for Small Business Saturday, which falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and is now in its fourth year. That’s because 70 percent expect the holiday kickoff to be helpful in attracting new customers and so are relying not only on social media (33 percent) but also traditional paid TV, print and radio advertising (18 percent versus 9 percent in 2012)  to bring in buyers.

Small business owners also are doing their part to promote a sense of community.  Among those aware of Small Business Saturday, 73 percent say they make it a point to hire employees from their neighborhood and 39 percent are planning to collaborate with other small businesses in community events.

That's me on the right Shopping Small at Black Hats Cats, a favorite local shop of mine.

That’s me on the right Shopping Small at Black Hats Cats, a favorite local shop of mine.

Promote the day

As a participant in Small Business Saturday, you can get free downloadable marketing materials from American Express to draw shoppers into your store. Materials include Shop Small logos, signage, and templates for social media campaigns.

Some other things to consider if you haven’t already

Pump up the social media volume: Post information about your Shop Small specials on your social media pages starting now if you haven’t already. Ask what your followers are looking to buy for gifts and what they hope to get.  Have some fun with your followers as you build anticipation about the day.

Email marketing: Send out a special email to customers and prospects on your list this week or early next with a reminder and a coupon to print out and use.

Plan an event:  Everyone loves a party so get one going in your business. Decorate your windows and inside your store to capture the festive mood, serve refreshments and turn on some tunes or hire a local band or musician.

Contact local media and bloggers: Local media will be looking for Small Business Saturday stories. Contact them and let them know what you have planned and invite them to cover your event and talk to customers about their reasons to get behind your local business and others.

Take advantage of special offers

  • Twitter is helping small business owners by providing over $1 million in free advertising. Eligible business advertisers who register will receive $100 in free Twitter advertising credits while supplies last.
  • FedEx will give you two free 11”x17” posters. All you need to do is download the American Express printable marketing materials and take them to a FedEx office where you also get a discount on printing materials.
  • Foursquare, the location based social marketing site for mobile devices is offering $50 in Foursquare Ad credits through December 31st (while supplies last) to help drive customers into your small business. In addition, Foursquare will promote Small Business Saturday inside the Foursquare app with a custom button that will help millions of people nationwide Shop Small by recommending small businesses nearby.
  • United States Postal Service is providing shipping for Shop Small branded merchandise ordered on, as well as Activation Kits for the Neighborhood Champion Program.

There’s a lot of enthusiasm and support for Shopping Small. Our Plantronics team will be out in our local communities celebrating the day. We’ll have photos to share after the 30th of our shopping day in the neighborhood.