November 20, 2012
Saturday, November 24th marks the third annual Small Business Saturday. American Express began this event in 2010, and since its inception it has brought millions of consumers to small local businesses and online stores, while also highlighting the importance of these establishments in supporting the national economy. While American Express does offer rewards to cardholders who patronize local stores, this event is more than a simple publicity event or incentive to support small businesses. Through its numerous (and free) marketing resources for small businesses, the event also works to help small businesses build the advertising strategies they need in order to succeed.
American Express’s Shop Small website provides free online marketing materials such as digital banners and logos that owners can post on their website, Facebook Page, or blog; email and social media templates that help owners advertise their business on multiple platforms; and free location-specific advertising. These online materials can serve as springboards for small business owners to begin establishing an Internet presence, or to improve upon their existing digital marketing.
The Shop Small website’s marketing features have prompted constructive discussions about the best practices small businesses can implement to increase customer traffic and revenue, while calling attention to the abundance of marketing resources that are readily available to small businesses. For example, Forbes recommended the company Fanminder, which enables small businesses to manage their social media promotions and offers, and also suggested that small businesses include a contest or a giveaway in their Small Business Saturday marketing plans. Similarly, Local Corporation advised small businesses to construct a clean and professional website that reflects their identity and makes important information such as phone numbers and directions easily accessible.
The Washington Post also published an article with advice for small businesses to make the most of Small Business Saturday. These suggestions included making sure that the content on one's business website is specific, easy for one's target audience to understand, and regularly updated, which will ensure that search engines rank one's site higher, thus leading to more customer traffic. The Post also recommended that small businesses optimize their online presence for mobile devices, as many consumers now use such devices to check store hours and special offers. In addition, small business owners should take the time to write high-quality and personalized content on their social media marketing channels such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and Google+.
By encouraging customers to frequent small businesses while advising these businesses on the best and most cost-effective ways to attract and maintain customer traffic, Small Business Saturday is working to support a sector of the economy that has created approximately two thirds of the net new jobs in the United States over the past 20 years, according to The Huffington Post. Through these efforts, Small Business Saturday and its participants are helping businesses nationwide to establish themselves and subsequently contribute to the recovering economy.
Compiled by Kaitlin Louie
“100 Million-Plus Consumers Shop Local on Small Business Saturday,” forbes.com, November 15, 2012, TJ McCue
“A digital marketing guide to prepare for Small Business Saturday,” localcorporation.com, November 13, 2012, Heath Clarke
“Five Tips to Help You Capitalize on Small Business Saturday,” washingtonpost.com, November 19, 2012, Wiley Cerilli
“Shop Small on Saturday, November 24th, 2012,” huffingtonpost.com, November 19, 2012, Karen Mills
“Small Business Saturday by American Express,” shopsmall.com, November 20, 2012