It’s wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a day set aside by American Express to encourage people to shop locally.
If you own a bricks and mortar business, you have opportunities galore to promote Small Business Saturday for free. This year’s it’s celebrated on Nov. 24.
Here are eight of my favorite ideas:
1. Create a “husband only” or “wife only” shopping day on Nov. 24. Email each spouse a list of what the other one wants.
Thanks to Mariah Smith of Mississippi State University for this idea. She says: “When it comes to shopping for the men in my life, I know it should come with shotgun shells or be electronic or camouflage. If I got an email from the local sporting goods store with a list of their desired items, I would be thrilled.” She has more tips on how to use technology to promote Small Business Saturday.
2. Contact your local editor at Patch.com and offer to be part of a story.
Local news is Patch’s bread and butter, and this story is perfect for your Patch site. Contact the editor with news, photos or videos about what you’ll be doing at your store, and any special promotions. Take lots of photos and video and offer those, too, after the event. Patch has sites in 22 states in the U.S. and the District of Columbus. I’ve written about these other ways you can get publicity at Patch.com.
3. Let the National Federation of Independent Business help you promote.
Small business owners can submit information about their special promotions, and why people should visit, using this form the NFIB website. The federation will promote the submissions on NFIB.com and in front of NFIB’s 150,000 Facebook fans and 30,000 Twitter followers.
4. Get free signs from FedEx Office.
Take advantage of personalized in-store signage. You can get it professionally printed for free, compliments of FedEx Office.
5. Publicize a special event at your business, and let the local TV stations know.
Cooking classes, dog obedience training, art lessons for the kids, and fashion shows are the kinds of events TV loves because they include three critical elements: people, color and motion. (For pitching tips, see How to Get on the Local TV News Tomorrow.)
6. Ask your customers to help you promote.
Encourage them to spread the word to their friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter.
7. Announce your special sales to your email list.
AWeber, the company I use to send my ezine, “The Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week,” suggests that idea, and many more, in this very helpful Action Plan for Small Business Saturday.
8. Take advantage of all the promotional materials and tips from American Express.
You’ll find posters, banners and other materials, in addition to ready-made messages to share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
BONUS TIP: American Express is offering a $25 credit to any American Express cardholder who registers their card and then spends $25 at a participating small business on November 24, 2012. The credit is available to each card holder on an account, so if your account has multiple card holders you can get multiple credits. A full list of participating merchants can be found on American Express’s Facebook Page.