How To Prepare For Small Business Saturday

preparing for small business saturday

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Small Business Saturday. On November 30th communities will come together in support of their favorite small businesses. Small Business Saturday was created  to encourage people to shop small and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses instead of the big box stores and online giants.

Do you have a small business? What are you doing to prepare for and promote Small Business Saturday to get customers in your store this holiday season?

Here are some simple yet impactful things you can do to make sure you get the most out of Small Business Saturday:

SEO & Local Search

  • Your Website: Check and test your website to make sure it is working and has up to date and accurate hours and contact information.
  • Take advantage of local search by optimizing your Google My Business listing. This will help you show up in the “local 3 pack” when people are searching for Small Business Saturday events.
  • Be sure your hours and contact information is up to date on Google My Business and that it matches the information on your website.
  • Use the posts feature in GMB to add your promotions and plans for Small Business Saturday so people see it while they are searching.
  • Find out if your local chamber of commerce is doing anything to promote Small Business Saturday. Our local papers publish a roundup of the promotions and deals happening. Businesses have to register and submit their sale/promotion information to the chamber by a certain date, though.

Extend Your Hours

  • If you usually close at 5 p.m. on Saturdays consider staying open til 8 or 9 p.m. Check out the events going on in your town that night and plan accordingly, so you can make the most of the foot traffic. If you change your hours for the shopping event make sure to tell shoppers on social media and on your website.

Social Media

  • Research and become familiar with relevant and popular Small Business Saturday hashtags and start to use them. The official hashtag for Small Business Saturday is #ShopSmall, so be sure to include that, along with others like #smallbusinesssaturday and #shoplocal. This will help expose you content to a larger audience.
  • Post early and often about your plans. As soon as you have your specials, sales, promos finalized, start to share to your social pages.
  • Create a Facebook event to reach a larger local audience. Events allow you to reach people in your local community even if they do not follow your page.


  • Let past and current customers know about your Small Business Saturday promos.
  • Send a series of emails leading up to Small Business Saturday to build buzz and stay top of mind leading up to SBS.
  • If you don’t have your promotion finalized yet, start with a “Save The Date” email tell customers to stay tuned for more details.
  • Consider a special deal just for your email subscribers. “Show this email in-store on November 30th for a free gift”.

Collaboration Not Competition

  • This is something that differentiates small businesses from the big box stores. Target would never share Best Buy’s Black Friday deals. But a small local bookstore could (and should) promote the boutique next door’s Small Business Saturday sale. They aren’t a direct competitor. More people walking in to the boutique next door means more people likely walking through your bookstore as well.
  • Have another small business close by? Partner with other local businesses to cross promote. Do this strategically to increase your traffic as well. You don’t want to encourage your customers to go to a store on the other side of town.
  • This gives you exposure to another business’ customers who may not be as aware of you.
  • Share other businesses’ plans and promotions. This is a great way to support other small businesses, it shows your business is a team player, and will likely lead to the other businesses also sharing your content.
  • Can you get a local elected official or “celebrity” to make an appearance at your store? You can plan a meet and greet or photo opportunity and that buzz can carry over throughout the year.

Take Advantage of Small Business Saturday Resources

  • Create Custom Marketing Materials with the American Express Shop Small® Studio
  • In less than two minutes, you can create custom posters, social posts, and more, compliments of American Express. Visit the Shop Small Studio to get started.

Online Ads

  • If you are currently running search or social media ads, be sure to add additional ads or change ad copy to promote your SBS plans leading up to November 30th.
  • Use remarketing to capture website visitors who have recently been on your site
  • Test out geofencing ads to target people when they are shopping on November 30th.
  • If you do not currently run online or social ads, consider a short campaign focused on your SBS promotions. You can spend as little as $5 a day to promote your sales.
  • Some ways to strategically utilize a small ad budget include:
    • Promoting the Facebook event you created to extend the reach
    • Creating a Facebook and Instagram ad promoting your post that details your sale
    • Running a Google ad targeting people within a few miles of your store

Other Thoughts

  • Don’t compete with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You might be tempted to slash prices ‘Black Friday-style’ — but don’t. Doorbusters might work for major retailers like Walmart and Target, but that doesn’t mean your small business should do the same. Remember that your market is coming to you for a different reason — to support local businesses.
  • Consider partnering with a local charity to create a get & give campaign. Instead of slashing prices, you could give a portion of sales to a local charity. That is something everyone can feel good about.
  • Even if you aren’t a traditional retailer, you can still get in on the action. Restaurants can offer something for anyone who comes in with a purchase from a local store. Coffee shops can offer free samples curbside to “fuel your shopping”.
  • Create buzz and encourage people to come to your store first. Offer something special to the first 20 shoppers to generate buzz and encourage people to visit your store before any others.
  • Document the day with photos so you can leverage the activity throughout the holiday season.


What are your plans for Small Business Saturday? 

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