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Top Tips to Attract Customers on Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is this weekend. Will your company make the most of this annual event, which encourages people to shop at small stores for the day instead of at big chains?

There’s plenty to be gained by grabbing your share of the SBS spotlight. In 2015, 95 million shoppers spent $16.2 billion at mom-and-pop stores on Small Business Saturday, a 14 percent increase over the year before. So get creative about your marketing! These strategies can help get more people coming through your door, and amp up your earnings:

Think about signing up with the American Express Small Business Saturday program: Joining it makes you more tempting to Amex cardholders–if they’ve enrolled their cards in the program, they’ll get double rewards on Amex purchases at participating small merchants through 12/31. If you already accept Amex cards, it’s worth finding out if you’re eligible to become a recognized SBS merchant. Call the Small servicing department at 800-235-8916 (closed Thanksgiving.)

Send out an e-mail blast: Reach out to your customer list with a save-the-date.If you’re part of Amex’s Small Business Saturday program, encourage everyone to register their cards online at americanexpress.com/shopsmalloffer, so they’ll get any rewards for which they’re eligible.

Advertise in advance on social media: Remind your Facebook fans and Twitter followers to visit you on Saturday. (Mention this fact: When people buy locally, 68% of the money stays in their community, vs. just 43% of money spent at a national chain.) Use Instagram to send out photos of some favorite items you have in stock, or even a shot of your staff, standing by to help this weekend.

Expand your hours: SBS comes just once a year, so it makes sense to keep your doors open a little longer. Some shoppers love the idea of being able to beat the crowds by coming in early (you’ll also get the jump on competitors!) or swinging by later in the evening.

Offer one-day specials: Feature discounts in honor of the day, giving customers one more reason to purchase your products or book your services. Or incentivize people by offering a free promotional gift featuring your logo and contact information. Bonus: The gift will remind everyone to keep coming back all year.
Introduce a charity component. Announce that you’ll donate a portion of the day’s profits to a worthy organization–your customers will feel like they’re supporting two great causes at once. Another approach: Tell patrons you’re collecting donations for a charity of your choice, and that their donation will earn them a discount of, say, 10% off their day’s total purchase.

Build buzz with an in-store event: Hold a demo on something related to your business. Whether it’s a tasting, reading, or how-to class, it’s bound to draw in passersby who are curious to see what’s going on.

Team up with other businesses around town: Cross-promote each other with coupons or samples, and put out a map showing the location of each shop.

By taking these simple, straightforward steps, you’ll be positioned to reap big benefits from Small Business Saturday.

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