November 15, 2021

Marketers Gear Up for Small Business Saturday

By Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc.
With the 12th annual Small Business Saturday looming Nov. 27, its co-sponsors — the U. S. Small Business Administration and American Express — are hoping to build on 2020’s successful campaign, which produced an estimated $19.8 billion in spending, despite the challenges of a pandemic.

Last year’s economic boost for smaller businesses nationwide was up from $19.6 billion that was spent on Small Business Saturday 2019, with social-media marketing strategies playing a key role in the increase.

“This year, we know that small businesses need our support now more than ever as they navigate, retool and pivot from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic,” the SBA said in announcing this year’s commemorative day. “Please join SBA and organizations across the country in supporting your local small businesses by shopping at a small business.”

Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express in 2010, and SBA became an official co-sponsor a year later. A 2020 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey commissioned by American Express tallied the estimated $9.8 billion spending total for last year’s event.

“The survey also found that 97% of shoppers recognized the positive impact they can make by shopping small and 85% of them reported they also encouraged friends and family to Shop Small® as well,” the SBA says.

The SBA and American Express hope the annual Shop Small drive will result in $100 billion in reported consumer spending on Small Business Saturday from 2021 through 2025.

American Express says a key to success for last year’s pandemic-challenged drive was the social-media marketing that accompanied it.

“Many small businesses pivoted to selling online or through social media platforms to stay connected with customers throughout the pandemic, and these efforts appear to have paid off, with 56% of Small Business Saturday shoppers reporting they shopped online with a small business on the day, an increase from 43% in 2019.”

More than half of those Americans who shopped small last year said they also supported a small business via social media — “either by recommending their favorite small businesses on social media or shopping at a small business because of one they saw on social media,” American Express reported.

“Hundreds of thousands of people joined the conversation, shouting out their favorite small businesses, sharing promotions and activities, encouraging shopping small and more across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using #ShopSmall, #SmallBizSat and/or #SmallBusinessSaturday.”

Always occurring the day after the traditional Black Friday, or two days after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday is facing stiff competition this year from mega-stores whose Black Friday sales, already have started, some of them seemingly in the midst of summer.

With this year becoming a “Happy ‘Vax-giving,’” as some pundits are calling the holiday, because of the millions of American who have chosen to get COVID-19 vaccines, as well as continue to mask up in stores, it’s hoped there may be more brick-and-mortar visits to small retailers and restaurants during the 2021 holiday campaign.

How to Join the Saturday Effort Quickly … Via Free Marketing Materials

Are you ready to support Small Business Saturday 2021?

All you need to do — as either a business or restaurant owner, or as a shopper who loves spending money locally for the holiday — is visit this link and get your nearby office printer ready. Soon, you’ll have a colorful poster to print at your store’s front door or to use on social media. Posters boosting “Shop Small” all year long also are available at the site.

Restaurants, for example, will find a poster that reads “We Hope You Brought Your Appetite. Shop Small This Season.

Local chambers of commerce already have started marketing efforts centering on the occasion, too: Check out this Small Business Saturday page that the Appleton, Wisconsin downtown organization has blended with its regular calendar of events listings, for example. By shopping at five local spots and getting stamped at each, you’re eligible for a drawing that offers more than $1,500 in prizes.

As for consumers always loyal to local, small businesses, there are a number of ways to spread the small-biz, holiday spirit on social media. You can like and share a post from that business, comment on the post with some encouraging text or an emoji, offer a testimonial, or leave a review.

Just remember the aforementioned hashtags to use on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: #ShopSmall, #SmallBizSat and/or #SmallBusinessSaturday.

“Whether you buy a festive sweater from a local boutique or grab a hot cocoa from your favorite café, your support makes the holidays even happier for small businesses,” notes co-sponsors SBA and American Express.

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