It’s almost here—the holiday shopping season that so many businesses rely on to profitably round out the year. And once again, there’s a movement afoot to ensure that small businesses get their fair share of the action. Nestled in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday (SBS)—which this year falls on Saturday, November 24. The U.S. Small Business Administration  describes it as “a day to celebrate and support small business and all that they do for their communities.” It's particularly meaningful to me as I myself founded a start-up, and we work with so many small and medium sized businesses every day!
Small Business Saturday may be less than one week away, but there’s still time to make sure your business is primed for what will hopefully be a big day for sales. Here are 21 ways you can still prepare:
- Think of how your products can be great gifts, and promote the gift concept like crazy.
- Offer unique items. Try not to have things people could find anywhere online—make it original.
- Play upon the local. SBS is about small, local businesses, and so the people visiting your store are probably all about the “local.” If you have any products that are locally crafted, point them out and promote them. People love sampling local cuisine while traveling because it is something special and unique to the area. Having gift items and products that are unique to your location is a great incentive.
- Put signs up promoting Small Business Saturday. People who see the signs in your store are obviously already shopping in your store and are more likely to come and support you later. American Express offers some free signage  you can create.
- Make a day of it! This is the chance to celebrate your business for all that it is. Put up some balloons, offer some goodies, and make it a party!
- Promote the in-store special offers you’ll have November 24 via Twitter and Facebook.
- Use the tools offered by Amex  to easily promote SBS via social networks and to get free online advertising .
- Post on Facebook about SBS and how you are preparing. The Small Business Saturday Facebook Page  has a bunch of tools, even a special welcome mat !
- Take some photos of your best gift items and post them on your Facebook wall.
- Remind fans that they can get $25 for signing up for Small Business Saturday. They’ll be grateful to you and may even spend some of that cash in your store.
- Post a video on YouTube about what makes your store special. Make it yourself, or use the templates SBS offers on their Facebook page.
- Tweet about #shopsmall and #SmallBizSat, and remind folks of all the cool stuff you’ll be offering that day. Maybe some free pins or stickers?
- Send an email to your mailing list about Small Business Saturday and why it’s important to support local biz.
- Blog about the big day as well and explain what it’s all about on your small business marketing blog (click here for our top examples).
- Create a “Small Business Saturday” PPC campaign, tailored for this once-a-year-day. This free Google keyword generator tools  can assist you.
- Enable location targeting  for your PPC ads so that they’ll show up for local searches, and learn more about Local Online Marketing .
- Implement negative keywords to stop wasted spend and redirect those funds to your Small Business Saturday campaign. Negative keyword tools  can help you do this.
- Assess the performance of your AdWords account  before Small Business Saturday. Take action on the suggested changes to save money, or consider hiring a PPC agency  to do the work for you.
- On Small Business Saturday, ask visitors to sign up for your mailing list so you can notify them of future special offers and events.
- Take photos throughout the day and then post them to Facebook later. Make sure people know you’ll be posting the pictures—that way they’ll visit and tag themselves later.
- Continue the conversation by asking for feedback. Conversation is a key part of keeping happy Facebook fans.
What are you doing for Small Business Saturday?! Any other ideas to share? Let me know in the comments below.
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