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Every Organization Can Learn from Small Business Saturday

By De-de Mulligan

Small Business Saturday is always the two days following Thanksgiving.  

Supporting small businesses in the wake of big box and online competition was the original mission – and it has had great success – 112 million shoppers spent $15 billion -- last year alone!

However, in light of COVID-19, the focus has changed. November 28 is your opportunity to help small businesses survive.

Here is a timeline every organization, small or large, can use to attract clients all year long.


Small Business Saturday Timeline and Takeaways


Four Months Away: Obtain One Premier Sponsor.
American Express exclusively promotes small Business Saturday. Why? Their hope is targeted retailers and patrons alike will use the card when processing or paying for products and services. Finding one large sponsor is a lot easier than trying for multiple small ones.


Three Months Away: Lock in an Event Date.
Whether it’s a grand opening, significant anniversary, or training series, plan a virtual or onsite experience that will bring in the most significant number of people to your event. Here are your to-dos once you’ve selected the date:


  • Complete a social media and website audit.
    Ensure the name, address, phone number, and business hours are correct over your entire digital footprint. If you are open or closed on specific dates or have extended hours, note them. On Google My Business and Yelp, answer the COVID-19 service hours question about whether your business is open and taking onsite appointments. Most consumers assume a business is closed during this time unless you tell them otherwise. Ask employees to review each site to ensure you haven’t missed anything.
  • Order, deliver, and send out “Save the Date” postcards.
  • Look for business partners.
    It’s a lot easier to provide a reason to come to your business if individuals can see other companies in the area.


Two Months Away: Get Ready.

  • Train your staff so they can connect with visitors and make a great impression. Remind them about social distancing protocol among themselves and with clients.
  • Post a video highlighting your COVID-19 practices.
  • If possible, plan to have part or all of your event outside.
  • Have enough masks, sanitizer, and disposable wipes available for the day.
  • Plan your incentive. Are you going to give attendees a chance to win a large prize, hold a raffle, or provide a discount on your products or services?
  • Donate a percentage of your sales to a local charity.
  • Invite a VIP: state and local politicians, and local authors.
    Let the VIP and politicians speak and let the authors sell their books. Stagger their appearances.


One Month Away: Promote, promote, promote.

  • Create posters to put in your business’ window
  • Produce fliers to mail as an invitation, attach to emails, or give to neighboring businesses.
  • Create your social postings calendar that includes the event hashtag.
  • Promote your unique offering, VIPs, and local charity via flier, email campaign, website, and social posts


Day of Event: Push Social and Selfies.  

  • Post employee and visitor photos on your social channels and website
  • Tweet about the event and retweet posts your partners and the premier sponsor has put out.
  • Reward individuals who check in on Yelp or Facebook with a special discount or giveaway.
  • When a guest takes an Instagram selfie in your business and uses your hashtag, please give them a special prize or discount.

Day After: Assess Success.
Gather your staff to figure out what worked and what didn’t. Document the results so you’ll be further ahead for next year’s event!


Mulligan Management Group is Ready to Help Your Small Business

As a Women-Led small business, we fully support and look forward to Small Business Saturday. If your organization needs digital marketing assistance, please contact us!  We are in Stow, Hudson, Akron, and Cleveland.  We return all calls, texts, and emails within one business day.


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