03.11.20168 min read

Simple Ways to Leverage Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is right around the corner!

When I first heard about Small Business Saturday, I was running my own small business. At the time I just shrugged it off and paid no attention to it because I thought it was just a big PR stunt for American Express, but over the past several years, Small Business Saturday evolved from a well-executed PR event to an officially recognized day by the U.S. Senate.

Did you know that in 2015, $16.2 Billion was spent on Small Business Saturday and 93 percent of Americans believe in supporting small businesses?

That leaves only one important question:

Is your small business positioned to capitalize on the biggest consumer spending weekend of the year?

There are many ways you and your small business can benefit from the Small Business Saturday movement. Here are some tips on how you can leverage the attention of Small Business Saturday to generate more customers for your small business.


Register with the official “Shop Small” website

Small Business Saturday gets a lot of exposure across all the major media and advertising channels the week leading up to Small Business Saturday. Many people will go to the official “Shop Small” website to find local small businesses to support. So, for your business, it’s essential that you take five to ten minutes to get listed on the website—fortunately, the process is simple.

NOTE: In order to qualify for placement on the AMEX Shop Small map, you need to be a registered American Express merchant.


Once you get your business registered, people will be able to use an interactive map to find small businesses, like yours, in their local area. It can’t be emphasized enough how powerful this map is for Small Business Saturday. American Express also provides some incentives for consumers to shop small with their AMEX cards, so they’ll be looking here. And you want them to find you.


You can filter your local small business search into five main categories.


Once a category has been selected, you will see an interactive map with all the registered local small businesses.


Tons of people in your local area will be looking to spend money at local small businesses on Small Business Saturday this year. Did we mention how important it is to get your small business listed on this map?

Click here to get the official, Small Business Saturday registration process started.

On the Small Business Saturday website, there are are a handful of success stories that show how several small business owners leveraged Small Business Saturday to directly benefit their business. Why not try to get your business featured next year?


Download the official marketing package

The Shop Small team at American Express has put together an awesome marketing package, called Shop Small Studio, that takes almost all the heavy lifting off of you. All you need to do is take the content that they’ve already created for you and blast it out to your customers and social networks.

The Official Shop Small Studio marketing package includes:

  • Shop Small logos

  • Digital banners

  • Infographic

  • Printable signage

  • Sample email templates

  • Social media posts

  • Facebook cover image

These tools make it really easy to reach out to your customers and let them know you’re participating in Small Business Saturday.


It takes no time at all to create these materials, so you really have no excuse for using them.

How cool is that?! 

The entire registration process takes about 10 minutes and, as you can see, there are quite a few perks to listing your business on the official Shop Small website.

While listing your business is a crucial step, it’s not the only thing you can do to drum up extra sales on Small Business Saturday. Here are a few other things you can do to capitalize on the biggest spending weekend of the year:

Create a Small Business Saturday special offer

As you know, Small Business Saturday is sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Consumers are in the mindset of deal hunting and getting the most value for their dollar, so it’s important to consider the mindset of consumers and your target market during this time as you create a special offer.

What are some creative ways that you can provide more value to your customers for the money they spend in your store? Discounting your products and services isn’t the only way to generate more sales and often times isn’t the best way, either.

I go into detail about how to create what I call an irresistible offer in my post about capitalizing on Black Friday.

Partner with other local businesses


Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity to strike up a conversation with other local small businesses to form promotional partnerships or even strategic joint venture partnerships. Think about other businesses who might also be serving your target market but aren’t direct competitors and consider a mutually beneficial partnership.

For example, if you are in the business of selling car tires, you could partner with a business that does oil changes. Both your company and their company have a target market of people who own cars, but you’re not direct competitors because you sell two different products and services. Check out the creative ways these small businesses did just that

There are two main ways to leverage a promotional partnership. You can simply promote each other’s special offers to your customer base or you can co-create a package with both of your products and services and sell the package to both customer databases.

Make sure to have a contract in place and ensure that the terms of your promotional partnership are clearly outlined. I am not a lawyer, so be sure to seek legal counsel that ensures your contract adequately covers your business from liability.

Final thoughts

The official Small Business Saturday website has many valuable resources that you can tailor and implement in a relatively short amount of time. Create an irresistible Small Business Saturday offer and get the word out to your customers and local community with the resources American Express has made available to small businesses through their Shop Small on Small Business Saturday initiative.

This is an update of a post that originally appeared Nov 15, 2014. Ben Snedeker contributed to this update.

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