Hopefully you haven’t been living under a rock and you know that today is Small Business Saturday. It’s a corporate philanthropy day suggested by American Express. You don’t need to be an American Express member to go shop at small businesses in your community. Your small businesses don’t have to accept American Express to participate. But the Amex folks know that small business is what drives our economy-it’s the 99.7 percent of all employer firms and hires half of all private sector jobs.
From a PR perspective, Amex is providing a great service. Yes, they could as a company benefit because of their small business solutions arm. They are a financing force; but they used it to get great coverage, it’s resounding with a lot of shoppers–many of whom don’t know it’s an idea sponsored by American Express.
For you the small business owner, you’ve missed the shot at Small Business Saturday window signs and the easy set up that Amex offered on their pages. But what you can do for the rest of the holiday season is to communicate with your customers–across all platforms.
- Tell them what deals you have and remind them of small business purchases. If it seems too bold, share about other businesses.
- Give them ideas–like a certificate for a bookkeeping or house cleaning service, personal grooming or pet care services, local restaurants.
- Partner up with businesses in your block. One winery I go to partners with the local restaurant next door who doesn’t charge a corkage few if you bring in a bottle from the winery.
- Create an experience–harried shoppers want convenience, no hassle. After yesterday, they don’t want to go where they could get pepper-sprayed over a video game! Offer refreshments, maybe have a masseuse doing 15 minute stress relief moments.
- Service, from the minute the walk in the door till two years after, counts. Knock ’em dead with the right amount of attention without hounding them to buy. It’s a balance. Offer information about bargains or special benefits.
- Find enticements: free gift wrap (discount at another local store, perhaps), gift basket ideas, free delivery.
Get going. You still have time. But there is only about three weeks shopping left-depending on what holiday you commemorate.