Next weekend will be a big day for small businesses as the Saturday after Black Friday is a day to celebrate and support local businesses. The holiday shopping season is something the internet has been preparing for since before Halloween. Bing and Google have been working hard to be able to release updates for their product search features, and social media sites are ramping up their advertising platforms. With these enhancements, local businesses should take advantage of the marketing power the internet is offering more this year than in previous years. Watch today's Daily Brown Bag to learn how to optimize your internet marketing strategy to take advantage of the biggest day in shopping for local businesses.


Hello, and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today, we’re going to be talking about Small Business Saturday, the Amex promotion that they put on after Black Friday. I’m Chad Hill, and I’m joined by Adam Stetzer.

Yeah, good morning, Chad, and welcome, everybody to the Brown Bag. Today’s topic is Small Business Saturday. This is something that American Express invented, and this year it’s happening on Saturday, November 30, so it’s our opportunity to give a shout out to small businesses and maybe encourage our viewers to support a small, local business in the holiday shopping season. It’s a pretty big deal, because 20-40% of annual sales for small businesses occur during this holiday shopping season which is about to kick off in earnest at Thanksgiving. Experian predicts that consumers will spend about 11% more this year than last year, and of course the small businesses want to get in front of that growth. The National Retail Foundation estimates that up to 140 million people will shop over this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend, so it’s a big opportunity for small businesses to try to get in front of those dollars.

Now, it’s kind of interesting, Chad. We’ve been talking about the upcoming holiday season, as well as how social media is having an increasing role in interacting even with brick and mortar sales, and there are a few stats here that support that. One of the top methods for promoting small business Saturday specials and getting people into small businesses is social media and word of mouth, because remember, these are local businesses. So, they seem to be catching on to the fact that social media is how people want to communicate, whereas in the past it was maybe a circular in the newspaper a weekend before or on Thanksgiving. I think that opens up our discussion here. Chad, what can small businesses really do to take advantage of this big shop local day that’s coming up on the 30th of November?

Right, and I think the cool thing here is that Amex does do a pretty decent job every year of providing some air cover and encouraging people to go to small businesses. I think that’s great. You want to tap into that, and I think then what you want to do is use some of the same tactics that the big-box retailers and the all-in retailers use around Cyber Monday and Black Friday, which is that they’re pulling people in with extra good deals, even if they are in limited quantities. But they are getting people into the store, so that as they grab those extra good deals, they hang around and maybe pick up some other things while they’re in your store. So, let’s talk about some of the ways that you can start to promote whatever you might be running as your extra good deals for Small Business Saturday.

Of course, you want to tune up your email campaigns. Always going back to your existing customers is critical. Let them know what you’re thinking whether you’re going to be having a store-wide discount or some special promotions, you want to let them know via email. Adam, you already mentioned social media, another great way to promote and get people to spread what they’re doing. Maybe you have a little special thing using Foursquare or Facebook check-ins where if you check in when you’re at Small Business Saturday in the store and let your friends know what’s going on. Maybe there’s another special promotion or interesting contest, and then again, you might want to tune up all of your other campaigns, like if you’re running paid search or anything else at the time, make sure you’re mentioning that you’re running some specials on small business Saturday. So, there’s not a lot of terribly different things, but I think that you want to take advantage of the air cover, and then try to understand the psychology of getting a good deal. It doesn’t mean that everything is discounted. It just means that you have to have a reason to get in the car and go to the local business.

Okay, great. So, you’re talking about traditional digital marketing. Use your email-- you’ve been building that list all year, and this is the time to really leverage it with a tailored message. Use social media, and I think on the local level that is particularly powerful. When you’re a local business that’s engaged with the community, now is the time to leverage all that work you’ve put into building your community. Of course PPC advertising also works very well on a hyper-local level, because of geo-targeting. I think for all three of these, Chad, you sort of mentioned this, you can tailor a message that accentuates your local engagement with the community as well as the deals that are to be had. We know this is tough, because when you’re a small local business and you’re up against a big-box store, sometimes it’s hard to have a deal that beats theirs. But, you have something they don’t, which is often a very strong tie to the community. Use these channels to really leverage that, bring them in, and have a blockbuster Thanksgiving weekend. That’s our Brown Bag for this Friday. We’re glad you’re here. Thanks for joining us! We’re here every day discussing these topics, and we sure hope you’ll subscribe to our YouTube channel.