is dedicated to supporting small businesses on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. Are you ready? Start now to include the project language in your signage, marketing materials, and website.

Small Business Saturday 2011 (November 26, 2011) is the second year for this nation-wide venture. With heavy participation by American Express, FedEx, and Facebook, this is a huge marketing thrust to bring customers to main street shopping opportunities. (Other sponsors include Business Matchmaking, Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center, National Association of Women Business Owners. SCORE: Counselors to Americas Small Businesses, Women’s Leadership Exchange, and Yelp!)

These collaborators want to recognize the nation’s small businesses and their importance to the US economy, job creation, and contribution to local communities. This can be a great chance to jump-start your small business at this time of year. This marketing support clearly embraces storefront retail and service businesses, but it can also benefit on-line businesses – if you want to take advantage of it.

You can visit http://smallbusinesssaturday.comto learn more about the project. The website has links to signage, e-Marketing materials, and $100 worth of ads on Facebook.com. This will let you bring some consistency to your advertising and outreach in terms of language and visuals. Those with on-line businesses would be smart to copy the logo, signage, and e-Marketing language to their websites early enough to grab attention by Thanksgiving. The site even lets you share your info with other small businesses and offer Groupon type of coupon opportunities.

If you customers register their American Express card at www.facebook.com/shopsmall, they are eligible for a $25 credit when they use the card on Small Business Saturday. In addition, FedEx will print posters on the FedEx Office Print Online application at a one-time 20% discount.

Last year’s Shop Small Business Saturday campaign saw 100,000 businesses download the marketing materials, 10,000 businesses sign up for free Facebook ads, and 200,000 American Express cardholders registered their cards for the $25 break. Moreover, American Express will donate $1 – for every person who “likes” Small Business Saturday on Facebook – to Girls, Inc. to support young women who want to be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Here’s some 2010 numbers that should catch your attention:

  • Small Business Saturday was featured in over 3,000 items in national and social media.
  • The coverage reached more than half a billion prospective customers.
  • Over 40 elected officials endorsed the coalition.
  • 1.2 million liked the idea on Facebook and 30,000 tweets were sent.

This is an exposure you cannot ignore.

Now, what should you do? Explore the Small Business Saturday website and related materials. Print your flyers and hang your posters. If you’re a Main Street storefront, recruit your neighbor stores to join the initiative. If you’re an on-line business, post a link to your website, make a discount offer, and e-market your customer base and prospect database. Here’s a marketing opportunity on a platter. You still have time to make it work for you!

 

by Steven Schlagel