Small Business Saturday: Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for 2022

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Bailey Maybray
Bailey Maybray

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Big brands get all the love during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Shoppers scour the internet for deals. Corporations flood their websites with promotions. But on the day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday gives mom and pop stores a chance to shine.

Small Business Saturday: A man sits outside a small storefront.

Every year, consumers reserve some of their holiday spending for small businesses — spending $23.3B+ in 2021. Since 2010, buyers have spent $120B+ on Small Business Saturday alone.

Almost 5 in 10 consumers plan to shop small during the annual sale, with each person spending $305 on average. So The Hustle asked 230+ entrepreneurs what they planned on doing to celebrate in 2022 — and why small businesses participate in Small Business Saturday.

The survey results show business owners primarily participate in Small Business Saturday to get new customers (26.0%), get free publicity (14.5%), and, put bluntly, survive (12.3%).

Regardless of why, one thing remains clear: Small businesses stand to benefit from participating in the holiday shopping rush.

When Did Small Business Saturday Start?

American Express created Small Business Saturday in 2010 following the Great Recession, which saw 1.8m+ small companies close their doors.

 “We created Small Business Saturday to encourage people to Shop Small and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses,” says American Express vice president of Small Business Saturday & Shop Small Marianne Rausch.

A year later, the US Senate passed a resolution officially designating Small Business Saturday. Today, all 50 states participate in the day — and the US Small Business Administration cosponsors the event alongside American Express.

When Is Small Business Saturday?

In 2022, Small Business Saturday falls on November 26th.

It always lands on the Saturday after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday. Due to its timing, Small Business Saturday anticipates consumers will have money left after their Black Friday shopping.

Why Shop Small Business Saturday?

“So many of our small businesses go under-noticed in the communities where they operate,” says small business adviser Karen Carr-Crawford. Yet these small but mighty companies contribute a lot to communities, including essential services and employment.

By shopping during Small Business Saturday, you can keep these companies alive and well — especially in light of the disproportionate impact covid has had on small businesses.

Benefits of shopping small include:

Supporting local communities: Shopping small helps communities retain businesses that care about them. Small companies often sponsor local sports teams, such as your high school’s football program or marching band. For a small company, an annual boost can bring significant value.

Increasing job opportunities: Almost 50% of Americans work for a small business. Supporting mom and pop shops during the shopping season can help them retain employees and hire new ones, which often come from the community they operate in.

Helping the environment: Large companies operate using global supply chains, often exhausting substantial energy getting their products created and sold. Small businesses, however, tend to have more local supply chains — which reduces their environmental impact and makes them more sustainable.

Snagging one-of-a-kind artisanal finds: Unlike corporate giants, many small businesses sell handcrafted products, such as jewelry or pottery, created locally. Big companies produce a wide range of products to cast a wide net. But many small businesses focus on one product, craft, or service, meaning you’re more likely to find something unique.

Supporting local charities: Small businesses have fewer resources than corporations, yet they contribute 250% more to local charities than larger businesses. Ask local companies if they plan on supporting charities, and consider curating a charity-first Small Business Saturday shopping spree.

Feeling euphoric when purchasing: When shopping small, you see where your dollar goes. For example, you might interact with a store’s owner while browsing an aisle, or their teenage son at the cash register. Because of these connections, buying from small businesses can feel rewarding.

As for business owners, these benefits can help you explain the value of shopping small to your customers. Position your business as an organization that gives back to the community. Talk about the importance of small businesses locally, and mention other stores customers can also support. Contact nearby media stations inquiring about getting featured on the news. Leverage local social media groups, such as those for your town or county, and promote your community efforts.

Small Business Saturday 2022

If you want to celebrate Small Business Saturday by creating a killer marketing campaign, you’ll need to brush up on marketing trends. HubSpot published its State of Marketing Report for 2022, and business owners can find valuable insights into the most effective ways to market and promote your company.

Create short form video content: According to the report, short-form videos on TikTok and Instagram Reels have the highest engagement of all social media content.

To capitalize on this trend, you could create bite-sized clips highlighting your business, your products, or promotions for Small Business Saturday. Interactive, funny content — such as those that make use of AR (e.g., filters) — have proven most effective.

Run ads on Facebook: Facebook continues to dominate when it comes to ROI on online advertising. You can leverage the platform’s Ads Manager and target those living in your area. You can create ads for your Small Business Saturday deals, such as offering shoppers an extra discount if they sign up for your newsletter.

Work with a local influencer: 34% of marketers plan on leveraging influencer marketing in 2022. It’s a cost-effective way to increase brand awareness and build a community.

For Small Business Saturday, you could work with a local influencer — such as a small YouTuber or notable activist in your area. Feature them in ads or even host an event with them at your store.

How To Celebrate Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday Ideas: Offer discounts (19.0%), partner with other small businesses (15.3%), run promotions (12.3%), support local charities (11.7%), run a contest/giveaway (9.8%), run online ads (9.8%), host fun events (9.2%), and other (12.9%).

When The Hustle asked entrepreneurs about their Small Business Saturday plans, several had no clue what the day entailed. But celebrating Small Business Saturday requires as much effort as you want to put in. A simple sale works fine. But hosting a big event, for example, works even better.

With marketing trends in mind, celebrate Small Business Saturday by sticking to some tried-and-true methods.

Stock up on popular items: Almost 4 in 10 small businesses experienced supply chain delays because of covid, causing many to run out of stock. Prevent shortages by increasing inventory on your bestselling products.

Offer once-in-a-year discounts: Customers form gigantic crowds and run through stores on Black Friday because of large savings. As a local business, you also need to create a special discount or promotion reserved for Small Business Saturday. You could offer a storewide discount, or offer to gift-wrap products for free.

Launch a new product or service: If you plan on expanding your offerings, Small Business Saturday could help drive early adoption. In addition to generic discounts, you could let customers know about a new product or service launching on that day. This could help bring in both old and new customers.

Host an event: Event marketing can both entertain and educate customers about your product or service. For Small Business Saturday, you could host an event with complimentary snacks, drinks, or gifts to drive foot traffic. Try raffling off a few products in addition to traditional discounts.

Partner with other small businesses: Instead of competing for attention, partner with other small businesses. Shoutout other local entrepreneurs and mention their companies. Host collaborative events with other companies.

By sending some love to other businesses, they will likely return the favor — exposing your business to another shop’s customer base.

Support local charities: Over 80% of customers prefer companies that donate to charity. You could donate a portion of profits from Small Business Saturday to a local nonprofit. Alternatively, collaborate with a local nonprofit to host an event at your store.

Extend hours: If you have staff available, consider extending your hours for Small Business Saturday. You could either open earlier or close later, depending on your schedule and your customers.

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