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Customer Service Initiatives Strategies to Kill it on Small Business Saturday

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According to the latest data from Kabbage’s Small Business Growth Index, small business optimism is at a three-year high with 95 percent of small business owners expecting to grow their revenue in 2015.

To fuel this growth, 52 percent of surveyed small business owners intend to invest in marketing. Small Business Saturday (happening on November 28, 2015) is an initiative that provides a great return for your marketing dollar. In 2014, customers spent an estimated $14.3 billion at small businesses on Small Business Saturday.

Let’s take a look at ways to kill it on Small Business Saturday:

Have In-Store Reminders

While the Small Business Saturday Facebook page boasts over 3.3 million followers, only 71 percent are aware of this shopping holiday. Start letting your customers know that you will participate in Small Business Saturday as early as two to three months ahead of time.

By using in-store signage to promote the big day, you can keep the event on your customers’ minds. OptBlue program participants have access to useful signage templates that can be customized and printed out.

Use Your Website, Social Media and Email Newsletter

Just like you remind your in-store customers about Small Business Saturday, you should also remind your virtual visitors and newsletter recipients.

  • Through the OptBlue portal, you can create personalized digital marketing materials, including digital banners and email templates.
  • Include a banner about Small Business Saturday on your website.
  • Don’t forget to use social media. In 2014, more than 126,000 tweets (a 10 percent increase from 2013) were sent in support of Small Business Saturday. Leverage the #ShopSmall and #SmallIBizSat hashtags on Twitter.

Get Listed on the Shop Small Map and Online Directory

American Express card merchants can join the Shop Small Map so that they can feature their businesses to potential customers. The map can show your address, phone number, schedule, summary rating of TripAdvisor reviews (if available), list of Amex offers (if available) and “Member Favorite” badge (if available).

Even if your business doesn’t have a physical location or only accepts online transactions, you may still qualify for the Shop Small Map.

Use Free Ads and Facebook Ads Credits

There are two main ways to promote your business’ participation in this shopping holiday.

First, you can advertise your business in an online ad within the Shop Small website. Submit your application no later than November 1, 2015 by 11:59 a.m. ET at the Merchant Shop Small Page. The online ads will run from November 16, 2015 until December 31, 2015. Within this ad, you can list “what you are known for” within certain guidelines.

Second, be on the lookout at the Small Business Saturday Facebook page for an opportunity for qualifying businesses to receive a credit of $100 worth of Facebook ads. This promo has run consistently since 2010.

Inform American Express Cardholders About $10 Promo

American Express cardholders can add “Amex Offers” through the AmericanExpress.com portal or Amex smartphone app. To motivate customers to shop at participating local stores on Small Business Saturday, American Express often rewards eligible cardholders with a $10 statement credit per purchase on that date.

Cardholders can register for this perk for a limited time. In 2014, registration for this Amex offer started on November 1 and ended on November 29. If your business accepts American Express as a form of payment, remind your customers paying with an Amex card about the $10 statement credit for November 28, 2015.

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from customers about this promo:

  • Customers need to sign up for the offer online or through the app before making a purchase
  • Minimum purchase of $10 is required to receive a $10 statement credit
  • Limit of three $10 statement credits per eligible American express card
  • Corporate and prepaid Amex cards aren’t eligible for a $10 statement credit
  • $10 Statement credit(s) will appear on the billing statement within 90 days after November 28, 2015
  • Statement credit is reversed if qualifying purchase is returned or canceled

Savvy business owners will provide customers with the option to purchase a $10 gift card on this day. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes: for them it’s a no-brainer; it’s a free purchase! However, you’re still making a $10 sale.

Partner with Other Businesses

The more the merrier. Leverage the Shop Small Map to find other nearby participating businesses and reach out to those businesses to come up with ways to increase outreach efforts. For example, businesses in the Kaimuki neighborhood of Honolulu pooled their resources to create the Third Fridays Kaimuki event – every third Friday of the month local shops and restaurants are showcased along with entertainment options and special activities.

Small Business Saturday could become an annual tradition that brings your local community together. You could also propose to your neighboring businesses to run a joint sidewalk sale. By pooling resources, you can all make Small Business Saturday a special event for families that live in the community. During the holiday season, local businesses can become places to get away from the madness of the mega malls and big box stores.

93 percent of U.S. consumers believe it’s important to support the local small businesses that they value in their community. By partnering with other businesses, you reinforce the idea that small businesses positively contribute to the local community.

What are other strategies to kill it on Small Business Saturday? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @KabbageInc!

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Kabbage Team

Kabbage is here not only to provide access to the small business funding you need, but to also help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.