Owning Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday, observed on the last Saturday of November, was created by American Express during the 2010 recession to encourage people to Shop Small and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses.

It gained significant traction in 2011 when the Senate unanimously passed a resolution supporting the day. Since then, Small Business Saturday has grown into a national movement, with over $120 billion in spending reported over the last ten years.

Shopping small during the holiday season is more important than ever.  According to the American Express Shop Small Impact survey, 78% of small business owners have stated that holiday sales indicate whether they stay open the following year or not.  This means that most small businesses are poised to accept ways to increase their traffic in every way possible.

Throughout November, you’ll find that media outlets will mention “Small Business Saturday” here and there.  If your station or group can grab hold of the reigns and own it more than the others, it could mean more profitable relationships that last much longer than the month.  Here are some ways you can do that.

1. Create a Public Interest Campaign

Start an on-air and online public interest campaign that includes a series of messages from public officials and local air talent affirming the important impact small businesses have on the local economy.  Encouraging listeners to pledge to shop small and buy locally.

Be sure to record these with the intent of using them on multiple platforms.  For example, video your interviews for use on Facebook, Tik Tok, and Youtube.  Use the audio from those interviews on-air and within podcasts.  Encourage business owners and local officials to share those posts and videos with their followers.

2. Tell Small Business Stories

Small businesses are the ones you remember.  When you travel somewhere, you rarely come back with a story about a big box store or chain. You come back with stories about these little, out-of-the-way, hole-in-the-wall places that had the greatest coffee, craft beer, or tacos that you have ever experienced.  Or, they had that cute little thing you had never seen or thought of anywhere else.

Develop and air compelling radio spots that showcase these stories and show first-hand how these businesses fuel the economy and support our communities.  Think outside regular on-air spots too.

Create Podcasts highlighting small businesses throughout the month.  Do video walk-throughs and interviews with small business owners for Facebook/Youtube.  Embed these on your station site and share them on your other social media channels.

3. Go Big with Digital Properties

Cover your website and social media channels with Small Business Saturday digital content, including banners, pre-roll commercials and videos, homepage takeovers, and a countdown to Small Business Saturday.

Share everything on your website to social media with links back.  Have your personalities mention the website and your commitment to “Small Business Saturday” often as possible.

4. Small Business Saturday Page/Directory

Create a directory of local businesses partnering with your station and participating in Small Business Saturday.  Highlight these local businesses from this directory daily or even multiple times per day.

Go beyond a simple list of businesses.  Include special incentives or coupons each business will offer on Small Business Saturday.  This will drive traffic to the page more than anything.

5. Create customized SBS signage

American Express provides many resources for business owners, including event ideas, business boot camps, “SBS 101” online content, marketing materials, checklists, and customizable print and digital signage such as event flyers, posters, save the dates, and social media assets.

You can create customized signage with your station logos that can be displayed in your sponsor businesses to drive traffic on-air and to your station website.

Why is Small Business Saturday important?

Small businesses have long been considered the heart of the American economy. Successful small businesses bring a community together, increase real estate value and help keep local money local – which directly benefits their towns’ economies.

Make your November all about Small Business Saturday.  If you can own it more than your competition, those businesses should rely on you more to help with their advertising beyond November.

Jim Sherwood serves as the chief creative, brand strategist, lead developer, meticulous project manager, and station collaborator for all Skyrocket Radio sites and projects. Jim is a 30+ year radio veteran with a resume spanning several small, medium, and large markets including roles as Digital Content Manager, Program Director, Production Manager, and Morning Show Host.