How to get the most out of Small Business Saturday

    By Adrienne Burke | Small Business

    Are you gearing up for Small Business Saturday? November 30 will be the fourth annual celebration of the “Shop Small” event, which was conceived in 2010 to drum up support for and lure holiday shoppers to local businesses. Most businesses that take advantage of the marketing campaign say it’s a good way to attract new customers, according to a survey of 500 owners and managers of small non-franchise storefront retail shops and restaurants released this week by American Express OPEN and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

    Held between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, savvy shopkeepers and restaurants can leverage the Small Business Saturday campaign—and several free and discounted offers for small businesses—to kick off the holiday shopping and dining season. Here’s a roundup of resources your business could take advantage of.

    American Express is once again offering its Small Business Saturday Marketing Toolkit—free digital and in-store marketing materials including printable signs and decals, logos and images for websites, custom materials and social media pages, and suggested social media and email templates for getting the word out about the event.

    In addition, this year the financial services company has partnered with other companies to provide resources for small businesses:

    • More than 1,000 participants have joined the Amex “Neighborhood Champions” program to rally businesses in their area to partake in Small Business Saturday events hosted by organizations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Independent Business Alliance, the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., the Latino Coalition, and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.
    • FedEx Office is offering two copies of a free 11” x 17” printed poster that small business owners can create as part of their customized marketing campaign on as well as a discount to small businesses that take advantage of the free printing offer.
    • The Foursquare app will highlight millions of local merchants for the day, and Foursquare and American Express are offering small businesses $250,000 in free credits to use on the recently launched Foursquare Ads for Small Business platform to create local ad campaigns that can help drive new customers into their stores based on their location or online searches.
    • Twitter is offering $1 million in free first-time advertising to small business owners and an educational toolkit containing helpful tips on gaining more followers and launching exclusive promotions.
    • The USPS is providing shipping of orders placed on and Neighborhood Champion Activation Kits and will also distribute a consumer mailer and place Shop Small signage at some 1,500 post offices.

    With the 2013 holiday shopping season being 5 days (and one weekend) shorter than last year’s, and following so soon on a government shutdown that left millions with less cash to spend, retailers will need all the help they can get come November 30.

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