Prepping for Small Business Saturday — Experts Weigh In

With the holidays and Small Business Saturday approaching, small businesses have plenty of prepping to do in order to succeed! How can entrepreneurs prepare for this busy time of year? We spoke with the experts that shared 18 ways they participate in #ShopSmall during the holiday season.

1. “We are participating in Small Business Saturday by creating content around the day, having specific email & social media creatives and doing a co-giveaway with other small businesses in a similar niche on Instagram. We’ll also be using the hashtag and signing up to be featured in different small business Saturday roundups. This year we’re taking a different approach to our sales by lowering the amount of discounts we offer but including different free gifts for orders on all the major sales days (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday). This will differentiate each day more as usually we had a similar discount offer for every day. We’re also running our first Amazon holiday sales this year and are looking forward to seeing what we can achieve on that platform.” — Ryan O’Connor, Owner, One Tribe Apparel

2. “Because I started my Virtual Assistant (VA) business to support small business, I began promoting Small Business Saturday when the calendar turned to November using social media posts to inform readers about my services along with a video highlighting ways to celebrate #ShopSmall. Sharing #ShopSmall ideas with colleagues and helping clients build email campaigns featuring their participation in #ShopSmall as well as the major year-end shopping days is part of my Small Business Saturday marketing plan. Of course, I also plan to grab my shopping bag and #ShopSmall businesses in my area!” — Melissa St. Clair, Owner, Paper Chaser

3. “As a successful small business, we like to connect with our customers every day, of course, but Small Business Saturday gives us an added opportunity to reach out. At we offer skin care products, as well as unique products our customers don’t find elsewhere – the Luscious Lips lip pump and Facial Magic facial exercise program. Using #ShopSmall throughout our social media platform gives us added visibility that we expect will translate into additional holiday sales.” — Cynthia Rowland, Founder and President, Rejenuve, Inc.

4. “We often work with small businesses in their preparation for Small Business 
Saturday. Custom-printed products with your logo or brand name can be used
as great buying incentives on Small Business Saturday. Advertise a free tumbler or tote with any purchase to encourage buyers. These giveaways won’t cut into your margins and will continue to promote your business long after Small Business Saturday is over.”
 — Rachel Stephens, SEO, Totally Promotional

5. “We have always participated in the Small Business Saturday ourselves and have invited our users to take advantage for #ShopSmall to promote their business during the holiday season to get exposure and gain new customers. We’re incorporating the #ShopSmall marketing materials available at the Small Business Saturday website into our content, email and social marketing campaigns, and creating a special offer for any small business looking to launch an online store with 3dcart. To help online retailers prepare for the holiday season, we recommend to start by making sure their websites are ready to handle the spikes in traffic and sales they can expect from black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday and Green Monday; without proper preparation, their marketing efforts could go to waste. Once you know your website is ready for the holidays, create special offers for each one of these dates, get your email marketing campaigns, increase your paid advertisement budget, and be prepared to process orders and ship in a timely manner to exceed your customer’s expectations during the busiest shopping season of the year.” — Jimmy Rodriguez, COO, 3dcart

6. “I’ve been planning SBS for the past four months (on and off): from content 
and visuals to features and deals. I’m working on strategic blog posts working towards SBS, new affiliates on board, special Pinterest campaigns, and newsletters.”
 — Noni May, Founder, Wanderlust and Company

7. “The Barrows Popularity Factor reduces the relationship between advertising and sales to its lowest possible common denominator…namely: How much did you sell? (divided by) How much did you advertise? (But don’t do the math in dollars, do it in units per gross impressions.) Whether you are trying to plan your Holiday Season advertising, or whether you are trying to plan your advertising budget for the whole new year, the best place to start is to start analyzing the effectiveness of your past and current advertising with the math in ‘The Barrows Popularity Factor,’ says Barrows. It will give you objective answers as to which advertising copy and which advertising media are producing the most effective results.” — Robert Barrows, Owner, R.M. Barrows Advertising & Public Relations

8. “When we’re trying to get sales, especially around the holidays, there are a number of ways to stay ahead of the game. Some of the things we focus on are: 
Staffing, Online strategy, Social media strategy, and Mobile strategy. For staffing, we hire temporary employees who help with everything from shipping out orders to answering customer service queries. Our online strategy includes redesigning our websites with holiday landing pages and including holiday promotions and sales. Regarding social media, we like to run contests and promotions for all our fans and followers. Social media and word of mouth can create incredible awareness. Lastly, our mobile strategy is crucial as about half of our sales come through mobile commerce. We have a dedicated mobile look, and we also have our own app, which makes it very easy for customers to view our content. We’re really pushing sales earlier with Black November (sales the entire month). Sales don’t start on Black Friday or Small Business Saturday anymore as most companies start earlier to try to top each other. Spreading sales throughout the month versus over a few days helps with order fulfillment and customer service tremendously.” — Brandon Chopp, Digital Marketing Strategist, iHeartRaves

9. “We design high quality personalized lanyards and we offer free artwork and free shipping. You can design your own lanyards and then choose from a variety of custom badge reels, badge holders, and logo clips. These are perfect for corporate gift giving around the holidays because you can design them using company branding or other specific business-related elements. As we get ready for the upcoming holiday season, we have an email marketing campaign set up and ready to distribute targeted emails for our current customers. We will be offering 10% any order using the code NOMAD10. In addition, we are investing in a series of Facebook ads designed to increase our exposure to new audiences.” — Cody Clifton, Director of Ecommerce, Wholesale Lanyards

10. “This is always one of our biggest sales of the year. We are both a small business and cater to small businesses so it’s the perfect occasion for us. Get started now by getting your promotion ironed out with who you’re going to target and what you’re going to offer. Then get your advertising collateral (graphics, emails, social media post ideas, etc) all ready to roll. Start with a teaser email and social posts the week leading up to the promo so people are on the lookout for it. We’d also recommend sending out your email blast on Friday since many people aren’t used to checking email as much on the weekend. If you’ve got everything planned and ready it’ll make your life easier and provide for a more effective Small Business Saturday!” — David Batchelor, Co-Founder and President, DialMyCalls

11. “We particulate in Small Business Saturday and wouldn’t dream of missing it. A small business ourselves, we work with over 5,000 other small business in the promotion of their holiday offers. We commission special illustrations for Small Business Saturday features and heavily promote to our ~200k email subscribers, as well as on the site. The success of other small businesses has been our shared success for the nine years we’ve been in business, so we’re deeply invested in making sure that they have an excellent retail season.” — Robert Russo, CEO, PromotionCode

12. “We will be offering an online discount on Small Business Saturday, promoting the day with an email blast and also sharing #shopSmall on social media.” — Robert Eichner, Owner, One Fur All

13. “We are always excited about Small Business Saturday, as sisters and small business owners ourselves, we like to encourage pet owners to shop small with us, and we happily support other small businesses too. We will be doing some email marketing, facebook promotions and couponing around ShopSmall.” — Gina Pollack, Owner, Puppy Kisses

14. “It might seem odd for a restaurant to be participating in Small Business Saturday but when you’re a locally owned, independant concept, it’s vital for eating establishments to take opportunities such as these. We will be doing the following: partnering with other downtown businesses to do promotions/giveaways, offering specials, and sampling a new product!” — Kim VanGilder, Marketing Assistant, Quarks American Bento

15. “Though we aren’t participating in Small Business Saturday in the traditional sense, we’re taking the opportunity to boost fellow small businesses through our holiday gift guide. We’re prepping by optimizing our website for visitors while compiling a list of items we love to encourage our customers to #ShopSmall and learn about some really cool products and initiatives.” —Anna Morrison, Co-Founder and CEO, The No BS Supplements Co.

16. “Monkee’s is offering more non-apparel gifting options, a broader range of price points, and increased our denim and athleisure selection. We are always striving to make every customer’s in store experience memorable. What has business been like for you this year, and how has that affected your strategy? This year has been interesting for sure! Times I expected to be busy were slower and traditionally slower times were super busy. Retail is such a wave and sometimes you just have to hold on. Monkee’s is excited about approaching our busiest time of year! Instagram has become extremely important to our business here at Monkee’s. Visually showing customers items that are in the store and also mixing in lifestyle shots. We have been focusing on Instagram stories as a great way to communicate directly with our customer in the moment arrivals, happenings and even polling customers when at buying markets. Monkee’s has two long time seasonal employees and we don’t currently plan to hire more. We are offering more non- apparel gifting items than before. We hope offering more variety will bring customers in and spark current customer’s interest. Customers are looking for deals but more than that, Monkee’s customers are still looking for quality products and an in store experience. Monkee’s is offering a variety of price points to our clients. We will be offering custom gift wrap to our clients, as well as wish lists and personal shopping options.” — Catherine Sullivan, Owner, Monkee’s

17. “Happyluxe is working long hours to get extra inventory into our U.S. Warehouses, and launching two new markets for the holidays, Canada, and the UK. This has taken extensive planning and coordination of our sewing factory and supporting vendors. We want to get inventory into these new markets in time for the holiday rush. We are also releasing several marketing campaigns to entice users to buy multiple items, like 10% off 2 or more items purchased. This gives the customer an incentive to buy more and save money. All our products are great gifts and stocking stuffers.” — Kurt Wolfgang, CEO, Happyluxe

18. “Scott’s Marketplace is participating in Small Business Saturday as a Neighborhood Champion and a Coalition Member. We are helping fellow small businesses get prepped for Small Business Saturday with a giveaway for business owners. We’re running the giveaway through Facebook. Winners will receive a Small Business Saturday price pack including items such as totes, door mats, stickers, flyers, and more to promote the big day. To get our team ready for the holiday season, we like to start off by looking at last year’s data to determine what promotions were the most successful, which marketing channels got the best results, and the industry trends that could potentially be popular again. We also prep for the holiday season by marking our calendar with unique promotions and campaigns for each of the holidays and target audiences we want to reach. It’s helpful to have a calendar that identifies how long each promotion will go on, and when and where we will promote it.” — Stephanie Riel, Community Engagement Manager, Scott’s Marketplace

Interested in starting your own business so you can prep for Small Business Saturday? Give us a call at 1-877-692-6772, or visit us at