Coastal Mountain CreativeIt’s that time again, the count down to Small Business Saturday which takes place across the country on November 30th, smack in the middle of the largest shopping weekend of the year. American Express created the campaign to give small businesses more exposure on this key shopping weekend and last year 5.5 Billion dollars were spent with small businesses on this day! There’s no time to waste, whether you’re new to the event or have been participating since it’s inception in 2010, here’s some information to help you take advantage of this massive marketing engine.

American Express is the main, founding sponsor of Small Business Saturday and all the marketing materials reside in some way on their branded sites.  They’ve created templates to help you generate your own Small Business Saturday branded materials as well, for FREE! You can download non-personalized materials like the Shop Small logo here and can also personalize materials with your name and location here.

You can also tell your customers about an incentive offered to Amex card members to encourage them to shop with you on November 30th.  American Express Card members that register their credit card on the shop small website starting November 24th will be eligible for a $10 statement credit when purchasing items from a qualifying small business that appears on their small business saturday map. Make sure your employees know about this offer! A simple conversation with a customer could go something like this: “I see you’re paying with an Amex today, great. Did you know that Saturday November 30th is Small Business Saturday and that American Express is the founder? If you register this card on the Shop Small website on November 24th and come back to see us on the 30th, Amex will give you a $10 credit towards whatever you purchase with us that day.  So we hope to see you back again on the 30th!”

Now back to you. If having your name connected to all the branded materials American Express puts out there for Small Business Saturday isn’t enough of an incentive to participate, some large partners are offering further resources:

Twitter is offering one million dollars in free Twitter advertising credits to small businesses to help them increase sales on Small Business Saturday. To be eligible for your $100 in advertising credits, you must be new to Twitter advertising.  To learn more and sign up, visit Twitter’s advertising page for shop small.

Fedex will print two of the 11×17 posters that you can personalize on the American Express site, for free.  Simply personalize your posters and choose the location nearest you to print them.

Foursquare is also offering free advertising. Get $50 in free advertising credits for use by the end of 2013 by simply claiming your location and creating a new ad on Foursquare. Please note the site says “while supplies last” but doesn’t specify how much free advertising they’ll give away.  If you haven’t tried Foursquare yet, this would be a great way to jump in!

So, snap to it! There’s still time for you to promote your small business for small business Saturday. Take advantage of the resources mentioned above. Reach out to other small businesses near you to see who else is participating and how you might be able to work together.  Use your social channels to remind people you’re a small business and you GREATLY appreciate the community’s support on small business saturday, and every day of the year.

Keep in mind, this marketing engine is happening around you whether you participate or not.  Jump on the bandwagon and pull every ounce of free marketing out of it that you can get!  The benefits and the buzz should extend well beyond the actual day. Free advertising on Facebook and Foursquare is FREE ADVERTISING!

If you need help strategizing your Small Business Saturday efforts feel free to leave me a comment below or send me an email.  Have fun out there and encourage everyone to Shop Small this holiday season and throughout the year!