It’s no secret that this is one of the craziest times of year for small business owners. Amid the flux of holiday schedules, the scramble to meet annual sales goals, and the task of planning for the new year, it’s easy to overlook special opportunities like Small Business Saturday® until the very last minute.

Started by American Express in 2010, the nationwide movement encourages people all over the country to support small, local businesses during the busiest shopping season of the year. Over the past six years, millions of people have embraced the day as an annual holiday tradition, and billions of dollars have been spent at small, independent businesses doing great work in their communities.

At Rapid Print, our mission and joy is to see other Rochester small businesses thrive, so Small Business Saturday holds a special place in our hearts. We’re now in the eleventh hour (Small Business Saturday is November 26!), but there’s still plenty of time to make this important day work for your small business.

Offer a Limited Time Promotion

Limited time promotions create a sense of excitement and urgency. Customers like to know they’re nabbing a great deal they wouldn’t get any other time of the year. Here are some of our favorite holiday promotions:

  1. BOGO: Buy-one-get-one deals are especially popular during the holidays when shoppers have long lists of people to buy for. Offer customers a free or steeply discounted item or service when they buy another at full price.

  1. Price discount: Have fun with your promotions by tying them in to anniversaries or other special events. Celebrating 14 years in business? Offer a 14% discount on all items, or $14 off of a $50 purchase.

  1. Free Gift: Have leftover branded promotional items in the stock room? Hand them out with each purchase throughout the day. Or grow your loyal customer base by offering free gifts that bring shoppers in the door again, such as a free gift certificate with any purchase over a certain amount.

  1. Free Shipping: Customers appreciate simple pricing structures, and often abandon online shopping carts when shipping charges are tacked on at checkout. Offer free shipping to make their experience easier.

Take Advantage of Helpful Resources

American Express has numerous online resources that can help you promote your business during the shopping holiday. New this year is its Shop Small Studio, which helps you create free customizable marketing materials for your website, social networks, and storefront within minutes. You can also download ready-to-use materials if you’re in a hurry.

Use this time to join local organizations that support small business. The Small Business Council of Rochester connects you to an outstanding network of business owners and community leaders, and offers invaluable resources such as local educational, networking, and business recognition events. The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce also has a Small Business Assistance Center that connects you to information, expertise, and people that can help your business succeed and grow.

Join the Conversation on Social Media

Not only is social media a fantastic way to drive online business, it gives your brand instant personality and allows you to engage with your audience like never before. Take some time to share your small business story, announce special promotions, and support the nationwide movement. Be sure to include popular hashtags like #ShopSmall, #SmallBiz, and #SmallBizSat in your posts, as they’ll be trending throughout the day.

From all of us at Rapid Print, have a happy and successful Small Business Saturday!