NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Some of the world’s online pioneers are uniting around a common goal: driving more business to local, independent shops for Small Business Saturday 2011. Facebook®, Google, Twitter and other innovators are joining with American Express to offer a toolkit designed to help small business owners get the cash registers ringing this holiday season. The business owner toolkit will roll out over the next few weeks, starting today, and will be available at www.facebook.com/ShopSmall.
In 2010, Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express to help address small businesses’ greatest need: driving sales. It was also an occasion to recognize the importance of small business and their vital contributions to the economy, job creation, and local communities. The national initiative encourages consumers to shop at small businesses during the holiday season. All small businesses, not just those that use or accept American Express, are able to participate. Most of the toolkit offerings were created to be relevant to business owners even beyond Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday falls on Thanksgiving weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, Small Business Saturday will be on November 26.
“Last year, we saw a 28 percent rise in sales volumes for our small business merchants versus the same day in 2009,” said Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly, senior vice president, American Express OPEN. “An all-star line-up of partners is coming together to provide the tools to help make this year even more impactful for small business owners throughout the country.”
Free Toolkit Includes:
For the second year, American Express is giving $100 in free Facebook advertising to the first 10,000 business owners who sign up. Facebook Ads help build online buzz and drive customer engagement because they can be targeted to people’s real likes and interests. In addition, for those small businesses that do not have Facebook Pages but want to take advantage of the free advertising, American Express will offer a tool that takes them step-by-step through the free Page-creation process.
Google Tools to Create Professional-Quality Videos
Google and American Express are partnering to offer small businesses My Business Story, a tool to create and post free videos online about their businesses. Google research has shown that companies who effectively leverage video can expect better customer engagement and retention: online video boosts brand recall by 50 percent and likeability by 26 percent. With the free My Business Story tool, small business owners can create personalized, professional-quality videos for YouTube, social networks, business websites and more. This tool will be available in mid-October.
Twitter Follow Button
Small business owners can take advantage of Twitter's Follow button to expand their marketing reach. These small businesses will be able to place a Follow button on their websites, and with a simple click, consumers will be able to follow them on Twitter.
YourBuzz to Help Drive Social Media Engagement
YourBuzz, an easy-to-use tool from American Express OPEN, helps small businesses reach more customers by enabling them to view and respond to customer reviews and online mentions all from one place. YourBuzz aggregates conversations across highly influential review sites such as Yelp and CitySearch, and social services such as Facebook, foursquare and Twitter, to ensure listings are accurate, build customer relationships, and mitigate the damage that can be caused by poor reviews.
For Small Business Saturday, YourBuzz will offer additional ways for small businesses to market themselves online. The tool will offer $200 in free advertising credits on two online platforms where discussions about small businesses take place: $100 credit for LinkedIn Ads for up to 6,500 business owners and $100 in additional advertising credits on Facebook (in addition to the aforementioned Facebook ad credits). Business owners will also get free offerings or 50 percent off of any package from Pagemodo, a company that helps small businesses create professional Facebook Pages.
Go Social to Promote Coupon-less Offers
In July, American Express launched Go Social, a one-stop shop for American Express merchants to create coupon-less offers for Cardmembers. Go Social simplifies the creation of customized deals for small merchants to further incent Cardmembers to shop with them. Cardmembers will find these offers on foursquare, Facebook and the new American Express Mobile App.
Other Tools to Promote Small Business Saturday
The business owner toolkit will also include downloadable, point-of-purchase displays for small businesses to let customers know they are involved in the initiative. The displays will allow merchants to include their own branding, details about their business, and any special offers they are promoting for Small Business Saturday. Customizable email templates will also be made available for businesses looking to conduct email campaigns to customers and prospects.
One of the biggest Small Business Saturday supporters is FedEx. FedEx Office® has announced a special 20 percent savings on all Small Business Saturday materials that can be printed via FedEx Office® Print Online. The offer extends to all online print orders through November 26, giving small business owners even more savings as they prepare for the busy holiday season.
Consumer Incentives to Shop on Small Business Saturday
- FedEx recently announced it would inject $1 million into the small business economy in support of Small Business Saturday by distributing 40,000 $25 Shop Smallsm American Express® gift cards for use at small businesses on November 26. A total of 30,000 gift cards are available, first-come-first-serve, beginning November 1 on www.facebook.com/FedEx. FedEx will distribute an additional 10,000 gift cards directly to customers.
- For the second year in a row, American Express will help drive traffic through the doors of small businesses with a special incentive: a $25 statement credit offer for Cardmembers when they register their Card and spend $25 or more on Small Business Saturday at any qualifying small business that accepts the American Express Card. Cardmembers will be able to register their cards in early November.
Lastly, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), a non-partisan organization that advocates for small business issues, has created the Small Business Saturday Coalition. Already, the Coalition has enlisted 200 advocacy organizations to raise awareness for Small Business Saturday and motivate consumers to shop at small businesses this holiday season.
About Small Business Saturday
November 26th marks the second annual Small Business Saturday, a day to support the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. Small Business Saturday (SBS) was created in 2010 by American Express in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: creating more demand for their products and services. A total of 1.5 million Facebook users, 130 public and private organizations, and 41 elected officials declared their support for SBS last year. More than 100,000 small businesses downloaded SBS marketing materials, 10,000 businesses signed up for free Facebook advertising that ran on SBS, and 200,000 consumers registered their American Express cards to receive $25 statement credits when they shopped at a small business on SBS. Small retailers who accept the American Express Card saw a 28% increase in sales on SBS when compared to the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2009.
About American Express and American Express OPEN
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at www.americanexpress.com and connect with us on www.facebook.com/americanexpress, www.twitter.com/americanexpress and www.youtube.com/americanexpress.
American Express OPEN is the leading payment card issuer for small businesses in the United States and supports business owners with products and services to help them run and grow their businesses. This includes business charge and credit cards that deliver purchasing power, flexibility, rewards, savings on business services from an expanded lineup of partners and online tools and services designed to help improve profitability. Learn more at www.OPEN.com and connect with us at openforum.com and twitter.com/openforum.