American Express is in its sixth year of supporting small businesses and the local economy with Small Business Saturday. The National Federation of Independent Businesses and American Express released the fourth-annual Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey. In it they found that supporting local small businesses continues to be top of mind for 77% shoppers nationwide. With 65% of U.S. consumers reporting that they are aware of the day and plan to spend on average $100 helping small businesses market locally — not just on the build up to the day but after — as 83% of consumers say Small Business Saturday inspires them to shop small all year long.
Several strategies for year round marketing includes local sponsorships, promotions and loyalty programs as almost two-thirds (64%) of consumers who plan to shop on Small Business Saturday are motivated by the contributions that small businesses make to their community. Sponsorships and local events through traditional media like broadcast and radio are one way to to show local community support. Small businesses also actively collect and leverage a customer list and loyalty programs to keep top of mind among their local customers. However, many SMBs are are behind when it comes to nurturing and using their customer list.
BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor™, which surveys small businesses on their marketing and advertising strategies, found that 82% of small businesses have a customer list and a little over half of those have it in electronic form. When it comes to the size of the list, a little over half have 1-500 customers on the list. Unfortunately when it comes to marketing with their lists, which is important to driving local business through their doors, less than a quarter use the list for marketing purposes (social engagement, digital/print promotions, etc.). This is also reflected in SMBs lack of loyalty programs — only 24.2% currently use a loyalty program.
Marketing automation companies, agencies and traditional media sellers can help small businesses keep the Shop Local momentum throughout the year by providing marketing tools, training and support on the customer management (customer lists and loyalty programs) side of their businesses. Only 14% of businesses in our survey say they use point of sale data for customer marketing or loyalty programs, this indicates a lot of opportunity to help small businesses marketing year round.