American Express Open, the small business division, announced the launch of “Small Business Saturday” on November 8. M Booth & Associates, the unit's PR AOR, is providing support.
“The campaign raises consumer awareness of the importance of small businesses,” said Rosa Alfonso, director of corporate affairs and communications at American Express Open. “We want small business owners to have their share of the shopping season.”
The campaign provides incentives for local businesses to promote their participation in the program and for card holders who plan to shop at local businesses on the Saturday after “Black Friday.”
Media outreach is focused on consumer and business media outlets, while American Express is promoting the program on its corporate and Open Twitter feeds, said Alfonso. The “Small Business Saturday” Facebook page, launched in early November, has 976,000 fans.
“When we speak with small business owners, the number one thing they ask about, besides capital, is how to get customers to their stores,” said Alfonso.
One goal of the campaign, she added, is for consumers to “carve out a portion of their holiday spend” at local businesses, instead of only relying on big box retailers.
American Express planned to give a $25 credit to the first 100,000 cardholders who signed up for the “Small Business Saturday” program. Alfonso said that American Express extended the giveaway on November 23 to 200,000 cardholders.
The campaign also exceeded its goal on November 23 of having 10,000 small businesses, which do not have to be American Express cardholders, sign up to participate in the program on its Facebook page, according to Alfonso. Included in the campaign are downloadable promotional materials and social media tools developed specifically for small business owners to use to promote participation in “Small Business Saturday."
Each participating small business that filled out an online form received $100 in free Facebook advertising. The social networking company donated $500,000 in Facebook credits to the campaign.