Generally exhausted from the big holidays like Black Friday and Christmas, small business owners sometimes let smaller federal holidays slip by without acknowledgement. What’s the point of doing something specifically for a day like Presidents Day, in the dead of tax time, when effort seems better spent on entire shopping seasons?
Actually, Presidents Day can be a great boon for your small business. Celebrated on the third Monday in February, this holiday is a smart time to set up sales, clear out inventory, distinguish your business, and bring in foot traffic. Plus, with lots of school districts closed on Presidents Day, parents are always looking for ways to entertain their kids on a school holiday, so they’re more likely to be out and about.
How can your small business benefit from Presidents Day to boost sales? Here are 13 ideas for all types of different establishments.
1. Use Presidents Day sales to clear out unsold inventory.
Now that we’re at the tail end of the season, you need room to bring in your new spring goods. So, hold a sale to bring in customers—it’ll help clear out anything unsold and pique interest when your fresh, new wares are in.
2. Hold a party for the presidents.
Happy birthday, Mr. President! Decorate your store with streamers and balloons, and give out cake or cupcakes to shoppers. Play all-American music like military songs or John Philip Sousa marches.
It’s a great way to attract parents who are sitting for kids while school is out.
3. Serve a special drink or menu item.
If you own a bar or a restaurant, perhaps red, white, and blue pasta could work, or add a creative cocktail. Advertise your one-day special on social media to bring in people to your shop.
4. Honor George Washington’s legendary chopping down of the cherry tree.
Hold a sale of cherry-themed or related products. For example, a home goods store or apparel retailer could discount products with cherries on them. A spa could offer cherry-infused pedicures or face masks, or a special on cherry-red mani-pedis.
5. Hold a beard contest to honor Lincoln’s birthday.
You can urge customers to post pictures of their beards on your social media pages and have customers vote on the winner. Or, if you cater to children, get the kids involved by providing paper, crayons, and string, and have everyone create their own paper beards for a cute photo-op.
6. Give away red, white, and blue promotional products.
Make sure they have your business name and URL on them. And be sure to purchase promo products made in the USA—and promote that tidbit in your giveaway.
7. Create a sense of urgency to shop.
Strange as it may seem, we’re actually not that far on the other side of the seemingly endless holiday shopping season. Customers might still be suffering some sale and shopping burnout.
Instead of a Presidents Day weekend sale, hold a sale on the actual Presidents Day only. With a flash sale that lasts a few hours or a limited-time discount code on social media to customers, you might be able to fire up a different feeling in your consumer base.
8. Take the opposite approach and stretch out the holiday.
Start your Presidents Day discounts and promotions before the holiday, and stretch them out until the weekend after.
9. Bring in neat facts.
Find some interesting, surprising, or funny facts about the presidents to post on social media. People love to share things that others don’t know, so posts like this can be surprisingly popular.
10. Incorporate a good cause.
Collect donations for an organization that all Americans can support, such as a charity for military veterans, or a support group for military spouses and families of service members overseas.
Be sure to promote your event to the local media ahead of time—online outlets are best with a shorter lead time.
11. Hold a presidential-themed trivia contest.
Everyone adores trivia, so if you’re running a bar or restaurant, this is a way to get lots of people into your establishment.
You can also post presidential trivia questions on social media and give a small prize, like a discount code or free gift, to the first person to answer each question correctly. Stagger the questions out over the day to build interest.
12. Tie your promotions to tax reform.
It remains to be seen what the new tax laws will really mean for most Americans, but since politicians are touting the idea that people will be getting more take-home pay, why not urge customers to spend those extra dollars at local businesses? Yes, yours included.
Tying in a promotional code or in-store discount would be a great incentive, too.
13. Take a stand.
Unlike in years past, recent polls indicate many consumers actually want businesses to take a stand on political issues. It helps if you have a good sense of who your customers are—it also helps if you’re promoting a cause relevant to your business.
You don’t want to look like you’re just jumping on a bandwagon to get publicity, but if you’ve always wanted to share your political passions with your customers, Presidents Day could be the perfect time.
Be aware however, that we’re living in politically charged times, so understand the possible repercussions before you decide to publicly choose a side.
The Bottom Line
As a quintessentially American holiday, Presidents Day is a great time to connect with your customers, community, and country. Don’t let the opportunity slip away again—get creative.