1. National Small Business Week
First and foremost, National Small Business Week is the first week of May! Dedicated to raising awareness about small businesses and celebrating the hard working owners behind them, this week will be packed with ample marketing opportunities. Here are some ways to make the best of National Small Business Week:
- Run a deal-a-day for the week, promoting different products/services each day.
- Get return customers: Give out coupons with purchases this week, that can only be redeemed on an upcoming holiday or on the last day of Small Business Week.
- Get more leads: Offer a downloadable, small business-themed piece of content that is of value to your target audience in exchange for their email addresses.
- Increase your exposure: Use #NationalSmallBusinessWeek and other relevant hashtags in your social media posts and promotions.
- Run an Instagram giveaway for a free product or service. Entrants post a photo to Instagram of themselves at your business, using a custom hashtag. Announce the winner at the end of the week.
- Don’t forget that educating yourself about small business and networking with other small business owners is important for your marketing success as well. Attend local events, SBA events, or follow along via live streams.
- Build community and expand your reach: Team up with other complimentary small businesses and create an event.
- Make an extra effort to give back to your community by shopping at, posting reviews, and engaging in social media with other small businesses during the week.
2. Kentucky Derby (May 6)
Use the Kentucky Derby in your May marketing efforts. Get creative with derby fashion or horse-themed decorations, promotions, contests, and events. For example,
- Change up your storefront with a derby theme to grab attention and attract customers.
- Blog about derby fashion and outfits for men and women.
- Throw a derby party with derby hat contests and mint juleps.
- Host a cooking or cocktail-making class.
- Run a derby hat contest on Instagram or Facebook.
- Use derby hashtags such as #kyderby, or your own custom hashtag (like #derbyatjoes) so that people can find you and follow along.
3. Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
Cinco de Mayo falls on a Friday this year, which makes it all the more fun. There are many ways to infuse a Mexican-American spirit into your marketing. For example:
- Food or fitness businesses can post recipes or videos of recipes on social media.
- Give out coupons the day before or a few days before, redeemable on Cinco de Mayo.
- Share a festive discount “code word” on social media, customers who mention the code in-store get 15% off.
- Use a triumph or underdog theme. This holiday comes from Mexico’s unlikely victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. Give your customers the victory over high prices, long lines, slow service, and more with particular deals.
- Use the number 5 in your promotions, such as get the fifth one free, $5 specials, 5% off, 5 for 5, etc.
- Throw a party or cooking class revolving around Mexican food and culture.
4. Teacher Appreciation Day (May 2)
May 2 is Teacher Appreciation Day—a perfect time for preschools to market themselves to new parents in anticipation of the new school year.
- Throw a party for teachers or have students write thank you letters to show off on your blog, in email newsletters to parents, or on social media.
- Update your website content with new teacher bios and pictures.
- Did anyone receive a new degree or have a teacher accomplishment to share? This is the perfect time to showcase them in an “About Us” page on your website. Doing so not only highlights your teaching staff, but it also can improve your SEO.
5. Mother’s Day (May 14)
Mother’s Day is prime time for any business, not just the flower shops, salons, and spas (although it is advantageous!).
- Flower shops and bakeries can offer special Mother’s Day products, and discounts for Mother’s Day gift givers, either on this day or the day before as well.
- Salons and spas can create Mother’s Day themed gift certificates, or offer 2 for 1 deals for mothers and daughters celebrating together.
- Combine products and/or services into attractive gift packages that make gift-giving easy.
- Businesses that get a spike in traffic on Mother’s Day can hand out coupons with purchases that are redeemable at a later time (ideally a time when business typically gets slow).
- Preschools can have their little ones create Mother’s Day cards or crafts to send home. Make sure to post the pictures on social media or follow up with a blog post or email newsletter to communicate with parents!
6. Memorial Day (May 29)
Here are some ways to show your patriotism and love for the good ol’ USA through your business marketing on Memorial Day.
- Red, white, and blue themed recipes, outfits, flower arrangements, etc. and promote on Pinterestand Instagram.
- Host a BBQ or picnic for your community, and give out branded swag like sunglasses or water bottles.
- Participate in or sponsor a local event.
- Use quotes, images, and other posts on social media to show your support for those who have lost their lives for our country.
7. Warm Weather
Take advantage of the warmer weather and provide information and helpful tips to your customers in accordance with your business.
- Contractors, landscaping companies, and painters should boost their May marketing efforts to get new clients for the spring and summer months.
- Now’s the time to run that gutter cleaning sale or post pictures on Facebook of your most recent outdoor paint job. Increase your SEO with blog posts about seasonal maintenance
- Create success stories of successful jobs and promote them on your website and social media
- Word of mouth marketing is important in these industries – offer existing clients a discount or incentive for each new client they refer who becomes a paying customer.
Related: Summer Marketing Guide
April showers bring May flowers. If you own a flower shop, May marketing is your time to shine! (If you don’t, there are still opportunities!)
- Host that flower arranging workshop you’ve been thinking about.
- Start a Pinterest board to see if Pinterest is right for your business, or grow your Pinterest followingwith your creations linked to your online store or blog.
- You don’t have to be a florist to use flowers in your marketing. Spruce up your office, restaurant, or store front with flowers. Nothing says “spring” like fresh-cut flowers that add a pop of color to your business space.
- Buy flowers from a local florist and introduce yourself. Supporting other small business owners is the first step to getting more word of mouth referrals.
May is the start of wedding season and a perfect time to market your business to new people who are in town.
- Caterers, event planners, DJs, photographers, bakeries, and other wedding friendly services: Use social media to engage customers as much as possible. Whether you’re hosting the bachelorette party at your restaurant or baking their wedding cupcakes at your bakery, take pictures and share them on Facebook and other social media platforms.
- Many couples ask guests to use custom hashtags on social media so that pictures of the events can be easily searched. For example, the soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Burns might use the tag #BurnsInLove2015. Ask if you can use their hashtag to make your photos easily discoverable by wedding guests and the people in their social media networks.
- Landscapers can capitalize on wedding venue owners looking to perfect their landscapes.
- Fitness and nutrition businesses can provide workouts, recipes, blog posts, and tips on getting to your healthiest and best version of yourself in time for these heavily photographed events.
10. Final tips for Your May Marketing Events
Make the most of your May marketing events with these final tips:
- Recap your events, promotions, and festivities in your next email newsletter or blog post so that those who missed out will want to join in the fun next year!
- Send thank you and follow-up emails to any new leads for your business.
- Encourage customers to use your custom event hashtag to follow along and/or to help promote it.
- Post real-time photos of your event through Snapchat or Instagram Stories.