Memorial Day (May 30 this year) may be a traditional time for barbecues, family get-togethers, and, for most (though probably not you), a day off from work. But don’t forget the true meaning of the holiday: commemorating the lives of U.S. soldiers who have died in military service. If you run a small business, Memorial Day also offers a great opportunity to honor military members through a variety of methods. Here are a few ideas.
- Sponsor a float in your local Memorial Day parade. Many towns and cities host annual Memorial Day parades to honor service members, and they seek local businesses as sponsors for their floats to support the cost of the ceremony. Check in with your local chamber of commerce to find out what’s going on in your region, and how your business can get involved.
- Offer special discounts or free items to military members or veterans. Traditionally, Veteran’s Day is the time to honor war veterans, but Memorial Day offers another occasion to show respect for those involved in military service. Promote a special offer like a 20 percent discount on all purchases, or, if you run a restaurant, a free meal for everyone who shows their military service ID card.
- Host a special volunteer event to help a local military family. For instance, you could enlist your employees in an effort to complete a home renovation project for a soldier who has become disabled in battle. Think about what product donations could help as well: If you own a hardware shop, you can donate tools and building materials; if you run a garden center, you could donate plants, flowers, and assistance with landscaping. Be sure to take photos of your volunteer event, and add them to your website and newsletter with a description of the day.
- Send out a Memorial Day postcard with a special offer included. Create a custom postcard with a vintage image of soldiers on the front, and a short message about the importance of commemorating the lives of soldiers on the back. Customers can bring the postcard to your store to receive a special discount or a free promotional gift on or around Memorial Day.
- Use your company’s blog or email newsletter to honor the war dead from your own family. Most of us have a fighter pilot uncle who was shot down in WWII, or a cousin who died in Vietnam. Take the opportunity to pay respect to your own fallen family members through your online communications with customers, and ask customers to chime in with their own stories. It’s a great opportunity to develop a more personal touch in your customer relationships.
How does your business plan to honor military members this Memorial Day? Share your thoughts in the comments.