American Express Marketing Resources

Leveraging American Express Marketing Resources for Your Business

Leveraging American Express marketing resources for your business can propel you to new heights in the payment processing industry. American Express provides merchants with excellent marketing tools and resources, including new programs and learning materials designed to help small businesses find the right path to success. This article will discuss the various resources and tools American Express offers small and medium enterprises to help them grow and succeed.

Accessing and Utilizing American Express Marketing Resources

American Express provides retailers with the following beneficial marketing tools and resources to help them drive more growth and traffic.

1.    Shop Small Resource Hub

This portal provides a wealth of resources for small businesses to help them thrive. The hub includes free marketing materials like digital banners, social media posts, and printable posters. Furthermore, merchants can get their business listed on the Shop Small Map, which helps drive significant sales and customer traffic to their business throughout the year.

The unique Shop Small Map campaign displays details on which businesses are eligible to accept American Express cards in a particular location. The map also includes the physical store location of the business so that Amex cardholders can easily find it.

It is a boon for Amex-only buyers, who find it challenging to shop for their favorite products across diverse retail outlets. Their options are limited, as not many merchants accept and process American Express debit and credit card transactions. The primary reason behind this is that Amex card processing fees are higher than those of other card networks, which is challenging for small businesses and startups.

Besides, the Shop Small portal includes many downloadable resources and tools, such as eBooks, checklists, infographics, and insights. Some examples of Amex’s readily available resources include an eBook guide on automated payment acceptance, infographics on contactless payments, the appropriate use of social media, and the importance of adopting digital payments, insights into how small businesses can achieve success in the upcoming years, and a checklist on streamlining your transactions.

Shop Small is Amex’s noble initiative to help small retailers find new opportunities and methods to optimize their operations. With useful tips on how to operate and protect your business against fraud, SMBs can better serve their consumers. Business owners can also take advantage of Amex’s curated offers and perks. Moreover, businesses can get real-time actionable insights based on market demographics, buying patterns, shopper buying habits, and market demands.

2.    Business Insights and Tools

American Express offers tools to help small and medium businesses grow, such as customer insights, promotional offers, cybersecurity plans, and business savings. For instance, they provide discounts on software applications and services, like QuickBooks and Indeed, to help merchants manage their operations more efficiently​.

For instance, new Amex members registering on QuickBooks Online Accounting and Payroll software can avail a flat 30% off on their subscription plans for 12 months. Similarly, new American Express members can hire the right person faster by claiming a $200 Sponsored Job credit. After opening a new Indeed employer account and posting their first-ever sponsored job offer, they will receive this credit amount. An automatic credit of $200 will be added to their new Indeed account after registration.

There is another offer from FedEx shipping and FedEx Office solutions. After registering as a new American Express merchant, you may receive great discounts on eligible FedEx shipping and other merchant services. As an Amex merchant, you will automatically qualify to join the FedEx Advantage program and apply for these offers and discounts, which will be automatically credited to your FedEx account. For instance, you may be eligible for 50% off on eligible FedEx Express shipping charges, 40% off on all eligible FedEx ground courier fees, and up to 20% off on eligible solutions of FedEx Office.

With American Express by your side, you can protect your business against all unauthorized payments and fraud activities. Amex partners with CrowdStrike to offer enterprises to 40% off on their auto-renewing plans on CrowdStrike for a single billing cycle or statement period.

Moreover, American Express takes data security seriously. Therefore, it has implemented stringent data processing protocols and strategies to keep customers’ card information safe and secure. Amex also offers an overview of proactive cyber threats and cyber risk management tactics that every business should know.

With American Express, merchants can protect their business from chargebacks and disputes, as it has a stringent Compelling Evidence policy to help merchants prevent lost funds due to hefty chargeback fees or disputed charges. Amex provides these free tools and resources to avoid false chargebacks and payment disputes.

Co-branded Marketing Initiatives: Success Stories

Businesses need appropriate resources to continue with their usual proceedings. Here are some rewarding programs established by American Express to promote business growth for small business owners.

1.    Content Marketing Success

American Express has successfully adopted the most effective content marketing strategies to boost customer engagement rates and enhance brand loyalty. American Express boasts of its skilled and knowledgeable subject-matter experts and efficient data-driven tactics to connect with its audience. It demonstrates the power of storytelling and creating informative content in marketing campaigns​.

Besides, American Express introduced a convenient Open Forum platform, which enables numerous business owners to share and exchange their ideas, leanings, skill sets, and knowledge base. Some of the major topics discussed in these Amex Open Forums include marketing, leadership, technology, customer engagement, and money,

The Open Forum is a crucial content marketing initiative that American Express calls “the online community.” It is a place where small business owners can connect, share opinions and ideas, and make intelligent business plans and decisions to help each other thrive. Since the forum is designed specifically for small businesses, experts and industry leaders write on innumerable topics related to leadership, money, marketing, branding, etc.

That’s because small retail store owners are in the learning stage – they need guidance from an expert who has already been there. Following the steps of a successful person will enable small business owners to make fewer mistakes and strategize their business operations more efficiently.

Apart from these topic discussions, the American Express Open Forum enables registered merchants to share their insights and thoughts, join conversations with peers or fellow small business owners, and ask one another for advice. The best part is that merchants can attend special online webinars or events to share ideas and knowledge seamlessly.

Wait, there’s more! American Express believes in maintaining the right morale and principles at the workplace. Therefore, it has numerous tools and resources to set high morale and good values, especially while working among multiple employees in the corporate setting.

With the help of these resources, merchants can organize special events or inner-circle meetings to encourage their employees to improve their values and principles. That’s because a workplace environment filled with high-morale workers will automatically increase the productivity of teams and push the business toward success. Small businesses can use these free tools and resources to boost their organization’s growth through collaborative teamwork and working towards a common goal.

2.    Inclusive Grant Programs

American Express‘s Inclusive Backing grant program provides financial grants and vital resources to underrepresented and under-resourced small businesses. This initiative supports businesses financially and improves their visibility and customer engagement​.

After the pandemic, many small businesses and startups faced challenges in maintaining business continuity due to a lack of financial and operational resources. The industries dealing with luxury items or services offered the most, while the world was investing in only what was necessary for living, such as food and other essentials. That answers why many businesses closed their doors during the pandemic years, either temporarily or permanently.

Therefore, the pandemic had a major impact on the economies of many nations and businesses. So, American Express took the initiative to support small businesses with grants and small funds. About 72% of small retail owners admitted that the grant funding from American Express helped them maintain business continuity and keep their company’s doors open for the next year.

In 2021, American Express partnered with Main Street America (a not-for-profit entity) to launch a $1.65 million Inclusive Backing grant program. The program aims to offer hundreds of under-resourced and financially vulnerable small businesses the financial support they deserve. It also focuses on providing other business resources that would be beneficial for the owner to handle critical business operations and emergencies or challenges.

In other words, the Amex Inclusive Backing grant is designed to support the economic vitality of small retail store owners. In partnership with Amex, this small business grant program enables small business owners to enhance their community reach, operational excellence, and cultural significance.

If you qualify for the Inclusive Backing grant program, apply for $10,000 grants for projects that improve and bring success to the business. It is solely done through community building, facilitating meaningful change, and supporting the organization’s economic vitality.

These grants are provided to selective merchants whose business locations are in one of the US’s historic neighborhoods or commercial regions. By offering them Inclusive Backing grants, American Express encourages these merchants to serve and support these communities, commercial districts, and neighborhoods.

Who is Eligible for American Express “Backing Small Businesses” Grants?

Merchants should meet the following eligibility criteria to apply for Amex’s “Backing Small Businesses” grant program.

  • The applicant must be the rightful business owner.
  • The applicant’s age should be at least 18 years or above.
  • The organization’s full-time employee strength should be 20 or less.
  • The business must have a valid physical store location, and its area of operation should be in historic or older downtown, main street, or commercial district in the US. The organization should have occupied the stated brick-and-mortar location since 1 January 2024.
  • Keep in mind that home-based businesses that do not have a physical store location will not be eligible to apply for these Amex small business grants, even if they are located in one of the above-mentioned areas of the historic main street, commercial districts or older downtown.
  • Any business outside the above-mentioned commercial corridors or historic downtowns, such as shopping malls, office parks, etc., cannot apply for the American Express small business grants.
  • The applicant’s organization should be independent, not part of any franchise.
  • The business should have an active license for running the company and a valid business license issued by the local or state government. The applicant may be required to submit these license-related documents as proof.
  • The organization must have operated at least since 1st January 2023 or earlier.
  • The organization should have a good reputation and standing as a reputable business entity in the state of the locality where it was established.

What expenses are Covered Under Amex Small Business Grants?

The funds received as small business grants cover the following (but not limited to) expenses.

  • Inventory and equipment (POS terminals, vital business software applications, investing in items of sale, kitchen equipment, factory machinery, etc.)
  • Accessibility upgrades (menu translation, accessible website upgrade for visually impaired users, etc.)
  • Hosting community programs or events (educational workshops, public training programs, open mic nights featuring local artists, community fundraisers, etc.)
  • Implementing operational strategies (accounting software, branding, business coaching, etc.)
  • Marketing and promotion (creating new social media campaigns, digital marketing strategies, developing a new website, etc.)
  • Physical store upgrades (signage, painting facade, awnings, new lighting, store renovation for better customer engagement, etc.)
  • Sustainability improvements (rain garden near business location, installing solar panels, investing in improved recyclable packaging, etc.)
  • Utilities (this should not exceed 20% of the requested grant amount, or $2,000)
  • Technology improvements (developing an online ordering system, online storefront, eCommerce portal, etc.)

Please note that payroll expenses are not included under these small business grants offered by American Express.

Tips for Improving Visibility and Attracting Amex Cardholders

Here are some tips and tricks merchants can use to attract more Amex cardholders, who usually generate high ticket sales due to their posh lifestyle and affluence. You can adopt the following tactics to boost your business visibility.

  1. Focus on Customer Retention: Leveraging your existing consumers is always a good idea since it will be more impactful and cost-effective than investing your crucial resources in new ones. To build loyalty, you can engage your existing customer base through social media interactions, newsletters, and robust customer service enhancements. By providing value in every purchase, you are encouraging repeat purchases.

We understand that it’s irresistible to attract new customers and work on fine-tuning your campaigns solely for new potential buyers. However, if you play it tactfully by focusing only on satisfying your existing clients, you can ensure a more lasting business for yourself. Besides, a solid and engaging customer base is one of the most potent resources that enables enterprises to boost future growth.

  1. Highlight Your Business in Amex Directories: Ensure your business is listed in American Express directories and on the Shop Small Map. This will enhance your business visibility among American Express cardholders who are actively seeking out retailers accepting Amex cards.

For instance, American Express has partnered with ByBlack, a dedicated national business directory for Black-owned business owners. The initiative extends Amex’s partnership with the US b]Black Changers, Inc. As a result of this powerful partnership, American Express launched the Shop Small x ByBlack digital marketplace. It is powered by Showfields, and soon, a vibrant pop-up shop featuring BlyBlack-certified merchants was also launched. The program focused on Black-owned businesses that lacked a proper physical retail outlet to connect with their consumers during the holidays.

  1. Switch to OptBlue: OptBlue by American Express is a convenient payment processing option for small businesses that encourages them to accept American Express debit and credit cards. Earlier, businesses had to create a separate merchant account directly with American Express to accept Amex cards. So, they received a separate statement for American Express payments, as they could not integrate Amex with their existing credit card processor.

However, the new OptBlue program is a savior for small businesses that want to accept Amex transactions hassle-free without creating a separate merchant account. However, not all companies will be eligible for the OptBlue program. Businesses that generate $1 million or less annually in American Express payments will be eligible for the OptBlue pricing model.

With the OptBlue program, you can accept and process Amex cards using the same credit card processor you use to accept Visa, Mastercard, and Discover transactions. Besides, the processor will use the same “base” rates for every card payment, so you don’t have to pay hefty fees as merchants usually do with traditional Amex payment processing pricing models.

Therefore, OptBlue by American Express is a more convenient and cost-effective option for small—to medium-sized businesses, who were otherwise reluctant to accept Amex cards due to high processing charges. Furthermore, it’s recommended that every merchant accept Amex cards, as they can serve a wider audience and also increase their chances of generating high-ticket sales.

That’s because Amex cardholders come from a more affluent financial background and usually make high-value purchases. Besides, not accepting Amex cards may impact your brand identity and customer satisfaction. It’s because it would indicate that you are giving more importance to high payment processing charges than customer convenience.

Conclusion

Try implementing these resources and strategies, especially if you are new to business and entrepreneurship. You can leverage American Express marketing tools seamlessly to boost your business’s visibility and growth. To get detailed information on how to access these tools, visit the American Express Shop Small Resource Hub or the marketing and sales section on their website.

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