18 May 2021

Small business owners spotlight

Marketing tips to grow your business and ways to support your favorite business

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Every May, we recognize Small Business Month and this year, we want to congratulate every entrepreneur who found ways to stay afloat during this extremely difficult time. As of September 5, 2020, total small business revenue in the U.S. decreased by 25.9% compared to January 2020, and the number of small businesses open as of April 2021 decreased by 33%, according to EconomicTracker – a joint project of Harvard and Brown Universities and the Gates Foundation.  The impact has been dramatic but as restrictions start to lift and government assistance attempts to put businesses back on track there is some newfound hope ahead.

As small business owners try to work their way through the pandemic haze and look for new ways to build their businesses back, we thought we would share a few marketing tips to help put you on the right track.

Five digital marketing tips every small business owner needs:

  1. Branding that defines your business. By The Way bakery doesn’t use flashy colors, just simple browns to match their identity as an old-fashioned bakery, right down to their packaging. Keeping your brand identity authentic to who you are and what you offer customers is critical.  You want to create a brand that your customers will connect to and remember.
  2. Leverage social media to bring customers back to your business. If you are getting ready to open back up, consider a count down on your social media channels.  Prior to your reopening share photos and stories about your team, or changes you made to your business during shutdown. On the big day what about going live on Facebook or Instagram so people online can share the excitement of those in your establishment. Familia did a great job of launching their restaurant concept within Anchorage Brewing Company during the pandemic thanks to Instagram and Facebook.
  3. Don’t let your website be an afterthought. A distinctive website to appeal to your audience such as Zee.dog with a sleek design with smart copywriting, helps them appeal to those looking for stylish pet products that connect people and their pets.
  4. Offer a promotion or giveaway such as Soundstripe that provides 3 song downloads for free for those needing royalty free music clips to use in videos or other projects. With the financial burdens of COVID-19 your promotions don’t need to be elaborate. A free sample, hour of consulting, or limited download to the first 5 customers can help you get back on customers’ radar. You might even want to consider a loyalty program for customers who helped you get through the past year.  It can be designed around future offers and rewards, that don’t impact the bottom-line today.
  5. Consider hosting a live private event for customers and others who helped you during pandemic. It could be a great opportunity to not only reinforce your connection with your community but also test out a new recipe or product you came up with during the pandemic.  Consider offering up in store or restaurant only products to help coax customers back. Take a page from some of the big retail brands like Stella McCartney and create a pop-up experience. By partnering with other local business owners, you can create jewelry showcases, art installations, or wine bars in your retail space that helps customers reconnect with the community.

While small business owners are doing everything, they can to ramp things back up, consumers also need to step up and shop small and local to protect the livelihood of their own neighborhoods.

The mayor of San Francisco recently announced a Small Business 30-Day Challenge asking the public to sign-up and commit to shop and dine at only small businesses for 30 days. It’s a great way to build awareness and assist local merchants who have suffered the most from the pandemic. Though it may be a challenge to entice folks who now enjoy the convenience of shopping online at Amazon, Costco, Walmart, and other large corporate retailers that thrived during the pandemic, we’re hopeful they will see the benefit of their investment as it brings jobs and life back to the city’s neighborhoods.

Ways to support your favorite local small businesses:

  1. Take the 30-Day Challenge to shop small and local in your neighborhood
  2. Recognize and support their efforts to provide a Covid-19 safe environment and/or sustainable practices
  3. Sign up for their newsletter
  4. Write a favorable online review
  5. Share photos on your social media accounts of your favorite restaurant dishes, local products, new haircut etc.
  6. Repost, like, and share social media content from your favorite businesses
  7. Tell friends, families, and co-workers
  8. Buy gift cards now to give out to family and friends later in the year to use when businesses are back on their feet

It takes a village, and in some cases a city, so let’s all do our part and shop small and local, so our communities come back healthier, greener, and stronger than ever.

Categories: InspirationMarketing
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