Hey small business owners! You need to promote your local business! Your customers want you. They need you. And you are playing hard to get.
Shopping Local is Cool.
I’m not sure whether it was American Express’ Small Business Saturday movement or a shift away from the homogenizing growth of corporate big box stores. Whatever the cause, it’s a good thing for small business.
But many small business owners simply aren’t structured to take advantage of this trend. About 40% of businesses STILL don’t have a website!
Even those businesses that have a website and a social media presence are NOT using those digital assets to make it easy for those consumers who want to buy local to do so.
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has exacerbated this problem as small business customers couldn’t visit or buy from businesses in person. While many local businesses have come up with creative solutions, still more feel overwhelmed and stuck.
So let’s look at some data that might inspire you. The next few charts come from a recent survey by Red Egg Marketing. They surveyed 1,653 Americans over the age of 18. The participant gender breakdown was 59.18% female and 40.82% male. Of the respondents, 7.38% were a part of Generation Z, 33.84% were Millennials, 35.29% were a part of Generation X, 21.73% were Baby Boomers. ‘
The generational breakdown of their respondents is important so that you can see that the results I’m sharing below are overwhelmingly consistent across several purchasing generations.
Your Consumers are Committed to Buying From You
This recent study from Red Egg Marketing shows the overwhelming preference consumers have for local businesses. It’s not even close! It seems that your customers are struggling with how to buy from you as much as you’re struggling with how to reach them.
Go Ahead and Raise Those Prices if You Have To
For some reason, local businesses still feel like their customers are more price-sensitive than they are. This simply isn’t true.
Your customers are eager to buy from you, and buy often. And it isn’t because of the price!
Your customers are buying from you because they know-like-and-trust you. They want to buy local — because they want to buy local. They also value the quality of your products more than you think they do.
What are you waiting for?
How to Promote Local Business
I know, it can be scary to invest in marketing when there is so much uncertainty. But I hope that the data I’ve shared here will inspire and motivate you to invest in some online marketing improvements that will help you reach those customers that want to do business with you.
- Update Your Google Listing: Your customers are using Google to see whether or not they can visit your business, when they can come and what they should do when they get there. Update your Google listing every week at the very least. This pandemic is changing schedules on a daily basis. And the first place your customers go to is Google. Keep your hours updated, write in any information on what customers can expect and how you want them to buy from you.
- Add an online purchasing option and page to your website: If you’re a restaurant that hasn’t taken online pick-up orders before — PLEASE add an online ordering option to your website. If you’re using a site like Wix or SquareSpace, reach out to your customer support people and get help. If you’re using a WordPress site, head over the UpWork and hire someone to update this for you.
- Use email marketing to talk to your customers. Send regular (daily or weekly emails) to your customers and simply TELL them what you want them to buy. If you don’t have a customer email list, take this time to create one. You can offer a contest or a promotion that gives customers discounts for sharing their email with you.
- Use social media — especially Facebook. Maybe you have a Facebook page but you haven’t been using it. Now is the time. Use your personal account to promote your local business and drive people to your business page. Many communities have also created pages for local businesses – join those.
- Create a VIP customer membership offer: This is one of my favorite ideas. Create a subscription program for your loyal customers. For a small monthly fee, offer them special discounts and access to special products and services. This will generate two streams of income; the monthly payment for the membership AND additional spending on products and services.
Your Local Customers Love You — So Love Them Back
Just because times get tough, look at this as an opportunity to try new things.
All of the marketing ideas I’ve mentioned here are virtually free and will do wonders to promote your local business to a customer base that is just looking for more reasons to give you money.
Don’t wait and let this opportunity pass you buy.