In 2010, American Express championed a movement designed to help local economies survive the recession: Small Business Saturday. In today’s economy, it is once again important to maximize the effects of shopping and spending at local small businesses.
On top of everything else we’ve faced the past couple years, some of the large mega-stores have started moving up their holiday shopping campaigns even more in recent years, putting us in the thick of it even before Halloween. In 2018, Amazon had over $471 million in sales in South Dakota — a number that also meant over 2,250 lost jobs and 156 closed businesses across the state that year.
There are many benefits to shopping locally. Estimates show that if every US family spent just $10 extra at small businesses each month instead of at a national chain, over $9.3 billion would be returned to local economies. That’s no small number for what is seemingly a small act — but how do you ensure your business encourages local shoppers to pick you over the national competition?
Small Business To-Do List
First thing’s first; make sure your digital housekeeping is in order. Every business should have an online presence, especially when the majority of Americans use the internet to fulfill their shopping needs. These are low-hanging fruit — if you do nothing else for your business, do this:
- Claim your business on Google Business. This takes only a couple minutes, and lets you ensure your listing on Google is accurate. Claiming your business also allows it to show up at the top of a search results page, since Google knows you’re active and legitimate.
- Make sure your hours and contact information are up to date. Don’t lose customers because they can’t access you! This is on your website, your Facebook — ANY form of media that you’re active on.
- Publicize any Small Business Saturday deals or offers you have early and often. The holiday was specifically created to support small businesses — make sure you’re getting your name out there!
Now that you’ve cleaned up your online footprint, you can focus more on driving traffic to your business. Here are a couple things to keep in mind to edge out the competition:
- Request reviews! Studies show that over half of us check reviews before buying almost anything — but most will only take the time to leave a review when we have a truly awful experience. How do you flip the script? Encourage customers to leave you reviews via your social media, both good and bad.
- Be an active participant in the reviews you do receive. If they’re positive, say thank you! Saying thanks makes users feel valued — even if they weren’t the one that left the review. Likewise, if you receive bad reviews, a thoughtful reply and offer to rectify may bring that particular person back, but also show potential customers that you are invested in their happiness.
- Local delivery; if you offer it, explain how much it costs and what your turnaround time is. Offer to drop items off at your customers’ homes or businesses if you have the ability to do so. Two-day shipping is great, but you can do better!
- Take a stand — what local organization or cause means a lot to you? Highlight it, offer to donate to it, create a sense of community with, well, your community. Research shows that local businesses contribute over 250% more to local charities and organizations — a huge advantage you have over the national chains.
How Evergreen Media can Assist Your Business
Just getting started, but want to dive in? Here are a few resources to get you pointed in the right direction: figure out what social media platform best suits you, how to set up your own Google analytics to figure out what your customers want, and how to build your brand to be the best it can be.
If you want a more hands-on approach, we would love to help! We’re here for you, and our top priority is to make you feel like you’re part of our team. Here are a few ways we can work together to make sure you’re prepared for Small Business Saturday — and the entire holiday shopping season:
- Online shopping is huge However, up to 80% of items are abandoned in online carts before they’re bought! Let us help you seal the deal with a customized website that makes shopping with you a breeze.
- Targeted social media campaigns are the perfect way to advertise your sales and specials, but also a great way to connect you to your community. We can help you work out a social campaign and teach you how to run it to your advantage.
- Let us help you expand your footprint with new content — whether it be written, graphic, or video, our creative team is ready to make you stand out.
Feel like you’re in way over your head and you aren’t sure where to start? Contact us! We are happy to do a free business audit for you and recommend next steps.
No matter what you decide, we want to see our fellow small businesses succeed. Here at Evergreen Media, we are your neighbors who live, work, and shop in the Black Hills. We are invested in you and what you bring to our community.