Holiday gifts hold more meaning and value when you shop local and support small businesses. Every dollar you spend at a local spot filters back into the community by creating jobs, boosting the area’s economy and supporting the region’s talent.
Where we spend our money matters to the community, and there are so many ways to buy local. Grab a coffee at the independent café. Stop for a sandwich at the corner deli. Peruse local boutiques for something to wear to a holiday party. Find interesting gifts at shops run by people who live in the community. Dine out at a neighborhood restaurant.
Small businesses are a thriving, growing sector in our economy. They improve our neighborhoods and change our lives for the better. Here are seven reasons to shop local this holiday season.
Feed the local economy. When you shop local, the dollars spent at small businesses filter directly back into the community. The food, drinks, supplies, clothing, gifts and more you buy are taxed—and that tax income is confined to the area. Tax dollars support improvements in infrastructure, schools, parks, safety and more. So that gift you buy at your local shop is one powerful way to make important positive changes in your neighborhood. And every dollar counts.
Support our ‘makers.’ Entrepreneurs have a dream, and you’re supporting it by shopping at their places of business. The creative seamstress who opened a clothing shop—the home baker who went out on a limb and started a patisserie: These brave, hard-working individuals are making their dreams reality. Let’s patronize their businesses so they can thrive. Shop local, support our makers and their dreams. (After all, they’re supporting our communities.)
Find unique gifts for hard-to-shop-for relatives. You never know what to buy for your uncle. Your sister’s closet is already full of clothes you see at typical retailers. Let’s face it, some relatives are very difficult to shop for. Small businesses offer items you won’t find in the Big Boxes or run-of-the-mill national retailers. Some shops feature hand-crafted items or one-of-a-kinds. Isn’t it fun when you find a special gift that elicits an enthusiastic “Where did you get that?!” Explore area shops and wrap up something different this year.
Local shops create local jobs. Local businesses hire area talent. They need staff to keep their doors open. They need workers with an array of skills. Small business owners hire people from our own neighborhoods, people like us. When we keep local shops in business, we secure local jobs, which means improving the regional economy and boosting the community’s tax base. The goodness goes round and round.
Boost real estate values. You know that abandoned storefront? Remember that tired, old building? When local shops take up residence in our neighborhoods, they not only improve infrastructure by creating unique, interesting places to visit—they attract the visitors. More people shop, spend, enjoy and return for more fun. Everyone in the community benefits when local shops are successful.
Support local causes. Small businesses are tireless community champions. They sponsor our Little League teams and support school fundraisers. They volunteer time and talent to community causes. They pay taxes that improve the schools and local services. Our small businesses are true friends and thoughtful citizens, and they’re constantly giving back to our cities. By patronizing their shops, we help them continue to thrive so they can continue being good stewards.
Get to know the locals. Shopping is more personal when you get to know the owner. By frequenting local businesses, we build relationships with interesting people who are serving our communities by providing places to eat, drink, dine, shop and buy goods of all kinds.
Original article here.
As a small business, it’s important to choose a marketing channel that offers the best results with the most prudent resources. Nowadays, more small businesses prefer social media marketing to other marketing channels, to help increase their brand’s reach, increase sales, and expand their professional network.
In order to know how social media can help promote your business while saving you valuable time and resources, we’ve compiled six tips on social media marketing for small businesses.
Before major social media networks made the foray into e-commerce, the selling relationship for businesses looked like this: listen, help solve problems, and make the sale. With the rise of social selling, the opportunity to connect with potential customers during the research phase got much easier with social media engagement tactics.
With 72% of people more likely to make a future purchase from a small business after they interact with them on Twitter, there’s no reason for companies not to be on Twitter. The key to finding success on social media is to be on the social network your customers are on—and with over 200 million active users, there’s a high chance many of your customers are on Twitter. Twitter can help your business build relationships with customers, and connect you with the businesses and communities you are interested in.
Social media advertising has made it possible for companies to increase their reach through targeted ads and sponsored messaging. Social media marketing provides businesses with an opportunity to reach customers across the world—as opposed to a more traditional advertising medium such as a billboard, which is only visible to people on a particular route in a single city.
One of the most important social networks, where all businesses, big or small, should have a presence, is LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows businesses to provide authenticity and credibility of their brand through a business page that houses information covering the bases of who, what, and where of your business. It also allows small businesses to be in a space where professionals, potential investors, and customers are.
Providing customer support can be expensive and time-consuming. But, with social media networks like Facebook, you are provided with an outlet to effectively solve customer problems. With the availability to post on your Facebook wall or send private messages, customers can connect directly to companies if and when they have a problem or feedback.
Trust is an important element in obtaining customer loyalty, and one of the best ways to gain this trust is giving people easy online access to information about your company. Neglecting your social media presence is one way of losing the opportunity to gain new customers or nurture current relationships. Gain the trust of your current and potential customers by creating social media profiles like a LinkedIn company page, Facebook business Page, Twitter profile, or an Instagram account. This puts a voice (and a face) to your company, which will give people more incentive to trust your brand.
Original article posted here.
In today’s digitally charged consumer market, the best marketers are your consumers. Many new customers are driven to businesses through word-of-mouth (WOM) reviews, and many loyal customers choose to abandon or stick with a company based on continued experiences. With social media and consumer review sites everywhere, it is vital that customers are happy with your goods or services.
This applies to audiences new and old. Companies often focus their marketing efforts entirely on gaining a new customer base. While this is obviously essential to growing a business, it also essential not to overlook those customers who have been on the bandwagon for a while. Pleasing both groups and maintaining positive relationships with customers is the most effective marketing tool you can have.
Financial and resource constraints also make it difficult for many small businesses to push out big marketing campaigns. This is yet another reason why building a loyal following and maintaing positive word-of-mouth reviews is crucial. It is a cost-effective way to get new faces in the door and new clicks on your website.
But how do you make sure that your word-of-mouth reviews will help and not hurt your business? It’s easy. Allow the customers into the company, and make them feel valued. This can be done by:
A 2013 study by Nielsen found that 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family more than all other forms of marketing. However, the study also found that 72% of marketers are still not harnessing the power of customer referrals (Lowitz, view source: http://blog.getambassador.com/6-amazing-stats-that-prove-word-of-mouth-marketing-is-here-to-stay/). For small businesses with limited marketing budgets, focusing power on social media and customer loyalty is a sure way to make the most of WOM and bring more success to your business.
These are simple ways to begin and maintain a good relationship with new customers. Building a loyal base will be vital to the future of your business. Once people start talking about your wonderful customer service and personal touch, more will come.
The cold weather may be slowing your business down a bit. People want to stay indoors instead of braving the arctic temperatures and heavy snowfall. If you are blessed with warmer climates you may just be looking for something new to do with your business. One way to get away from the same ol’ humdrum is to host an event!
You may be thinking “Why would I want to host an event?” well, here’s two realy good reasons why:
Hosting an event can help you gain exposure especially on a local level. People are more likely to remember your business if you host a great event. Also, having an event allows you to market your business and your products without over selling.
It’s one thing to reach out to your customers on social media like Facebook and Twitter, but what really makes the customer engagement is face to face interaction. Events are a great way to get to know your customers and build more personal relationships.
Consumers are more selective these days. They have a lot of ways to avoid advertisements and it’s important to come up with creative solutions. These events are marketing your audience directly, which can be more effective than radio, television, or print adds. Rather than pushing your products or services our them, they are coming to you.
While hosting these events, you can get your customers to experience products or services that you offer. This allows you to establish connections that build customer loyalty.
To ensure that your event runs smoothly, it’s important to make sure you have everything organized. Here are some tips to follow:
Set up your event with Save Local Now. Save Local Now’s event publishing makes it easy to send your event to your consumers.
1. Get an Oragnized Registration in Place:
Make sure you have a fun yet informative description and take advantage of the custom button. If you have a registration online, have that button go directly to that page or to your event page on Facebook where people can RSVP.
2. Tell Everyone About It:
Once you create your event you can push it out to all your social media outlets as well as send it out through email marketing. You’ll also be on the website and the app! Make sure you track your impressions to see who you are reaching.
3. Take Lots of Pictures and Videos:
Do a countdown or a behind the scenes of setting up the event to build excitement. During the event, capture are much as you can of the experience. Post these pictures or videos to social media. Let those who didn’t come see what they missed! Those who attended will have a great time going through your posts.
Whatever type of business you may be, building personal relationships with your customers is important. Social media is one thing, but face to face will always be the best way to reach your customers. Save Local Now makes it easy to get your started. So put yourself out there by bringing your customers in!
Now that the big consumer holidays are over you may be having some trouble deciding what to offer your customers. Have no fear, we’ve got some great tips on how to build a campaign strategy to get you through the year.
Seasonal campaigns drive consumer buying patterns. Developing a marketing strategy early in the year will make you prepared and allow you to develop meaningful, creative campaigns that can help drive revenue even during some of the slower months. Take a look at a calender and make a list of special holidays or events that are happening each month. The goal is to make sure your deals and events are relevant to what’s going on in the world so they create a universal connection to all your consumers. Here are a few tips to help you achieve success in your seasonal campaigns:
1. Encourage in store visits
It may be obvious but encouraging people to physically come into your store can develop a better, more personal experience for the customer than just focusing on online sales.
2. Choose Wisely
Check out your records and select the months or occasions where your customers are most likely to shop. Then cater your deals and events so that they relate to your business. For example, if you are a clothing store, do a special Valentines Deal on everything red or pink just for that day. Choosing wisely will make your deals thoughtful and relevant.
3. Get Personal
It’s not always about the sale. Sometimes your customers just want to know that you’re genuine and not a faceless corporation. Use social media to show your support for certain charities and fundraisers or to comment on current events. Show your support for national events like the Winter Olympics or the Super Bowl. It’s fun and it shows a personality that your customers will appreciate.
4. Sharing is Caring
Get your customers to share your deals and events on social media and make sure you share everything on your end too. Save Local Now gives you and your customers social media buttons on everything to make this easy and convenient, so take advantage of them!
5. Plan Ahead
Timing and planning is everything when it comes to developing your marketing strategy. Make sure you give your customers plenty of notice about upcoming sales. If you have some spare time, you can plan all your campaigns ahead of time on Save Local Now and publish them later.
Make sure you are monitoring the results of your campaigns. Identify the things that were successful as well as the promotions that may need to be improved. Save Local Now conveniently provides all the statistics on your campaigns you need to help you review and reorganize.
Planning out your marketing strategy may take some time but if done right, it will bring in more revenue. If you make the time now to schedule your deals and events, then it will save you time when you need it the most. Save Local Now provides everything you need to create a profitable and meaningful marketing strategy for your business.