As I write this, we are a week away from Christmas. And while it may feel like the holiday season has already been decided with everyone from the post office to mail-order businesses saying there's no way they can meet Christmas deadlines, now is the time that local small businesses can shine.
You have an advantage at this point over online stores because customers can come in and get a last-minute gift, service, or gift certificate. But you can’t just fling open your doors and let the world in. There are a couple of things you need to be doing to ensure that they feel safe. Still, It's not too late to implement these COVID precautions in your business.
This has certainly been a weird year. As we begin to adjust to our new reality, there are some things you could be doing in your business that may help you out in the post-COVID time. We can’t say it will ever be a return to normal. We’ve lost our innocence in some ways. Preparing for the worst in the past would never have (completely) readied us for this. But hopefully we’ve learned a thing or two to help us with future business.
According to SmallBizTrends.com, “The first set of holiday data and analytics from Adobe reveals online spending is set to increase by 33% in 2020 over 2019.” It’s also likely that this trend will continue as we enter into 2021 and if the pandemic numbers keep increasing. People won’t stop shopping, but they may stop shopping in-person.
Online shopping needn’t be owned by large entities like Amazon or Etsy. Your business can excel in online commerce as well. But first, you need to be top-of-mind. One way to do that is to produce valuable content so that when potential customers are on your website, they are moved to action and purchase from you.
Online Necessities Before the Content
Before you create the content, work on a few things such as:
The last two will help with the content you produce but the content will also help engage your followers and solidify your brand.
Now let’s talk about the content you need to drive online sales.
Content That Drives Online Sales
The content we’re going to suggest creating should be posted on your website, shared on your social media platforms and through sponsored content on Facebook (and any other social media platform that you participate often on), and posted/linked to in your newsletter. Excellent content will do nothing to increase your online sales if people don’t know about it.
The next couple of months will be telling ones. We’re not saying a lockdown is inevitable, but a lot of communities have spent the past week or so escalating their precautionary levels and this article will give you some advice for overcoming slower business times with a potential shelter in place order.
There can be a desperation that you feel on social media. Many businesses are creating content that demands “look at me.” But while some may believe that “shouting” into social media is the way to get attention, it rarely is. Usually, all that accomplishes is someone ignoring you the way a stranger might sidestep a toddler having a tantrum in a grocery store.
Yes, tantrums get attention but not the kind you want in order to get customers to buy from you. Instead, you want a more subtle approach. Here are several ways you can get attention for you and your business that have nothing to do with shouting or demanding it.
What do you do when you get a text notification? If you’re like the average person, you drop everything and look at it. We have been conditioned to believe that texts deserve our immediate attention. Plus, most people don’t receive as much “junk” via text as they do in their email inbox.
This is great news for businesses if you use texting wisely. Before we cover all the amazing ways you can interact with customers on text, you must ensure they know, and agree to, you using their number to send messages and deals. You should never simply ask customers for their phone number as part of a transaction and then spam them with your messaging.
If you ask for their number, be very clear you plan on sending them giveaways and flash discounts (or whatever you will be doing). Give them the option of opting out at the time they give you their number and every time you send a message. Some people will love your flash deals. Others will opt out after a few. Always give them the option.
Most people will agree Google is a large part (dare we say owner?) of the internet, at least from a marketing perspective. That means whether we like it or not we have to try to play nicely with the giant search engine. One of the easiest ways to get on Google's good side is through ensuring Your Google My Business listing is optimized.
While it seems pretty obvious how you can optimize your listing there are still many businesses out there that don't do it. And yet it's so easy to make these quick changes and additions.
Do you have the kind of business that people review? Do people find you through Yelp or would you like them to? If so, just like social media sites such as Facebook, you may get more traction if you decide to run ads.
Yelp did a major overhaul of its ads platform in May of this year and at the end of September it announced another big rollout with some teasers for the future. This article will give you a summary of all the details you need to know in order to figure out if the Yelp ad suite is for you.
Concern over the holiday shopping season is one that's looming large on most business owners’ minds. Will it be a good one? Can it be so good that it makes up for a disappointing spring and summer? If you're concerned about these things, you're not alone. And there are things you can do to make your business sales this holiday season better, even if you don’t have a lot of time.
If you spent any time on the Interwebs a year or so ago, you likely saw/heard the phrase “Okay, Boomer.” It was meant as a derogatory statement and used frequently by members of Gen Y and Gen Z all over Tic Toc and Instagram. It showed a dislike of following in their parents’ or grandparents’ footsteps. The memes and videos made fun of that generation for a lack of understanding and attributed much of what is wrong now with them.
In that light, chamber membership may be a hard sell to Millennials--and when they get old enough to join--Gen Zers. They may naturally see the chamber as an organization that Boomers join, not a place for young people who are taking on the world. But chamber membership makes a lot of sense for these younger generations once they understand the true reason and value behind the chamber.
The following is an article you can share with them to help convey the benefits behind membership.