Updated: Mar 12, 2021
With most businesses hurting around the world, support for local businesses is growing. Everybody is feeling the pain. Some businesses have remained opened in order to survive; others are hoping to re-open as soon as humanly possible. If you are a small business, be aware that large businesses are suffering too and because of the fact that everybody is trying to support neighborhood stores, small vendor, and service providers, big businesses have picked up on that vibe and are actually thinking about building their local online presence right in your neighborhood, right next to you, maybe even competing with you. Some marketers are actually advising big businesses to go even beyond the local, and pitch tribal and personalize their approach to go after individual bargain hunters within your local community. They are focusing on micro segmentation based on trends within local buyers.
It is probably not the best time to promote hard feelings between businesses of different sizes, but the truth is that marketers will do whatever it takes to get their regional or global clients more business in your neighborhood. If you are a small business this may be the time to rebuild your local online presence while you are home waiting to go back out. You have a much better shot at beating the online competition with a big business because you are the local business. You have real customers and clients that know you personally and walk in through your doors. They do not. They are simply trying to show up in your local online searches.
So if you have not already done so, now is the time to get that website up and claim your spot on your local searches. A simple site can be built within a couple of days using Namecheap, Hostgator, or Wix, all .coms. There are other cheaper options too. Do your research. Godaddy is too expensive. Their hosting and website are not that well-priced or user-friendly either, respectively. Plus, over the years they have become sneakier in their selling approach. They try every trick to add products into your cart without you knowing about it.
Google Your Site Location – If It Is Not There, Get That Google Map Pointer
When you are looking for a restaurant or a business, you go on Google Maps. Well, your business should be right there next to the ones that you find with your search. If it is not, add it to Google. Follow their instructions on how to do that and next time someone is searching for a business like yours in your area; you will pop up on Google’s map for people to find you.
Get Help from Yelp and Google My Business For Best Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Most small business owners get a site built just so they have a URL to share with customers, or print it on their business card, or perhaps they can say they are online. It actually serves no purpose if people cannot find your site without knowing about it first. It should bring customers to you that don’t know about you. So make sure your site ranks for local searches, has local content on it, and is directing people from different platforms to your physical location. Nobody talks about Yelp but everybody sees it when looking for a local business. Google My Business keeps contacting new business owners as soon as Google sees you are starting a new online presence. But people keep closing that invitation without giving a second thought.
Your Employees Are An Asset. Offer Them Incentives to Help Build Relationships
In the world of Covid-19 we have learned how vulnerable we all are as people and businesses. We need every relationship, everyone who can help build good relationships. If you depend on foot traffic, chances are you are homebound now. But now is the time to think ahead and find ways in which you can get your employees to help you build good relationships. Give them incentives. Maybe while you are home, call them up to see how they are doing, or have a conversation about their job status.
Get Involved In Your Community
All the big guys are always jumping on the opportunities to get involved in your community, sponsor community outreach, sports events, festivals, etc. Yes, maybe they can afford to do so. But you have more skin in the local game then they do. Make every effort to show up wherever you can. Help your community, be there and be part of the solutions. People will remember it and know who you are. Maybe not every small business will be able to do that but if you do that, you will be ahead of the game. It will pay off in time.
Many small business owners don’t use social media to their advantage. Most think of social media as a hangout places for them or their kids. But they don’t realize while they are on Facebook scrolling through the timeline hours after hours trying to catch up on peoples posts during their free time, other larger brands keep showing them ads to build their businesses. Ads work where people are. Every small business needs to use social medial. You don’t have to run paid apps. Most of us have kids who already spend a lot of time on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Now is the time to get real and start to build your presence on all of these platforms. If you can, get on LinkedIn. It is not just for big corporations or dentists, and real estate agents. Get involved. Get your kids involved. These are fun projects. Most small business owners don’t use social media to promote their business because they don’t have the time. The world after Covid-19 is not going to be the same. We need to think and live differently. Getting our families and friends to help us out in building and maintaining free social media presence could go a long way.