If you’re keen to support small businesses and would value some ideas about how to do it, you’ve come to the right place. I asked some fellow business owners what help they find most valuable, and this is the list they came up with:
- Use their services Our 6 reasons to support local blog outlines the value of patronising small businesses. With so many compelling reasons to #supportlocal we think it will revolutionise your experience as a consumer, as well as supporting and encouraging the small business.
- Recommend their services Your friend suggests a night out?- suggest an independent restaurant you’ve heard good things about. See a post asking for gift recommendations on Facebook?- tag an independent shop with products you’ve been admiring. Hear a friend is launching a business?- tell them about a great insurance broker you know of!
- Write reviews People trust other people. 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews. In addition, consumer reviews are nearly 12 times more trusted than a business’ own description. This means that the more reviews an organisation has on Facebook, Google, LinkedIn etc, the more trusted and credible it will be. The more trusted and credible an organisation is, the more business it will gain.
- Interact on social media The odds are stacked against small businesses in terms of algorythms- unless a business has lots of interaction, Facebook progressively hides it from view until it’s more or less invisible. If you like something a small business has to say, “like” it! Not only does this encourage the small business team, it also helps to boost the post, make it more visible and increase its reach. It’s also an easy way of endorsing them among their peers. If you think a post is of value, “share” it for others to see. This act has an even greater impact on the number of views a post receives. Are you a member of a Facebook group that would value the information on a small business website or blog?- share it on there! When someone shared a recent blog we wrote on a relevant page, we received nearly 1000 web visits from that act alone!
- Visit their website Thank you for clicking on our blog- you’re now on our website, and Google has noticed! The more people that visit, the more Google respect us. The more they respect us, the higher they place us on the page when people Google a term. For a small business, this is a mammoth battle, and we so value every hit. Clicking on a web site suggests it’s of value. Moving round the site to visit different pages shows it’s of interest. Returning again in the future shows the site is respected and expert. Google is watching, so every click counts.
- Comment on their blog As well as giving great feedback, encouragement and engagement, commenting on blogs in another way of adding credibility to an organisation and impressing the all-seeing eye of Google.
- Bring a friend and introduce them to the owner. This builds an immediate rapport, implying trust and confidence, consolidating a relationship and building a community. (Many thanks to Russell Mills of ChatHeroes for suggesting this addition to our original list of 6.)
Use your magic touch The graphic below shows the average number of ‘touches’ or contacts a business has to make with a consumer in order to make a sale. In summary, it will probably take at least 5. You can really help give a business a head start! After a year in business, we’re really beginning to notice the impact and the value of these touches. When we meet people for the first time, and they say ‘Oh, yes, your name is familiar. I’ve heard about you” it immediately puts us at an advantage.
This is a working document, so please do get in touch if you have other suggestions about how we can better support local businesses. Any questions? Please ask away! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can also read about some outstanding businesses that we like to shout about in our blog.
Now you’ve 7 great ways to support local businesses, who are you going to crow about today?! As Stan Bush likes to sing- “You got the touch…!”
Talbot Jones Risk Solutions is an insurance brokerage specialising in SME and Charity insurance. Please get in touch if you’d value a free insurance review quotation or advice and we’ll be happy to help.