Last week, we asked on our Facebook Page what you would give to a small business this holiday season, and we were overwhelmed by the response.
A lot of the answers resonated with us, so we wanted to take the time to share them here on our blog.
There are a lot of things on the small businesses wish list this year. Some items, like revised tax codes and health insurance, are out of our control. But others are not. At least not entirely.
So we took four of the most popular gift ideas and tried our best to suggest small ways that we can help make these wishes come true.
If you could give a gift to small businesses this holiday season, it would be…
– Kathleen Witham Fleming
Online marketing has become a big focus for small businesses lately. In our Fall 2011 Attitudes and Outlook Survey, we learned that 98% of small businesses use a website, 95% use email marketing, and 68% use online advertising.
We know that marketing can be tough when you have no time to learn, but there are some steps you can take that can help. Try watching one of our webinars, or try a more hands-on approach by taking a boot camp course. Interested in a more holistic approach that covers everything from social media to event marketing? We’ve got local experts in regions across the United States and Canada who teach free seminars about online marketing.
2. Customers Who Shop Local
– Glenna Johannessen
Small businesses know that getting customers to shop locally is all about providing an experience that lasts. But how do you advertise that experience to people who don’t pass by the store every day? Word-of-mouth has always been the most powerful tool in the small biz arsenal, and that means that loyal customers are the best source of new customers.
The good news, as demonstrated by the recent Small Business Saturday, is that people want to shop local. Now you just have to get them to your business. Just taking the time to make a Facebook Page or sending out an email newsletter once can do wonders in reaching out to both current and prospective customer with news and special offers. If you use both, don’t forget to post the newsletter to your Facebook Page, which can make it easier to keep the page fresh and engaging.
– Annette Basso
Establishing a strong professional network is a key to growing business, but what if you don’t have time to hit the road for every industry conference in every state? Well, social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter have proven to be strong resources for B2B organizations: 91% of B2B marketers use Twitter to connect to industry peers, and LinkedIn is said to be the best social media site for leads.
LinkedIn and Twitter aren’t the only places to network with your peers. Constant Contact’s own Community is also a place where you can connect with other small businesses, compare notes, ask questions and get answers, have your email messages critiqued by other people just like you.
4. Social Media Training
– Vena Hinchman Holden
Our Fall 2011 Attitudes & Outlook Survey also found that 81% of small businesses now use social media, up from 73% this spring. But that doesn’t mean every shop has started to actively tweet and post every day. Social media is still a new frontier for businesses, and can seem like just another item on an already crowded plate.
So how do you help with social media training when no one has time to spare? Well, we recommend Social Media Quickstarter, our guide on how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, QR codes, and much more. We also have webinars that will teach you how to grow with social media, and plenty of other resources as well.
How else can small businesses get help with these “big-ticket” items? Let us know in the comments section below.