It’s no secret that most small businesses were hit pretty hard by COVID. Over 40% of businesses had to close temporarily, and 39% had to reduce their employees. Understandably, there has been a significant emphasis on supporting small businesses over the past year.
We all want to find ways to support our favorite small businesses, but what if you’re focused on paying down debt? Or what if you’ve gone through financial difficulties over the past year as well? If so, no worries — let’s look at six ways you can support small businesses without spending a penny.
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1. Give a word-of-mouth referral
Did you have a great experience with a local small business? Why not share that experience with your family and friends? Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective advertising strategies for businesses of all sizes.
It turns out, about 92% of customers prefer to purchase from a business that got recommended to them by someone they know. So if one of your friends is looking for a company to paint her home interior and you know of a great local painting company, why not make a recommendation?
The benefit of word-of-mouth referrals is that everyone wins in this situation. The company benefits from receiving new business, and your friends and family benefit by finding a solution to their needs.
2. Leave a positive review
You can also help small businesses by leaving them a positive review on Google, Yelp, or Facebook. Positive reviews are incredibly powerful because 93% of customers will read online reviews before making a purchase.
Reviews are a form of social proof and can help companies drive more sales in the future. They do this by assisting the companies in building trust with potential customers.
Reviews also make businesses more visible in search results. For instance, leaving a positive Google review can help that business improve its local SEO so they can drive more sales without spending more money.
3. Follow them on social media
Social media makes it easy to engage with the businesses you love. One of the best ways to support a small business is by following them on your favorite social media channel.
When you like or follow their page, you’ll stay up-to-date with any recent news about the company. So you’ll know and can share any information about events or promotions they have going on.
Following a business’s social media page doesn’t have the same obvious ROI that referrals or reviews have. But it’s a great way to show that you have a personal interest in that company and that you support their business.
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4. Share a post with your followers
Once you’re following a business on social media, you’ll see any new posts they share with their followers. One way you can help spread the word is by occasionally re-sharing their posts with your own followers.
This helps that company spread the word about their business to a new group of people who may not have heard of them. Social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter make it easy to re-share posts with your followers.
Or, if you recently had a positive experience using that company’s product or service, you can take a photo and share it with your followers. If you tag the business’s location, other people will easily be able to find and visit it themselves.
5. Subscribe to their newsletter
Most businesses have some sort of weekly newsletter you can subscribe to, and they are often full of helpful resources and information. If there’s a company you like, why not sign up for their email list so you can stay informed about what’s going on with that company?
This is an excellent way to show your support, and it can be helpful for you as well. You may not plan to make a purchase right now, but they could be offering a great promotion that you want to take advantage of in the future. By signing up for their email list, you’ll know about upcoming events and sales.
6. Send them a word of encouragement
And finally, you can send that company a word of encouragement, either by emailing them or leaving a positive comment on one of their social media channels. Being a business owner can get lonely, and it’s gratifying to know that you have happy customers who support what you’re doing in the world.
If you see that a business you like is soliciting feedback in a survey, you can help them out by taking a few minutes to offer your opinion. This allows you to let that company know what you appreciate about their product or service.
The bottom line
The past year has been challenging for many small businesses, and we all want to find a way to show our support. However, you may not be in a place where you can show your support financially, and that’s okay.
Hopefully, this blog post has shown you that you can support a local small business without spending any money at all. By engaging with them on social media, leaving a positive review, or recommending them to a friend or family member, you’ll do your part to support the small businesses you love.
How have you focused on supporting small businesses over the past year? Let me know in the comments!