Ten actions we can take to support small businesses without breaking our bank
Today, more than ever before, small businesses need our help. 2020 played havoc with so many industries and the livelyhood of many entrepreneurs. It is time we help them, support them and give them the much-deserved recognition. There are ten actions we can take to support small businesses without breaking our bank. In this article, we are going to spell it out!
Did you know that advertising is one of the highest expense line items on a business’s profit and loss statement? Right behind salaries and taxes, advertising and marketing are our highest expenses. “You have to spend money to make money, right?”
Whether a company chooses print ads, like newspapers or billboards, or face-to-face advertising like conferences and networking events, advertising expenses are eating into our bottom line. We advertise for the future hope of making a sale. Sometimes our endeavors work, and sometimes they fail.
How much do you spend on advertising and marketing?
These days, advertisements litter our blog feeds, social media, and email. Marketers are paying premium prices to place ads where consumers will see them and hopefully purchase their offerings. Make the sale, offset the cost of the advertisement and increase the bottom line. It is a vicious cycle.
For instance: Before COVID-19 and the shutdown, most of our marketing was face to face at tradeshows and conferences. The average cost for each show was around $5000, and we exhibited at five different shows throughout the US. Our advertising budget between booth space, travel expenses, and collateral promo materials averaged around $25,000 a year. That is a lot of money.
However, the good news is we only needed to land one contract to consider our efforts successful. Most times, we would book 2 or 3 or more clients from that show. Booking a client was essential to offset the expense. Sometimes the conference did not work out for us, creating a significant loss for the endeavor.
But this is basic economics, and we don’t need to belabor the point. We want to talk about the power of the referral and give you ten actions to support small businesses without breaking our bank. These are simple steps to help our friends, family, and fellow entrepreneurs increase their exposure and, hopefully, their bottom line.
Social media outlets, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube, are vast advertising and marketing platforms. Their exposure can also be quite costly and even ineffective if not used efficiently. All of these channels have algorithms that determine the direction your posts take and who they are shown to. Simply put, your posts have to meet specific criteria so that your potential client will see them. There is a hitch, though, and it is this: These platforms change their algorithms all the time, so we never really know what to do and how to do it.
What we can be sure of is, the power of a referral is still king. Telling your friends, family, and circle of influence is the number 1 most cost-effective and straightforward way to share your favorite business and help them succeed.
Here are ten ways to support small businesses without breaking our bank:
- Follow your favorite small business’s on Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat…wherever they are…follow them.
- Like and Love their posts.
- Make a positive comment on their posts, even if it is an emoji. Algorithms LOVE comments.
- Share their posts on your feed. Make a statement that says something like, “We had linguini and clams at Momma Sofia’s last night…OMG, it was amazing. You should try it!”.
- Tag a friend that might be interested in their products or services.
- Post photos of their products, services and TAG them in the posts.
- Tell your friends about them. Carry their business cards with you and give them out (where applicable).
- Write a positive review. Studies show that online reviews hold as much value as a close friend’s recommendation.
- Sign up for their newsletters.
- Send a message to them telling them what you like about their services and their products.
The Power of a Personal Referral
The power of a personal referral is overall the most important and effective advertisement. In fact, some of our long-term clients originated from a simple referral. Either a friend or colleague mentioned our company to a prospective client, and bam, a contract. This simple gesture increased our revenue exponentially and did not cost the person referring us any money and it saved us a lot of money in advertising and marketing costs. Referrals have so much power!
While we might not think that our influence is that great, I can assure you it is. You know people that we don’t know and when you say, “I trust this company,” people listen. Just as consumers buy products endorsed by celebrities, we can support our friends with businesses.
As we wind this article down, we want to challenge you. Robb and I are stepping up to take our social media time to the next level. Each day, we will intentionally share, comment, like, and shout out to many of our colleagues and business associates. Will you?
And while you are hanging sharing and liking, would you give us a follow, like, and share?
Here are our links!
Let’s do this together and help give small business the lift it deserves!
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Travel Safe and Adventure Often,
Maureen & Robb, aka The Stromads