Small businesses are vital cogs in the economy. When taking a stroll down a typical Main Street in the United States and Canada, shoppers are likely to pass an array of eateries and shops offering everything from handcrafted furnishings and ornaments to floral arrangements and more. These small, privately owned businesses help make communities unique and desirable places to live.
The impact small businesses have on their communities was perhaps never more apparent than during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many business owners were forced to close their doors or limit their hours of operation in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. When small businesses struggle, the ripple effects are considerable and include higher rates of unemployment and less tax revenue for communities. A 2019 report from the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration found that small businesses accounted for 44 percent of economic activity in the United States. That figure underscores the important role these businesses play.
Supporting locally owned businesses is a great way to accelerate the post-pandemic economic recovery. As important as community support is to the survival of a small business, the people who own those businesses must make a concerted effort to connect with consumers and inspire that support. Technology can help business owners do that in a variety of ways.
• Pay attention to mobile rankings. The SEO solutions experts at SEMrush report that roughly 72 percent of domains change rankings by one place on mobile compared to desktop, while 52 percent change by three places. That’s a significant dropoff as more and more consumers utilize mobile search engines when shopping. The popularity of mobile searching is something small business owners should take seriously and strongly consider when devising their optimization strategies.
• Strengthen your social media presence. A 2020 study from the social media marketing firm Sprout Social found that nine in 10 consumers will buy products from a brand they follow on social media. Small businesses can use that to their advantage by strengthening their social media presence, devoting some time each day to promote their offerings. Businesses also can encourage in-store customers to follow them on social media.
• Prioritize customer service. Interactions with a real person will likely always remain consumers’ preference when they have questions or concerns about products and services. But that doesn’t mean small business owners cannot still expand their customer service offerings to include customer relationship management software (CRM) and chatbots, both of which can improve customer relations.
Small businesses are ingrained in their communities, and can utilize various technologies to become even more so in the years ahead.