5 Lessons from This Year’s Top Small Businesses
Happy National Small Business Week!
Every year, the United States celebrates a week dedicated to appreciating small businesses. This year, National Small Business Week falls on May 5th – 11th, 2019.
In addition to celebrating all small businesses, the Small Business Association (SBA) recognizes select, outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners from each of the 50 states and U.S. territories. We decided to take a look at the winners of the 2019 Small Business Week Awards and highlight a few of the things they are doing to set themselves up for success.
Here are five lessons we can all take away from this year’s winners:
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1. They can be found online
Each winner this year has a big online presence. Can your business be found online?
By being online, you increase your chances of being found by many more customers. In fact, in 2021, over 2.14 billion people worldwide are going to be shopping online. You want a piece of that pie!
Not only does an online presence provide social proof that you are a reliable business, like with reviews and ratings, but your customers actually expect to be able to find you online, and may go to a competitor if they can’t.
In 2019, building a website is easier than it’s ever been. You don’t need to have extensive technical skills, and there are tons of inexpensive options. Almost anyone can get a basic website up and running in about thirty minutes.
Check out the website from one of this year’s winners, Fireside Partners.
2. Their social game is on point
This year’s winners understand the importance of social media marketing. “Word-of-mouth” in 2019 happens online, more likely to be communicated via a keyboard and social media than from someone’s actual mouth.
By building up a strong social presence, you can keep in touch with customers, share your business story, create a platform to spread your brand awareness, target new customers, and be a part of the conversation around your specific expertise.
Check out the Instagram from one of this year’s winners, Mills Group, LLC.
3. They use email marketing
If social media is the party, then email marketing is the invitation to the party! Another best practice this year’s winners are applying to their marketing strategy is email marketing automation.
One of the top benefits of email marketing is that it makes money. In fact, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38. Other benefits include helping to build prospect and customer relationships over time, and allowing your business to stay top-of-mind even when your customers aren’t shopping.
When adding automation to your email marketing, for example, by creating an automated series of emails to welcome new subscribers, your emails become more timely, relevant, and personalized. Plus, the average open rate for automated welcome emails is a whopping 50 percent.
Wondering how you can get started applying email marketing to your business? Check out this article for some ways to get new and repeat business with email automation.
4. They monitor their reviews and ratings
Considering nearly 95 percent of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase, it’s no wonder that monitoring those reviews is practiced by the top small businesses in 2019.
This year’s winners understand the importance of responding to reviews in a timely and positive manner. The truth is, the person you are responding to is not the only one who will see that response. You want the other visitors to your review sites to know that you care about answering questions and concerns from your customers, and that you do it in a professional way.
Make sure your business has a response strategy, regularly checks ratings and review sites, and thanks consumers for positive reviews and word-of-mouth promotion.
See how one of this year’s winners, Tucker’s NH, manages their online reviews.
5. They know how to bring it all together
Equally as important as knowing how to apply small business marketing tactics to your business strategy would be understanding how they all work together.
Try measuring your results from your website, social media marketing, email marketing, and review sites to see what is working and where. Cross-promote content through these different channels and note the kind of response you are getting from your audience. Set goals for each marketing tactic and for your marketing strategy as a whole.
By tying your marketing efforts together, and measuring the results, you will gain full visibility into understanding your customers, enabling you to market to them even better.
For example, PIP Printing, another one of this year’s winners, uses their website to tie to their social posts, their social posts are boosted/sponsored, and their website ties to their reviews and ratings. They also have an email sign-up form on their website where people can subscribe to gain weekly insight into the evolving world of Marketing.
Congratulations to all the 2019 SBA Award winners!
We would like to congratulate all the businesses that will be recognized as winners for their efforts and accomplishments during National Small Business Week. We are proud to say that a group of these winners are Constant Contact customers! As a dedicated partner of small businesses for over 20 years, Constant Contact provides products and services to support ALL small businesses and makes sure they have the resources they need to succeed.
For more information on how you can start applying these lessons to your small business, register for our upcoming Small Business Week webinar on May 8th: Making Sense of Online Marketing — A Simple Checklist for Success