By now you’ve most likely heard that May is Small Business Month. Yes, it seems like there’s a month for everything, but Small Business Month offers real value, unlike Moustache Month or Zombie Awareness Month. That’s because it gives you a great opportunity to build your small business.
What is Small Business Month?
The purpose of Small Business Month is to recognize the important economic contributions small businesses bring to our communities and to support small businesses in a manner that helps them thrive.
Why Your Small Business Matters
Consider the role your business plays in the community. The people you hire, the local vendors you use, the Little League team you sponsor, and the customers who depend on you—small businesses support their communities in many important ways.
How Can Small Business Month Help Your Business?
Most customers like the idea of supporting local businesses. Starting this month, you can begin making them aware of the benefits of buying locally so they prioritize supporting small businesses like yours.
Here are some ways you can use Small Business Month to find new customers or polish up your presence online.
1. Thank your customers for shopping locally
Remind your customers why they should be proud to support local businesses and encourage them to spread the word. According to Forbes, small local businesses:
- Stimulate local economies
- Create local jobs
- Usually have smaller carbon footprints
- Give back to the community
- Provide better customer service
Let your customers know that when they patronize your company, their communities benefit in these very real ways.
2. Partner for promotion during Small Business Month
Co-promotions can be powerful ways to get new customers to try your business. By pairing up, both parties can use their social media, newsletters, and other messaging to promote the partnership and drive new customers to each other:
- If you’re a coffee shop owner might partner with a bakery or sandwich shop to offer discounts to customers who shop at both establishments.
- A realtor might feature tastings from a local craft brewer at an open house.
- A physical therapist could do a presentation at the local gym.
Both small businesses win by cross-promoting each other’s businesses and enticing new customers.
Remember, these promotions don’t need to be overwhelming, and they don’t need to happen this month. They are designed to stimulate word of mouth, build brand loyalty, and create goodwill for your business in the community. So, use Small Business Month to begin building these cross-promotional relationships.
3. Surprise customers with Small Business Month gifts
Offer your customers a small gift card for their next purchase if they spend a certain amount. Or, offer a discount card for a non-competitive small business, and ask that business to do the same for you. Tell your customers this is your way of thanking them during Small Business Month.
4. Help your customers help you—part 1
Lots of people are eager to leave reviews when they’re angry, but it’s harder to motivate a happy customer to spread the good word. And it can be uncomfortable asking customers to review your business.
But not in May. Let your happy customers know how they can be a part of Small Business Month by leaving honest reviews on Yelp, Google, Facebook, or Trip Advisor.
5. Help your customers help you—part 2
Offer customers something special when they refer a friend during May. For example, consider discounts on future purchases or gift cards to other local businesses. If you already have a referral program, amp it up by adding an extra reward.
6. Tune up your website
With so many consumers using search to find products and services, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce suggests you optimize your website for popular search engines. The Chamber recommends this free search engine optimization (SEO) checker to evaluate your site.
Then, whether you manage your site on your own or use a family member or vendor, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how to improve your online visibility.
If you need more solutions, the Chamber offers you resources for SEO improvement on this page.
7. Tune up your customer communications
How often do you communicate with your customers? The adage “out of sight, out of mind” is really true. So, remind your customers of what you have to offer. This doesn’t have to be a big deal. Simply send periodic texts to tell your customers about a sale or other promotion, remind them of an appointment, or tell them how much you appreciate their business. You can easily do all this and more with the Index app. For customer text templates you can customize for your business, check out this article.
8. Offer coupons via social media and email newsletters
OK, this seems basic, but particularly during inflationary times, coupons are a great way to get new customers to try you and to remind current customers they need to come back.
Small Business Month gives you a great excuse to offer discounts or other enticements to bring people through your door or to your website in May and beyond.
9. Use free resources
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce can be an excellent resource for small businesses. They offer free advice for everything from managing customer relationships to handling your finances to free online courses to sharpen your skills. Check out this list for year-round advice, and this page for things you can do this May.
10. Get discovered through Google Search and Google Maps
Make your Google Business Profile more visible in Google’s search and maps applications. This page shows you how to set up your profile and use Google’s popular services to make your business shine.
Make Small Business Month Work for You
Small Business Month is designed to spotlight businesses like yours, so take advantage of the increased awareness that attention will bring. Use these tips to help your customers feel good about their choice to buy locally and to find new customers who will appreciate the importance of supporting your local business.