Small businesses have always needed the support of customers and advocates and now, more than ever, small businesses need support. As I talk with my friends in business, who all also happen to be women business owners, there is a unifying message that things are different right now, unlike ever before.
So today I wanted to give you some guidance and information on how you can support your favorite small businesses, most of what I will share costs you $0.
How to Support Your Favorite Small Businesses
Leave a review of products that you use and love.
If the store, business, or website has a way to take reviews, leave a detailed review about why you love the product or resource. If a company does not have a way to submit reviews, email it to them. Reviews are VERY helpful when potential customers are shopping (think of how many times reviews have helped you) this is why the more detailed you can be, the better. There are also many times that stores or other brands look at reviews in deciding whether to work with a company. Your reviews do a world of good so please leave a review of your favorite products or resources.
Instead of (or in addition to) memes and gif sharing with friends, sub in your favorite products, podcast episodes, blog posts, etc... from your favorite small businesses! Share them with the reason you love them, it makes it far more likely that someone will pay attention when there's a story or reason behind a link (same is true when sharing on social media, make it personal). Example. Our customer Jamie texted her sister to explain how the Best Today® Guide has helped her at work and at home and it's why her sister has noticed she's been much more zen lately. She shared with a link (and then went on to order one for her sister which leads to the next thing)...
Gift your favorite products.
You don't have to wait for a holiday or birthday to give someone a gift! If there's a product that you love and it's within your means, gift it to a friend and share why you love it or if you've been sharing something with a friend but know they're on the fence or can't afford it at the moment, purchase it for them! Many small businesses will even offer gift wrapping and/or a note. And, if you're shopping in bulk, many small businesses offer bulk prices.
Email your kind words and experiences.
Has a product been really meaningful to you and you have a story to share? Tell the company! I can attest to how often I will pull out those emails or notes left at checkout and read them. I love reading emails about how kind or helpful someone on our team has been for a customer, or how our processes were smooth for you, whatever it is, I imagine the human on the other end of those company emails is thrilled to read kind words! They are fuel to many business owners (and teams) and remind us of why we started this in the first place. Don't underestimate the power of sharing how a company's resources have helped you. It means a lot!
Open emails if you sign up for them.
If you sign up for company emails, open and read them. Unsubscribe from those you aren't going to read or don't enjoy. But increasing open rates are helpful in making sure our emails get into your inbox and aren't marked as SPAM. We pay to be able to send you emails and if you're signed up for business emails and let them sit, it could come at a cost to a company (many pay by the number of subscribers. If hundreds or thousands aren't reading emails, we're paying for people who aren't getting what we're paying for--which is to be in communication with customers and subscribers). If you sign up for the emails, please read them. Businesses pay people to draft and schedule the emails and for the software to send the emails, read them or kindly unsubscribe.
Visit in person.
Walk into your favorite local stores (and bring a friend when you can) and look around at their inventory, you may discover something new! Visiting and talking to the store owners and staff is encouraging and also shows foot traffic to those who may be walking by. I was in a local store recently and three women came in after me and said "we saw you come in so we decided to come take a look" and they shopped at the store. You never know when out-of- towners are walking by and looking to see what shops to walk into, your visit might spark some traffic.
If you're on social media and following, engage.
If you're not on social media, there is no need to join to do this; but, if you're already on social and following your favorite businesses or business owners, engage with their content--comment, like, share (with the reason why you're sharing), save posts. This allows their content to be seen by more people. Social media is an uphill battle and your engagement makes it better.
Tell your company/where you work.
Would something offered by your favorite business make a great corporate gift that your company can purchase in bulk? Corporate gifts can be used for clients, teams, birthdays, welcome gifts, departure gifts, the list is endless. Share with your company or other business/company leaders that you know.
Spend and invest your dollars into your favorite companies. If you have everything you need, shop for gifts early, purchase gift cards, leave a tip (Most sites now let you leave tips with your purchases during checkout) or try a new product (i.e. love one candle scent from the company, try a new one or stock up on your favorite). Want to support without having things come to your house--purchase their digital resources and again there are gift cards too! Many businesses also have ways that you can support by giving.
These can apply to your favorite online stores, brick and mortar stores, blogs, podcasts, anything and anyone considered a small business. My hope is that you will think of 2-4 of your favorites and find ways to do any number of the above. And, if you've got another way you love to support small businesses or business owners, please share below. We would love to hear from you!