Before I dive in to my post, let me clarify what I mean by small businesses. To be fair, I work for what is considered a small business as we have a team of eight people spanning two states. For this particular post, I'm talking about small business in the sense of small, localized establishments. Think the mom and pop restaurant down the road from your house or the hole in the wall doughnut shop you love so much. Those are the small businesses that seem to drive me crazy.
I want to be fair, I actually love small businesses. There's a doughnut shop a mile away from my house that is amazing, a biscuit restaurant that makes my eyes roll back in my head, a couple fantastic mexican restaurants, and more. I love giving these types of establishments my business and my money, but they still drive me crazy.
Let me explain. Small, local establishments are often the poster child for what NOT to do when it comes to marketing. Often they invest little to no resources in marketing and when they do they tend to keep their efforts in-house. There's nothing wrong with keeping efforts in-house if you have someone who has experience and knows what they're doing. Often that isn't the case.
Since moving to the west side of the Atlanta area, I've explored a number of different businesses and been astounded at how many of these places aren't registered (FOR FREE) with Google My Business, or how many of them don't have a FREE Facebook page, a FREE twitter account, or a FREE Instagram account. It's crazy. I go to find reviews and the best resource available to me is Yelp (and I really don't enjoy using Yelp). And these are just the most obvious efforts they could utilize, there are plenty of other ways to drive business to their establishments for free.
My biggest question when I see things like this is, why? Why not leverage free tools to drive more customers to your business? Why not drive more revenue? Become more engaged with the local community? Be seen as the "go to" resource for whatever it is that your business offers? Who doesn't want more business? More revenue? More profits? It would be so simple to post appetizing food photos on Instagram, or run a special and share with your audience via Facebook and Twitter, or send an email out to your loyal subscribers offering them something for free in exchange for a referral to one of their friends!
I'm genuinely curious to discover why so many of these small, local businesses aren't using the tools available to them. I'm hoping to meet with some owners soon and hear some answers first hand. Until then, if you own a small, local business I'd love to hear from you on why you do or do not invest in marketing!