9 Super Easy free Ways you can boost your small business today!


February 04, 2019

9 Super Easy free Ways you can boost your small business today!

9 Super Easy free Ways you can boost your small business today!

Business,tips,Google,reviews,email,loyalty,social media,backlinks,community,VR,crowd funding,vr,gaming,st albert

It's no secret that small businesses in Alberta are suffering right now. With Bankruptcy filings up by nearly nine percent province-wide since last year, it's the worst we've seen in the past 30 years. The CFIB Business Barometer that measures business confidence has seen Alberta score the lowest in the entire country consistently month over month with no end in sight. Big businesses like Walmart and Amazon are carving ever larger pieces of the retail market and support for local business is drastically dropping. As a small business owner here in Alberta I have seen all of this first hand. It's no longer enough to just offer a good product and have good customer service.

So how do make your business stand out in today's market?

As small business owners we have tried many different methods, often putting in some ridiculously crazy hours to get where we are today. Now, Game OVR is showing consistent growth of over 30% year over year, and we are in the midst of expanding and hiring new staff! Be forewarned there is no magic trick that's going to save your business overnight but It's not hopeless.
We have put together a list of things you can do right now- today to help give your business an added boost. Some of these might seem like common sense, and some you may already be doing, but we hope there's a least 1 tip that will help you out. After all, we are all in this together.

1) Claim your business on Google Business. This should be the very first thing you do when starting a new business. It is the most important thing you can do several reasons:

  • If you haven't created a Google Business page or claimed it, someone else could create/claim your profile and put up false information about your business. While rare, this is happening in some of the more competitive industries, so protect your business.
  • The number 1 way people will review your business is on Google.
  • This is how your business shows up on Google Maps, which is where people are looking to try and find your business.
  • Your information on Google Business will directly affect your website's search ranking.

2) Respond to your reviews- good and bad! When people are deciding which company to give their money to, the first thing they look at is your reviews. Responding to good reviews shows you care and take the time to acknowledge what your customers have to say. Responding to negative reviews is even more important- this is your only way to reach that customer after they have left, and may even help you regain that customer's loyalty or someone else's who is reading the review.
Responding to reviews on google also gives your website ranking an instant boost.

3) Start an Email list to stay in touch with customers. People generally hate spam but if you don't abuse it, an email list is a powerful tool. You can reach customers that haven't been in for a long time and let them know about new promotions or products. MailChimp is a great free email site you can start out with. 
Some Email tips

  • Don't spam them with emails every day unless it's relevant- people will stop opening and lose interest.
  • Give something of value in your email whether it's sharing a personal story, or a special discount, or advance notice on a new product. You want people to be excited and look forward to opening and reading your emails.

4) Create a loyalty program. Depending on your industry, it costs anywhere from 3-10 times as much to acquire a new customer than to sell something to an existing customer. Increase your customer's loyalty and they will not only come back, but be more likely to spread good word of mouth about your company. There are a few loyalty program options out there, or you can manually keep track in a spreadsheet or your customer database.

5) Social Media. Social Media has a ton of potential, but you have to understand how each platform works and how best to utilise it. There a thousand online guides on how to use social media to grow your business so we won't get into details here, but if you don't at least have a presence online, you are missing customers. At the very least you should be on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You should consider doing video as well through Youtube and Twitch as videos tend to be more impactful than just images. 

6) Backlinks. Having your website linked to other sites is integral to its google ranking, and gives other places for customers to find your business. There are hundreds of sites that you can create free profiles on to lead people back to your website. Yahoo, Yelp, Expedia, Trip Advisor... the list goes on and on. Be sure you fill out as much information as possible and include photos to make your business stand out. Be warned though some of these come with a monetary cost, or may be missing some features in the free versions. 

7) Give back to the community. At Game OVR, we are always looking for charities or fundraisers we can contribute to. This is a great way for your business to reach new people while supporting great causes. This doesn't always have to be a monetary contribution. Think of creative ways you can give back without giving out cash donations. Run a canned food drive with the local food bank, or take donations for winter clothing during cold weather.

8) Ask your customers. This seems like an obvious one, but many business owners get stuck in the mindset of what customers should want instead of listening to what they actually want. Try putting out a customer survey to get feedback on what your customers are looking for. We recently adjusted all of our party packages after doing a survey because our customers asked for different options, and now we are booking more parties than ever. Survey Monkey is a great free survey site we recommend. 
Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to help guide your business in the right direction.

9) Crowdfunding. Crowdfunding can be an extremely effective way to build your business without putting out money upfront, it's also a good way to see if your idea is a popular one with your customers. Remember it may only be what YOU think people want, let your customers decide. Since we opened, our customers have been asking when we will be serving drinks, so we started a crowdfunding campaign through ATB Build her business Boostr to build out a lounge area and the response has been very positive.
All the crowdfunding sites will take a percentage of donations, so do your research and take it into account when planning your campaign goals. For the BoostR if you are an ATB customer, they only take a tiny fraction of the donation amount and they offer a ton of great support to help you be successful. Just remember though most crowdfunding if you don't reach your goal you don't see a penny. So make sure you don't start shipping out rewards until your campaign is finished. As with everything, do your research before getting started.

Hopefully these 9 Super Easy free Ways you can boost your small business today has been helpful! Let us know if there is anything we missed or you think should be mentioned in the comments below.

Keep Reimagining Reality

-Eric Roberge, Owner Game OVR Entertainment

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