Regional small businesses face many challenges. There are several reasons you might have delayed gaining an online presence—you’re time-poor, unsure of where to start, you have unreliable internet service, or maybe you believe your business growth is maxed out.
Let us bust some of the common myths about small businesses going digital!
MYTH 1. “My cafe has been here for 20 years and everyone knows about it”
Everyone with a 50km radius definitely knows about it! But what about a potential tourist or visitor- they have no idea you have fresh homemade cakes 3 days a week. Or they may have heard about you, but can’t find your opening hours and sadly arrive to town on the day you are closed. Think about all of the transient people from backpackers to caravaners to city dwellers, and you know country folk don’t bat an eye at travelling a couple hours to catch up with a friend over a cuppa. Make it easy for them to find out about you!
Takeaway: There are so many hidden gems in regional areas- from historic pubs, to funky cafes, to amazing hairdressers. Inform transient people of your business and give them a reason to visit your area! Start small with one social media page or a website landing page, but most importantly get listed on GoogleMyBusiness. Make it easy for people to find you.
MYTH 2: “Our hardware is doing fine without any digital strategy”
You probably are doing fine! We respect it takes a lot of work for a regional business to keep the wheels turning- especially brick and mortar shops. But what if you could do more than survive- possibly even thrive? Get your customers in the loop. Don’t let them miss out on special sales or opportunities because they didn’t walk in the shop. Having a digital strategy will actually strengthen your customer service and improve your overall relationship.
Takeaway: Consider a social media page or an email newsletter to keep your customers and community informed of any specials, changes in hours, or maybe even post a few DIY suggestions!
MYTH 3: “I have twitter account but never get any interaction”
Activity builds activity. Engagement builds engagement. If you built a Twitter page but never posted any content- it is unlikely you are giving an audience anything to interact with! But you might also consider, maybe Twitter isn’t the correct platform for your business? Maybe your business is better suited for a basic website, or your audience is actually on Instagram!
Takeaway: Ensure your target market is actually using the platform you are focusing on. Not sure where your target market is? It might take a bit of trial and error- using a few different platforms until you find one that gels with you and your consumers. Make sure you have a solid idea of your target market, and a clear brand identity.
MYTH 4: “If I get more business at my pub – it is taking customers away from another business”
We completely understand this idea, and it truly shows the amazing spirit of country businesses. But let’s say the additional customers you are attracting comes from a new work crew in town or from people passing through the caravan park. What if instead of “taking away” business you could actually support another pub in another area? Think of creating a virtual pub crawl across your region- each pub recommends one another and builds a strong network. This way the transient customer base you captured might be captured by another business!
Takeaway tip: Consider cross-marketing strategies and a referral program to support similar businesses across a vast regional area. Utilise social media to build a network of support in your industry.
MYTH 5: “I don’t have enough time to add digital media to my ever-growing to-do list.”
Okay this one we believe, it probably isn’t a myth! We understand small business owners are often time poor and have to focus on things that require your immediate attention. Unfortunately, taking the time to develop a great digital strategy is a luxury you may not have. So we have some suggestions. First off check out this blog about your to do list never being done.
Takeaway: Bring in support. A business coach can help you grow strategically, think maximum impact for minimal effort. A VA can take admin tasks off your plate. Support can look like a dozen different things.
This article was originally published on flyingsolo.com.au and has been republished with permission.