How to support your local businesses
Local businesses need our LOVE. Why not drop your “2 cents” and let them hear from you?
Making an impact in our Champaign and Logan county communities doesn’t always mean swiping a card or sending a Venmo payment. These ways do make an impact, but sometimes your opinion (and love) can help boost local businesses!
Write a Review
Leaving a review for a local business is one of the best things you can do as a consumer. Anymore, online reviews are a “go to” when researching where to eat, who to do your taxes, etc. Whether it is positive or negative, your comment can help other customers/consumers make informed decisions about what to expect from the business you review.
So, what is a review? When you write a review, you share with others your experience in words; which is why it is important for it to be honest and specific. Don’t underestimate the power of a written review. Yes, a five-star review is great, but your two-cents can be the game changer.
For example, if you visited Cafe Paradiso and loved your meal, the atmosphere and the service, take the time to leave a review. However, don’t just say “It was fantastic.” Explain the reason why it was great. Here’s a sample response:
“Being a pasta fan has led me to many different restaurants over the years. After visiting Cafe Paradiso, I have to say, it is one of the best. The manager came out and visited with each of the tables and spoke to each of us like family. If the service wasn’t enough, the food was delicious. Definitely a place I will go to again!”
While we know not every experience will be great, it’s still essential to leave a review so the business owners know what they can improve on. Think about the things you would like feedback on about your own business. Here’s a sample response of an appropriate review to leave if you’ve had a negative experience:
“My intent was to write a great review after all the hype about this restaurant. Unfortunately, my order was brought out incorrectly twice and I had to ask several times to receive my check. It has potential, but this was not the best experience.”
Now, what if you are the one receiving the negative review? Even though it might feel like a punch in the gut, it is important not to leave it alone. Honesty and integrity go a long way with consumers. Reflect on what was reviewed, take time to thank the reviewer for their feedback, apologize if appropriate and respond. Mentioning how you will work to improve whatever the negative review was focused on is step one – the big step is taking action and doing it.
When it comes time for you to leave a review, there are several platforms you can choose from! Facebook and Google are the most popular options, but you can also leave them on the BBB website or the business’s website (if applicable). Give it a shot and use Berry Digital as your first review here.
Follow Their Social Media Channels and Engage With Them
With social media taking over communication platforms, it makes sense that we support our local businesses on their social media pages. It is as simple as “liking: and “following” your favorite business pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Once you follow these pages, you’ll be able to see updates whenever the business creates posts. However, don’t just follow the pages! Be sure to engage with the content they’re creating. Whether it’s liking, commenting, sharing or tagging your best friend in the comments, this engagement truly does matter and helps business owners know what content to keep pushing out. Because social media is mostly used as an awareness tool, business owners don’t always see an ROI, so your support by engaging means more than you realize.
Before we move on, one last thing you can do is use any relevant hashtags the business uses. Let’s take Champaign Works, for example. One of their main hashtags is #ChampaignWorks. In their posts, you’ll see this hashtag used frequently. If you were to visit Champaign County and post a picture on your social media, we encourage you to use the #ChampaignWorks hashtag in your post. Champaign Works likely follows this hashtag and by using it, they are able to easily find your post. Make sure to only use hashtags that are relevant to the business you’re highlighting!
#BerryDigitalSolutions #ChampaignWorks #Facebook/BerryDigital #instagram/BerryDigital
Subscribe to Content/Emails
Want to stay up to date on everything a local business has to offer? Then you should subscribe to their email content! Most businesses utilize some sort of email strategy and are always looking to add more consumers to their email list. Email content can be valuable to you, as the business is able to reach you directly with important updates. Most times, emails will have a little more content compared to your stereotypically social media post. If you’re really dedicated to a business, subscribing to their emails is one of the best options for you! You also have the opportunity to forward relevant emails to coworkers, family and friends! No matter how you do it, supporting local business betters the community you live in. Take time to support a local business today! You can start by subscribing to our email content, located at the bottom of our home page.
If you are a business owner and you have been following our blog, this is your sign that it is time to start a blog of your own! Often, we hear people say that they don’t have time for a blog or think that their audience might not be interested in what they have to say. There are so many great reasons to start a blog and we are going to share them with you!
1. Website Traffic and SEO
Blogs are an amazing way to boost your SEO ratings. Text plays a huge role in SEO and including relevant keywords to your business in your blogs will help increase traffic. Often a blog is shared on a variety of platforms because of the type of content it provides. This increases visits to your website and many times those visitors will explore other areas of your website before leaving, giving you more of a chance to catch their attention.
2. To Share Your Expertise
Sharing your voice and your experience in the field will build your customers’ trust with your brand. People will start to look to you for upcoming events, news in the field, and even just as a place of entertainment. This will get your website a lot of return visitors which helps show that your blog is a relevant place for customers to find answers to their questions or learn more about your product.
3. Blog Content Can be Repurposed
One of our favorite things about blog content is how it can be repurposed for a variety of different areas. Blogs can easily be turned into social media posts, newsletter and newspaper articles, email campaigns, and press releases. Even if the content needs to be shortened you can link to your blog for access to the full article to drive website traffic and provide the best information possible to your customers.
4. It is a Place for Important News to Live on your Website
How many times do you have information that you want to share or needs a place to live on your website, but it doesn’t quite fit anywhere? Your blog can be a place to host all those things and gives you links to direct traffic to from other platforms like social media. Blogs are flexible and can provide you with a little more freedom to include information you want to on your website without having to add a new page.
There you have it! This list is just a few of the ways that having a blog can benefit your business. Take that leap and start your blog today.
This week, let’s look at organizing your goals for accountability. Last week, we discussed how to make a goal SMARTER and the importance of writing it down. This week, let’s take a look at making it manageable and accountable. Pull out your goal and let’s get started…
“A young lady is wanting to run an entire 5k to honor her brother. Unfortunately, she is not a runner, nor runs regularly. To be successful, she will need to build up her strength, stamina, and endurance. This takes time and can cause fatigue if one overdoes it. So, with the help of some friends she sets small goals. Goal 1 - She will run a mile without stopping at the end of the month. Goal 2 - She will be able to run two miles without stopping. Etc.”
The important thing to notice here is the timeline, manageable goal, and the ability to revise. She may find out that one mile was too much for the first month and half a mile would be more realistic as she builds endurance and strength. The same thing applies to business. Having short achievable goals helps a business owner have more frequent wins to build towards the bigger goal down the road. This is where BDS can be a great partner in helping your business grow. (Click here if you would like to learn more ways that we can help.)
Rocky tends to be an all-time favorite movie to many. The story of an underdog resonates with us for many reasons. Not to mention, it is one of the best series of movies to quote, “Yo Adrienne.”. The New Year’s Goal setting ritual hits us hard, much like the Rocky quote above. Typically, we do not approach our New Year’s Goals SMART enough, or for that matter, write them down. A Dominican University professor once noted that when a person writes down their goal, they are 42% more likely to achieve it. This is a decent statistic, but we still need some umph. This is where we need to train ourselves SMART(ER) like Rocky in his movies. Throughout this post we are going to look at seven components to making our goals smarter than before so we can pen our goal to paper and achieve it. Let’s jump in!
Make your goals specific and narrow for more effective planning.
Define what is going to prove you are making progress and reevaluate when necessary.
Make sure you can reasonably accomplish your goal within a certain timeframe.
Your goals should align with your values and your long-term objectives.
Set an end-date that is ambitious, but realistic, for task prioritization and motivation.
Set some benchmarks to evaluate your progress along the way. Reflection on progress is important.
By making your plan revisable, you account for unexpected errors and hiccups along the way to adjust your goal to align to your ultimate vision.
Now, write it down. This helps to clarify and intensify your intentions. Once you have it written, post it some place where you will see it regularly and be reminded of how YOU are making progress each day! If there are ways that we can assist you with aligning to your goals here at BDS, please click here. Looking forward to strengthening your business!
Happy New Year from the BDS Team and Family! As we roll into 2022, there have been some amazing things that we have experienced as a local company and this all starts with support from readers and clients like you. On behalf of all of us at BDS, thank you!
Over the next several weeks we are going to be diving into “GOALS.” This isn’t your typical New Year’s resolution goal post either. We want to equip you with skills and tools to help you achieve the best for yourself or business by (RE)Imagining how to set and accomplish goals. Tony Robbins once said, “Setting goals is the first step to turning the invisible into visible.” This is true on many levels and something that BDS would like to help you with along your journey this year either personally, or professionally. Just start with this question, “Do you have a vision for where you want to be in five years?” If you don’t, that is okay. If you do, great! Regardless, no matter where you landed with an answer, we have you covered.
As we venture through this series, we are going to be discussing how to set goals and accomplish them by following these simple steps in goal setting process:
No matter where you are in this process, the first thing to do is go back to the original question. Where are you in five years? Work on answering that question and come back for some ways on how to make it a SMARTER Goal next week!
Small Business Saturday is right around the corner, so now is the time to make sure your business is ready! Here are a few ideas on how to prepare for the big day:
Prepare Your Staff
Start off by making sure you have enough staff for the holiday season and consider bringing on a few seasonal employees if necessary. Once you have your staff in place, it is time to prepare them for the day. Make sure they are all up to date on training and know what specials or deals you are offering for the day. Your employees will have to go through a lot during the holiday season, so make sure they know how thankful you are to have them on the team and consider providing lunch to those who work special days like Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.
Prepare your Store
Small Business Saturday can bring a lot of foot traffic through your store. Be sure you look at your layout and ease of access to all items and rearrange areas if necessary. The easier your customers can get to specific retail items, the easier it will be for them purchase those items.
Plan a Promotion
Get creative when thinking about what kind of promotion you want to offer. Set a goal (i.e. more sales, return customers, more website traffic) and make the offer work toward that goal. If you want customers to return after their initial visit, offer a coupon with purchase that is good for a later date.
Partner with Other Local Businesses
Many other local businesses will also be working hard to make Small Business Saturday successful. Why not partner together and make it great for both of you? It could be a neighboring
business or even someone from another town, just find a good fit for you. You could also partner with a local charity and use the day to give back to the community.
Check All Online Accounts
Prepare for the day by checking all of your online accounts to make sure your information is accurate. Your store hours, location, phone number, and website are all important information that customers will be looking for.
Leverage Local Events
If there are local events happening that weekend make sure you are playing off them to drive traffic into your store. You can use sidewalk signs to let people know your hours and the deals you are running that day. Consider offering something like hot chocolate or popcorn and use the scent as another way to attract foot traffic.
By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
Fall is almost here which means the holiday shopping season is happening soon – or has even already begun for some people. According to a survey by Salesforce, 58% of consumers expect to do more online shopping after the pandemic than before. We have already seen this in action, with online sales reaching 18% of all retail sales in 2020. This number is expected to hit 21.4% by 2024. In 2019, before the pandemic, that number was just 13.6%.
What does all of this mean for the future of small business retail? Well, first look at all the different avenues available for online sales. With platforms like Facebook and Instagram rolling out shopping features, it is easier than ever to sell online. While these tools can’t replace your ecommerce site, you can attract potential customers you may not have been reaching before. Getting set up for sales on each platform is a little different, but worth the time.
Another thing to consider while getting your store ready for the holidays is that people are still looking for an experience. It might not be easy to recreate the feeling of holiday shopping the way we used to know it on a digital platform, but putting that thought behind your decisions can help. Some sites are including more videos, offering augmented reality try-ons, and even offering chats with sales associations online. Giving your customers something that makes the experience memorable will go a long way.
As you prepare your holiday shop it is good to remember that half of all online sales during the 2020 holiday shopping season were made on a mobile device. It is so important to make sure the time and effort you put into your ecommerce site translates to mobile users as well. You
don’t want half of your audience to miss out on all the effort you put into your holiday planning.
Last year the holiday shopping season started early, and we should expect to see more of the same this year. Along with early deals, expect shipping costs to go up this year. USPS has already said that they plan to charge more for packages shipped during the holidays. This increase will apply to individuals and businesses. Be sure to take this into account as you price out your shipping costs for the season.
These tips should help you get your ecommerce site ready to go for the 2021 holiday season! If you need any help implementing any of these changes into your site, give us a call today to set up a consultation to see how we can help you - 937-404-1050.
By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
1. Become Agile
2020 taught us many lessons, but most of all it taught us to prepare for anything. We never truly know what is coming next but being open to new ideas and learning how to deal with change are skills we can use for any situation. The business that can solve new problems in the quickest and most unique ways are the ones that will survive whatever comes their way. If you made it out of 2020 without having to change anything in your business you are extremely lucky, but most likely you have already been learning how to stay agile and creative in today’s market.
2. Push Advertising Campaigns
The worst thing you can do when you see a lull in business is to stop your marketing efforts to save money. Sometimes these marketing efforts are the only thing keeping the business going. It may seem counterintuitive but putting more time and resources into marketing during hard times will help your business survive. Make sure you hire a marketing team that understands what you want to do with your business long term and has your best interests in mind.
3. Find the Right People to Work for You
Having the best people for the job keeps you one step ahead of your competition. As a business owner you want to be able to handle everything yourself, but when you can’t you have to have a staff you can trust to do the job just as well as you would. Hiring the right people is only one half of the puzzle though, the other half is making sure your employees are happy at their job. Creating a positive work environment where your employees feel valued will significantly increase productivity and help your business in the long run.
4. Work to Automate Processes that Waste Time
Another valuable lesson learned in 2020 is that time is extremely precious. There is a tool or resource out there for pretty much anything these days. Whether you are looking for invoicing tools, social media management, or even expense tracking there is a solution for you. Some of these may be apps or software you purchase, and some may come in the form of a group of people to hire for taxes or social media management. Whatever you feel you are losing precious time to, there is a solution to make the process more automated for your business.
5. Diversify Your Markets
We have seen a lot of this in the last year in so many different industries. One of the biggest changes we saw was how many small businesses switch to eCommerce last year. Many businesses didn’t have a website set up for that but had to make it happen to survive. In the restaurant industry we saw actual laws change to be able to sell mixed drinks with to go orders here in Ohio. People got creative and pushed for change that they knew could help them survive. Is there a market you feel you could excel in but haven’t made that jump yet? 2021 could be the year to start taking steps to expand your market.
We hope this list will help you get your business back on track or continue to thrive! If you are looking for someone to help you with advertisements or even a website, you are in the right place! Go to https://www.berrydigitalsolutions.com/contact-us.html to contact a consult from our team and start growing your business today. We are always happy to help.
Written by Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
There is no getting around the fact that Google is a big name in the internet search game. Showing up in Googles search results is very important, but have you thought about how well are you showing up on Google Maps? When you Google a phrase like “restaurants near me”, the first things that comes up are the Google Map results. These include photos, addresses, phone numbers and websites to restaurants Google thinks you would like. These come up before the rest of the search results and are the most likely to be clicked. In this article you will see how you can rank higher and why it is important to get your listing to the top of the search results.
Claim your Listing: The first step after getting your business on Google Maps is to make sure you claim an existing listing for your business. This will let you add even more information about your location and is essential keeping your listing accurate. Make sure you are logged into your Google My Business account to complete this step.
Make Sure Your Information is Accurate: There is nothing that will make people more upset than finding unreliable information about your location online. It is essential that you keep your hours, phone number, address, and website info up to date on your listing. You can also list your services and a description to let new clients and customers know what you do. Adding your listing to the proper categories will also make it easier for people to find you.
Embed a Google Map on your Website: Embedding a Google Map on your website will let Google know that your location on the map is accurate. Every visit to your site will count as a visit to your Google My Business page, which will help you rank higher in search results.
Photos: One of the quickest ways to catch attention is with photos. If your Google listing doesn’t have any photos, it likely won’t matter how high you rank, people will quickly move onto the next business. You want to capture not only the products you have at your business, but also what it is like to visit. From a shot of the front door to photos of your staff members in action, everything shows a window into what it is like to visit your business and helps attract the eyes of potential customers.
Reviews: When looking at a list of options all in the same category, the reviews are going to be what set you apart. Getting and maintaining good Google reviews will help get you to the top of the list in your category. You will have to be consistent in asking for reviews and you will also want to respond to reviews on Google. Don’t be afraid of reviews or interacting with customers. It is an essential part of running a business.
Next time you are Googling a place to visit in a new town or looking for something nearby, make sure you pay attention to the Google Map results. Take clues about what you like and what you think people could be doing better and apply that to your own listing. Google is a powerful tool and when used correctly can help get more eyes on what you have to offer. Set up a meeting today with a member on our team to learn more about how we can help you with your Google My Business account and all it offers www.berrydigitalsolutions.com/contact-us.html.
During 2020 we saw an increase in newly opened small businesses locally and nationally. Many people found themselves out of work and recent business closures created openings in the market. This pushed some people to follow their passion, become their own boss, and start their own business. Starting a business comes with many obstacles, but there are plenty of people to help connect all the dots.
One of our strengths at Berry Digital Solutions is helping new businesses understand and start their marketing efforts. Marketing is a huge part of business, no matter the industry. It goes far beyond just a logo, website, printed collateral, running ads, etc. Before a new business can even begin the processes of marketing, there are certain foundations that must be laid.
Before a brand can be recognizable to others, it needs to be developed by the business owners to reflect what they are trying to achieve. Branding not only includes everything from colors, logo, uniforms, website and all other visual collateral, but also is the way a business talk to customers, their management style, and even how they speak on social media. All of these pieces will help when trying to complete each of the next steps.
Learning the intended market is the first step to successfully targeting it. What size the market is, what local competition there is, the range of prices in the market, and any other defining characteristics help create an entire picture of the market each business will be trying to capture. Learning this information will help define keywords in online advertising, learn the appropriate places to spend a marketing budget, and set attainable goals for business.
Choosing Marketing Avenues
Once the market is defined, it is time to figure out where they spend their time. Learning what social media platforms, websites, publications, and types of entertainment an audience uses is a good first step when building a successful marketing plan. Not all audiences are found on all platforms and marketing too broadly can waste precious time and resources.
Settings Goals and Budgets
When creating content, it is good to have an initial budget. Be prepared to spend more during the initial startup phase and then spending between three and five percent of annual turnover on marketing moving forward. As content begins to be created and shared it is good to find a way to track if the marketing efforts put in place are working. Goals that are set should be attainable, specific, and time-based. Once the goals are set make sure they are shared with anyone on the team that can help make them happen.
We hope this brief list of marketing basics can help new businesses obtain their goals. We are here to help every new business learn more about marketing and how it can help them grow. Feel free to reach out for a consultation at: www.berrydigitalsolutions.com/contact-us.html
By Chelsea Bray: Elle A. Design