Monthly Archives :

November 2021

Small Business Season Secret Weapon: Email

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Metcalf

Okay, so this might not be a “secret” weapon, but email marketing can help extend the push to shop small that began on Small Business Saturday. These types of gentle reminders can keep customers buying from you all season (and all year) long. You just need a couple of great ideas, an email marketing tool (like MailChimp or Constant Contact), and of course an email list.

Email List Building
If you don’t have an email list, begin building one right away. Add a sign-up sheet or QR code at your cash register. Tell people if they sign up for your list that they’ll be the first to know about new products or services as well as discounts. Call the list something intriguing like an Insiders Group or VIPs.

Everyone who orders/buys or visits your site/store should be given the opportunity to become part of this exclusive list.

Always ensure you have their permission to send to them. It’s annoying (and potentially illegal depending on where they are located) to send without their permission.

Email Marketing

Assuming you have at least a small email list to begin with, you’re ready to use this “secret” weapon to build upon the momentum you started on Small Business Saturday and transfer it to a Small Business Season of wonderful sales.

Offers
As a small business, it’s extremely important to be known, liked, and trusted. Emails can really help with that. Instead of sending out mass sales emails like the big stores do, use this opportunity to connect (and sell) to your list.

You do this by:

• Sharing things about yourself that people can identify with.
• Educating people on new uses or needs for your products or services.
• Using multiple forms of media inside your email (you can add video or provide a link).
• Creating a beautiful and branded design. Branding helps them identify your emails without reading or wondering who they’re from.

Every email should contain an offer. An offer could be a great sales deal, but it could (and should) also be something they want. One out of every three emails should be a sales deal or discount, but the other emails should offer them something they need like a tip, suggestion, etc. We call them offers because there should be an active component to it, but it needn’t be sales related, It could be something useful that is an extension of what you sell such as “Click here to find out how to set the perfect table,” if you sell furniture. This offers them information for performing an action. The URL click shows their interest. It’s active, not passive. That’s key to email marketing. Providing an “offer” allows you to see who is interacting with your emails.

Call to Action
A call to action is important on every email, but incredibly important on those where you’re making a sales offer. Don’t forget to ask something of them. By doing so, you are inviting them to continue your relationship. They’re already interacting with you, make it mean something.

Frequency
You don’t want to annoy your audience with emails multiple times a day, but you also want them to think of you. You want to be top of mind.

Consider using this idea to send emails every couple of days. Be creative. Make an impression. For instance, you can use national days of celebration that have nothing to do with what you sell in the email subject line like “It’s National Puppy Day so…”

Then when they open the email, your content might read: “Yay! It’s National Puppy Day and that has nothing to do with tacos. But both are really awesome. You are too. And since being awesome is hard work, you deserve a taco. Check out our BOGO offer for Taco Tuesday (AND National Puppy Day!).” It makes no sense but it’s memorable and it’s a limited-time offer. In the sea of holiday emails, you need that.

Frequency builds brand recognition and makes recipients think of you. But that can also lead to boredom and auto deletes. When emails are creative, recipients won’t get bored of seeing them and when they are funny or original, recipients will click to see what you’re writing about.

Small Business Season helps you build on the momentum of the shop small surge from COVID. If you want it to bring your small business more customers, you need to actively market to stay top of mind. Email marketing is one of the least expensive and easiest ways to do that.

Giving Thanks this Thanksgiving

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Sam Taylor, Broomfield Chamber President and CEO

November is the traditional time to reflect on what we are thankful for. One thing we are always thankful for at the Broomfield Chamber is our members. When some of them were struggling just to survive, others stepped in and supported them any way they could. When people were suffering, our nonprofit community rose to the task. Organizations in the Broomfield area have been there for each other, from the largest multinational down to the newest solopreneur.

We’re also thankful for our partnerships. Our collaborations with other organizations help us address the needs of our community and our local businesses. One of our key collaborators is the Broomfield Workforce Center. We are so thankful for their work supporting the abruptly laid off workers in early 2020, to helping companies find employees in late 2021. Their innovative programs to help people gain new skills as the job market changes is going to be key moving forward.

Another key partner of ours is the City and County of Broomfield. From the Economic Vitality Department and Public Health, to the Parks and Recreation department, they have been there to support our mission. CCOB knows that the key to a thriving community is strong connections between local government, for profit, and the nonprofit organizations. They have been there for both organizations, and individuals throughout this trying time.

Last, but certainly not least, we’re thankful for volunteers that allow us to fulfill our goals to support and advocate for the local business community. The Chamber’s staff hard to help others to find opportunities for growth. But our volunteers help make that work successful. Our Board is there to guide us and provide direction and support, and our Ambassadors are the best cheerleading squad in the state. Even those who volunteer for a single shift once a year at Broomfield Days or Taste It help support the Chamber and allows us to move forward every day.

On this Thanksgiving, we send special thanks to all who support our mission, and help our community thrive.

 

16 Reasons to Shop Local Instead of Online

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Metcalf

There is nothing more convenient than whipping out your phone, typing in a URL (or opening an app), perusing offerings, and hitting a few buttons to buy something…anything…everything. We even get our groceries that way these days. But as convenient as online shopping seems, there are several reasons to shop local.

16 Reasons to Shop Local Instead of Online

In person is the way to go this Small Business Season. If you can suspend disbelief for a few minutes, we’ll explain why.

Our Favorite Reasons to Shop Local During Small Business Season
Yes, online shopping is convenient. You don’t have to change out of your PJs and it’s always open. But in the t-chart of holiday shopping options, there are a lot of reasons to shop local. Here are a few of our favorites:

You’re supporting your neighbors.

When you support Small Business Season and shop local, you are supporting your neighbors and they are more likely, in turn, to keep the money you spent with them local as well (for every $100 spent locally, $68 of it stays local).

You are able to get in-person advice.

Not sure of the right size, color, or other option? Maybe you want to buy something but don’t know what else you need to make that purchase complete (like buying a fishing rod without any hooks or lures). An in-person shopping experience can help you straighten out the choices. Small business owners offer complete information and suggestions and you can ask questions about those suggestions. Doing that via chat online can be cumbersome and delayed as they are answering questions from several other shoppers at the same time.

You know what you’re getting.

Have you ever ordered something online only to be disappointed when it arrives? Maybe it’s smaller than you thought or the color is just too much. Online images can be very hard to discern. (Remember that dress a few years back? What color was that any way?) If you don’t read the description carefully, your item may be smaller (or larger) than expected and may not include things you had assumed came with it. Even when you do read the description, some items are sized differently or have unexpected variations. Don’t even get us started on what happens then.


For every $100 spent locally, $68 of it stays local.

Local yields easier returns.

Even though you have a clear understanding of what you’re buying when you buy in person, sometimes you need to return your purchase. When you do, it’s easier to do it locally than to send something back to an online store. Between paying for shipping to going to the post office and insuring it, bringing it back to a local business is generally easier than online returns.

Satisfaction guaranteed.

If you’re not satisfied with what you purchased, but it’s not something you can bring back (like a service or a food item), you know how to get in touch with the local provider. Some online sellers make it impossible to speak to a human. Try arguing your point with AI that uses keywords and automated language responses. Talking to the local business owner is much easier and they may be able to suggest something that is more along the lines of what you’re looking for.

Local shopping becomes an experience.

Yes, online shopping is quick, but you also have no memory of doing it. This can lead to overbuying. How many times during the holiday do you come home to find a package on your door step and you can’t remember what you purchased? You’ll remember when you go out. Plus, when you shop in-person or local, you can invite friends, family, or just make a pleasurable outing for yourself. This creates appealing memories of a wonderful seasonal experience.

It brings on the holiday spirit.

When you are out among the sounds and smells of the holiday, it brightens your mood. Who doesn’t love sparkling lights, glitter, snow (real or fake), and all of the happy tunes of the season? It’s hard to get those same smiles shopping online.

You may miss the best things when you only go online.

When you shop online, you do a few searches for things you are looking for. You are less apt to stumble across the perfect gift or item because you are on a targeted mission and only see what the online store presents. When you’re shopping in person, there are a lot of serendipitous moments where something catches your eye and you walk out knowing you found a treasure.

You meet and interact with people.

When you shop in-person, you meet and interact with people. We have been sequestered long enough. There’s something to be said from those chance meetings that occur when walking around town. Who knows–you could meet your next business partner or a former friend. From the warm smile of the business owner to a suggestion, compliment, or affirmation you receive from a fellow shopper, there are many times when these sorts of introductions can be very helpful.

You’ll receive better reviews.

Sure, online reviews are helpful but so are reviews from people around you. Plus, people you meet in person who are commenting on what you’re buying have a personal connection. They are vouching for the item or dish face-to-face. If you have questions about what they’re saying, you can ask. Online reviews are one-sided with very little chance for follow-up from the original poster.

No worries about delivery this small business season when shopping local.

With ports backed up and short-staffing throughout the supply chain, there’s a lot of talk about potential delivery delays this holiday. If you shop in-person, you won’t need to worry about this.

In-person shopping is perfect for procrastinators.

Sure, there are some online mega retailers who can get an item to you same day depending on where you live, but most times–especially as we get closer to the actual holiday–your best bet for last-minute gifts is a local shop. If you’re a procrastinator, feel free to take this reason to shop local as permission. You’ll feel less stressed about waiting , plus you won’t be depending on someone else’s delivery schedule.

Displays help you visualize.

Store displays are better than “you might also like” options in online stores. After all, the online suggestions are based on the buying patterns of others or using products the online retailer links together. Store displays are created (and stores are arranged) to help you find what you need and want. Collections are curated with the shopper in mind. You may find a lot of treasurers browsing that way.

Window shopping can lead to ideas.

When you shop in-person around the holidays you’ll be treated to beautiful window and decoration displays. These could inspire your holiday home décor or help you figure out something for your hard-to-buy-for aunt. A display may also draw you into trying a new business that you hadn’t noticed before. There are so many serendipitous possibilities when shopping in-person this Small Business Season.

You could find your next job.

If you shop in-person, you’ll quickly realize how many businesses are hiring. Who knows. You might decide to work at your favorite shop over the holidays.

One’s couch has never been the setting for a Hallmark holiday movie but Main Street certainly has.

And we all love those movies, don’t we?

Small business season sign image
We aren’t telling you to never shop online again. Online shopping is simply too convenient and there are many times when you can get things delivered online faster than you are able to clear your schedule and shop in-person. There are also many local sellers that have an online presence so you can buy online and still “shop local.”

Still, there are several reasons to shop local, including the ability to spread some holiday cheer to your local businesses this Small Business Season.

Those business owners would just love to see your smiling face and the serious ones of Mr. Jackson, Hamilton, and Washington.

This Small Business Season, let’s give local and small businesses something to be thankful for.

Let’s give them the gift of our support.

Celebrating Small Business Season

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Metcalf

We’re gearing up for another holiday season amid COVID. Luckily, the virus numbers are down, and people are venturing out more these days. It’s time to market the importance of shopping local or shopping small.

While Small Business Saturday is a good start, why stop there?

We need more than one day to celebrate how special small business is, don’t we? We need at least a season to celebrate what makes small business different. Here are some ideas on how you can do that:

Size Matters: Shop Small
You may not be able to compete with 4 AM openings or TV giveaways, but there are a lot of small business benefits you should be marketing.

Here are a few to use in your social media and ad campaigns:

1. Tell your story. Small businesses have great stories. Make sure the world knows how you got started and what inspired you. Talk about your challenges and struggles as well as what you love. This will help customers identify with you and think of you the next time they need what you sell.
2. Tell their story. Has your business helped someone in your area? Maybe you sponsored a high school band trip or you helped a customer do something amazing. Tell the world about the incredible things that others are doing in your community. Ask those whom you’ve helped to ring in on the role you played in aiding them in attaining their dreams. Afterall, people want to do business with those they like.
3. Know that the rising tide lifts all boats. Work with other small businesses to support each other in your marketing efforts. Tag one another. Review each other. Help get the word out about how important it is to shop small, even if you never mention your business specifically.
4. Share pics of how far you’ve come. Everyone loves an underdog story, one where the hero struggles against all odds to eventually win. Tell yours in pictures.
5. Be the expert. You can find almost anything online from services to directions, but a small business helps you find both in the same place. For instance, if someone wants to take on a new hobby, they can go to a local business and learn everything they need to start, what they need right away and what’s more helpful once they get a little more versed in what they are doing. It’s hard to get that assistance online. Play this advantage up to your audience. Let them know how you help and how much you love it.

Does this list of things you could be doing to market yourself seem overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be. You have an advocate already in your corner who can help you do all of this. No, it’s not your significant other or that stranger on Fivrr. It’s your local Chamber of Commerce. Most chambers already have a shop small or shop local campaign and activities going on in your area.

Get in touch with them and find out what they’re working on (info@broomfieldchamber.org). They’ll be glad to help and know exactly what it takes to reach people in your service/shopping area.