Here at Top Rated Local®, it’s no secret that we love local businesses. They’re the lifeblood of what we do because we know that our community wouldn’t be the same without them, and neither would yours.
It’s also no secret that the small businesses that make our communities unique and special need our support right now.
Small businesses have had to make so many changes, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, that have hurt many bottom lines. Some local businesses, unfortunately, have had to close their doors already, and many more are fighting to stay alive.
If you love the local businesses in your area as much as we do, now is the time to start giving back and doing your part. And, luckily, there are plenty of ways that you can support the local businesses you love.
How to Support the Local Businesses You Love
#1. Always shop local first.
One of the very best ways you can show local businesses a little love is by making the simple choice to always shop local before you turn to Amazon or a big box store. For example, if you’re looking for some flowers, start by visiting your local garden center.
You’ll be surprised at just how much you can find in your local community. Too often, people just don’t look because they know that the big box store has what they need, and it’s convenient. However, a little inconvenience is a small price to pay to save the local businesses you love.
Whether you’re shopping for arts and crafts supplies to keep you busy at home or you’re looking for a pest control company to help you keep your home pest-free, always look for a local source first. Even when you’re shopping online, look for local businesses first.
#2. Buy gift cards.
Thanks to the coronavirus, you may not be able to visit your local beauty salon or barber shop, or you may not be able to get a massage or pamper yourself with a pedicure. But, just because in-person services are less accessible right now, it doesn’t mean that you can’t show your support.
Buying gift cards helps you show support to your favorite local businesses in multiple ways. Obviously, it allows you to financially support them, but it also helps you provide emotional support.
When you buy a gift card, you’re sending the business in question the message that you plan to work with them in the future. You have faith that they’ll be around when you feel safe going out and getting your nails done again or visiting your hairstylist. That hope is contagious and a powerful motivator.
#3. Write positive reviews.
Most consumers don’t understand the full weight of what reviews do for local businesses. They seem them as a way to give feedback and inform other consumers, but for businesses, they provide powerful testimonies that encourage other consumers to have their own experiences with the business. Reviews also help to make local businesses more visible online.
Reviews are everything to your modern-day local business, and if you want to support your favorite businesses, writing reviews is a great way to do so. The best part about this kind of support is that you don’t have to spend any money, at a time when financial support may just not be in your budget right now.
Take some time to write reviews for the local businesses in your community that you’ve come to rely on over the years. Be honest about your experience, and use the opportunity to let them know why they’re so important to you.
#4. Refer them to your friends and family.
Another powerful way that you can help local businesses in your community stay afloat is by sending business their way. You may not need what they have to provide, but if you know someone who does, let them know who to turn to.
People trust their friends and family to send them to someone they can rely on. Referrals almost always lead to business for local companies.
Not only are you helping local businesses when you make referrals, but you’re also helping your friends and family. It takes time to research local businesses online, but a quick referral from you helps them find someone they can trust right away.
#5. Share the love on social media.
In this day and age, a local business’s visibility online can make or break its success. There’s a lot of competition online these days, and since most people don’t look past the first page of Google, it means that a lot of businesses are competing for only a handful of rankings for competitive keywords.
One way you can help the businesses you love to be more visible online — and therefore, more successful — is to promote them on social media. You can share about an experience you’ve had or just express your gratitude for how they’ve impacted your community.
Even if you don’t have thousands of followers, anything you can do to spread the word about the local businesses you love will make an impact.
#6. Take advantage of online services.
A lot of businesses that have had to restrict or eliminate in-person services have shifted to offering services online. For instance, some fitness centers are offering online classes and online personal training sessions, and some hairstylists are offering online consultations.
Stay connected with the local businesses you love online so that you can be in the know about any online services they’re offering. Visit their website regularly, follow them on social media, and sign up for email newsletters to stay up to date.
If you’re in the market for a local business to support, start with Top Rated Local — your go-to local business directory. Search for local businesses near you in a wide range of categories, read a business’s reviews from across the web, and directly compare local businesses to each other side by side — all from one place.
Start your local business search with Top Rated Local today.