As we head towards April it looks like the winter of lockdowns across the UK could be coming to an end at last. No-one running a business, large or small, will have avoided the impact of the last 12 months, but it’s the small local businesses that have been hit particularly hard. So how can we give all those Bedfordshire cafes, florists, bars and beauty therapists an extra boost to get back on their feet over the summer months?
“With more independent businesses than Cambridge, we are rightly proud of the entrepreneurial spirit of our bartenders, bakers, barbers and boutique owners. They give life to Bedford and they deserve to succeed.” – Erica Roffe, Bedford Independent
First up, we can – of course – start to enjoy the services they offer in person. But not everyone will be ready to embrace the post-lockdown world straight away. So the Imagefix digital marketing team have put their heads together and come up with 6 online ways we can all give a boost to local Beds businesses right now:
1. Promote Local Businesses
Many small local businesses don’t have massive marketing budgets, so they depend on word-of-mouth recommendations to build their customer network. Following and promoting your favourite local businesses online costs you nothing, but it can give a real boost to their profits. Find your favourite businesses on Facebook or Insta and give them a follow, like and share their posts. It can make a massive difference to their online presence.
2. Become Part of the Community Network
Everyday hundreds of Bedfordians need recommendations for people to service their boiler, cut their hair, host a party or plan their wedding. It’s a powerful local engine which keeps the economy local and maintains the quality of services across the county. The more people who get involved the better it works, so take a look at Nextdoor for groups in your area, We Are Bedford, We are Luton and loads of smaller local groups scattered across Bedfordshire.
3. Leave Feedback
As a digital marketing agency we can’t emphasise enough much your online reviews, stars and feedback matter to local businesses. Just a few lines about the service and product quality will do an excellent job. If you have the time to leave a detailed review, that can create a spike in sales overnight for a small shop or independent. Don’t know where to start? Facebook, Trustpilot, Twitter and business websites all give you the chance to give a local business a boost.
4. See Who’s Delivering
Over the past few months more and more local pubs, restaurants, delis and cafes have got their businesses online and are offering local deliveries. The team has enjoyed roast dinners, cream teas and deli platters all from local businesses offering an amazing service. So don’t just stick with your usual Indian or Chinese takeway, find out what else is on offer locally.
5. Book Local Summer Events – Most Give You the Option to Cancel
Naturally we’re nervous. For 12 months our lives have been on hold, holidays have been cancelled and weddings are endlessly postponed. The good news is that people are now starting to book outdoor summer events across the county, from back garden birthday parties to Bedford Park Summer Proms and Luton’s 45th Carnival. Most businesses offer the option to postpone or cancel if we have to lockdown again so, go on, take the plunge.
6. Make Something New
You know all those things you were going to do during lockdown, but you didn’t get around to? Well there’s still chance to emerge from this period having done something new. Bedford Creative Arts is offering the opportunity to #takepart. Whether you like cooking, fabrics, drawing or needlework, local artists in the Queens Park area of Bedford share tutorials in return for a photo of what you make. Sounds fair and the results look amazing.
We hope our suggestions inspire you to boost local businesses. It’s central to all the work we do here at Imagefix, and we’re endlessly surprised and delighted by the wealth of talent, energy and creativity on offer across Bedfordshire.
If you’d like to know more about what we do, or if you’re thinking of moving your business online and need some support, call us today and we’ll get you started – 01525 715608