We may be living in the digital world, but the Internet doesn’t show any signs of stopping the success of the family business. According to the Conway Center for Family Business, family-owned businesses really are the backbone of the American economy, accounting for 64% of the U.S. gross domestic product and 78% of all job creations.
What’s more, consumers place their trust in family businesses more than they do in corporations. In a time where multinational companies are under the spotlight for unethical business practices, bad customer service, and wrongful treatment of their staff, small, local, family-owned businesses offer a breath of fresh air.
But that doesn’t mean that simply opening a bakery, grocery store, or flower shop with your favorite aunt is a guaranteed recipe for success. Being family-owned is an advantage, but you have to keep up with the requirements of the online business world if you want to maximize this trust and grow your brand.
Having a website is just the beginning
Online consumers appreciate family values and get that warm and fuzzy feeling when hearing that their order isn’t assembled by an unnamed factory worker in China. However, this trust can be short-lived if you fail to offer online consumers the level of comfort and convenience that they’re used to.
And it all starts with having a flawless business website. If you don’t have one yet, here are some numbers that might make you reconsider:
- Up to 80% of clients look up a business online before purchasing
- 64% of small businesses have a website and more than half of the businesses who don’t, plan to launch one.
- About two thirds of small businesses rely on websites to engage with their customers
- Nearly half of all e-commerce purchases are expected to be made via mobile by 2020.
Customers want to be able to find you online and get all the information they need from your website, from products and services down to the opening hours. And not just any website will do. To live up to the standard of modern customers, you will need a clean, intuitive, user-friendly, responsive website.
Let your family values shine through your visual branding
If you’ve decided that being family-owned is your main selling point and constitutes the biggest part of your brand image, you need to find a way of communicating these values through your visual branding.
More specifically, we’re talking about all the elements that make you, you on the Internet, from the web design to your logo colors and your Instagram feed.
Even though they might seem like simple images, all these elements build your brand and make customers associate you with certain values. With that in mind, even if your logo or web design is executed flawlessly, it might not be effective if it doesn’t send the right message. As a family-owned business, you want to inspire values like reliability, friendliness, and helpfulness. Colors such as brown, green, blue, and yellow in your business logo can help you achieve that. Similarly, a web design that looks too minimal, corporate, and cutting edge could send the wrong message, so make sure you explain to your designer what feeling you’re looking for.
Boost your productivity with enterprise software
One of the biggest mistakes that the owners of small family businesses make is clinging to the old ways when there are superior modern solutions. Changing operations slightly to embrace the digital world doesn’t mean giving up on the quality and personal service that makes you special.
On the contrary, using business software means having more time for all those processes that require a human touch and automating the ones that can be done by a computer.
Most small business owners like to keep things in the family and don’t tend to hire external staff. On the one hand, this can be a benefit because you have control over everything and you know that things are done right. On the other hand, it also means putting a lot of work on the shoulders of just a few people and wasting precious time with manual labor.
But did you know that you can have software do things such as accounting, budgeting, filling in forms and document reviews? This way, you will reduce the risk of human error and save time for the processes that really add value to your customers.
And if you’re under the impression that you need to be a large business to use business software, think again. Enterprise software development companies also cater to the needs of small businesses, so you won’t have to pay for features you don’t use.
Use content marketing to tell your story
Statistics show that having a family-owned business can put you in a favorable position on the market, but keep in mind that customers need to know you’re family-owned. Content marketing is the best way to do that. From a heartfelt About Us section where you explain what inspired you to start the company to regular blog posts telling your clients what you’ve been up to, content marketing can help you connect with your audience and show that you’re not just another profit-driven company.
Harness the power of social media
There are many digital marketing strategies that can help you drive growth, but social media and family businesses go together like bread and butter. Facebook in particular is extremely popular among small business owners, not only because it’s an inexpensive marketing tool, but also because it helps you maintain a special bond with your clients. Whether you’re writing regular updates about what each family member is doing for the business, sharing client testimonials, posting stories about a fun day at work, or replying to all the comments, social media boosts engagement and raises awareness. No matter what your audience target is, social media is incredibly versatile and empowers small businesses to compete with the giants.