Studies have shown that 90% of American businesses are family-owned or controlled. Mom-and-pop shops are vital to their communities and the economy. Amid COVID-19, small businesses are hard at work adapting and pivoting their services and offerings for customers.

One key area brick and mortar storefronts have been focused on is creating, or expanding, upon their online footprint. Not only does getting online help grow the sales and customer base of a small business, but it increases the company’s visibility now and into the future. Here are a few simple ways mom-and-pop shops can start establishing their online presence.

1. Create a website.

In 2019, it was reported that only 50% of small businesses have a website.

Why are only half of small businesses online? Starting a website may seem like a daunting task if you haven’t done it before. Mom-and-pop shop owners can start to feel overwhelmed thinking about what all should be included on their website and that they do not have enough time to focus on it. They may feel like they’re unable to do the job on their own and need to hire a coder or developer to assist with setting it up.

The good news is that putting together a small business website is not nearly as complicated or time consuming as it seems. Several companies offer website packages that provide small business owners with the necessary tools to build a website. These tools may include website templates, which are optimized to view across all electronic devices and unlimited pages designed to showcase your services and offerings.

2. Start an e-newsletter.

Setting up an e-newsletter is a great way for brick and mortar storefronts to keep customers up-to-date about their businesses. Information found in e-newsletters may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Changes in hours of operations
  • Limited time offers and sales
  • News from within the company, including announcement of new leadership, relevant content like blog posts, and media placements
  • Job postings and hiring announcements
  • Positive customer reviews sourced through websites like Yelp
  • Social media handles to further stay connected and engaged together

There are a few ways you can start gathering subscribers for your company’s e-newsletter. Once you have launched your website, you may include a pop-up box on the home page that allows visitors to subscribe to your newsletter. You may also share a call to action (CTA) on your social media accounts, encouraging fans to subscribe for more news and updates.

3. Engage on social media.

Speaking of social media, let’s talk about any existing business pages and accounts.

Maybe you created a Facebook or Twitter handle for your small business, but have not been able to figure out what you’ll be posting to the platforms or how frequently you’ll be sharing content. Perhaps you wanted to make an Instagram account, but haven’t had the time to figure out what your strategy might be to grow your following and engage with fans.

Take a moment to review the social media platforms where you do have a presence. If you find that you are on platforms where your customers are not present, you may delete these accounts. Do not try to be everywhere at once. Stick to a core few social media accounts where you know your audience is present. Establish an editorial calendar of content you’d like to post to these pages. Engage with fans that have questions or feedback they’d like to offer up and make sure their voices are heard.

This unprecedented time too shall pass, and brick and mortar storefronts will emerge with even more verve and awareness since they strengthened their online presence. By creating a website, starting an e-newsletter, and staying engaged with fans on social media accounts, small businesses will be able to hit the ground running stronger than ever before.