Expert Series: Simple tips for small-business success in an evolving economic landscape

(BPT) - By Aimee DiCicco, Sr. Vice President Revenue Operations and Business Development

Small businesses are a critical part of the United States' economy, and their owners are truly living the American dream. Being your own boss is something most people have thought about, but it takes grit, determination and hard work to bring that vision to life and ultimately make it a success.

There are 31.7 million small businesses in America compared to 20,139 large businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. This equates to small businesses representing 99.9% of all U.S. firms, making them a powerful economic force that supports commerce and job creation. Small businesses are also an important part of our communities, helping make our neighborhoods and world a bit brighter.

At FedEx Office, we work with small-business owners every day and know the impact they make on the community and the drive it takes for them to do well. Often these owners wear multiple hats and work countless hours, and we recognize the hard work that goes into running these businesses.

That's why we want to share some of the strategies small businesses across the country can use to save time and money, and how FedEx Office can help, serving as a one-stop shop with around-the-corner convenience.

1. Know and engage your customers

According to a Salesforce survey, 84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. Target your customer marketing with personalized accounts and outreach that really makes an impact, such as mailers, brochures, electronic newsletters, email marketing and more.

Additionally, a human-to-human touch can deliver a big return for small-business owners looking to deepen relationships with their customers. For example, including a handwritten note in your orders and following up with first-time customers with a postcard are effective retention strategies. Other great occasions to reach out include a customer's anniversary, birthday or during the holidays.

You can also create a customer loyalty and referral program. Your local FedEx Office team can help you design the perfect brand communication pieces including cards, flyers, postcards and more, and print them quickly so you can focus on what matters - engaging your customers. FedEx Office also offers graphic design services through Canva to allow small businesses to easily design and print the perfect materials for their business.

2. Streamline digital customer communication

Taking a look at the backend of your e-commerce site to see how customers are using your website while ensuring the site is resistant to system glitches helps optimize the customer experience and encourage return visits. If you're tech savvy, you may be able to look at analytics yourself; otherwise, explore vendors that can help with that process by using visual analytics tools. You can use this information to help you position important elements on your website or print marketing to get more clicks and interest.

Social media platforms are another way to build a loyal customer base and convey your key messages. Make sure you are posting interesting and relevant content regularly to keep people engaged with your business. Posting regularly lets people know about sales, updated inventory and seasonal promotions.

Social media isn't just for advertising; it's a great way to interact with customers with polls, raffles and more. You should consider showing yourself and your employees in your posts also so customers can see the people that bring the business to life. It can also serve as a platform to encourage customers to sign up for direct mailers, brochures and other marketing materials. Remember to check comments so you can reply in a timely manner and manage your brand image.

3. Explore traditional marketing

Yes, having an optimized website and active social accounts is key for many small businesses to grow, but never overlook tried-and-true traditional strategies. For example, hanging flyers and handing out brochures is a low-cost way to promote your business (remember to ask permission before doing so in local facilities). FedEx Office helps you create and print professional business flyers, brochures and postcards for your business. Vibrant, attention-grabbing printed materials can help catch your target audience's eye and promote sales, making them a worthwhile investment.

Banners are another smart investment that can be used over and over again, whether it's at your physical location or traveling to trade shows, fairs, markets and more. The placement of your banner should help inform your design, color, material and message. When choosing colors, think about if it will clash or blend in with the background. For example, don't choose a red background if you'll be hanging your banner against a red brick wall. Additionally, take time to carefully consider your message. What action do you want people to take after seeing your banner? Now, how can you convey that action with a simple yet powerful message?

From printing and shipping to design consultation and much more, FedEx Office wants to help small businesses succeed. Learn more at

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