A caption image outlined in grey with the words thank you.

5 Creative Ways to Thank Your Customers on Small Business Saturday

A caption image outlined in grey with the words thank you.

The Small Business Saturday event was created to celebrate and support small businesses for all they do for their communities while encouraging customers to shop local. This event is not just a shopping event… It’s a celebration of community and support!

And now is the time to decide how YOU will thank your customers!

Often, the focus of Small Business Saturday is on supporting small businesses with little mention of the role the customers play in making this event a success. That’s why this month, in honor of the upcoming Small Business Saturday, I want to take this opportunity to thank all who have supported the Edmiston Group throughout the year. 

I would also like to remind all of my audience that you play a significant role in helping all small businesses in your neighborhood thrive!

As a small business owner, expressing your gratitude to your customers goes a long way in fostering loyalty and building lasting relationships.

Here are 5 creative ways to say “Thank You” for their support on this special day:

  1. Personalized Thank You Notes: Craft handwritten notes expressing your sincere gratitude for their patronage. Personalization shows that you value their individual support and presence.
  2. Surprise Gifts with Purchase: Include a small, thoughtful gift with their purchases as a delightful surprise. It adds an element of surprise and gratitude, enhancing the shopping experience and making them want to come back again.
  3. Social Media Shoutouts: Showcase your customers on your social media platforms. Share their purchases, tag them, and acknowledge their role in supporting your business.
  4. Customer Appreciation Events: Host a post-Small Business Saturday event to celebrate your customers. offer refreshments, entertainment, and exclusive deals as a way of saying thank you.
  5. Highlight Customer Stories: Share stories of how your customers’ support impacts your business. Feature their testimonials in your newsletters or social media to showcase their role in your journey.

Small Business Saturday is an opportunity not only to boost sales but to strengthen the bond with your customers. Expressing your heartfelt gratitude doesn’t need to be extravagant. It’s all about showing that you genuinely value their support. By implementing these creative ways to say “Thank You,” you can transform customer relationships into enduring partnerships, fostering a sense of belonging and loyalty that will extend far beyond a single day of shopping.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

Toolbox-with-a-variety-of-print-and-digital-media.

10 Types of Marketing Collateral: Connecting Your Audience to Your Brand

In the world of business, your marketing collateral plays a crucial role in conveying your brand’s message, building credibility, and driving customer engagement. Marketing collateral isn’t a single asset used for business growth efforts. It refers to a combination of different assets used to communicate with your audiences, raise awareness of your brand, and encourage your audience to buy. 

Being successful starts with having the proper marketing material with consistent messaging, branding, and calls to action. The combination of these materials is part of your custom marketing toolbox.

Here are 10 common types of collateral you should have in your marketing toolbox:

1. Brochures

Brochures are versatile pieces of printed material that offer a condensed overview of your products, services, or brand. They’re ideal for trade shows, networking events, and direct mail campaigns. A well-designed brochure should include attention-grabbing visuals, concise copy, and a clear call-to-action.  Always make sure to include various ways to contact you – website, email and phone.

2. Flyers

Flyers are single-sheet documents that are perfect for promoting events, special offers, or limited-time deals. They can be distributed in high-traffic areas, handed out at events, or even included in shipments to existing customers.  A QR code can easily direct people to a landing page or directly to your website.

3. Business Cards

Business cards are essential for leaving a lasting impression after networking events or meetings. They include your contact information and often feature your brand’s logo, helping you establish credibility and build connections.  

4. Posters

Posters are attention-demanding visuals that can be displayed in various settings, from retail stores to public spaces. They’re great for promoting events, products, or campaigns that require maximum visibility.

5. Presentation Decks

Presentation decks, often created using tools like PowerPoint or Keynote, are essential for meetings, seminars, and webinars. They feature slides with compelling visuals and concise text to illustrate your message effectively.

6. Case Studies

Case studies provide in-depth insights into how your products or services have positively impacted your customers. They showcase real-world success stories, instilling confidence in your services to potential customers.

7. Whitepapers

Whitepapers are authoritative documents that delve deep into a specific topic related to your industry. They demonstrate your expertise and provide valuable information to your audience, helping you establish thought leadership.

8. Catalogs

Catalogs are comprehensive collections of your products or services. They are often used by retailers or businesses with a wide range of offerings, allowing customers to browse and choose what suits their needs. 

9. Product Sheets

Product sheets are concise documents that detail the features, benefits, and specifications of a particular product. They are effective tools for sales representatives to communicate product information to potential buyers.

10. Infographics

Infographics combine visual elements and data to present complex information in an easily digestible format. They’re perfect for conveying statistics, processes, or comparisons in a visually appealing manner.

In the end, the purpose of marketing collateral is to help your audience connect with your brand!  

If you are ready to maximize your business growth efforts by creating your own custom Marketing Toolbox of marketing collateral, the Edmiston Group would love to help. Email me at [email protected] to see how we can help solidify your marketing collateral efforts.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

Hand pointing at a Brand Word Illustration on white background.

The Power of Brand Awareness: Guiding Small Businesses Towards Success

In the bustling world of small business, carving out a distinct identity is crucial for survival and growth. One of the most potent tools at your disposal is brand awareness. Let’s delve into the importance of cultivating a strong brand presence and how it can shape the destiny of your business.

Hand pointing at a Brand Word Illustration on white background.

Why Brand Awareness Matters:

  • Recognition in a Crowded Market: In a sea of competitors, your brand acts as a beacon, enabling customers to spot you amidst the noise. Building brand awareness establishes familiarity and trust, helping you stand out in a saturated marketplace.
  • Trust and Credibility: Consumers tend to gravitate towards brands they recognize and trust. A strong brand presence fosters credibility, as people are more likely to choose a business they perceive as established and reliable.
  • Emotional Connection: Branding isn’t just about a logo or colors; it’s about the story and emotions your business evokes. A well-crafted brand can create an emotional bond, turning customers into loyal advocates.

Benefits of Strong Brand Awareness:

  • Customer Loyalty: A recognizable brand encourages repeat business. Loyal customers who’ve had positive experiences are more likely to stick around.
  • Premium Pricing: A strong brand commands premium pricing. Customers are often willing to pay more for a product or service associated with a reputable brand.
  • Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Happy customers become brand ambassadors, spreading the word about your business to their networks.
  • Ease of Introduction: Expanding your product or service line becomes easier when you have a solid brand foundation. Existing customers are more likely to explore new offerings from a brand they trust.

Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness:

  • Consistent Visual Identity: Develop a cohesive brand identity encompassing logos, colors, and fonts. Consistency builds recognition.
  • Content Marketing: Create valuable content that resonates with your target audience. Sharing knowledge positions your brand as an authority.
  • Social Media Engagement: Leverage social platforms to interact with customers, share updates, and maintain an active online presence.
  • Partnerships and Collaborations: Collaborate with complementary businesses to expand your reach and tap into new audiences.
  • Community Involvement: Participate in local events or causes to showcase your brand’s commitment to the community.

There are countless reasons why a business must raise its brand awareness. And the above strategies are crucial to keep in mind for any company looking to find success in 2023. 

Brand awareness isn’t a luxury; it is a necessity in today’s competitive business landscape. 

A strong brand cultivates trust, fosters customer loyalty, and paves the way for growth. By investing in brand building, you’re investing in the long-term success and recognition of your small business. So, take the time to define and refine your brand identity – it might just be the key that unlocks your business’s full potential.


About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

A badge and lanyard reading Trade Show for attendees to wear as a pass to get into a conference, convention or other large event

Tips For Preparing For Your Fall Trade Show

A badge and lanyard reading Trade Show for attendees to wear as a pass to get into a conference, convention or other large event

Summer is just about to begin and there is no better time than now to start preparing for a fall trade show. These events provide an opportunity to share your products or services with other vendors and build connections with potential customers. Trade shows require significant planning and preparation to ensure that the event runs smoothly. If you haven’t started planning for a fall trade show, now is the time. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Determine your goals.

What results do you want to achieve for your business by participating in the tradeshow? Establishing goals early in your trade show preparation process can help you and your team take a more focused approach. These goals should be specific and measurable objectives for your team to achieve and be based on factors such as lead generation, brand awareness, or sales.

2. Develop a budget.

There are many factors to consider when creating a budget for a tradeshow. These costs help control your expenses to meet your goals and objectives. After establishing your goals, it’s time to break down the costs associated with reaching them. Some of the expenses are comprised of the following items:

  • Booth Space and Location.
  • Exhibition stand design: building and transportation costs.
  • Logistics: shipping of marketing materials and products. 
  • Marketing: creation of advertisements, brochures, and gifts.
  • Staff: wages, training, attire, and accommodations.
  • Show Services: utilities, carpet rentals, WiFi, etc.

If you are unable to determine your costs at certain events, you can always search for an online trade show calculator to help you estimate the costs. 

3. Design your booth and presentation.

Location, location, location. Setting up a booth in the right location is key. If possible, consider choosing a location close to the entrance of the trade show, around the food area and bathrooms or close to major attractions or show sponsors to take advantage of high-traffic areas. The more foot traffic around you, the more visibility your booth will have. The more visibility you have, the greater the potential for sales.

When designing your booth, blend in visual brand elements, such as colors or logos, to increase awareness and recognition. You also want to ensure that your booth or display communicates clearly what your product or service offerings are to the attendees. Clear messaging helps people understand your business immediately and invites them to stop and talk to you. 

Pro Tip: Include a presentation to promote your brand that represents the value you can provide and how you differ from competitors. It can vary widely in length, content and style, but generally run 3-5 minutes. If you are not comfortable personally doing the presentation, try using presentation software such as PowerPoint, Prezi, or Google Slides. You have a captive audience at a tradeshow with only a short amount of time to impress them. So, be clear, concise and to the point. Make sure they walk away knowing what your products or services are and how those can be of benefit to them.

If designed properly, a well-designed booth and well-executed presentation will attract, engage, and inform your target audience. By adding interactive content, it can help increase your leads, add to your brand message, and jumpstart your sales. 

4. Explore the opportunity to present at a breakout session.

If you’re comfortable in presenting programming on a given topic explore the opportunity to present information at a breakout session or participate in a panel discussion. By identifying the conference theme and reaching out to the trade show organizers, you can pitch a breakout session to fit the conference theme for their consideration. This should be done early in the planning stage in order for your breakout to be considered for the available program slots. Being a presenter can lead to additional exposure for you and your business as your program and business name will be highlighted in marketing of the trade show.

5. Utilize social media.

With so many consumers relying on social media in their lives, social media is a cost-effective way to promote your presence and brand at a trade show. How? By posting content relevant to the tradeshow and your organization using the tradeshow hashtag and handle. You can also extend invitations to connect by reaching out to existing clients and potential clients with personalized invitations. Lastly, try live-tweeting throughout the event, or publishing videos on Facebook or Instagram from the tradeshow. Identify the hashtags used for the tradeshow and use them in your posts.  This will inform clients on what the trade show is about and peak their interest to attend. 

If you don’t know where to begin or have run into challenges planning for your next trade show, let’s connect. Give the Edmiston Group a call at (724)612-0755.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

Opened suitcase with clothes and different accessories for travelling on light wooden floor

3 Reasons Why Every Business Owner Needs A Vacation

Opened suitcase with clothes and different accessories for travelling on light wooden floor

It’s the start of summertime –  most people start thinking about taking a vacation and spending quality time with their families. Yet, small business owners often feel like they cannot take a vacation. Why? They think they are too busy or that their business will fall apart in their absence. However, It’s important to recognize the benefits of taking a vacation.

Here are 3 reasons why every business owner needs to take a vacation:

1. You need it. 

If you are a  small business owner, you are likely overworked. Being overworked can cause irritability, resentment, burnout and magnify mistakes on the job. The reason? It goes back to the importance of rest. Our minds and bodies need rest. We need a break from the stress of running a business. When our bodies and minds are rested, we are more refreshed. By stepping away from our work and resetting the body and mind, it allows us to perform at our highest potential. When we perform at our highest potential, we often feel more motivated and energized when returning back to the office. Taking a vacation is good for you!

2. Your business needs it.

If you want to continue to grow your business, then you need to take the time to take a vacation. Taking a vacation might seem counterproductive when you’re trying to run a successful business, but it might be exactly what your business needs. 

By being away from the business, you can refocus. Without the day-to-day pressures of the office, you can use the time and surroundings of a calming and relaxing environment to see problems more clearly and from a fresh perspective. This fresh perspective brings new ideas for things “to do” for your business as well as things “not to do”. Think of your vacation as a compass that can point you in the right direction, and right you if you are heading in the wrong direction. 

Vacations can also help uncover issues with employees or outdated business practices while you are away. The time away will allow you to fix these issues if you didn’t know existed, ultimately, making your business more enjoyable to work at, more valuable and more efficient. Taking a vacation is good for your business!

3. Your Family Needs it.

As a business owner, you are not the only one feeling the repercussions of stress. Your family has their own stress too. Taking a vacation allows you and your family to leave behind the stress of their normal routines and allows you to connect and bond with them in a less stressful environment. Vacations will give everybody the opportunity to relax and enjoy themselves. This will help create stronger connections, create lasting memories, and foster stronger relationships.

Vacations help keep life in perspective. Your business is likely one of the most important aspects of your life. But, it’s important to remember that it is just a business. It shouldn’t be the only thing that defines you. Your family, friends and incorporating a work-life balance will help both you and your business to be more productive.

So if you’re tempted to say that you just don’t have time to go on vacation right now, keep in mind that not taking a vacation could be a huge disservice to yourself, your business, and your relationships. 

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

Wheelchair Disabled Person Symbol Disability Laptop Computer Software 3d Illustration

The Value of ADA-Compliant Websites

Wheelchair Disabled Person Symbol Disability Laptop Computer Software 3d Illustration

Websites have become an essential component of our daily lives in the digital age. Almost everything is now available with just a click of a mouse, from placing an online grocery purchase to scheduling an appointment with a doctor. However, many websites disregard the significance of handicap accessibility. For those with disabilities who depend on the internet to get crucial information or finish everyday duties might have repercussions.

There are moral and ethical justifications, as well as legal responsibilities, for ensuring accessibility for the disabled. Websites must be accessible to people with impairments in the United States under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). By failing to adhere to these regulations your business may be subject to legal action, fines, and reputational harm.

Mitigate the risk of legal action. Not only is accessibility good for business, but since the recent DOJ affirmation, websites are considered places of public accommodations and must be accessible for people with disabilities. Request a website audit today.

Your business may suffer if your website is inaccessible to people with disabilities. People with disabilities may look for alternative businesses that provide comparable goods or services if they find your website challenging to use or navigate. This may lead to decreased sales and revenue as well as harm to the reputation of your business.

Website accessibility for people with disabilities can apply to people who are blind or visually handicapped, hard of hearing or deaf, or who have mobility issues. Giving people with disabilities access to your website can make it simpler for them to use it and engage with it, giving them an equal chance to access your content and services.

The promotion of inclusivity is among the most fundamental reasons why disabled accessibility is essential.

You may show that your business values every person, regardless of their ability, by making your website accessible to all users. Additionally, this may aid in growing your clientele and enhancing your company’s standing as a socially responsible one.

There are various actions you can take to make sure your website is handicap accessible. These include making sure your site is accessible with screen readers and other assistive devices, including closed captioning for audio and video material, utilizing descriptive headings and links, and adding alt tags to photos and videos. Regular accessibility audits should be conducted to find any problems and implement any necessary modifications.

In conclusion, any modern website must include handicapped accessibility. It encourages diversity, complies with regulatory obligations, and aids in preserving the reputation and financial health of your business. You can demonstrate that your business appreciates diversity and is committed to granting everyone access by taking the necessary steps to make sure that your website is handicapped accessible. For questions regarding this feature email me or learn more about the ADA compliance accessible software – AccessiBe.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

Spring Cleaning - Businesswoman hand pressing button on touch screen interface. Business, technology, internet concept.

3 Areas to Refresh Your Business This Spring for Greater Productivity

Spring Cleaning - Businesswoman hand pressing button on touch screen interface. Business, technology, internet concept.

The first quarter is just about over and Spring is quickly approaching! Establishing an effective spring cleaning tradition just doesn’t mean tidying up the office. For a business, spring cleaning goes a lot deeper than that. By refreshing your business, it is a time to clean house, get rid of the clutter, and make room for new opportunities. Spring cleaning your business can show you what processes need improvement, help you streamline everyday operations, and give your company a renewed outlook, which is like a breath of fresh air.

Are you ready to spring clean your small business? Here are three areas where you can freshen things up at your company.

Update Your Website & Conduct a Digital Audit

Your website needs to be a reliable source of information about your business, so make sure it’s up-to-date. Are all of your links working properly? If not, it can send people to page-not-found messages or 404 errors. Spring is a good time to fix all the little details that can make a big impact. You want to find these errors before your customer does. You want your target audience to stay engaged on your website and reinforce your company’s reputation as the go-to source for information.  Bonus Website Exercise: Custom brand your 404 error page so that if a reader is sent there, you can share a message you can be proud of. View sample custom 404 pages.

If you’re like most business owners, the content on your hard drive and other storage locations can get away from you! Here are five ways you can free up space on your computer’s hard drive and help your business run more efficiently:

  • Delete unnecessary files or documents “downloads” folder. Oftentimes we download files but never go back and delete them once they are used. If you do need to save a file or document in your download folder, save them to folders that are specifically assigned to them.
  • Purge your email inbox and folders of messages you’ve already responded to or that are no longer relevant. And don’t forget to empty your trash folder!
  • Consider backing up all of your files with an automated cloud-based file storage solution. When you store your files in the cloud, you can access and update files from anywhere on any device and this also frees up more storage on your computer’s hard drive.
  • Clear your browsing data, and cache and even review your bookmarks. Remember, simpler is better!
  • After validating that files are not needed, delete accumulated files from your recycle bin.

Eliminate Unnecessary Business Expenses

The main objective of any business is to earn a profit. Often, we focus only on the earning side of the equation. But that is not the full picture. In order to increase profit, you can generate more income, but you can also cut down on unnecessary expenses. Springtime is the perfect time to review your expenses. For example, are there training, internet or other monthly subscriptions you no longer need? If you are not actively using them, why pay for something you do not use? This money could be used in other areas which could help you generate more profit.  

Another simple way to eliminate waste is to go paperless. Technology now offers cheaper and better alternatives to using paper. Besides reducing waste and helping the environment, going paperless can make your business more efficient. There will be less paperwork to push, documents to physically store, and important records that could get lost. Look through your vendor list to identify any bills you can switch to paperless.

Clean, Organize and Personalize Your Workspace

Productivity is the heart and soul of a business. Cleaning or organizing your workspace can help you be more successful in achieving goals. Think how nice it is to walk into your workspace when it’s fresh and clean versus covered in chaos! You’re likely much more productive. 

You can also personalize your space with colors, plants and other personal touches and encourage your employees to do the same. This personalization supports individual creativity and expression, which in turn supports productivity. And that impacts your bottom line!

Another place you can refresh is around your old paper files. Most of us unnecessarily hold on to old files longer than needed. It is a good practice to set a time limit for how long to hold these files (unless it is paperwork that is required to be held due to regulatory, tax, or government requirements). At a certain point after a project’s completion, dispose of any files related to that project. If you absolutely need them, see if you can store old files in the cloud or in an off-site location. This is a good business practice, and it helps free up room for new accounts and projects.

Incorporating the above tips will help you spring-clean your small business and head into summer feeling more refreshed and organized. Your workplace will look better, and you will maintain focus on managing your business more effectively throughout the year.

So, how are you going to refresh your business this spring?

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

Group of business people having coffee break during seminar to expand your network.

Three Ways to Expand Your Network this Holiday Season

Group of business people having coffee break during seminar to expand your network.

The holidays are upon us and one of the most striking benefits of the holiday season are the opportunities to connect. There will be more networking opportunities, and alongside these opportunities, you’ll find that individuals tend to be more open and more engaged. This is what makes the holiday season a great time of the year to build new connections, strengthen and reconnect with colleagues.

Networking is critical to your personal growth and business development. So though your days are likely busy, you’ll benefit greatly by taking the time to strengthen and maximize your network this holiday season. 

3 Segments of Your Audience to Connect with to Expand & Strengthen Your Network:

  1. Connect with new people. You never know who might become strategic partners, prospects, clients, or peers. The more people you meet, the more people there will be to get to know and remember both you and your business. If you make a great impression, you and your business stand out and it may lead to new referrals. On the same token, sometimes relationships that begin slower become some of the best long-term relationships. Remember that a solid business is built on connection.
  2. Reconnect with partners and colleagues. You didn’t mean to fall out of touch with old partners and colleagues, it just happened… you get busy, you change jobs, you move on. There was once a time when you both shared common interests or had common goals. It’s never too late to catch up on things and reestablish that connection. They can provide fresh, new perspectives from meeting different people and learning different things in the time you were apart. It can be awkward at first to reach out to them, but reconnecting can energize you and bring unexpected business opportunities that your current network may not be providing.
  3. Appreciate your current clients. There is an old saying that “customers are the lifeblood of every business”. This means that maintaining customer loyalty should be a top priority for every business. It is the loyal customers who will show up, buy from you time and time again, and refer to your product and services. Consider offering special discounts or incentives to let you know you appreciate them.

We talked about the three segments of your audience above. Now let’s talk about how to partake in activities that could expand your network with each of these segments, leading to stronger sales and more business opportunities.

3 Actions to Support Expanding Your Network:

  1. Attend community networking events. Whether it is a Happy Hour format, an industry-specific seminar, a luncheon, or a conference/trade show setup, the goal is the same… Attending a networking event is the first step toward meeting other professionals and/or customers. These events can help you increase the chances of mingling with your ideal prospects who should know about your business and brand.
  2. Set up individual one-to-one meetings in person or virtually. One-on-one meetings create a personal connection, build trust, and furnish immediate feedback on the topics at hand. These meetings also create an environment where individuals can discuss their thoughts in person and collaboration occurs more naturally. When networking one-to-one, be sure to ask how you can support the individual you are meeting with.
  3. Host your own event. Hosting an event is a fantastic way for you and your business to get immediate exposure within the community and to connect people together. Small Business Saturday is a great event to participate in. In last month’s blog “How To Prepare Your Business For Small Business Saturday“, I shared 5 ways to help you prepare for this special event.

By taking the time and incorporating these steps to strengthen and expand your network, you are well on your way to ending this year strong and starting the new year with a stronger network for both you and your business.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

Support Small Business! Encourages shopping at local, neighborhood stores, brick and mortar, mom and pop merchants, community and main street entrepreneurs. Shop locl, buy local! Blue background. Support Small Business

3 Ways to Support Small Businesses In Your Community

Support Small Business! Encourages shopping at local, neighborhood stores, brick and mortar, mom and pop merchants, community and main street entrepreneurs. Shop locl, buy local! Blue background. Support Small Business

Why are small businesses so important? They provide opportunities for entrepreneurs and often create meaningful jobs with greater job satisfaction than positions with larger and more traditional companies. They also help cultivate local economies by keeping money close to home and supporting neighborhoods and communities.

In honor of Small Businesses, American Express launched Shop Small in 2010 to help small businesses recover from the recession. It was an immediate success, leading to the Senate passing a resolution in 2011 to recognize the shopping holiday and to celebrate it on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year Small Business Saturday is November 26, 2022.

When we support small businesses, it makes a huge impact! Here are some ideas to get you started in supporting the small business you love!

1. Shop Local

Retail: A local small business brings jobs to the area, and the money it earns usually stays in the community, which helps the local economy. Small businesses can also offer unique products and services you won’t find elsewhere else, and that can make great gifts. If you’re shopping for a gift and can’t decide which specialty item to select, ask if they have any gift cards or gift certificates for sale.

Food Establishments: If you like to dine out, order local takeout or have your food delivered. Restaurants were some of the hardest hit businesses in the last couple of years, due to COVID restrictions on how they could do business safely. Many establishments have implemented contactless dropoff or curbside pickup in order to reduce contact and safely provide you with your favorite foods.

For any small business, a single purchase is a good start, but if you want to make a real difference, make shopping small a lifestyle. Local brick-and-mortar businesses in your community are a great place to start but don’t forget, you can also find plenty of small businesses operating online and support them too.

2. Leave a Positive Review:

Word of mouth remains one of the best and most affordable forms of advertising, as it can generate new customers for small businesses. Word of mouth can also create a buzz and have a ripple effect if your friends also tell their friends about the company.

Spread the Word Using Social Media. This one is completely free, only takes a couple of minutes, and can be done from the comfort of your own home. Follow the accounts of your favorite small businesses. Like a few of their posts or leave kind comments. This will increase the company’s engagement metrics. Then, use your own social media accounts, like Facebook and Instagram, to post a review. Share photos and videos of yourself at the business, the store layout, or of a purchase you just made. Tag the company in the caption or tag yourself at their physical location and share it with your followers. This will add more value to your review. Even if you don’t have a large following, posting and sharing this content will help the business reach a new and wider audience.

3. Engage with small businesses in new ways

Be a loyal customer. A lot of businesses added new options such as virtual classes, to provide for their customers’ safety during the coronavirus lockdowns. These options actually helped them to evolve their business and reach people in new ways. Also, check to see if a local business has a customer loyalty and rewards program. If so, sign up for it – not only will you be supporting a local business, but you’ll get discounts and rewards for it, too.

It’s more important than ever that we continue to support small businesses! By Shopping Small, you are saying “thank you” to local businesses and letting them know you appreciate the time and effort they put into making your life better.


About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

4-ways-to-promote-your-brick-mortar-retail-store

4 Ways to Promote Your Brick & Mortar Retail Store

With today’s technology, it seems that a lot of people prefer to shop from the comfort of their homes. However, as a brick & mortar retail store owner, you can take advantage of this trend by letting your customers know online that their products are available locally. Remind them of the benefits of buying locally, so they can help support the local economy while keeping it viable.

Make a trip to your retail store worthwhile, even enjoyable for your customers. As you read these suggestions, keep in mind the customer experience that you want to share with your customers.

So let’s get started. Here are 4 ways to help you promote your brick & mortar business:

Promote In-Store-Only Deals and Excellent Service

Make the customer feel that the offerings in the store are exclusively for them. Make your customers feel special. Go out of your way to assist them with any questions, offer advice, share insights. Create an experience that is so great that they will want to shop in your store time and time again. Create an environment that is relaxing. You want to encourage customers to linger long enough to make a purchase. 

Offer Samples or Demonstrations

Demonstrations of your products are extremely valuable. You can showcase the features and benefits of your product in a way that allows your customers to physically see, hear and touch the product. If applicable, you can show how the product functions. Once a product is experienced, the product can sell itself. 

Add Extra Value With In-Store Services

Extra value or perks are very important in the sales process. When customers are looking for retailers, the best price is not always the best option. The extra conveniences you offer can be very important. For example: if you own a clothing shop, you can offer tailoring at no extra charge. This perk can set you apart from a large online retail store where you purchase a piece of clothing that may or may not fit. Online stores don’t offer custom altering to ensure the customer with the best fit. You can! Like this clothing store example, think about what special service you can provide to your customers.

If the customer knows and feels great after your services are performed, the customer will purchase again. And they’ll likely tell a friend, or two. So don’t be afraid to set your products and services apart. Make it a pleasant experience with great results and will see as they will be sure to pay off.

Create a Loyalty Program

Customer loyalty programs are programs that reward loyal customers who frequently engage with your business’s products and services. By offering a Loyalty Program, you create an effective way to increase your customer retention. A Loyalty Program can help:

  • Attract new customers.
  • Retain existing customers.
  • Reactivate dormant customers.

Spice up your loyalty programs by giving members unexpected perks like a free cup of coffee or perhaps sending a handwritten note thanking them for their purchase and being such a loyal customer. Remember that surprising and delighting your customers is an effective way to boost spending, engagement, and word-of-mouth referrals.

With the pandemic now 2+ years in the making, it is time to bring customers back to your brick and mortar store. People are eager to re-engage with everything they’ve missed, especially going to brick-and-mortar stores to make purchases. It’s time to roll out the red carpet and invite them back. You’ll be glad you did!

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.