If you’re a small business owner in a rural community, you know the struggles of staying up to date with current trends, keeping connections to the outside business world, and getting the technology you need in your area – especially if cable internet is unavailable or expensive. The good news is that advances in technology are eliminating a lot of these issues faced by rural business owners. There’s no doubt that you’ve worked hard to set up your business – so now you need to make sure it’s a success! Here are our top ways to sustain growth within your rural business:


Keep systems working

Rural businesses face a number of unique challenges and may require the use of on-site systems for their waste and heat management. For instance, properties in rural locations are often not attached to the general waste system, so require a septic tank to treat wastewater. It’s important for rural business owners to carry out the required maintenance and inspect these systems regularly to look for any warning signs that could turn into major issues. It costs around £2,000 to replace a septic tank – your business may suffer if you have to unexpectedly fork out loads of money on costly repairs. Added to this is the potential downtime while waiting for systems to be back up and running. With this in mind, proper care of your on-site systems is absolutely essential to minimise the risk of any issues affecting your business.


Use Social Media

In today’s digital age, social media plays a huge part in online marketing, so don’t underestimate its value. Setting up a social media account is free and offers vital exposure to your target audience. Posting on social media is a powerful tool that allows you to interact with your followers and attract new customers. It’s important to look for ways to make your rural business stand out on social media and publish new content regularly – if you only post once a week, your business will get lost in the volumes of content on most social media news feeds. By posting regularly, your audience will start to recognise you on social media. This will boost your business’s credibility and help you appear higher on search engines. Consider hiring a social media specialist if you’re struggling to find the time to manage your social media and post regular content.


Use marketing automation

If you’re a small rural business chances are, employing a full-time marketing manager isn’t in your budget. But just because you run a small business doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus on producing amazing marketing. If anything, marketing will be even more important to build brand awareness and grow your business. According to SmallBizDaily – ‘Investing in the right marketing automation system for your business can be like hiring a marketing manager you’ve always wanted.” A marketing automation system can keep your followers and customers engaged by sending automated emails and posting regular updates on your social media accounts. Setting up your automation and learning all of the functionalities can take time, but it’ll be worth it to streamline your daily workflow and stay connected with your audience.


Be mobile-friendly

Statistics show that mobile and tablet traffic has now surpassed desktop traffic for the first time. This means if you want your customers to know about your latest products and services, they need to be able to interact with your business from their smartphones. You can do this by making sure that your website is mobile-friendly. Unfortunately, many websites were built with only desktop browsing in mind. These traditional sites fail to provide a user-friendly experience, as they are not optimised for use on the smaller screens of mobile phones and tablets. Creating a mobile version of your website will ensure that you don’t miss opportunities for new sales via mobile devices, or lose customers due to poor user experience. Despite this, many small businesses still don’t have mobile-friendly websites, so this is your chance to differentiate your business from competitors and take advantage of the growing mobile trend.


Final thought

Rural businesses face a number of unique challenges but there are plenty of ways to overcome these and ensure that your business continues to grow. It’s important to keep any rural on-site systems well-maintained, to avoid any unexpected repair or replacement costs, and take advantage of new technologies and social media to build brand awareness and stay connected with your audience. Do this, and your business should continue to grow and be a success!

Article by Ella Hendrix ella.hendrix@sharetwentythree.com 

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