2020 has been a long, rough year for almost everyone. Within the United States, cities and states have seen a wide variety of impacts from COVID-19 and many states have been hit harder than others.
In this post, we take a closer look at how Milwaukee small businesses have handled 2020 and what the future holds for them.
The Milwaukee Small Business Profile
There is a strong presence of small businesses in Milwaukee.
In Wisconsin alone, there are over 455,000 small businesses that employ 1.3 million employees.
The three largest industries for small business employment in Wisconsin are manufacturing, health care and social assistance, and accommodation and food services.
COVID-19 & Milwaukee
Like many other cities throughout the nation, Milwaukee has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus. As of early December 2020, the state was recording 77,988 cases and 787 deaths.
The 2018 population of Milwaukee was 592,025. If you use that population figure, it suggests that approximately 10% of Milwaukee locals have contracted the virus.
These are shocking statistics that have had rampant repercussions across the state. Most notably, small businesses have seen a negative impact on their bottom lines.
Small businesses in Milwaukee have struggled during the pandemic. Firstly, increasing unemployment rates have meant that people have less disposable income.
The unemployment rate almost doubled from 3.2% in October 2019 to 6.3%.
It's been awful to see the rise in unemployment and unfortunately, it's impacted small businesses and minimum wage workers the most.
With fewer people spending discretionary money, small businesses have felt the impact the hardest. These businesses aren't generating as much revenue and many have had to let their employees go.
For the businesses that have remained open, day-to-day operations are more challenging.
Businesses have to make room for social distancing, meaning they can only serve a handful of customers at a time. If a customer is crunched for time, they may choose to leave rather than wait in line, costing that business a sale. And, unfortunately, while the company adapts to new regulations, rent stays the same.
So, sales are down, but the bills remain high.
The small businesses that have managed to make it to the end of 2020 likely did it by transitioning some or all of their business to be online. So, what's next?
Looking Ahead for Small Businesses in 2021
While there seem to be some hopeful advances in vaccinations, this pandemic has taught everyone that we cannot predict what is to come.
Small business owners should know things may never go back to what they used to be. Customers have gotten comfortable and used to digital services that connect them to local businesses.
If you want to thrive in 2021, you'll need to be prepared to continue (or start!) with a robust online presence.
Customers want to support their local small businesses. There is an understanding that the big corporations aren't the ones that need help right now.
So, as a small business owner, there should be two goals in 2021:
- Make sure your business is easy to find online
- Make sure your business is easy to interact with online - whether that's making appointments, contacting the business, or making a purchase.
Start with Milwaukee SEO
Your answer for staying connected to your local audience is finding a Milwaukee SEO company to help you build your digital presence.
A digital marketing agency like Agency Jet will help you build out your local SEO, so your brand becomes a local staple.
Steady SEO work means more growth for your brand. Like this Agency Jet client saw over the last 12 months.
An SEO agency will help you rank higher on organic search results, such as when someone searches for things such as "your industry or your service + Wisconsin" or "your industry or your service + Milwaukee." So, when people try to find your business online, it'll be easy to do so.
Next, if you're putting all this effort into getting people to find you online, you also want to make sure that it's a positive experience once they land on your website.
An SEO Milwaukee company will help you optimize your website for an enjoyable user-experience by building out easy-to-follow site navigation, improve website speeds, remove broken links, optimize images, and more.
This ensures people who visit your website complete actions you want them to complete (bookings, purchases) or leave with a pleasant perception of your brand.
Lastly, an SEO agency will help you with a few other items, such as:
- Garner local reviews and respond to reviews (also known as online reputation management).
- Gain authoritative backlinks from credible websites to improve your digital presence.
- Produce content marketing materials
Now is the Time to Invest
It may sound like shocking advice to be told to invest in marketing during a time of hardship, but now is the time.
With the right marketing strategies, you can regrow your business to make up for any losses you may have experienced during 2020. Not to mention, SEO is one of the most affordable marketing strategies in comparison to other options.
Unlike paid advertising, SEO continues to perform and isn't reliant on a budget running out. It also provides results that will continue to deliver long-term.
Agency Jet is a leading marketing agency that specializes in Milwaukee SEO. As a local Milwaukee SEO agency, we understand our state's intricacies and know how to get you to stand out against the local competition.
Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation so we can discuss your business goals for the upcoming year.
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