Support the Local Economy

By 
Eric Oberembt
Guest Opinion

It’s no secret the last 18 months have been difficult on the Omaha small business community. As COVID-19 continues to play a role in everyday operations, a strong sense of uncertainty remains. National Small Business Week, held last month, offered a perfect reminder for Nebraskans to reaffirm our commitment to our small business community by celebrating their accomplishments and shopping locally.

I’m proud of how my business, and others in the Omaha business community, adapted to the circumstances of the pandemic. In honor of this week, I want to share how I survived the economic downturn to hopefully teach other business owners how they can prepare for future challenges.

When stay-at-home orders first went into effect, I knew we would have to change the way we market and operate in order to stay in business — even our roofing company would need to increase our social media tactics in order to reach new customers.

Deciding to get creative, we invested heavily in our social media platforms to keep customers in the loop and up to date about our services. We shot videos to give our customers an inside look into our roofing process, from inspection to completion, and how D&M roofing was following the new COVID-19 safety protocols. Experimenting with social media tools at the beginning of the pandemic has paid dividends in the long run, helping us reach thousands of Omahans that might otherwise put off roofing and siding projects.

Take for example our Facebook Live on Memorial Day where we continued our yearly tradition of giving a local veteran a free roof and spreading messages of support for Omaha’s veteran community, virtually. Nearly 400 people tuned in to this year’s Facebook Live, helping us both celebrate veterans and spread the word of our roofing business.

In addition to these videos and live events, targeted and thoughtful use of social media ads has been a cost-effective way to ensure our brand reaches ideal audiences. For example, we use Facebook ads to target areas that recently experienced inclement weather, like this summer’s storm in Omaha. As a result, our dollar stretches further than it might have if we used more traditional advertising tactics like billboards. Even though we launched our effort to digitize our roofing business during the pandemic, it’s something that will certainly remain a part of our business strategy when things finally return to normal because of the business it has brought in.

 My business is just one example of small businesses in our community that have adapted and pivoted to new tools in order to survive. By adopting some of the digital tools and strategies laid out above, you too can set your small business up for success. It’s also important to note that, while all of our social media strategies helped direct attention to our business, without a willing customer base, it would’ve all been for nothing. Thank you to the Omaha community for supporting small businesses during this time of change and innovation.

Small businesses throughout the city have taken big steps in putting their name out there — now it’s time to meet them halfway by shopping locally!

 

Eric Oberembt is president of D&M Roofing. Learn more at facebook.com/dmroofingomaha.

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