Take Local Bigger with a Shop Local Campaign

by Steve King on August 26, 2009

Featuring your local ties can give you an advantage in local business. If you’re ready to go bigger with this concept, start a Shop Local campaign.

Do Shop Local campaigns work? The research says yes. Let’s take Portland, Maine, as an example. In a 2007 survey to check the results of their project, more than 60 percent of businesses said they were seeing improved customer loyalty and sales. Almost 75% of businesses said customers had told them that they are making an effort to do more or all of their shopping at locally owned businesses. Forty percent of businesses said they had gained new customers from the project. That’s just one example. You’ll find dozens more at www.NewRules.org.

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If you are ready to create a campaign, look around at other local businesses; who is likely to help out? Ask a few merchant friends to get involved. Odds are that your chamber of commerce or merchants association would be thrilled to at least lend their name to your project.

A big part of getting people to spend their money at home is to let them know all the things that are available. For example, my friend Jeanne Cole needed lawn mower blades for her husband’s lawn care business. She was driving an hour away to a big box store to get them. But when the big box was out of the right blade, in desperation she called the local motorcycle dealer who also sells mowers, etc. Sure enough, they had the blades in stock and for less than the big box was charging. So, you may want to profile different merchants and their offerings in your campaign to build awareness.

You can also try the approach of The 3/50 Project, encouraging people to pick three local stores to visit, and inviting everyone to spend $50 a month in locally-owned businesses. http://www.the350project.net/

And don’t forget to encourage businesses to buy from each other. Bringing just one commercial contract home can make a big difference.

If you’d like more guidance to build a shop local campaign, you can find some resources at the American Independent Business Alliance (http://amiba.net). At my site, SmallBizSurvival.com, you’ll find both free shop local resources and a how-to booklet on shop local available for purchase.

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