Small Business and the Community: Buy Local Campaigns

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Small businesses bring diversity and charm to a community, but it can often be hard for them to compete against corporate chains and outlet stores, which, while they usually don’t have the same basic appeal have the resources and often the price points that allow them to siphon business away from local competition. With this in mind business owners and local governments can put together local business campaigns that can help them to raise awareness of local businesses. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons surrounding the organization of a local business campaign.

It takes time to plan a local campaign. No matter what the scale of the campaign you put together, in the end it is going to take time away from your schedule to plan it. An answer to this is to try and get other local business owners on board and spread out the responsibilities involved in an awareness campaign. Ideas for supporting local business include printing posters or decals that you and allied businesses can put in your windows, or all chipping in to put an ad spot on the air that demonstrates the range of businesses in your area. Appealing to local government is another option, in which case online petitions and letter writing campaigns can potentially move lawmakers to honor local initiatives.

A successful local campaign relies on community coordination. In order to get a campaign to yield real results, it needs to have visible participation and a sense of legitimacy. For this reason, you may wish to read about how to run one before you get started or even engage external help. SCORE centers are also good places to go for advice on how to promote local small businesses, and writing to local papers to promote your campaign is also a good idea. Spread the word both in store as well as through social media and other available channels, and consider adding incentive for attendance by promoting sales or specialty product offers.

When done correctly, a whole neighborhood of small business owners can benefit. Most people think sympathetically towards small businesses, so when a put together local campaign hits their radar map they will be inclined to participate. Make sure that local participating businesses have a logo or decal clearly displayed indicating their participation. When shoppers have a good experience at a participating business, the next time they see a shop local logo they may be more inclined to go in, remembering both the cause and their level of personal  service.


Photo Credit to Pippi Konstanski on Flickr

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