As small businesses work to carve out their own niches in a given market, they may have one key advantage over larger competitors. Whereas large corporations or multi-chain stores are seemingly everywhere, small businesses tend to be localized and operate independent of distant executives or corporate boardrooms.
This feature enables small businesses to form direct, long-lasting relationships with individual communities around the country.
And because small businesses are able to quickly adapt to new changes in a specific locale, they are better positioned to benefit from increased community business activity.
To capitalize on their positions in the marketplace, small businesses can create a “shop local” campaign. Here’s how:
Get involved with other businesses
Though it may seem counterintuitive to work closely with other businesses — even competitors — when it comes to boosting community awareness, the more exposure you can get, the better. One small business can hardly attract enough attention to create an involved movement, but by partnering with others, the campaign can gain traction and reap rewards.
This means cross-promoting across industries, sharing event space, offering credits or rebates for participating businesses and forming strong B2B bonds that may come in handy in the future.
Increase marketing efforts
The community needs to know what’s in it for them. Unlike larger companies, small independent businesses typically utilize local resources, whether they include equipment, employees, products or services.
Supporting small businesses is an investment in residents’ own communities, because as businesses succeed, more jobs are available. Small-business owners should promote their efforts through enhanced social media engagement, advertisements in local papers, radio stations and TV, and involvement in community meetings. By directing more capital toward marketing in the time leading up to the “shop local” campaign, owners can help fuel higher turnout for business-related events and potentially increase sales.
Create a loyalty program
Once the community is aware of the campaign, the key is to keep them active. The success and longevity of a campaign hinges on how well owners are able to generate repeat business and lock in loyal customers for the long term.
To accomplish this, small businesses should create incentive programs to keep customers coming back for more. This could mean electronic payment options, frequent-customer discounts, promotional sales or a reward points system. If customers know they can save money, then they are more likely to stick around.
Access alternative financing
To fund “shop local” efforts, small businesses need adequate working capital. A quick infusion of cash can help owners expand their marketing networks and hire more employees to account for higher buyer activity.
Working with an alternative lender is a quick and easy process that provides the funding needed, without the additional hassle of dealing with lengthy credit checks and application periods.
Follow these four steps, and you’ll have a successful “shop local” campaign.