For many local business owners, time and money are a scarce resource, so it’s often difficult to find the means to properly promote or market your business to gain and retain customers. Not to worry—as a local business, you have several key advantages that can work in your favor that will draw customers in with just minimal effort.
Your business is unique, invested in the community and you keep more money circulating in the local economy, and your customers should know this. Take these five steps to begin marketing your business as a local business:
1. Know The Facts
Countless studies have shown the benefits to supporting local businesses:
Money spent at a local business generates up to four times more wealth and economic activity compared to money spent at a national chain.
Choosing a local business can be more environmentally sustainable, since independent businesses cut down on processing, packaging, and transportation waste.
If every family in the United States spent an extra $10 a month at a local business instead of a national chain, over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to our economy.
This all means that individual consumer choice makes a difference, and by supporting local businesses, you’re supporting economic and environmental sustainability for your community.
2. Talk To Your Customers
This is the most direct method to promote yourself as a local business. Start a conversation with your customers by asking them why they chose to visit your business. Tell them their choice to support a local business means they are making a direct investment in their local community and supporting local jobs.
Let them know their sales tax dollars are going directly to support local schools, libraries and safety services.
3.Train Your Staff
Your staff is your portal to your customer base, as they interact with first-time and returning customers on a regular basis. Have them thank customers for supporting a local business as they purchase their goods or services. Encourage staff to engage with returning customers to give them the unique attention they wouldn’t receive in a big box store. Take all necessary steps to ensure that you have the best customer service available.
4.Tout Your Local Status
Use all the opportunities available to promote yourself as a local business. Print “Thank you for supporting a local business!” on your receipts or hang educational banners in your storefront. Talk about the history of your business on your website and in your social media. (Join the conversation on #LocalFirstAZ.) Highlight your charitable giving and your roots in the community, as community members will more easily identify with your business.
5. Join a Local Business Organization
Nothing confirms your status as a local business more than a big red Local First Arizona sticker in your window. You’ll also receive a listing on the online local business directory that receives more than 20,000 unique searches per month. But most importantly, you’ll be joining a movement and supporting an organization that works every day to bring awareness to the benefits of supporting local businesses. Find information on membership by visiting localfirstaz.com/join.
Local First Arizona has promoted the “Buy Local” message for many years now, and consumers are now constantly looking for new local businesses to support.
By following these five easy steps, any local business owner can harness their local advantage to appeal to new and returning customers. Marketing yourself as a local business empowers your customers to make positive consumer choices in the community, allowing them to feel good about making the choice to support a local business. They will want to repeat this feeling over and over again, and will return to your business to do so. You can learn more about the local movement at localfirstaz.com.
Kimber Lanning is the founder of Local First Arizona. This is a regular series of columns from Local First Arizona on local sustainable economy issues. Get involved as a member or volunteer of LFA by signing up atlocalfirstaz.com.