Best Practices

How to Connect to Main Street Businesses with a Shop Local Campaign

Published Nov 23, 2016 by Lauren Caldwell

How to Connect to Main Street Businesses with a Shop Local Campaign
With the holiday shopping season upon us, it’s vital, now more than ever, to encourage entrepreneurs to leverage shop local/small business campaigns to fully maximize the economic impact on local communities. This year, shoppers are expected to spend an average $935.58 this holiday shopping season. Ensure your local businesses are receiving their slice of the holiday money pie.

Why does it matter if shoppers spend their money at a locally owned business as opposed to a big-box retailer? Isn’t all money spent in a community essentially good money?

Nope. Let’s break it down.

Not only do small businesses outnumber large corporations and make up for more than half of the nation’s jobs, they also generate 70 percent more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail. It’s simple. Money spent locally, stays locally. It all makes up this amazing entrepreneurial ecosystem that we’re trying so hard to support and grow.

SourceLink’s Maria Meyers defines Main Street entrepreneurs as business owners who have physical brick-and-mortar businesses like hair salons, grocery stores, coffee shops or clothing boutiques. Main Street entrepreneurs support the local economy by strengthening partnerships among small businesses and community organizations. (These are your Resource Partners in your network).

According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, businesses who participated in a “Buy Local” campaign reported an average revenue growth of 8.6 percent compared to 3.4 percent for those who did not participate.

Here are a few ways to help your business owners leverage the holiday shopping season to your community ecosystem’s advantage.

Connect and promote your Main Street entrepreneurs through a Shop Local campaign.

Forget about Black Friday. In 2010, American Express started an awesome campaign geared toward small business owners called Small Business Saturday to focus on shopping local the Saturday after Black Friday.

Shoppers are encouraged to shop local and become “neighborhood champions” by hosting welcome stations in their local shopping districts while business owners can download free marketing materials. Mark your calendar for November 26 and show your love for your community’s small businesses.

Participate in Small Business Saturday by using the hashtags #SmallBizSat and #ShopSmall.

 

 

Take your shop local campaign a step further and host an interactive Shop Local map.

SourceLink affiliate KCSourceLink created an entire #ShopLocalKC campaign around Kansas City’s locally owned businesses by utilizing the SourceLink ShopLocal Map. With more than 150 local businesses listed and highlighted on an interactive map, shoppers can filter businesses by type, zip code and distance. Local entrepreneurs can get in on the fun by submitting their own business to be listed (and you can start building that email list).

Here are a few more quick ways to encourage local spending this holiday season (and beyond).

●     Spread the Main Street love and share tweets and posts from your entrepreneurs on your social media outlets.

●     Tell small business owners about the resources available to them (your Resource Partners) to maximize their holiday campaign. Do this through direct messaging (more personal and effective), your newsletter or as a post on social media (least personal).

Does your economic organization host a shop local campaign?

Need help connecting entrepreneurs and increasing you and your Resource Partners’ visibility? Contact us—we’re here to help you identify resources, connect and empower entrepreneurs and measure your efforts.