Another report from the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies Conference, about the holidays “shop local” campaign that any business can participate in, called Shift Your Shopping.
The facilitators were Laury Hammel, Sustainable Business Network Boston, and Joe Grafton, Somerville Local First.
The goal is to get people to understand that shifting their shopping matters. If you’re serious about shop local, you have to do it during the prime time when people are spending their money: the holidays.
The 2011 shared holiday campaign, Shift Your Shopping, was the first collaboration between BALLE and AMIBA (American Independent Business Alliance). 150+ organizations nationwide joined. Created theme, logo, WordPress website, even a theme song.
The national connection gives your participation extra weight when talking to media. The national attention on shop local, shop small makes this moment a tipping point. The American Express Shop Small Saturday media blitz can be a resource and can also confuse consumers, so some local campaigns work with it and some ignore it.
Social media connections are a big opportunity, especially if you can get other local businesses to participate and amplify through their networks.
Some communities run a month-long or longer shop local campaign. Within a longer campaign like that, highlighting individual days (like Shop Small Saturday) or a week can draw attention. A full week with activities every night may be too much and overwhelm customers, especially in small towns.
Local first responder unions (police, firefighters, EMS) may be natural partners because they know their funds come from local sales taxes.
Here are two steps to get started:
- Sign up on shiftyourshopping.org website to show as participating.
- Spend time on resources page: logos, reasons, posters, benefits. All are available for use, and most are customizable.
Resources every campaign can create or use:
- Point of Sale and signage
- Website, email, social media, video
- Gift guides: print, digital
- PR: news media, local sites/blogs
- Events: holiday strolls, sip and shops
Any individual or business can participate. There is no requirement to have an organization above you. However, only organizations are listed on the SYS map. You can adapt the logo, colors, slogan to your local situation. You must promote only local, independent business. If you have existing events and campaigns, play nice with them. Cooperate.
Make getting stores ready a big priority. Especially in small towns, many stores could stand to improve. Clean up, dress up, level up your stores. Offer training or get store owners together to brain storm innovative displays. I’d love to see business owners work together on displays, windows, and decoration. Make your local stores earn those additional sales.
Focus the campaign on experiences, not deals.
If you’re interested in other ways to spur more local shopping, take a look at our Shop Local Campaigns for Small Towns ebook.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.