The advantage of this campaign:
- Usable all year round, adaptable to local events and needs, not just a day
- The "independent" message sounds good at the moment, it's better than just "local" campaigns
Share the right message:
- People already think that they want to shop locally, they just need a timely reminder
- Tell stories of merchants, focus on independent businesses
By Becky McCray
We have long advocated local shopping campaigns. Our communities thrive when we work more with each other. But tired old "You should shop locally!" the messages are used. We need fresh new messages that recognize our current situation.
The best new message I've heard is Shop Indie Local, created by a coalition of local organizations, including the American Independent Business Alliance and sixty partners in North America.
"Local shop" is tired
After years of working to convince people that local businesses are important, we have won this battle. Survey after poll, it appears that consumers want to shop locally, intend to shop locally and feel good when they shop locally. This does not mean that they do it systematically. They aspire there at least.
In fact, we arrived at the point of backlash. People are tired of being admonished, especially when local businesses are failing them. I think this is especially true in small towns, where there are more than a few small business owners who act a little as well entitled.
What not to say
This means that you can ban the following tired messages from local campaigns in your shop:
- Local shop! Buy local! Think of it locally first! Stay local! Eat local!
- You need local businesses!
- If you do not shop in the area, you will hurt the community
- Local businesses bring more money back to the community
- We need your sales tax dollars!
- Local stores or local businesses will fail
- 10 reasons to buy local (whatever the reasons)
Remember, we do not have to to convince people. They are also convinced that they will never be.
What works now: prompts
We won the battle to convince people that they like locals. What we need are guests or reasons to act now. You can also call this a "call to action".
I took the term "prompts" from Fogg's behavioral model. To behave in any way, a person needs enough motivation to act, enough capacity to act and she needs a prompt to convince her to act. People are motivated to shop locally, at least they tell us that they participate in surveys. People are able to shop locally, or if they do not, we can not change that with this campaign. What we can do is encourage them to act according to their beliefs right now.
New "Shop local" messages to try
Some of these ideas have been around for some time, but they still feel fresh as they act as a prompt, reminding people that they want to to shop local and that they can local store and that it's the right time to do this.
- Did you know that you can buy this (specific thing) at (specific store)?
This is a targeted prompt. If you want to buy this thing, you can buy it here.
Especially in small towns, we do not realize all that all stores offer and all the services we can get locally. I did not know how my local stores were diversified and your local customers probably did not realize it either.
Waynoka, Oklahoma, has produced a series called "Where is it" on Wednesday, presenting surprising offers in local stores. You can do it all year.
- Profiles and stories of local independents
This is a more general invitation. He tells people, "You love this person, and it's time to shop with them."
Luling, Texas, did it with a series of corporate profiles developed by Homegrown. This is another project you can do at any time of the year.
- Choose a product: toilet paper
It is another specific invitation, using a single product to encourage people to realize their desire to shop in local stores. You help them apply their values when you say, "You have to buy this regularly, you can buy it locally and you will end up buying more things at the same time."
Toilet paper is an excellent choice because everyone needs it, many places wear it and the jokes keep rolling … (sorry) Honestly, the sense of humor does not hurt.
Deb Brown explains how Greater Franklin County, Iowa, did this in this podcast episode. (The toilet paper starts about 10 minutes later.) Again, you can do a project of this type at any time of the year.
Tap National Campaigns: Shop Indie Local
It makes sense to take advantage of effective themes created by big campaigns, rather than having to create your own from scratch. My favorite national campaign is Shop Indie Local.
Why is the Small Saturday Shop not my favorite?
It's only a day and it's a day when many people go shopping in the big city.
I like all the attention that attracts in the national media, and everyone likes free things like tote bags and doormats.
This also comes with restrictions on the type of businesses that are supposed to be allowed to participate. As a local organizer, this could put you in an awkward position if your vape shop, your liquor store, your custom cutler or your sporting goods store wishes it. I prefer to leave the decision of who can participate, not the lawyers who have never come to your community.
American Express charges local merchants higher fees for customer transactions than some other card issuers. The difference is not huge, but some people are interested.
Considering all the advantages and disadvantages, you can consider participating on Saturday without making it the only campaign in your community.
Why is Shop Indie Local my favorite?
I have unofficially asked friends who are ordinary people, like your customers, what they thought of Indie Local Shop. They loved it. They felt that the addition of "independent" made it cooler and more relevant to them.
You can use the Shop Indie Local message all year long, not a single day. You can adapt it to your local needs and use it at any local event. You are not supposed to comply with any restrictions on the type of business that may participate or the type of message approved. It's much more flexible for you.
How do you use Shop Indie Local?
Stick to the new messages we just talked about, like "do you know" and independent profiles, but add Shop Indie Local.
Add the hashtag #ShopIndieLocal to your posts on social networks at any time. Like, comment, and share other posts with the #ShopIndieLocal tag, even those outside your community.
Use the Shop Indie Local logo in your local campaigns.
Do not hesitate to share your comments, to tag us on social networks or to send us an e-mail. We like to hear and share your good ideas.
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About Becky McCray
Becky launched Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share stories and ideas of building businesses and rural communities with other small businessmen. She and her husband have a small ranch and are long-time entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on topics related to small business and the rural world.
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