Local communities are always looking for a way to stay vibrant and attract shoppers. Nationally, many small communities are struggling to keep their downtown areas as well as other parts of the city vibrant. It is not uncommon to see store and business closures and vacant store fronts. Many down town areas often look abandoned.
Yet there are many advantages to supporting local businesses in your community. First, locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, and keeping store fronts open eliminating vacant lots.
Second, locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community, they keep money circulating in the local community.
Third, local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers-which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.
Sandra stated “I noticed that the cornerstone of our local communities, the businesses, have been suffering from not only the bad economy but losing customers do to lack traffic and inability to get the exposure needed to keep customers coming in. This has caused many business closings, and vacancies, thus negatively impacting whole communities, the local economy, property values, and causing an increase in lost jobs.”
Even the White House agrees saying “From the mom-and-pop storefront shops that anchor Main Street to the high-tech startups that keep America on the cutting edge, small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our Nation’s promise. These businesses create two out of every three new jobs in America, helping spur economic development in communities across our country and giving millions of families and individuals the opportunity to achieve the American dream”.
There are some basic tips that a local businesses can take to help bring in more customers. Here are just a few that where shared by Ms. Alexander of Salelynn Marketing.
1. Proper Signage – Often businesses over look this basic need. If you’re looking for or are dependent on foot or vehicle traffic you have to be visible. Often times a business will chose a location that is not easily visible from the road or sidewalk. In many cases, the main source of traffic is vehicle traffic, that traffic is moving at a considerable speed and the driver has but a couple of seconds to view a sign. That sign MUST be visible, easy to read and clear. That means it needs to be positioned at the right height and the lettering needs to be big enough to be seen from the road several feet away. Otherwise, drivers will drive pass never knowing your business is located there.
2. Location, Location, Location– We have heard this time and time again but many businesses make this mistake. Not only do you want to choose an area that has established foot traffic but you also want to be sure that you choose a location that is easily accessible, especially from the road. If your business is located on a road that is, say unfriendly, such as a road that is dangerous to turn from or on a seldom traveled road or it if it’s located on a one way street, you’re going to face challenges getting people in.
3. Networking- Businesses owners need to network with fellow business owners in the community and refer their customers to each other in an organized, continuous, tractable fashion. They also need to build a list of buyers or customers so that they can continually send offers, updates and communication to them. Businesses often have a similar type of customers but offer non-competing products or services. They can use that to their advantage. For example, if you own a massage spa likely your customers would also be interested in getting their hair or nails done. Or perhaps you own bridal store, it’s likely your customers would need Jewelry or a florist. Being able to refer buying customers to other community business can do wonders for keeping the neighborhood vibrant. Doing this automatically, on a consistent basis and offering an incentive to the customer with little to no work on the business owner’s part is ideal.
She mentioned that many business owners overlook this easy way to generate 20 to 60 new and repeat customers a month. Because of that it prompted Salelynn Marketing to build the Community City Deals Network which as she put it, is a digital way to create a “lead Wheel” where 5-10 non-competing businesses send customers to each other by use of coupons and special offers. This new way of networking, digitally, also allows businesses to build a list of customers that they can market to over and over again.
In essence, each business is referring its customers to other non-competing local business and to the friends, family and social connections of those potential clients. A viral coupon if you will, each businesses coupon is listed and displayed in each non competing location for customers to view and share which they can immediate redeem by visiting that neighboring business. Taking the idea of top of mind marketing and impulse buying to hi tech levels.
Congressman Paul Ryan was quoted “Strong communities honor the dignity of every person, rewarding effort with justice, promoting upward mobility and build solidarity among citizens.”
Ms. Alexander agreed and saying “Salelynn marketing has a strong commitment to helping businesses and keeping small town America and its neighborhood businesses going. I want to drive down each street and not see 1 vacant lot or empty store front. I think we all want that for every town and city and by helping each other it can be done.”
A lofty goal but one that we hope all cities and town can reach.
To learn more about Digital networking and creating your community lead wheel contact Sandra Alexander at 888-281-5450 or SalelynnMarketing.com