Small businesses have incredible stories. From mom-and-pop shops passed down through the generations to burgeoning start-ups looking to make a breakthrough, each small business has a unique history and purpose. This is its Main Street Story, part of what separates it from big box chains and national competitors. In a world where consumers show an increasing desire to buy local, a business’s Main Street Story can be its biggest asset.
Research shows that consumers do indeed want to support local businesses. According to the 2014 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, 94 percent of U.S. consumers say that shopping at small business makes them feel good. Two-thirds of consumers say they patronize small businesses because they value the contributions that these businesses make to their communities. These consumers know the value of small businesses, and they’re willing to seek them out. Now, make sure they find yours by being vocal.
Join a Buy Local Group
Buy local groups are advocates for their members within the community. They connect consumers with small businesses through online directories, social media and community events. What’s more, they produce real results. According to the 2015 Independent Business Survey, produced by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and the Advocates for Independent Business, businesses located in cities with an active buy local campaign experienced average sales growth of 9.3 percent in 2014. Businesses in communities without an active buy local campaign, on the other hand, experienced average sales growth of just 4.9 percent. To get started joining a buy local group, see if national networks like the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) or the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) have a local chapter near you.
Get on Social Media
Social media allows businesses to engage consumers in two-way conversation. Start a conversation about your business’s history, values and community involvement. Consumers expect their favorite businesses to be on social media, and your Main Street Story is the perfect content to get started. Post an old photo of your business for #throwbackthursday or introduce your followers to your newest employee. You can also share your story through a guest post on Independent We Stand’s blog.
Talk to Your Customers.
When it comes to sharing your story, your current customers could be your biggest advocates. According to Nielsen, 84 percent of consumers say word-of-mouth is the most trustworthy form of advertising. Strike up a conversation with your customers at the point-of-sale – make sure they know who you are and why you’re in business. Chances are, they’ll appreciate the work you do even more, and they’ll probably tell a friend!
Never miss an opportunity to share your Main Street Story. By working with other small businesses in the community, staying active on social media and talking to your customers, consumers in your community will learn to appreciate your business even more.
This post is part of a twelve-month series by Independent We Stand. Each month, we’ll feature a new way to promote your small business. If you have a tip or tool that you’d like to share with small business owners, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Independent We Stand inspires small business owners across the country to celebrate their locally owned status and help consumers understand the importance of supporting them.