Marketing your Localness

posted Friday, September 23 by Stacey Price, Executive Director of Think Local First
Market your Localness

You are local, but how do you market this to increase your bottom-line?

Well, two weeks ago I presented on this topic to a room of DIY local crafters at the HelloEtsy Summit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The tables were filled with a level of creativity that I could only wish I had but when it comes to marketing their business they were mostly stuck.

Earlier this summer I ordered a beautiful bracelet off of the site from France (I know, it was not local but it was independently made). It was the perfect gift for a friend and I was so excited to give it to her. I dreamed that it would arrived as beautifully wrapped as it was presented on the site. I fantasized about a nice note written in French from the designer that would be included. I was certain that it would include an about the artist card telling a wonderful story about the piece. So you might imagine my disappointment as it arrived in a plain shipping box with only a receipt. No beautiful paper. No thoughtful note. No way for the recipient to even know who the artist was and how to contact her.

The piece of jewelry was so artful, so thoughtful and obviously was created with the passion of a creative soul but the delivery lacked any personality. At the “Market Your Localness Workshop” I told this story to a room of people, most of which were guilty of doing the same thing. As business owners you often get caught up in having the right product, keeping the lights on and opening for business. It is what happens after the door opens that keeps people coming back to your local establishment.

Here are the four points I covered in the “Market Your Localness” workshop.
1. Tell your story
People support local business because they know, want to know or know about the owner. Use your marketing materials (about the artist card), website, blog and local media to do that. We trust people not places.

2. Engage your community
People that support local business are involved in their community. You should be too! You cannot give to everyone so pick your local charities to support based on your mission. Don’t just give money and product, give your time and expertise. Also, do not forget to engage your online community. Have an active voice on social media. Follow people that follow local causes. Have conversations with your customers.

3. Unique your packaging
Studies show that there are two main reasons that people who do not support local business feel like
that by choosing local they are losing something: Time and convenience. Though this is often just perception, it is important
that as a local business you always offer and promote your “add-ons.” This can be increased customer service, free wrap, customer
wish lists so loved ones know what to purchase, customer history files and in the case of my Etsy story— unique packaging.

4. Collaborate with your neighbor
When you join forces with other locals you increase your network, your outreach and your voice.
You can do this by joining groups such as Think Local First, partnering with like businesses or negotiating group buying opportunities
with vendors. It’s the age old saying that the sum is greater than the parts!

Stay tuned to more educational workshops coming from Think Local First DC. We want to work to make your businesses more sustainable, more efficient and more visible!