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Shop Local / Do’s and Don’ts of a Shop Local Campaign

Do’s and Don’ts of a Shop Local Campaign

A sign that says, "Buy local or good-bye local".

Some shop local campaigns are widely successful and others not so much. What separates a successful shop local campaign from an unsuccessful one? Let’s look at a few of the Do’s and Don’ts of shop local campaigns…

The Do’s

  • Do clearly define what “local” means to your campaign.
    It is helpful to be clear about what it means to shop “local”. Does local refer only to a geographical area or does it refer to a type of business (e.g. independently owned). Campaign organizers should be clear so that businesses do not feel left out or confused about whether they qualify or not.
  • Do target campaign messages to different audiences.
    A successful shop local campaign caters to multiple audiences. Clearly defining your audiences allows you to craft specific messaging relative to their needs.
  • Do create a logo and distribute a campaign kit to local businesses.
    Shoppers need to see your message everywhere! Create a recognizable logo and include it on promotional materials, and make sure those materials are distributed to local businesses.
  • Do utilize social media effectively.
    A successful shop local campaign must utilize social media! Encourage shoppers to “share” their local shopping stories or use it to highlight local businesses. Social media also provides an excellent space to run contests to further promote your shop local campaign.
  • Do consider incentives.
    Many successful shop local campaigns included contests or incentives that encouraged people to shop local. Social media is a great place to do this, but there are other ideas like ballot draws, stamp cards, etc. that does not always require technology.

Now, let’s have a look at some of the most common Don’ts

  • Don’t neglect diversity!
    For your shop local campaign to be successful, a wide variety of views should go into creating it. Make sure your campaign organizers represent a diverse range of community members so that a variety of perspectives can contribute.
  • Don’t focus on feelings of pity or guilt.
    Try not to shame people into shopping local – the focus should be on the benefits of shop local, avoid guilt-tripping tactics or trying to invoke pity towards local businesses.
  • Don’t forget non-retail businesses.
    A narrow focus on retail stores seems to be a common theme among shop local campaigns. Highlighting local non-retail businesses is crucial so people know they’re just as important to support! Many non-retail businesses tend to feel left out of shop local campaigns so remember their needs as well!
  • Don’t forget to provide “evidence”.
    It’s always a good idea to remind people of the benefits of shop local. Don’t forget to make this a part of your campaign! Some people like seeing statistics, others want to see more personal stories – try to include a mix of approaches.
  • Don’t solely focus on individual shoppers.
    Shop local campaigns almost always focus on the shopping choices of the individual, but they are not the only consumers that matter! Schools, governments, and other local institutions should also be encouraged to spend their money locally.