Local businesses are stronger together than alone. Your competitive advantage is derived from the local and industry knowledge you possess along with the market power (resources that enable you to attract and retain customers) built. As you forge relationships with other local businesses, you all grow stronger by gaining access to the collective knowledge and power of each other.
This post explores one of the simplest ways to demonstrate support for local business, while encouraging other local businesses to lend support back to you. I refer to it as “Share Local.”
Share Local is the simple act of sharing something another local business is doing with residents. Successful local businesses have resources (typically email lists or Facebook followings) for sharing interesting content with customers. By featuring an event or promotion of another local businesses nearby as “cool local happenings” your customers think of you in a new light (as a valuable resource for local information), your content becomes more engaging to your audience and the businesses you lent support to become indebted to you and your business -- and so in turn do the same for you.
Here are a few ways to Share Local and grow stronger:
1) Share via your Facebook page. It takes about a second or two to like another business and share one of their posts on your wall.
2) Feature one or two other businesses local events in your email campaigns. This one might take a couple minutes, but it also saves you from having to come up with all of the content yourself, and demonstrates your connection to the local community!
Side note: on average two local businesses comparing email lists typically see less than a 2% overlap rate. Therefore, by simply sharing event and promotional information with one other local business you could almost double your reach. Imagine the potential if you were to regularly share with five other local businesses!
3) Share at checkout. When someone is checking out at your business, share a local insight or two with the customer. Sharing what’s happening at other local businesses makes you stand out with customers as one more reason they should support local business owners.
I encourage local businesses in our Alignable network to regularly employ the power of sharing. When a local business posts an event or promotion, others share it with other local businesses nearby. Then other businesses in the community share it on their Facebook walls and get recognized by the businesses they are supporting, as well as others in the community. Here’s an example of what happens next:
In this case, The Blessed Branch with 400 Facebook Fans of their own gained exposure to 556 additional Fans on Facebook through others.
Share Local is a mindset. As a local business owner, you are already predisposed to supporting other local businesses, so why not take it to the next level and spend five minutes a week supporting them. You may find that it does not take long before others are doing the same for you!
Eric Groves is the co-founder and CEO of Alignable (www.alignable.com), the free social network for local businesses and organizations to connect and collaborate with others nearby. Eric has been a local marketing expert and enthusiast since 2001, authored The Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing, and believes that local businesses are always stronger together.