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“Buy Local” Isn’t Enough: How to Adapt Delish’s Customer-Attracting Method to Your Local Business

Buy local and keep the money in our community” cry many local retailers and restaurateurs.  Yet guilt is not the top motivator to inspire spending – unless you’re a nearby farmer

Saving money is top-of-mind for us as consumers. Instead, offer greater value and convenience. Also generate more local visibility without spending more. 

That’s what the online food site, Delish is doing, in partnership with Hearst. It’s a method you can adapt to your business – whether you operate a consumer-serving outlet or an online-only business. (Here I’ll describe how brick and mortar businesses can benefit.)

Delish is placing a Hearst-provided Coupons & Deals section on their home page.  Consumers print out coupons to take to local stores.  They can find new coupons each week and opt-in with their email to get coupons delivered directly to their computer.

What if you:

  1. Ask your neighborhood merchant association to organize a similar offering. If not the merchant association, approach your chamber’s small business section – or recruit owners of nearby consumer-serving businesses that have a good reputation  – like you.
  2. Post the “Coupons and Special Offers” section on the association’s site and on the site of all participating members, with a link to a common landing place where the printable coupons are displayed.
  3. Provide fresh offers regularly, if not weekly.
  4. Include an opt-in place for site visitors to provide their email.  (Acting collectively you’ll attract more site visitors and sign-ups and reduce the cost of providing this service).
  5. Invite a local, online web designer to create and maintain this service for a reduced fee – shared by all – in exchange for prominent visibility on the site plus a link to the designer’s page that describes how she can offer this service to other groups. (Let that online expert be the up-to-date geek while you focus on making your business better.)
  6. Announce this valuable new  “Save Local” service to your neighborhood or local paper, radio stations, hyperlocal sites (like Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighborhood, and Everyblock).
  7. Encourage consumers to write their names on all coupons they turn in. Whoever uses the most coupons each month wins a free gift from a participating merchant.  Merchants rotate in providing the gift (that the winner pick ups at their place.) If the gift is not a direct match for the winner’s needs, they are invited to give it to a friend.
  8. Jointly promote special events like “Mondays for Locals” for which people can print out discount coupons or, better yet, a “free with…” offer to use at participating restaurants, hair salons, stores, bars etc. Then Tweet your customers each time a fresh offer is available – just as Poke, a British baker does.

Categories: community, Customer, SmartPartnering and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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  1. Posted April 14, 2009 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    With the global reach of the web we all forget sometimes that it can be a powerful local marketing tool as well. Thanks for the excellent post.

  2. Posted November 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    I ran across this post searching for a product that I wanted to find in my local area. This post really explains some of the reasons I was wanting to buy local. In these tough times it is important to support local businesses, farmers, etc. I wish more businesses around my area would offer special coupons and incentives for buying local. Great post!

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