By Sandy Dubay
Posted on October 8, 2020
Filed under: Business Development, Economic Development

How will you support local businesses over the holiday season?

As we get closer to the holiday season, it’s important to think about how we can support our local shops, restaurants, and other retailers in the community.

Last year, we might have just given local businesses specialized attention on days like Small Business Saturday. This year requires more strategic and purposeful planning about how to support local businesses. They need support far beyond one or two specialized days in order to succeed.

Right now is a time to think about: What are you doing to enhance your message in support of small businesses? What actions can you take to support retailers and hospitality businesses?

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Help consumers feel comfortable shopping. Share the information about the latest protocols in place at small businesses and the opportunities and experiences available for consumers to safely take part in.

  • Encourage the community to shop local vs buying everything off of Amazon. One-of-a-kind gifts and cards can be found at local Main Street stores or boutiques. Even if you shop at the local big box retailer, that’s still a way to support your neighbors who work at that store.

  • Highlight the stores who have moved their services online. Have local retailers made the pivot to selling their goods online? You can highlight those businesses and help them to sell products, gift cards, or experiences online.

  • Check on the retailers who shut down or changed their hours of operation at the beginning of COVID. Making a phone call or sending an email can make a big difference to the business owner still trying to figure out what’s next. You might be able to provide them answers or resources they didn’t know were available.

When it comes to traditional or typical tourist destinations, many of those might still be closed. Even the “big guys” like Disney have had to get creative with their marketing, encouraging people to come visit some attractions at a safe distance now, and look forward to visiting the other attractions later.

What places can you encourage people to visit now – and which places can you remind them to be excited about returning to at a later date?

Before COVID, you probably weren’t heavily promoting your local outdoor recreation offerings. Now, you may be regularly promoting the lakes, mountains, trails or other outdoor sights in your community.

As more people are staying close to home, now’s a time to highlight activities that locals can enjoy in a few hours – rather than in a weeklong or weekend vacation. Focus on sharing the unique, socially-distant-friendly offerings in your community, while encouraging people to plan for a lengthier hotel stay once we are able to do so again.

Have you seen any great examples of creative marketing of communities as we approach the holiday season? Share your thoughts down below in the comments!

‘Til next time,
Sandy

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