Owners and experienced independent retailers ask this question for their best tips. From reaching out to your local media to starting a community-voted “retailer of the year” award, several strategies may help you maximize your benefits from independent retailer month.
Reach Out to Your Local Media
Independent retailer month is more in the mainstream these days, and journalists in your area likely want to cover it! Scoring screen time on the local news station or morning TV/ radio show can be a way to promote your products and services, but don’t forget your town’s local old-school newspaper too! Since many reporters want to shine their lights on independent businesses during July anyway, there’s no reason you can’t be the star of their shows.
Erin Banta, Pepper
Join a Mastermind for Your Retail Industry
A mastermind is an excellent resource for independent retailers to gain valuable insights. Think of it as an unofficial advisory board of like-minded business owners who want to see everyone in the mastermind succeed. Since being an independent retailer can be lonely, taking part in a mastermind is a way to network, compare notes, and get advice. You can join a mastermind or even form your own that caters to your retail industry and business model.
Peter Babichenko, Sahara Case
Collaborate with Local Stores to Host Events and Discounts
Make the most out of Independent Retailer Month by collaborating with fellow local independent retailers in hosting contests, events, or discounts throughout the month. Join Fourth of July events because they always have big crowds.
Collaborating with other local stores is an excellent way to extend your reach to their network while returning the favor simultaneously. Collaboration is my go-to strategy during Independent Retailer Month and has helped me grow my network significantly. We always acquire many new customers through word-of-mouth from other stores, which is an excellent boost to our marketing.
Brogan Renshaw, Modelers Central
Although Independent Retailer Month has been taking place in July for nearly 20 years now, many people still don’t know about it. So this year, like every year, raising awareness is critical. I would suggest taking a multi-pronged approach to creating buzz and making the most of the opportunity. For one, I would leverage email marketing. To the extent you have an email database of local customers, use it! Bring inactive users back with discounts and make everyone aware of the positive social and economic impacts shopping locally can have.
I would also leverage the warm summer months and many events that happen in early summer to advertise the event. Sponsor banners on Little League fields, post flyers around town, and consider paying local kids out of school for summer to drop off flyers on doors. You can do a million little things to raise awareness for Independent Retailer Month, and I wouldn’t lean too heavily on one approach.
John Ross, Test Prep Insight
Hold a Contest
Hold a contest with a product giveaway during Independent Retailer Month. It’s a great way to draw attention to your business and get customers to visit your website and social media. We had a lot of success doing this around Father’s Day, with a giveaway of one of our 20-Quart Rotomolded Coolers. We filled the cooler with Starburst candies and invited dads to guess how many Starbursts were inside it. The dad with the closest guess won the cooler. It was a lot of fun and drove a lot of clicks to our website. It would be a great idea to do something similar for Independent Retailer Month.
Marcus Hutsen, Patriot Coolers
Implement a Points Program
Instead of a blanket sale or discount, try a points program; for example, the more you spend, the bigger the discount. Doing this will encourage shoppers to make bigger purchases rather than just giving discounts on all small purchases. Both large and small discounts are incentives, but a points program will increase your sales margins much more significantly. Plus, more products give customers more reason to love your store and become return shoppers.
Eric Elggren, Andar
Create a Digital Marketing Campaign
Create a digital marketing campaign to raise awareness of supporting independent retailers. For example, during Independent Retailer Month, a business could write a blog post on the topic, curate weekly Instagram posts, offer a discount, and create a themed newsletter. Show your audience how they are making a difference by purchasing with independent retailers – it will inform the future buying power of your consumers.
Amrita Saigal, Kudos
Donate to Social Initiatives
By donating a percentage of the purchase price of July sales to your social initiatives invites customers to join in on your good deeds. And you can generate more excitement in your community by selecting a local charity that shares your passion. Customers will feel inclined to share your efforts on their social media channels when they see your business supporting folks in need or raising awareness for issues in your area, which will help spread the word. It may even get your good works featured on local media outlets, drawing more attention to your cause and driving more foot traffic to your business.
Maria Shriver, MOSH
Update Your Website
Improve and update your shop’s website to make it presentable in time for the Independent Retailer Month. Ensure that it has the correct business address and contact information and displays the current stock and prices. The site should be accessible from mobile devices, and the contact form should work properly. Revamping your shop’s site helps improve its online presence to create a strong and competitive brand. The business can introduce its latest offerings, stand out, and earn support from customers of the independent retail marketplace.
Max Hauer, Goflow
Revamp Your Local SEO Strategy
One of the best things you can do is utilize your Google My Business profile (or your broader local SEO strategy) to boost your map's visibility during Independent Retailer Month. Doing this allows you to target keywords related to your store, show photos and updated information from within the maps results, and show Google My Business articles when people search for your brand.
Ensure that your Google My Business profile is completed filled out and that you've added:
a) all of your relevant services
b) as much information and as many photos as possible to show potential customers everything about your store.
You can also then choose to promote deals or offers from within your profile, which again shows your support for Independent Retailer Month and allows you to target a wider audience with time-sensitive offers.
Saadia Hussain, Pearl Scan
Start a Community-Voted "Retailer of the Year" Award
Ask your community and local newspaper or council to get involved and curate a process for an annual “Independent Retailer of the Year” award to be given to a community-chosen business. By polling within the local paper and on their website leading up to IRM, you can promote the month for every local business, including yours, and take the chance to recognize a great small business owner. With voting in the hands of locals, they’ll buy into the cause, figuratively and literally.
Brian Dechesare, Breaking Into Wall Street
This article was written by Brett Farmiloe and originally appeared on Score.