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Grow Your Business Sales & Marketing

‘Buying Local’ Emerges As Go-To Marketing Plan

Small business has latched onto the grassroots “Buy Local” movement and commandeered it as a legitimate marketing strategy.

Slightly more than half of small retailers recently surveyed by American Express (51 percent) said they believe there is a growing “buy local” sentiment in the United States. The American Express OPEN Retail Economic Pulse, a survey of retail small-business owners with storefront locations, also found that a majority (55 percent) believe “buy local” campaigns can help small businesses compete in challenging economic times.

Even more small retailers (57 percent) said they are planning to execute “buy local” marketing campaigns in 2011. One in five small retailers also plans to give more of their business to local businesses in 2011.

The biggest incentive for doing business with local companies is better customer service, according to 36 percent of the companies surveyed. The second most-named reason for doing business locally is that it supports communities by creating jobs.

Business owners who are putting “buy local” campaigns into practice are increasingly using the Internet to convey that message.

The survey revealed half of small retailers currently advertise on local business review sites such as Yahoo! Local and Yelp. At least 1 in 5 (22 percent) said it will use social media to offer local promotions.

Overall, slightly more than half of small retailers said they will use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter for their businesses in 2011. They expect to either keep social media plans the same as 2010 (14 percent) or increase their use of social media (37 percent).

The survey also found that men are more likely to believe “buy local” sentiment is growing than women are (59 percent versus 47 percent). And, geographically, It found that small retailers from the central northern states are more likely to believe “buy local” sentiment is growing than from any other region ― 49 percent, versus 39 percent in the South, 37 percent in the Northeast and 38 percent in the West.