Now in its third week, the program has already generated over $8,000 in local receipts with no signs of slowing down.
The holiday campaign is the brainchild of company co-founder Julia Seebach, who in 2004 started Downtown Grid in Sacramento, California as a way to promote her favorite neighborhood shops. Independent businesses loved the idea of a locally-run website highlighting their neighborhood, and the company quickly developed a unique set of complimentary marketing services.
Give and Get Local is simple but effective. The first 100 people who spend $100 at any combination of locally-owned shops can send their receipts to Downtown Grid and receive a $25 gift certificate in return.
Downtown Grid began promoting the campaign November 1st by hanging posters and distributing flyers at participating businesses. Within a week the company had already received 25 letters stuffed with receipts from just the Sacramento area. After two weeks the number was up to 50.
“We love this program because it rewards people for holiday shopping at independent stores instead of malls and chain stores,” said Lacadia Olsen, owner of Cuffs, a favorite Sacramento clothing boutique, and member of Downtown Grid.
Give and Get Local is just one of several annual promotions used by Downtown Grid to drive traffic into locally-owned shops and restaurants. After five years, Seebach and team have learned what works, and what doesn’t.
Local marketing is a crowded and challenging space, but Downtown Grid has some unique aspects that have allowed it to succeed where others have failed. For example, the company sells its services exclusively to locally-owned businesses, and is focused on helping communities retain their local character. The company also dispensed with traditional advertising sales long ago, and instead uses a subscription model and that allows member businesses to enjoy constant promotion year round.
In addition to Give and Get Local, Downtown Grid promotes members online, in print and on the ground. The website, at downtowngrid.com, features content written by locals, including reviews, blogs and event listings. The site quickly attracted a loyal following and has become an online hub for the communities that it serves. “Our brand and our website became so popular where we started in Sacramento,”
Most Downtown Grid marketing services are available only to members, but the Give and Get Local campaign is open to any locally-owned business and costs nothing to participate. “Our number one goal is to help communities retain their unique local character, so we invite all locally-owned shops to participate in Give and Get Local to give this program the biggest possible impact,” said Adam Smithline, President and CEO.
About Downtown Grid, Inc:
Downtown Grid introduced the concept of offering marketing services to locally-owned companies on a subscription basis in Sacramento, California in 2004. With a unique portfolio of online, print and in-person marketing channels, the company has attracted hundreds of members while delivering real value to the communities in which it operates. The company’s website, downtowngrid.com, offers locally-generated content including shopping tips, upcoming events, restaurant reviews and community resources.
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Downtown Grid is a local directory that highlights locally-owned businesses and features tips for local shopping, dining and events. The company also provides marketing services to local businesses online, in print and on the ground.