Sunday, December 12, 2010

:: twelve, no, thirteen! ways to help support businesses you believe in ::

from its title, you may be thinking this post isn't very me. but it's a topic that means more to me with each day i pass as an entrepreneur and a member of a handmade community. with each new friendship i make in "the biz," with each shop i discover and sometimes even rediscover after a long time, with each marketing decision i make, i become more interested in thinking about how we can all help one another more.

so i give you this post.  

thirteen ways to support businesses you believe in

  1. buy from them. duh. moving on.
  2. “distribute” their wares, their name, etc. on facebook (i.e. julie green “is loving every single item in the such-and-such shop, especially this” with a link) or on social shopping sites if you use those (i myself don't, but my twitter friends swear by wishpot, kaboodle, polyvore...)
  3. tell your local stores to stock them. follow this up by telling the business proprietor that you’ve already done this -- then he/she can follow-up appropriately.
  4. sign up to be an affiliate if they have an affiliate program. every blogger i know has now or at one time had an amazon affiliate account. for each click on an amazon link that blogger gets, like, a penny. but sometimes affiliate programs are good, and sometimes they’re even downright lucrative, and sometimes it doesn’t matter how much you get in return since you’re probably going to plug the heck out of someone you believe in anyway.
  5. include a link on your blog (in the sidebar), offer a free ad spot, etc. ask the person whose business it is you’re supporting if he/she can provide you with a small banner. chances are good the answer will be a happy YES!
  6. if you have your own business, offer to do a cross promotion or to collaborate.
  7. put their items on your christmas and birthday wish lists, or even on your wedding registry if you can figure out how.
  8. ask them for a stack of business cards and give them out to people you run across. my husband keeps a stack of my business cards in his wallet and he’s always giving them out when someone needs invitations or papergoods or graphic design, etc.
  9. wear, give, or otherwise show off their goods to others, then brag about where you got them. this one’s a big one. you can tell people over and over how cool everything at the infusion shop on etsy is, and they may eventually mosey on over to google and see if they can find infusion, but if they see you wearing your gorgeous, organic plum infusion bag and realize that this is, in fact, the bag they have been searching for their entire lives, they’re probably going to follow-through more quickly and completely.
  10. recommend the business owner for an interview on your favorite blog, in your favorite magazine, etc. you might go tell etsy to include me as a featured seller, for example.
  11. help out with seo. write up your favorite businesses using the right keywords. incoming links help websites rise in the search engine rankings. the better the keywords, the more bang for your blogging buck. to find out what keywords you should use, see what kinds of words the business’s own website tends to use. ecofriendly? irreverent? handcrafted versus handmade?
  12. if you have made a purchase in the past, offer to write a little testimonial for their website. be specific about why this purchase was a good decision, what was pleasant about the shopping experience, etc.
  13. provide feedback! let the proprietor know what you like and what you’d like to see in the future.