Are you in?
That’s the question posed to small businesses by Local Living In, a Ballston Spa-based marketing company geared toward driving local consumers into local businesses.
“Local Living In is more of a concept than an actual company,” founder Juergen Klingenberg said. “It’s designed to cater to and support small businesses by bridging the gap between the local consumer and the merchant.”
The idea for Local Living In developed from a need Klingenberg noticed while running his other business, a small design company called Hound Dog Graphics, located on the Saratoga Springs-Ballston Spa town line.
“We noticed our smaller business clients were struggling with how to best spend their limited marketing dollar,” he said.
Local Living In offers clients a solution. For a $49 monthly membership fee, businesses earn a multimedia marketing package, which includes a business profile on www.LocalLivingIn.com and access to email, Facebook blasts and other Local Living In marketing campaigns.
“We create relationships with media partners, so we buy bulk advertising in the region either in print, TV, radio and we use that to promote the Local Living In program, which, in turn, promotes the merchant,” Klingenberg said. “For a small business, it’s a little investment with a tremendous amount of marketing value.”
Local Living In also offers a Buy Local program that gives consumers an incentive to spend their money in local shops. When making a purchase, customers present the free Buy Local Rewards card at any participating business to receive a Buy Local offer determined by the retailer that could be a special discount or freebie.
“We do email and Facebook campaigns where we highlight a merchant’s Buy Local offer — everything comes back to the Buy Local card,” Klingenberg said. “It’s also a tracking system so if merchants use the card and see that’s how someone came to them, they can track how their ad dollar is being spent.”
When Local Living In first launched in 2010, it included the “pocket communities” of Saratoga Springs and Glens Falls. After amassing more than 5,000 email subscribers in those cities, Klingenberg expanded Local Living In to Ballston Spa, Malta, Glens Falls, Clifton Park and most recently Albany.
“We’re now just getting ready to launch Schenectady and Amsterdam. And hopefully by the end of January we’ll launch Plattsburgh, Syracuse and Burlington, Vt.,” he said.
The more regional businesses that join Local Living In, the more encouraged customers are to use their Buy Local card.
“Rather than having a coupon program only for Saratoga, we say more sales, less hassle,” Klingenberg said. “We want to give consumers the option to use one product — the Buy Local card — instead of having to print out coupons. They can keep the card in their wallet and if they’re traveling, they can still use the card at any participating Buy Local business.”
With the card, customers can capitalize on the business’s Buy Local deals from Broadway to Burlington. Retailers can also update offers whenever they change, like when the stock of items runs out.
“There really isn’t a single other program that operates like this,” Klingenberg said. “There are other directory sites, coupon systems and print media, but what we do is tie them all together.”
Businesses can sign up for two Local Living In membership packages. Businesses that can’t offer giveaways but want to be in the Local Living In directory can choose the $25 monthly option, which includes a basic presence and business listing on the website. The $49 package includes multimedia marketing, social media callouts and email blasts, Klingenberg said.
“It really drives people into your store who otherwise might pass by every day without having a reason to stop in,” Klingenberg said. “We create that reason.”
Customers can sign up for a free Buy Local card at participating businesses or at www.locallivingin.com.