American Independent Business Alliance

Keys to Effective Buy Local Campaigns


New revised edition! (April 2017)  Well-defined, organized and sustained public education campaigns have proven their ability to shift local culture and spending. In the most recent survey of more than 3000 business owners, independent business in communities with a long-term “buy local and independent campaign” reported average revenue growth of 7.4%, nearly double the 4.2% increase for independent businesses not served by such efforts. (See graph below).

AMIBA’s publication, Buy Local Campaigns that Shift Culture and Spending, is the go-to source for keys to establishing a successful campaign and avoiding the common mistakes that weaken them. The newly-revised guide is FREE upon request in your choice of English or Spanish (pdf).

If you’d like bound full-color magazines to hand others, just ask us. Thanks to American Express for underwriting production of this primer, enabling us to offer it free to you.

Why Invest in a Local First Campaign?

A “buy independent / buy local” campaign that engages your local businesses and citizens can be a powerful tool to help sustain independent businesses and neighborhood-serving business districts. Compelling data in annual surveys by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance suggest how great that benefit can be.


Get a print quality pdf or Spanish version of the graph. We also offer a simpler version with solid bars instead of bill image. Data source: ILSR 2016 survey (no survey is planned for 2017). We suggest providing a link to this page and the report.

Important clarification: Some reports on the success of these initiatives neglect to mention the surveys measure the impact of campaigns sustained by grassroots organizations that distinguish locally-owned independent businesses from franchises and chains. In recent years, hundreds of buy local campaigns have come and gone without making a measurable impact. But groups affiliating with AMIBA have a strong record of durability and impact over fifteen years (so far!). Our staff provide comprehensive support and unrivaled experience in designing and implementing effective buy local campaigns, both directly and through assisting dozens of other organizations.


Click to view decals and other materials to help you spread the pro-local message!

City governments, independent trade associations, Main Street programs, rural development agencies and many others tap AMIBA’s expertise to provide presentations, trainings and help design effective programs.

AMIBA also provides a range of outreach materials to help spread pro-local messages, including pre-printed posters, decals, pins and more, as well as many free graphics templates you can employ online right away or print in your own community. Most materials may be customized for your city, town, business or organization.

AMIBA will share examples and best practices for everything from choosing a buy local campaign slogan and logo to strategic planning and board development. Do yourself and your colleagues a favor — don’t waste time and money re-creating what’s been developed and refined by dozens of groups over 15+ years!

While every community should develop its own identity and customize its messaging, the basic principles of effective buy local / independent campaigns are universal. Too many groups have lost momentum and volunteers by spending months researching and discussing issues we could guide them through in a single workshop.

The Guide to Effective Buy Local Campaigns

Free upon request and updated regularly

Get yours free!

Seasonal Pro-Local Campaigns

While public education is a year-round process, annual events provide a great opportunity to build awareness at key times. Below are the two most prominent campaigns in the U.S. and Canada. See also our separate library of holiday campaign resources and graphics.

IndependentsWeek_WEBIndependents Week, the first week of July each year, connects “going local” with the American ideals of independence and the freedom to control one’s own livelihood. It celebrates entrepreneurial spirit, individuality, and recognizes the critical contributions of independent business to community life. This AMIBA-facilitated event offers a wide range of activities and free templates.

shopsmallSmall Business Saturday (November 23, 2017) is a national initiative to help local merchants compete during the critical holiday shopping season. It aims to drive shoppers to local small merchants the Saturday following Thanksgiving. Around 112 million Americans shopped “small” on Small Business Saturday 2016, while more than 6,700 organizations endorsed the initiative.


See also: Top Reasons to Buy Local (with source data and graphics to spread the word easily via your website or social media).

Follow one of our social media accounts to learn about these initiatives as they are released or contact us if you’re seeking to plan far ahead. AMIBA is a non-profit (501c3) organization. Contact us to help you get started on the right track and tap into the unrivaled experience AMIBA offers.

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