GoPlattsburgh.com to Attract Canadian Shoppers to Local Businesses
The North Country Small Business Development Center has developed a new website dedicated to promoting locally owned businesses to locals and Canadians who travel to our region.
GoPlattsburgh.com is part of a larger project, known as the North Country Marketing Cooperative. Funded through a grant from the Small Business Administration, the cooperative allows business owners to come together and promote their individual businesses as well as the entire region.
The website features valuable and hard-to-find information, including accurate border wait times, price comparisons (Quebec vs. New York), advice on where to find the cheapest gas and light-hearted information like where to find the best views in the region.
Cooperative members contribute content ideas designed to bring repeat traffic to the site. Members are featured throughout the site and are encouraged to update their pages regularly with discounts, seasonal information and more.
"This is a great opportunity to reach out to Canadian customers, a market segment that is vital to Yipes! growth and success," Jack Helfgott of Yipes! Plattsburgh said.
The Calendar of Events is a prominent feature, where anyone can contribute calendar events at no cost. The hope is that GoPlattsburgh.com becomes the go-to place for events and activities in the Plattsburgh region.
A key strategy of the cooperative is French-friendliness. The website is translated continuously into French. Members are provided with translators and Quebec flags, which are the result of sponsorship from Champlain National Bank. Members display placards with "We may not speak French, but we'll do our best to help you" written in French, of course.
The cooperative also provides free assistance with the translation of menus and signs into French.
"… almost 80 percent of my customers are French Canadian … It's time to embrace our cultural differences and language barriers and cater to visiting Canadians ..." Tom Pillsworth of Vinumport said.
GoPlattsburgh.com is already experiencing success. Canadians find the site by searching terms such as "Plattsburgh shopping."
These organic searches are relevant because they are free," GoPlattsburgh.com Coordinator Kim Rowe Manion said. "It's the valuable and up-to-date content that is creating this success."
The cooperative has also launched a media campaign with posters at Champlain Centres and pay-per-click advertisements on google.com and facebook.com. Meanwhile, members will help decide on additional media coverage.
"North Country Marketing Cooperative and GoPlattsburgh.com have given us hope that the future can be bright if all small businesses pool our resources and work together," Virginia Siskavich of Cornerstone Drug and Gift said.
For more information about GoPlattsburgh.com and the North Country Marketing Cooperative, contact Manion at 518-564-2523.
About North Country Small Business Development Center
The North Country Small Business Development Center is charged with assisting North Country entrepreneurs, small business and industry through advising, training and research. Additionally, the center provides needed services to manufacturers, women, veterans, minority and physically challenged individuals and to businesses in distressed regions. Counseling services are free and confidential through a cooperative agreement with SUNY Plattsburgh and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
About U.S. Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.