Once upon a time there was no Buy Michigan Now campaign, just one frustrated Michigan resident...well, actually there were millions of frustrated residents, and one simple idea. If we all started paying closer attention to where our dollars were going, collectively we could keep more money here. More money going to local businesses, means more jobs, and that is what our state needed and continues to need most.
How can we accomplish this? We have to determine what products and services are available from local companies. We have to convince Michiganders that their purchasing decisions can and do have an impact. We have to connect consumers to products and businesses to one another. We have to promote the best that Michigan has to offer on a local, national, and international level. That's what we aim to do, but how do we go about it?
We use money gained through sponsorships to promote all of the businesses that we represent. We ask companies, for example, to choose one of the paid listing options in the Michigan Blue Pages on our site. Those that do, get additional marketing features like website links, keywords, priority ranking, etc. Even more important than those advantages is what their dollars enable us to do with the campaign as a whole.
Think of sponsorship dollars as a co-op fund. Each business has a certain amount of money to allocate toward marketing. When some of those funds are spent with us, we add them together with the investments from your neighboring businesses to strengthen the reach of the buy local message. All of the businesses that contribute financially to this campaign, not only get a marketing return on their investment, but by combining those dollars together we are able to carry forward basic messages that benefit all. Every company that is producing a product in Michigan benefits from consumers and businesses that are committed to "Thinking Michigan First" whenever they make a purchase, even if these consumers have yet to search our directory.
Separately, it can sometimes be difficult to capture the public's attention for your product, but we are creating an audience of dedicated consumers who want to find as many Michigan-made products as they can. They want to buy services from companies that are based right here in Michigan. Sponsorship dollars are allowing us to create a brand they can count on. When they come to Buy Michigan Now, they know any business they find is Michigan-based.
Sometimes it's hard to participate in as many trade events as most entrepreneurs would like. That's another way that we support you. At BMN, when we participate in an event, we often fill our display area with products from the businesses listed on our site, so that we can create even more awareness of these brands.
I also travel around the state doing speaking engagements for community and business organizations to spread the word about Michigan-based companies and locally-made products. Not only is each of those an opportunity to tell even more people about your products and services, it's also a time to build media relationships.
Individual organizations sometimes struggle to get attention from the media. Because we bundle different Michigan products together and tell good news stories, we have been able to get hundreds of brands mentioned in newspapers, blogs, and radio shows. We've even brought at least half as many products onto television. In fact, just this morning I got a call from a television station that was looking for help with two different Michigan-themed stories and wanted recommendations on businesses to feature.
All that to say, when you choose to sponsor the Buy Michigan Now campaign with a paid listing package, you are getting so much more than a detailed listing. You are enabling our ongoing PR, providing the seed money for events, making the Holiday Gift Guides and Grocery Guides possible. You are helping us to provide guidance to entrepreneurs, build relationships in Lansing, and encourage young people to get an education and stay in Michigan. You are literally helping us to transform this state back into an economic powerhouse, one product, one purchase, one person at a time.
You can do all that for a starting rate of just over $6 a month. (That's about the cost of one lunch or a couple cups of coffee).
To those who are already sponsoring the campaign, I humbly thank you for your support. To those who have yet to take that step, I hope you will join me today in investing in our collective future. We can't keep doing it without you.
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