think biggerCommunity Downtown development and support is one of two primary areas of focus for Virginia's Growth Alliance, and Glerin is the exclusive marketing consultant.

Work has included design and development of brands and 3 websites, design of all print and digital collaterals and advertisements, production of marketing workshops for small businesses, marketing of microloan fund to small businesses, and development and execution of automated marketing.

Two factors have driven the work we do for VGA:

  • In 2012, only 15% of VGA's businesses had an online presence. Given that site locators get 85% of their information online before ever contacting localities, this presented a huge problem for VGA in attracting prospects.
  • Also, one of the outcomes of VGA's Stronger Economies Together (SET) plan, developed in 2013, was creation of a goal to promote an entrepreneurial environment and better support small businesses.

We developed a 3-pronged groundbreaking entrepreneurial initiative that is replicable across other communities. It is comprised of:

  1. Shop Local VGA,shoplocal logo square a regional online store through which shoppers can purchase from multiple small businesses in one transaction.

    PayPal distributes the money directly to each seller, and each seller fulfills independently. The site includes a searchable directory of over 1200 regional businesses, both retail and service.

    We also created an infographic to demonstrate to site visitors the importance of shopping locally.

  2. Virginia's Great Adventures, a regional tourism brand and website.Virginia's Great Adventures logo The brand we developed for the tourism initiative plays off of the "Virginia's is for Lovers" tagline by incorporating a heart to capitalize on statewide tourism efforts.

    An interactive map displays various categories of attractions. Visitors can view descriptions of each location on the map, get directions, and click through to visit a website. A business directory includes several hundred businesses that may be useful to regional visitors and tourists.

    We developed a custom Instagram module that displays photos tagged #vafun that VGA has liked on Instagram; this brings in fresh content without risking inappropriate images. Photo captions are displayed to help promote regional businesses through increased exposure.

    The tourism site is targeted at what we call "the unmasses," people who don't want to do what everyone else is doing. This turns a weakness into a strength by marketing the region as unique and off the beaten path.

  3. Think Bigger™ VGA, an entrepreneur portal and brand.think bigger entrepreneur portal This site was developed to provide a resource for new and existing small businesses to access information that will help them grow.

    We find that many people don't access available resources because they feel intimidated or fear appearing unknowledgeable. Glerin writes the site's content in a casual, conversational manner to help put readers at ease to increase their confidence.

    The site includes a searchable directory of resources, including private businesses, governmental agencies, and non-profits, as well as a calendar of events for events such as workshops.

    A Downloads section includes useful tools, including tools we created - a set of Blog Calendar Planner Worksheets and the Sandwich Marketing™ booklet. Sandwich Marketing™ is a concept we developed to help simplify the process of combining marketing resources effectively when developing a marketing campaign.