Northallerton is a market town with a family department store and a variety of small independent retail businesses, which give the town a special appeal.
Because of the pandemic restrictions and the associated rise in internet shopping, Northallerton Rotary saw the need to promote and preserve these businesses by encouraging people to shop locally.
So, the Rotary club has been at the forefront of a campaign called ‘Around the Town with Northallerton Rotary Club’.
Every fortnight, Rotarian Emma Biggs interviews over Zoom a different business owner or manager, which is then promoted on the club’s Facebook page.
The owners are encouraged to spread the Facebook posts to friends, family and customers.
Publicity chair, Phil Roser, explained: “During this informal discussion, the Rotarian asks the business representative questions about the business and its relationship to the town.
“This may include its location, a brief history of the business, opening times, the services and products they offer, and their social media presence.
“At the end of each interview the business is asked to offer a raffle prize. The purpose of the raffle is to encourage people to watch the full video and to share it with their friends.
“To enter the raffle, people are directed to a landing page on the club’s website where they can leave their name and email address.
“An autoresponder is used to reply automatically to the entrants and build a list of contacts.
“This also allows the club to contact these people with information about future Rotary club events.”
The first interview was conducted with Carmel Carrick of Zetland Wines to emphasize that Zetland Street businesses were open despite the road works
Phil Roser said the scheme, which began last year prior to the latest lockdown, has been hugely successful.
It has helped to grow the Rotary club’s Facebook page audience, and the contact list grows as each business circulates the post among its customers.
The post is also boosted with paid advertising for one week after the interview is posted.
It has helped to grow the Rotary club’s Facebook page audience, and the contact list grows as each business circulates the post among its customers.”
“This helps to promote the business being interviewed while also expanding the audience of the Rotary club’s Facebook page and list of contacts,” added Phil.
“The club’s website contains details of the interviews, with a link to the Facebook posts.
“Feedback on this campaign has been very positive, and the initiative has been enthusiastically welcomed by the town’s businesses.
“This is a project which will continue into coming years, because not only is it an inspired way to help our local businesses to survive and hopefully thrive in future, but it also subtly exposes the role of Rotary in supporting local trade.
“This, combined with several other local community projects, puts the good name of Rotary firmly in the public eye.
“The bond forged with local businesses should also help the Rotary club with future events and fundraising.”