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LeanLocal, a Palm Coast-based technology company, launched LeanLocal.com Aug. 16. The site is an online way to find, connect to and support local businesses. A local launch party was held at PC Bike, the first paid business to register for the site.
LeanLocal.com provides businesses an integrated digital, social and mobile marketing solution, providing them a direct online connection to local consumers. It provides business owners competing in the digital era a website with photo and video, social media interface, QR code, mobile app, customer analytics and daily deals, for $360 a year.
LeanLocal was founded in 2011 by entrepreneur Chris Horton, lawyer and engineer Michael Chiumento, marketing and advertising professional Rachel Thompson and sales executive Mike Hansen. With a passion for supporting local businesses, they developed LeanLocal.com based on their experience in the small business world and their desire to help local businesses and organizations grow their market share, become more relevant, have a greater presence in online searches and help them benefit from digital technology.
“Local business people were struggling to become relevant in the local community, and everybody looks at the resources and how do they decide where they place their limited dollars and how do they determine if it works for them?” Chiumento said. “We wanted to create something that is a fundamental tool, kind of like a QuickBooks for business that every starting business would be able to use — combine search technology with social media.”
One local business that took advantage of this new market was PC Bike, which hosted the Palm Coast launch party.
“A bike shop, I think, is one of the quintessential local businesses that can involve the community and host fun things and take advantage of the bike paths in Flagler County,” said Jake Scully, owner of the shop, which has been in business for 10 years. “But being a local business, it’s a tough deal. At times, it can be difficult.”
Scully sees the site as a new way to communicate with his customers and give back to the community.
“The other cool thing is the giveback, as far as keeping the money in the local community, is awesome. I think we can do a lot of good with that,” Scully said.
The giveback Scully is speaking of is the Ambassador Program. The Ambassadors will be the backbone of LeanLocal, keeping money in their own communities by recruiting business owners to join LeanLocal.com, while growing the buy-local movement. Ambassadors will receive online training and will then generate $75 in income for each business they sign up for LeanLocal.com. In difficult economic times, the hope is that being an Ambassador will be a way to raise funds or earn additional income.
One national partner that has already signed up for this program is the Carroll Independent School District, in Southlake, Texas. The district faces an $8 million state funding loss over two years. But, through the Ambassador program, if the parents of each of the 7,800 students in Carroll ISD registered just one business to LeanLocal.com, they would bring $585,000 in revenue to the district. If each of those businesses renews each year, Carroll ISD would get $2.3 million over four years.
For the consumer, the site is free to use, offering a locally based search engine and a way to connect with favorite business through social media. The site tailors search results based on location and recommendations from social groups.
“Fourteen percent of people believe advertising, 86% believe peer recommendations,” Chiumento said. “And that’s what business in America is founded on, recommendations and referrals, so we digitized the recommendation process.”
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News briefs 5.18.2013
Judge overturns request for linguist in Miller trial; Memorial Day ceremony to be held in Palm Coast; Town hall meeting planned for Daytona North
Block party goes beach
The Palm Coast Observer, Marketing2Go, Alliance Financial and Waterstone Mortgage joined together to host the May Flagler County Chamber of Commerce block party, at the Sunrise Plaza.
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