How do you make your Downtown Famous? How do you get visitors to shop and eat at the restaurants? How do you get businesses to move in?
Miriam Schaffer and I are going to be giving a talk about those issues this week at the California Downtown Conference in Riverside, CA. If you haven’t registered for the conference yet, there is still one day, so do it!
We at the Placemaking Group have had the privilege of helping to make many downtowns famous. When we start the process, one of the first things we do is to get the group who hired us to understand that there are specific things that make your downtown different from the downtowns of neighboring cities. Sometimes if you’re too familiar with your own downtown, you don’t even realize the differentiators. That’s where we come in. We’ll talk to the people walking in your downtown. We talk to the businesses that are there. We’ll listen to what is said and what isn’t said.
What we find is that most of you actually do have a clear idea of what is different and special about your downtown. Then we help you deliver that message! It’s really important to keep in mind that you can’t deliver a message that isn’t true. People will see through that. So, the message has to be real. And it has to be delivered to the right audiences. You don’t have enough money to talk to everyone! So, really understand those who are most likely to come to your downtown and talk to them, Talk to them often!
That’s where some of the other Seven Steps come in, an effective website, public relations, advertising, social media, email marketing. These are all ways to deliver the message. You and your staff have to deliver the message regularly, people have to hear things a few times, you know!