Cause marketing for local business is focused on what you need to do to get clients walking through your door. If you want your local business to thrive being a good neighbor and contributing to the local community is the best place to start. In evaluating how to add community involvement to your marketing mix, remember that you have two goals
- Grow your visibility in the community and
- Connect with and deepen relationships with your customers
Ideally, you will find one or two community events to participate in each year. Working on behalf of your local schools, participating in holiday food drives or getting involved in a “signature event” in your community are all things to consider.
As you think about how to get the word out about your business and connect with the local community in a positive way, here are five questions you need to ask.
1) What is important to your prospective clients? Look at your current client base for ideas about how to connect with them and what’s important to them. If you get a request for a donation from a client, they have just given you a golden opportunity. You won’t be able to say yes to every request, but always evaluate them carefully and try to participate if you can.
2) Where are their unmet needs in the local community? If you know that there is a need, stepping up and getting something started will make an impact and immediately position you as a leader.
3) How can you make a difference? Look for something you can do that will both make a difference in the community and showcase your business and your staff. In fact, the people who work in your business can be the best source for deciding where you want to focus your efforts. Large corporations consider what their employees volunteer for and donate to when making their own community commitments. Bonus: if you want higher employee satisfaction and engagement, here’s your chance!
4) Who else needs to be involved? If you are thinking that you don’t have time to get spare, remember that it’s not all about you! And, time you spend getting to know people in your community will pay huge dividends in the long run. It’s true that nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
5) When will you see results? As this is part of your plan to grow your visibility and establish your credibility in your community, you need to be realistic about when you can expect to see the impact. This type of marketing is worthwhile, but it’s a farming technique, not something that yields will provide an immediate result. When it does, however, the payoff can be huge.
Do you have a plan for evaluating cause marketing requests in your company?