As a business, community outreach is crucial to connecting to your local area. Developing a community outreach program not only helps to increase awareness for your products and services, but also strengthens your brand. Interacting with the local community gives you a chance to build and nurture relationships with consumers, rather than marketing at them.
Work With a Cause Close to Your Heart
While it helps to work with a cause somehow related to your industry, sometimes it is better to choose a cause that’s close to you for personal reasons, or one that resonates with your potential customer base. You aren’t locked into working with one specific cause – you could always create a program that rotates through local organizations that need your help.
For the best results, you should align your activities around your target market and brand image. Develop a multichannel approach so you can reach all the audiences you want to market to while magnifying influence and exposure.
Before you make any choices, take a look at your competition and see what, if any community outreach they are doing. You don’t want to just double their contribution to the same organizations or sponsor the same events. You’ll want to do things differently to make sure you stand out from the competition. You can find out what kinds of things they are doing in your local community simply by looking at their website and looking for signs of them around your local area.
Sponsor Local Charity Events
There are a variety of local events to host, sponsor, or otherwise support. Get in touch with city officials to learn about upcoming events that make sense for you to sponsor. Sponsoring events gives you a chance to put your brand in front of a lot of people.
Our philanthropic efforts include support for the Grossman Burn Foundation, a non-profit for healthcare that includes financial aid, education, and safety for those who have suffered from burns. They provide local and worldwide support.
In addition to our donations there, we also donated our services to the Center 4 Special Needs, a non-profit organization in Ventura, CA. This charity focuses on providing financial support, resources, and other services to families with children who have developmental disabilities or other special needs.
No matter how you choose to do it, incorporating charity into your business model isn’t just good for community outreach. It’s good for the community you serve by providing help for those in need. Just be sure your motivations are in the right place – focused on giving back to the community, rather than doing it for the advertising and the tax write-off. If your audience suspects you’re not operating from the heart and you have ulterior motives, you’ll damage your reputation.
Get Involved with Local Schools
Partnering with schools or educational programs can help you connect with community leadership.
You can team up with local schools to create a program that teaches students about what it is like to work in your industry and run a business. A program like this gets your name in front of the community and spreads awareness of your products and services.
Alternatively, you can set up a scholarship fund for students who are enrolled in programs related to your business’ field of work. This can boost your link building efforts because you can get links to your website from .edu domains to boost your website’s SEO. Here at Sachs Marketing Group, we offer an annual scholarship for anyone who is in a general marketing program at an accredited college.
Start Mentorship or Internship Programs
If you’re a startup on a budget, recruiting the right talent can be difficult. Internships allow you to recruit fresh faces to join the company to help you grow (and if you can afford to pay, that’s even better!) Students will learn how the business works in a hands-on way and gain experience they can use later. Creating an internship program gives you a chance to get your business in front of a younger generation who may be interested in working in your field. When you create a great experience for them as an intern or through being their mentor, they will champion for your business with the people they know.
Invest in Swag
When you sponsor events, another way you can increase brand awareness and start building relationships with potential customers is through promotional products. Options are nearly limitless and really only dictated by your industry and budget. It’s a good idea to create branded things that people use every day, such as pens, cups, tote bags, etc. If it’s not something they’ll use, it’ll end up in the trash.
Even if someone doesn’t need your services now, the recognizable branding will help you keep your message consistent so they’ll remember you when they need your services, or someone they know comes to them looking for a recommendation. When the number of people who use your brand grows, you’ll be able to create brand ambassadors who are out there working to spread the word about your company.
Leveraging community events in addition to other traditional marketing strategies gives you a great way to promote your brand to people who otherwise may not have heard about you. Adding community outreach initiatives to your overall strategy will bring in new leads, sales, and ultimately, more people who will love your brand. Make community outreach a continuous part of your effort and your will create a steady stream of new relationships and brand awareness that will keep you growing until you become a permanent beloved fixture in your local community.