Every business, no matter how big or small, should have a marketing plan. For small businesses, generating local revenue can be exceptionally important. Word-of-mouth can be an important source of business referrals, but sometimes your business marketing plan needs to go the extra mile.
Becoming involved in your local community, or in causes that impact your potential customer base can be a good way to generate “impressions” on members of your community. For years, small businesses have partnered with other organizations to both meet a need and promote the business.
For example, sponsoring a local youth sports team is a time-honored way for small business professionals to make a name in their communities. Similarly, sponsoring local events and making charitable donations are also good opportunities to put your business name out among members of your local marketplace.
In any given year, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to support local charities and events, but how can you be sure that you’re getting the most bang for your philanthropic buck? The secret to successful business marketing through community involvement is choosing your involvement carefully.
The most natural community involvement choices are those that reflect your target market. An orthodontist sponsoring a youth soccer team or the local recreation department is one example of a “natural fit.” The youth participants in the activity are part of the practitioner’s target market, and when they need orthodontic work, they might have to look no farther than the patch on their favorite soccer jersey to find someone they can trust.
Another natural fit may be sponsorship of a charitable event hosted by a major client. In this case, your business may be donating products or services that fill a need of the event, but you can gain valuable exposure to other businesses that are affiliated with the client-host. Along with that, you may also receive some very positive recommendations.
If that kind of community involvement doesn’t suit your business, consider other ways to give. Donating a portion of your proceeds to a particular charity or cause may be the way to go for businesses like restaurants. Using advance publicity, you can draw in new customers who may want to support the charity, but have never done business with you in the past. By supporting their favorite cause, you give them a reason to check out your business!
If you’re not sure how to start becoming more involved in your community, consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club. You’ll meet many other business owners who are actively involved in both their communities and their businesses. You may also find many new opportunities to meet the needs of your community while promoting your business at the same time.