Small businesses based in regional towns can create a super-duper competitive advantage for themselves simply by making considered contributions to their local community.
Meaningful and mindful contributions to a local community can provide your business with visibility to existing and potential customers. It can help position your business as a local player who is passionate about the town, and it can help build customer loyalty with the people who want to support the businesses that support them.
The most effective contribution to a local community is not about handing over cash to any organisation that asks. While that is a very generous and appreciated act, the most powerful effects of contribution are felt when your business defines where they can make the most difference in the community and then go about applying this contribution to the chosen areas with all guns blazing.
So many warm-hearted and generous businesses lack strategy behind their local contribution. And this lack of strategy can lead to diluted results.
Paying it forward and contributing to your local town can really help your community thrive. However, it can also be a powerful marketing tool. There is absolutely no reason why our contribution cannot also supply us with a return on our investment.
Here are four steps that will help you pay it forward and create a win, win for everyone involved.
Add up all of the contributions you have made in the past financial year and list all of the organisations or people that you have donated to.
The dollar amount will give you an idea of how much of a contribution budget you are already spending.
Now that you have a budget, the next step is to consider who your target audience is and think about which organisations or people on your list would also resonate with this audience.
For example, would your target audience think it’s important that you sponsored the local business awards or donated a prize to the local primary school trivia night? Are there some donations on this list that could perhaps be donated to causes that:
a) aligned with your brand and
b) aligned with what your target audience cares about?
Are there any other organisations that your customers are passionate about that you could consider adding to your list?
Let’s face it, as small businesses we don’t have money growing on trees. If we are going to contribute, it makes sense that this helps our business in some way.
After all, the more successful we are as a business, the more we will be able to contribute back into our local community.
Ask them exactly what it is that they would like from you. Perhaps it’s more than just money. They might like some volunteers to help them out or some help to spread the word about their cause.
Then write a list of objectives of what you would like to get from the contribution. How can you achieve maximum exposure from this sponsorship?
Don’t just rely on the organisation or person that you have contributed to, to tell the world about your contribution. Share this out via your channels as well. Email your customers about the experience, publish it out via your social channels or include details about who you support on your website.
The effect of your contribution can be measured by looking at whether your contribution helped the organisation achieve its goals as well as assessing if this contribution helped to achieve yours.
Contributing to your local community is a powerful marketing tool. It can be used to let more people in your community know who you are and what you are all about. It can position your business as a vital player in the local community and most importantly it can drive customer loyalty.