Each time you take your business to market, you’re stepping into the arena. To succeed, you need innovative strategies to stay top of mind. Developing a community outreach program is an excellent way for small businesses to gain local traction and up visibility without a huge investment — simply put, a high return on investment. Here are three community outreach ideas for small businesses that add real value to your marketing campaign.
Community Outreach Ideas for Small Businesses
Work with Schools
Approach a school and offer it something that their funding typically won’t cover. It’s a win-win for them, so they’ll rarely decline the offer. What’s in it for you? Schools encompass the entire community. Students connect you to families and families connect you to neighborhoods. At the local level, this is even more effective than social media marketing.
Students are also a great mouthpiece for your brand. They talk and share more widely than most other groups, and your reach is truly limitless if you maintain a long-term relationship with a school—few other groups have new faces cycling in every year. In other words, you can set into motion a chain of brand promotion events with one initial donation.
Work With NGOs
Just like schools, NGOs are often short on funding and open to mutually beneficial partnerships. By offering them products or services in exchange for positive publicity, you’ll build a respected brand image and foster highly profitable relationships. Host a fundraising event for an NGO and you could get your brand’s name on their staff’s shirts and caps, your logo on their marketing materials, etc.
NGOs have high contact rates with the general public. They go place to place, person to person, focusing on attracting interest for their cause, so even volunteering at their events will increase your visibility. It’s also gratifying as a business owner to help an organization make a difference, particularly if you’re passionate about their cause.
Pool your efforts with other local businesses. Put on a free event for the public or table at an annual event that attracts high numbers. The more you collaborate with other business owners, the more you get your bran’s name out there. And you mind find business partners for other co-marketing efforts in the future too.
Add Your Name to a Message
This costs a bit more, but it’s also a superb way to build rapport with people. What you need is your brand’s name or logo next to a message. Look around and you’ll easily find people wanting to put up a message. Get this message put up for them, and next to the message, put your logo. Having a catchy name helps. Does it work?
Yes. People often ignore the marketing stuff around them, but they rarely do it with messages. Very few people pass by a message without reading it. In other words, it’s one more area where you get to attract the attention of a large audience without much effort. How to do it?
It’s simple: your name next to the message. Just one catch: make sure the background theme is plain, the message is short and your name is the only thing noticeable on the board other than the message.
A sense of community provides people with a sense of belonging. If you can manage to associate your product with the emotions that a strong sense of community elicit, you will be forging a sense of trust with your prospective clients. Community outreach is a great option for growing your product, but it takes a lot of respect and consideration. Remember, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Volunteering Photo via Shutterstock
I think community outreach do a lot more than just help people. It also teaches your team to care more than just the money that they are earning and even let them connect with people.
That’s correct! There are a lot of benefits outside of just money when doing community outreach. It’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in your community and do good for them!
Many small business owners forget that they are part of a community. By offering your time and or money to the community you are not only giving back to those that support you but will build relationships faster than any other marketing campaign.
Good article. One nice thing about all your recommendations is that they work equally well online or ‘offline.’ Schools and NGOs, for example, often value online support — sharing, cross promoting their messages, etc. Depending on your online presence such online engagement can also build your small business brand and connections in the community.
The importance of community involvement when you have a local business can not be stressed enough. Mostly everyone will interact with a business that they trust or recognize.