How many times a month does your business receive calls, letters or in-person visits asking you to donate time or money to something in your community? Chances are, the answer is more than you can count. Many businesses skimp on community activism because they don’t think they have the time or money to make a difference, or they believe spending money on big advertising will bring in more profit. But community involvement can do more for your business than you think, such as fostering customer relationships, building neighborhood trust and increasing staff morale; and there are more ways to get involved than you may know about!
The first step many businesses take to get involved in their community is joining the local Chamber of Commerce. Chambers of Commerce create the perfect environment to network with other business owners, learn from each other and stay updated on changes and events in your town. The Chamber of Commerce will keep you in the know of other ways to support the community. Studies have shown that consumers are 49 percent more likely to visit businesses that are chamber members, and they are 80 percent more likely to make a purchase at chamber businesses.
Your town’s local high school is a great place to both market your business and support the community. Many school sports teams look for business sponsorships to pay for busses, uniforms and tournament fees. In return, your logo may be prominently placed on the field or in programs. This is great for brand awareness. Not only do students notice these advertisements, so do their parents. They are grateful for the businesses that make their kids’ dreams possible. Parents will remember your name the next time they are shopping around.
Supporting your community doesn’t just come in the form of donating money. Some of the best ways to make a difference just involve your staff and your time. For example, devote one afternoon each month to staff volunteering and bonding. Treat your employees to lunch at a locally owned restaurant and spend the rest of the afternoon volunteering at your community animal shelter. Be sure to take pictures and post about your fun day on social media! Your employees will love the day out of the office. Plus, your customers will love to see the fun you guys are having!
Use Social Media
While on social media, don’t forget to be social with your fellow businesses. Give the smoothie shop next door a ‘like’ and share their post about an upcoming special. Post about how excited your staff is to hear the band performing at the local amphitheater this weekend. The Internet is the perfect avenue to cross network with non-competitive businesses, so take advantage of it! More than likely, they will return the favor when your business is hosting an event in town.
When your community thrives, so does your business. There are so many benefits to being involved in your business’s community. What are you waiting for? Find a balance that works for your business, and support causes that your team feels passionately about. At Cork Tree Creative, our team loves supporting other small businesses in the Metro East. If you are looking for a marketing with local knowledge and a wide reach, give us a call at (618) 656-7333.