This year has been exceptionally difficult and the thought of giving back might seem nearly impossible for your business during a time when getting by may not be so simple. But there are ways to give back to your community with little to no cost that can help your business grow and even boost your bottom line.
Plenty of studies indicate businesses that are generous and believe social responsibility is important have strong brand awareness and a loyal customer base. Here are six ways to give back in your community that can be good for your business:
1. Offer Discounts
Discounts should simultaneously give your customers a break and increase your business. Really be mindful to not undervalue your products or services--use discounts to increase customer spending, not to cut the baseline price. Consider launching a refer-a-friend program to make customers work a bit for the discount and bring in additional business at the same time. And, it doesn’t need to be a holiday to run a promotion. Doing so throughout the year keeps your brand in the limelight and top of mind.
2. Volunteer Your Time
This tried-and-true method reaffirms your position within the community and builds respect among neighbors. Wear branded shirts to gain exposure for your company name. Take social-worthy pictures or mini-videos that focus on increasing awareness for the event by showing off your community involvement. This feel-good effort attaches your brand to a great cause and can resonate with your audience.
3. Provide Your Skills and Knowledge
Share some of your skills and knowledge with the community for free! Whether it is taking the time to help a customer with something unrelated to a sale or creating a workshop to help customers learn something new, providing your knowledge can help to position you as a leader in the community. You can even leverage video conferencing to host virtual events. Take it one step further and find other interested businesses and create a regular calendar of events that are free or low-cost!
4. Sponsor Local
You may not have $10,000 to donate to a charity, but it doesn’t cost a lot to be a sponsor for the local girl scouts, a craft fair or a youth sports league. These types of sponsorships are a great way to offer support and make your brand stand out. Often, teams and events will put your company name in a prime position—increasing that local exposure. Capitalize on the public recognition and be sure to take some feel-good pictures for social media. If you want to build up your local SEO, you can post about it on your company blog too!
5. Organize a Drive
From canned goods to coats and mittens, there is always an organization in need—especially as the temperature drops. Choose local organizations to ensure your efforts impact your community directly. Make sure your own company is donating to the fund as well and not just asking others to donate. Put up flyers, post on social media and write a blog post to spread the word. You can include key details, like specific needs and drop-off spots, as well as how the organization is successful in what they do. When you find a cause you really care about, your passion will shine through and the authenticity will make your brand more personable.
6. Shop Local!
Finally, make sure you shop local yourself! Maybe this is a no-brainer as a small business owner, but it must be said. The more you are visible in the community and supporting other small businesses, the more likely people will return the favor. Be sure to promote the businesses you frequent with providing online reviews and sharing their links on your social media channels.
As you find ways to help your customer base and support the local community, overtime you will reap the rewards through customers who want to return the favor by trusting you with their business. This symbiotic relationship is how strong communities thrive. So take the opportunity to help those around you and put your business in a position of value within your community.
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