Outreach is an important part of a successful marketing strategy. From using GMass to send outreach emails to industry insiders and journalists, to making connections with other professionals within your industry by attending local and national events, there’s a lot on your plate when it comes to outreach.
However, if you’re not including community outreach in your broader outreach efforts, you’re leaving things on the table that can greatly increase the success of your business.
Community outreach means more than just posting fliers in the local coffee shop. Here are a few community outreach tips that will take your business to the next level.
One of the simplest, and most effective, outreach options is to volunteer in the community. It’s the best way to show other members of the community that you care, and people like to do business with local companies that invest in the community. Not to mention, if you make volunteering part of your company culture, you’re likely to attract media attention.
Volunteering can benefit your business in a variety of other ways too:
- It’s a great way to engage current employees
- It can help you recruit new employees
- It can help employees develop both personally and professionally
Although you can volunteer in your spare time, you’ll have to most impact volunteering during regular business hours because it shows the community that you think it’s worth taking time off work for.
Donating time can be difficult. Especially if you’re a startup who needs every spare minute to work on building the business. If you’re strapped for time, but you’re not strapped for cash, consider supporting a charity instead.
Donating money to a charitable cause shows people that you care about more than just your business. It’s also a great way to boost employee morale, if you let your employees choose where the funds go, and it can provide you with some great marketing opportunities. Philanthropic efforts can be shared with local news outlets, and you can write about them in the company blog.
Host or Contribute to an Event
Although volunteering and donating can be great ways to engage with the community, they aren’t necessarily the most fun. If you want to have a good time while you do some community outreach, consider hosting or contributing to an event.
That might mean hosting a dinner for members of the community inside your store or office, or it could mean partnering with other businesses to throw an event at a local park. You can sponsor local concerts and events, and you can set up a booth at a concert or the farmer’s market. As long as you get out there, share your business with the community, and are open to having fun, you’ll attract new locals to your company!
Start a Scholarship
Scholarships are a great way to connect with the community and get a little coverage for your efforts. It’s also a feel-good strategy for you and your employees. It feels really good to help someone go to school!
Setting up a scholarship program does require quite a bit of work, so it’s important to cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s. Determine how often the scholarship will be distributed, how much money will be given, and how you’re going to determine who wins the funds.
In addition, you have to make sure you follow the IRS’s rules for company scholarship programs. If you do, you may be able to take a tax deduction, in addition to making someone’s school dreams come true.
Hold a Contest
If the idea of creating a scholarship program seems like a little too much work, think about holding a contest instead. People love winning free things too!
Social media contests are the easiest way to give things away for free. A few ideas include:
- Creative photo contests
- Voting promotion for likes
- Video contests
- Guessing games
- And much more
Social media contests are great, but they aren’t your only option. You can hold contests for customers who refer new customers, you can have people enter a drawing when they come into your store, or you could host a contest at the next trade show or event.
The next time you feel like you need a boost to your outreach efforts, think community outreach. With the ideas on this list, you can connect in an authentic ways with community members, and you just may boost morale and increase your bottom line in the process.