Are you wondering about new ways to market your business beyond the direct mail, social media, email marketing and advertising campaigns already in place?
Come out from behind your computer and consider taking your message straight to the communities your business serves. How do you do this? Follow our tips to jumpstart your community relations campaign:
- Meet as many people as you can
Exhibit at events where you expect to see potential customers, or, for nonprofit organizations, donors. This could mean sitting in a dunk tank at a community festival, walking in a local parade or setting up a booth during a community day.
- Be memorable
This may seem obvious, but be sure to smile, be friendly and talk to folks. Give away coupons with special offers to encourage comebacks. Bring along a prize wheel and branded items like pens, lip balm or refrigerator magnets to give as prizes or consider giving away company tees using a T-shirt launcher for bigger crowd events. Free samples, particularly of new offerings, are great for restaurants and sandwich shops.
- Think outside of the box
Unlike traditional marketing where businesses essentially pay through an advertising spot or direct mail piece to reach their audiences, community marketing is comprised of relationship-building strategies. Knowing the pulse of what matters to people in your target market is your key to success. There’s really no right and wrong way to market this way. Simply find out what’s important and brainstorm on ways to communicate your message in conjunction with an important sporting event, for instance.
- Get to know the movers and shakers
Make a point to meet the corporate community, as well as school district superintendents and athletic directors. You can do this easily by joining local chamber of commerce groups or a Rotary Club and networking with members. If you have the time and resources, you could also meet and brainstorm with influencers outside of the business meeting setting.
- How can I help you?
Once you have laid the foundation for getting to know your community’s key influencers, find out what matters most to them – and how you can help. Maybe a community organization is struggling to find enough hands to install a new playground or a sports team is short on funds for new equipment. Either of these examples could be great ways your business could help and get its name out there in the process.
Theresa Katalinas got her start in community marketing as the editor of several Patch.com Websites from 2010 to 2014, where she employed many of these ideas to build and grow the readership and audience of these online news sites. For more tips on how your business can reach its community, call Theresa at 215-519-8833 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.