Slice | Community Engagement Marketing
As a small business owner, you provide more than just a service or product to your customers — you’re an active part of encouraging community. Local businesses are the lifeblood of neighborhoods, and whether you’re a long-standing institution or the “new kid in town,” giving back to your community can pay dividends.
In fact, according to Entrepreneur Magazine, 82 percent of consumers factor in corporate responsibility when they’re deciding how to spend their dollars. Investing back into your city or neighborhood can differentiate your business from non-local, chain alternatives.
Here are some easy ways you can give back to your community:
Roll up your sleeves and volunteer
Often the easiest place to make a good impression and boost your involvement in the community is where there’s immediate need. Are there after-school programs that need donations? A local park that needs a clean-up? Mobilizing your staff and representing your business in a way that directly gives back shows that you care about your customers and your community.
Donate goods to a local event
Another way to help out a local cause is to sponsor a beloved event or charity. Restaurants, for example, could offer to cater a Little League baseball game once or twice a season. Attendees get to enjoy your pizza while they attend the event, and it boosts your business’s reputation in the process. You might snag some future customers from the slices you donate!
Similar to donating product, sometimes what’s most helpful to a local cause is fundraising or a financial donation. Try raising money for a local cause (new picnic tables in the park or for the animal shelter) to show direct impact. There are a few ways to make this happen: you can offer to donate a percentage of every sale back to a cause, or you can offer to match donations you collect from patrons. The most straightforward approach works, too — a simple, direct financial donation to a cause that will benefit your neighborhood.
Cross-promotions with other business
When you think of how to support your community, what probably comes to mind is community spaces — parks, schools, etc. Don’t forget about other local businesses! Think about how you can capitalize on your strengths and those of your entrepreneur peers. Hosting a “pairing” event across two different restaurants, like “Pizza and Ice Cream Date Night” could be a great way to draw in fans of both businesses. Don’t feel as though you need to only stick to restaurants, either — partnering to cater a listening party at a local record shop or a movie night at a neighborhood theatre benefits you, your partnering business, and your community.
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