Having a community that supports you is essential for survival — this is especially true when running your business. Whether online or in person, you’ll want to seek opportunities for community involvement.
After all, contributing to your community does more than just benefit your business.
With summer around the corner, it’s a great time to think about how you can get outside, get involved and get into community marketing.
What is Community Marketing?
Community marketing is all about connecting a brand to a specific community, whether on or offline. It helps you stay focused on treating your customers like people and not just numbers. And that is a key part of gaining loyalty.
Community marketing is a chance to intensify your customer relationships. By tapping into both social and emotional needs, businesses create an association between their consumer’s moral identity and the businesses they support.
Building a branded community gives a place for your customers’ passions to meet your business’s purpose.
What Are the Benefits?
- Community Growth. By getting involved in your community, you make it a better place and foster even closer relationships with others in your area.
- Brand Awareness. By making your company more visible, you provide people the opportunity to get to know your brand and build trust with you.
- Competitive Advantage. By getting out there, you can get a leg up on your less-than-involved competitors. And because customers prefer doing business with companies they trust, building trust leads to more business.
Become a Sponsor
Sponsorship marketing often goes missed by small businesses. Don’t believe the myth that you have to have big bucks to tap in. Whether you host a water tent at a 5k or adopt a few classrooms at your local elementary school, your care and support will be the star.
And the return? If you worked hard to solidify a personal connection, you’ll likely be at the top of people’s minds when choosing services.
Participate in the Local Farmers Markets
If you want ways for people to meet the face behind the brand, farmers markets are a great opportunity. While generally they’re a vendor’s paradise, service-based industries can get in on the action, too.
Catering companies can show off their cooking chops by selling meals. Salons can set up braid specialists at a booth. Even an A/C tech can use an outdoor unit as a cooling station and explain the importance of regular cleanings.
The goal is to get acquainted, so draw them in.
Host an Industry-related Event
We’re not talking webinars. Are you in the mood to party? Summertime is the perfect time to cut loose. Invite current customers to bring others in the community out for a bit of fun.
Host a block party with other local businesses to build a referral network or go it alone. If you’re a pool-cleaning business, rent a field or community center and have a fun water day.
Host a Back-to-School Event
If you’re looking to get involved but can only handle it once a year, what better time than back to school? Barbers looking to get more involved can open their shops for free back-to-school cuts and styles right before classes return. The option to partner with other local businesses exists here too.
Go big! Call the local dentist to offer checks on students’ teeth who drop in. Have a physician present to give physicals. Who better to take care of the food for the event than a local caterer? While this is a once-a-year event, it will require a bit of strategic and financial planning. But more importantly, if you can make it a staple event that your community looks forward to, you and your local small business partners can easily gain year-round support.
Collab With Other Businesses
Collaborating with other small businesses can improve leads and boost your chances of success. If you’re looking for another business to link with, consider:
- Businesses you like
- Vendors you use currently
- Companies that complement yours
- Businesses located near you
- Locally popular businesses
By working together online, you can cut costs greatly. Simply promoting the partnership on social media, both businesses immediately increase their reach. If both companies are OK providing free services, join forces for a fun giveaway.
When you’re not running giveaways, build a service package. You can’t be a one-stop shop for everything. By teaming up with local business partners, you can build the perfect package to solve your customers’ needs.
Does your brick-and-mortar shop have a specific vibe? Help your clients enjoy that vibe at home by curating brand playlists and making them available to stream.
Go general and replicate the exact music played in your office or salon, or have even more fun. Allow each employee to make their own streams to share with customers. That way, when their phone plays it, they’re reminded how much they appreciate your business.
All in all, by forming a community around your brand, you can fire up growth and build long-term relationships. And then everyone benefits, all year long.