While you may be focused on the latest marketing trend to boost sales, leveraging corporate philanthropy is a great way to connect with customers. Read this post for ideas on how to get started.
The business world has grown extremely competitive. Even the most novel products and companies face significant competition. So how do you distinguish your business among the crowd and promote loyalty to your brand? A newly popular tactic among businesses is to give back to their customers and community. In addition to aiding company growth, helping others can increase positive attitudes towards your business and even improve your health and happiness. All of these factors contribute to a better and more sustainable company in the long term.
To help get your business get started, here are four simple and effective ways to give back to your customers and community:
Treat your customers well
Your customers are your most valuable asset. They’re the number one reason that you’re in business, and they can (and should) be your biggest advocates. Once you acquire a customer, the work doesn’t end – instead, you must continually nurture your relationships to ensure that they remain loyal to your company. Remember that customers buy more than your product, they buy an experience with your business, which means you should make it a meaningful one that keeps them coming back for more.
So, how do you give back to your customers? Think about your company values and get creative! Send a personalized thank you card, offer unique incentives or a loyalty program, tell their story on your site or social channels or make their next purchase “free.” Above all, treat them with respect and let their voices be heard. Your business will benefit in the long term.
Be active in the community, and don’t be afraid to talk about it
Your community is part of your business. You gain inspiration and service from your local environment, so make it a priority to give back. Community service has tons of benefits, from increased employee satisfaction to better health. There’s no better way to spend a day or half-day than helping others.
Start your search on sites like: Volunteer Match and All for Good. You can enter your location and search for non-profit opportunities in your area. Don’t want to volunteer during business hours? Consider signing your team up for a weekend walk or run to raise money for a cause of your choice. You can be active while helping others – talk about a win-win!
After you incorporate community service into your business routine, don’t be afraid to tell the world! Dedicate a page on your site to community outreach and post your activities on your blog and social channels. Update these pages regularly with pictures, quotes, and links that encourage your visitors to learn more and get involved. The heightened focus on community support will help your business stand out and create a positive emotional connection with your products and services. Most of all, your customers will respect your philanthropy and be proud to spend their money with you.
Offer valuable information and advice (for free)
There’s more to running a business than generating revenue. In fact, providing valuable information without charge creates an experience with your brand that can’t easily be replaced. By informing your customers about industry tips and trends, you’re inherently enriching their lives, which helps customers place a higher value on your products and services in knowing that they came from a knowledgeable company.
One of the best ways to distinguish your business and highlight your industry expertise is to focus on the topics that help your customers succeed. The information you provide should be directly related to your product offering. For example, if you sell yoga apparel, you can include frequent posts detailing workout routines and health practices for your readers. By providing helpful information, you’re presenting yourself as an industry thought leader. Your readers will reference your site for trusted advice and tell their friends. Whether you’re offering samples, tutorials, free designs or lifestyle tips, your customers will appreciate it.
If you don’t already have a company blog, create one and include frequent posts with industry trends, advice and tutorials. A few of our favorite blogs are LinkedIn and Whole Foods. In addition to company updates and events, they list plenty of helpful information free, from job advice to favorite recipes!
Help your customers give back with every purchase
What better way to support a cause than to include it in your business plan? Companies like Toms Shoes and Out of Print Clothing have mastered the art of helping customers give back when they buy. Toms Shoes donates a pair of shoes to a child in need with every purchase, and Out of Print Clothing partners with Books for Africa to donate a book to a community in need with every purchase. Both these companies offer incredible products and clever programs that allow customers to give back without trying, all of which provides them a serious competitive advantage.
Not ready to change up your business plan? Try adding new products that provide a donation (courtesy of your company) to a charity that you support. You could also create a holiday-specific campaign, in which you donate money or goods to a local charity for every purchase or group of purchases made on your site. Not only will you make it easy for your customers to contribute, you’ll also encourage more sales by appealing to the heightened spirit of giving during the holidays. Whichever you decide, make sure to advertise these campaigns on your site and social channels to increase awareness.
Corporate philanthropy and acts of kindness are quickly becoming a new wave of business tools for the future. As your business grows, you can’t forget where you came from and those who helped you get there. Take it from our core value to “Rock the Golden Rule:” treat others how you want to be treated and your business will benefit.
Anjuli Desai, Volusion