You may make the greatest widget in the history of man, and it may even make the world a better place, but if the buying public doesn’t know about it, you aren’t likely to be very successful. Your business like all businesses, small and large, need to get the attention of the buying public. Making sure that your potential customers know you exist is how your business succeeds and grows.
I’m pretty sure this is not a big surprise or for that matter a surprise at all to you or any business owners. And you’ve probably done most of the things that conventional wisdom suggests – paid advertising, social media, website, and every other thing you could think of or that someone suggested.
Now you can add a powerful tool to your strategy, one that has been used by big business and corporations around the world. Cause marketing, aligning your brand with a social cause is an effective and mutually beneficial way to expose consumers to your brand. It can do a whole lot more, too.
Social responsibility is a strong selling point when customers are considering purchases. Today more than two-thirds consumers are willing to pay more for a product from a company that has a positive impact on society. Social responsibility is especially strong among this now largest group of consumers; it’s probably a good idea to listen to them. Today’s consumers, of all ages, are more willing than ever to put their money where their hearts are; the power of cause marketing is growing every day.
Exactly what is cause marketing? Very simply it is a way to connect cause with commerce to make a difference in a community – local, national or global. There are many ways that a business and a nonprofit organization can work together for their mutual benefit, including donations of cash or resources, volunteering or participating in or sponsoring a fundraising event.
This can pose a problem for many small businesses; they often don’t have the resources to make a donation or sponsor an event. Volunteering is always an option, but most small business owners just don’t have the time though they certainly can encourage and reward staff members who do.
There are a number of less costly (at least upfront ways) to support a cause. You can donate a percentage of profits from the sales of an item or for a specific day.Or you can include a product for sale in your store on your website that supports the cause, such as a t-shirt or cap.
Of all these, a partner rewards program can be the best way for small businesses to move into cause marketing. The partner rewards program provides donors with an incentive which encourage donors to patronize your business. A tiered rewards system where larger donations garner greater incentives, not only increases the donation amount to the nonprofit can get your business additional visibility. Coupons for a discount percentage or buy one get one free or for a discounted amount are the most popular form of partner rewards.
People are for the most part charitable, but they do spend much of their lives as consumers. Offering your customers rewards in conjunction with their donations demonstrates your appreciation of their willingness to support your selected cause with their hard-earned funds.
Going back to the title of this blog, here are six reasons “Why Your Small Business Needs Cause Marketing.”
1. Gain An Edge With Consumers
Cause marketing can give you an edge with consumers. A Global Study states that 53% of consumers believe “When quality and price are equal, social purpose ranks as most important factor in selecting a brand.” Customers tend to be more loyal to brands that support nonprofits that reflect their values.
2. Connecting With The Largest Group of Consumers
Millennials have recently bypassed the baby boomers as the largest consumer group. This generation, more so than the ones before them, feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world. An online study conducted by Cone Inc. and AMP Insights suggests 69% consider a company’s social and environmental commitment when deciding where to shop, and 83% will trust a company more if it is socially [or] environmentally responsible.
3. Retirees Also Want to Support Causes
Retirees have an interest in supporting causes that matter to them as well. They have more disposable income than previous generations. Because they have the time now, they, volunteer and want to be involved. Many, if not most, of theirconsumer decisions, are influenced by their desire to leave the world a better place for their grandchildren.
4. Connecting on A Deeper Emotional Level
The most successful advertising makes an emotional connection with consumers. By aligning your business with a cause, you have an ‘extra’ message to connect emotionally with your loyal customers and potential new ones. You can share with them why you developed this partnership and how it will help this cause. By building a stronger relationship with your customers, they become loyal supporters.
5. Shared Marketing with Your Nonprofit Cause
Co-branding, having your logo on your nonprofit partner’s website and materials all expose your business to new set of potential customers. A partner reward that offers a discount along with a donation will generate new business. Since they already support your nonprofit partner that connection puts your business in a more favorable light. When communicating with your client base, be sure to include these new customers and thank them for their business.Remember that your best efforts won’t have any results if you aren’t getting the word out to the community. Include your cause marketing completely into your marketing plans and strategy.
6. Create a True Partnership With Your Nonprofit Cause
A true partnership will have more benefits beyond new customers and donors. By working cohesively, you can both benefit from community exposure. Local media in particular love stories like this where a business and nonprofit partner for the good of the community. Your local Chamber of Commerce is another way to share your partnership. Look for opportunities for your business and the nonprofit to both benefit.
Now that you understand the benefits of cause marketing--how do you select the right cause for your company? In my next blog post I’ll be discussing how to evaluate and determine the right connection for you.