Community outreach can be a powerful part of a local marketing strategy.
Community Outreach is one of the unique service I offer. I don’t think there are many people who specialize in doing engagement marketing with community outreach in combination with digital and social media marketing. Community outreach can be a big part of a business’s strategic communication strategy. The advantage of outreach is that it builds authentic relationships within your target market. In addition it also builds relationship with those who indirectly influence the sales cycle.
I offer Community Outreach programs for Los Angeles and Orange County, as well as other parts of Southern California.
Building a sense of community around your business can be a powerful branding strategy and it can work for developing leads too. Building relationships within the community makes a business more relevant to customers. When a business is part of the local fabric it becomes culturally significant. Your business is then not only a place to get a product or service, but also a part of the local identity. While this won’t guarantee success it sure can be a competitive advantage. Being part of the local culture will increase the probability that customers choose you over another similar or competing business.
Here is a photo of me doing community outreach at an event where I was teaching about history and geography while getting video and other content for social media and a website.
We want our interaction within the community to be rewarding for its members. Our involvement should reinforce members in ways that build a positive predisposition toward the business. The cumulative effect of even slight competitive variances can influence large differences on the bottom line.
While price is still an important factor in the customer’s buying decision, the reputation of a business is also important. This is especially true in industries where there has been a lot of deception in the past and where there is a lot of competition and choice. Being part of the community and having an authentic relationship with many of the community’s members can be the deciding factor that influences people to select you and your business.
From what I have seen most businesses think quite narrowly about what can be accomplished with a community outreach program.
Most businesses limit their outreach activities to giving to charities and supporting community organizations. These activities are useful, but they only scratch the surface of what is possible. Giving without human interaction will help interject a business into a community, but not necessarily in an authentic way. You build relationships with human interaction. Instead of just giving jerseys to the local team, give jerseys and attend the team’s games. This will give your spokesperson a chance to talk with the folks you hope to do business with. If you’re a larger national brand you could also have some small giveaways that the group would appreciate.
Authentic relationships are built with human interaction.
Community outreach is a form of engagement marketing also called experiential marketing. Engagement marketing means you are engaging with others in meaningful ways. Some of the most important types of engagement are authentic in person communication and meaningful shared activities. Experiential marketing involves the experience business prospects, influencers, and the community have with your business, often outside of the actual transaction. Although this interaction can also be part of the transaction or sales cycle.
Community Outreach as a Competitive Advantage
If used properly an outreach program will give your company a competitive advantage. One of the goals of an outreach program is to keep your business in a position of top of mind industry leader. Your business will be known for initiating and innovating while others are following.
Once established other competing businesses will have a hard time duplicating this type of community outreach. One reason for this is the relationships you have within the community will be hard to duplicate. Your relationships and positioning will create a much higher barrier to entry for a competitor starting an outreach program. The relationships you develop will be a competitive advantage and keep you in a strong leadership position.
Doing community outreach can be very beneficial for counties, regions, entire cities, and individual businesses. Outreach needs dedication and is a long term strategy. If you are looking for the quick sale there are better tactics that will work faster. Community outreach is more suited to the farmer strategy of selling as opposed to the hunter. With outreach you are cultivating and nurturing the relationship for long term profitability and sales. This is in contrast to the hunter style of selling which involves making a quick kill (sale) for today and doing the same in the future.
Community outreach can be the ultimate engagement marketing.
Community outreach can be used to
- Network and build relationships with potential customers
- Develop your Center Of Influence (COI) referral marketing program
- Generate leads for a sales department
- Connect with a local community
- Build goodwill within the community
- Build fan based marketing programs
- Build ties with decision makers and bypass gatekeepers
- Act as a preemptive form of reputation management
- Complement strategic communication to sway public opinion
- Keep top of mind for your target demographic
- Become a goto source for your local market area
- Provide opportunities for press coverage
- Provide user generated content opportunities for fans, locals, and customers
- Online marketing opportunities such as social shares and building backlinks for SEO
- Help get good customer reviews on review sites
- Building an email list
- Developing data for a CRM
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