There’s a fun side to marketing that’s an easy step to take: community outreach. I learned this in the TV newsroom as we took part in amazing events. Community outreach is a natural marketing tool when done right. Or, when done at all. At the TV station we used to support quite a few organizations through various events. One in particular I’m fond of was the “Santa Cause Auction” for Toys for Tots. Giving families a Christmas they may not have otherwise had made me see what a difference we could make in our community. Giving a kid a gift and seeing dad tear up…that’s an amazing experience. Taking part in these events made people talk, and brought the community closer together. the marketing came easy, as people would do it for us when they talked about us in the community.
As these events faded into memory, fewer people talked about the TV station in a positive light. You could see the difference. Employees cared less, as did the viewers. No longer was the station seen as a local group of caring people who happened to put on the news. Instead, people became less supportive and we had fewer evangelists talking great about us. And that’s just the collateral damage. A newsroom not helping in the community it serves just seems counterproductive. If you want to make a difference, it has to come from actions, not just “doing stories on TV.”
Did we lose viewers? Not likely, since we were the only affiliate in town. But we certainly weren’t gaining a fervent, evangelist base of viewers either. To me, that’s a shame. Not only did we abandon community outreach, but we lost a natural public relations & marketing opportunity.
At the AmeriFirst Home Mortgage corporate office in Portage, we support a few outreach causes like March of Dimes and Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). One event we look forward to each year if the BBBS Bowl for Kids’ Sake. This year we gathered at Pinz in Kalamazoo on a Saturday afternoon in February, raising more than $1,000 to help this great organization.
Click here to see our video: Bowling for Kids Sake with AmeriFirst Home Mortgage
Of course, it’s good “press” to be involved in your community. However, it’s also just good to do when you can. Giving your time or resources to causes near & dear to your heart just makes sense as a business. As you get involved in causes, don’t be afraid to promote it within good taste.
Here are a few examples of how to share your causes:
- Post on Facebook that you’re raising money, and ask for any help anyone could offer
- Use YouTube (or Facebook) to post a video about why a cause matters to you
- Write an article for your website or ours about your cause
- Email your friends or family sharing the success of a campaign, mentioning that you’re proud to have helped out in some way
- Share on Twitter that you’re involved in a cause, sharing that organization’s website or information
- Check in on Foursquare (a geo-social game on smartphones) and share why you’re at an event
Sharing this information shows people that you’re involved in – and believe in – your community. Don’t brag about it like, “I raised the most money ever,” or something like, “I’m such a good person to do this.” Instead, offer your excitement about the cause, and how you’re happy to be involved. People will enjoy your passion, and be more endeared to you or your brand.
In short, that’s how good “Community Outreach Marketing” helps increase brand awareness and business for you. Be sure to check out our community page at AmeriFirst to see a few examples of how show our love for our neighborhoods.
What about you? Does your company/employer support local causes that you’re proud of? Let me know down below!