Capitalizing On Your Small Business Charitable Giving

Small business people are generous. They’re the first ones to contribute to a local high school’s booster fundraiser, the local little league, the building of a new library or the food bank. It’s in their DNA (especially those mom and pop businesses that serve consumers) to give back to their communities. According to this infographic, they are prolific charitable givers too.Because it’s the time of year for charitable giving, I want to talk to you about maximizing every dollar you give to your favorite charity by referencing your generosity in your marketing copy.Does that make you feel a little squeamish? You don’t “give back” with the direct intention of making more money, although truthfully, that’s the whole point of running a business! You wouldn’t even be in the position to give if your business didn’t make any money. The word “capitalism” is becoming a bizarre, bad word in a culture pretty much consumed by the acquisition of more stuff. It’s ironic to me, but that’s another rant for another day.Anyway, I’m betting the primary reason you contribute to your local charities is because you’re a “good person.” When your community thrives, you all win. If you did it for the advertising, you’d soon realize your marketing dollars are probably better spent elsewhere. And yet, small business owners are a special breed.It ain’t bragging if it’s true.The people who start businesses are usually the ones who genuinely have the hustle to make a difference. You’re in business to change people’s lives. So naturally you see “giving as receiving” when the direct result means a local charity thrives.I’m treading into territory few people talk about much these days for fear of taking anything away from your altruistic motives. However I want to talk about leveraging your generosity to bring in more business and make more sales. In fact, I believe that you serve your charities even more by telling others about your contributions than if you supported them quietly. So let’s just go there, shall we?I refer to two media stars whose (combined) recent comments support my theory:Ian Wolfman, CMO of MEplusYOU says that companies who invest in social contributions in 2013 will earn the trust of consumers. Giving to your local charities and presenting the social good you do in your community is an increasingly important aspect of branding as our culture evolves.
Terence Kawaja, Founder and CEO of LUMA Partners says that advertising budgets will potentially decrease early in 2013, causing weaker companies to drop off and stronger players to excel. Companies are tightening their belts due to the general global financial malaise. In the United States, note the recent public trepidation of even healthy businesses, large AND small, to spend money since the re-election. Business people are clearly worried about throwing away profits. Advertising budgets are some of the first to get slashed.So making sure people know about your charitable giving is a smart thing to do. Marketing that describes your “good deeds” doubles as a way to advertise, earns you the respect of your community, and helps you stay ahead of your local competition while potentially bringing in additional revenue needed to operate.The “profit-seeking, charitable-giving” mindsetSounds like a contradiction? Nope.First, you should be proud of your contributions to your community. Because you’ve built a successful business, you are at a point where you have profits to share. Not only do you bring products and services to people through your business; you also make choices about which local charities to help. That’s a powerful privilege that you have earned through your business.Second, you maximize the impact of your donation by exhibiting the good work of your preferred charities or organizations. By bridging your community involvement and your marketing tactics, more people will learn about all the great things your charities do for the community. You are using your reach as a small business person to champion the charities that need you. Basically you’re advertising for them, too!Finally, it’s a triple win because you raise awareness of the people in your community. Hopefully, you stand behind your services and products. You want to help as many people you can by making sure they know how you can serve them. Therefore, unless you proactively reach out to them, you do a disservice to all the qualified customers who don’t yet know about your business. You must show them. The same is true for your charity. By injecting reports of your charitable contributions into your advertising, you help the people who might not hear about what your business can do for them as well as those who haven’t heard what your charity does for the community. They deserve to know.One last caveat: the tax benefits to charitable contributions. Be sure to check them out. Ask your accountant, keep good records, and understand how to maximize your deductions for your monetary donations.

How Small Business Owners Can Use a Website to Cut Advertising Costs and Get New Customers!

A website for small business owners is the perfect answer for a small business owner who is looking for ways to reduce their advertising costs without giving up on advertising all together. Let’s face it, radio advertising, magazine advertising, and most other types of print advertising are expensive and may not be delivering good results. The return on investment in advertising is very important for small business owners today.Here are some interesting statistics about consumer behavior to think about:
70% of US households now use the internet when looking for products or services. Rarely do they use the yellow pages today.
31% of commercial or business owners now use the internet to search for local services or products and that number is growing every year.
Product research and comparison shopping takes place on the internet, but purchases are made off line. In other words, people do their searching on the internet, but go to a local business 67% of the time to make their purchase. They still want to meet face to face with a human being.
90% of purchases are made within 50 miles of a person’s home.
In April of 2009 Google made it easier for consumers and small business owners alike to find local businesses to do business with. They highlight the top ten businesses in any given area that have websites that are optimized for search engines.Having your IT guy, brother in law or some other family member put up a website for you is not the answer. Here’s another statistic to think about. A recent survey indicated that 90% of websites are not effective at marketing the business. It is also reported that 90% of people that leave a website will never return. What this means is that you have to capture their attention and give them a reason to return.Most people who can put up a website do not understand marketing. This is true of professional website designers as well. Now I’m sure there are some who understand marketing, but most don’t. If your website is not designed to market your business and bring in new customers, what is it for? A website is not just an extension of your brochure.A website offers an opportunity to build a relationship with your customers and potential customers. That means you have to offer something of value and give people a reason to return over and over. You also need a call to action by getting your visitors to do something. Get them to buy something, call you or at least give your their name and e mail address. This isn’t as hard as it sounds, but it does take an understanding of marketing and relationship building.Offer something of value on your site. Offer a special or a coupon. Offer a report or e book in exchange for their name and e mail address. Make sure your site is kept current and offers valuable content. A website that is simply out there on the internet with no fresh content may as well not be out on the internet.

How To Choose The Best Small Businesses Marketing Strategies

Most of the finest advertising strategies will involve using a website and suitable internet promotion techniques. Whether you are selling tangible items or not, having a presence online will enable customers to see your information easily and you can be able to get to people all over the world.Web hosting companies can assist you to start with SEO but you will also have to come up with your ideas. Common advertising strategies utilized on the Internet are social networking with prospective clients, writing blogs to provide useful information to clients and writing articles to appear on other websites but with a link to your homepage.Also, you can advertise in the local business publication or phone directory but selecting the best strategies may involve being more creative with your ideas. To get more customers, you must find out what makes business different from the competitors. Find out if you have a unique product or if you are the fastest, brightest or best in whatever you do. Your unique selling point or trademark must be the major focal point in your advertisement campaigns.It is not easy always to discover this focal point, but marketing experts use a certain trick to highlight a business without noticeable unique qualities. Therefore, if you lack a selling point that is unique, then select something good which you will offer and which is not being showcased by other companies. For instance, if you operate a restaurant and you sell food then you can decide to highlight that you only use fresh ingredients or your food does not have a particular harmful additive. However, this does not imply that the restaurant next door does not use quality ingredients but it is only that they did not state it in their advertisements.When you have a unique selling point, then you can select the best strategy by utilizing those things in order to attract clients who usually care about them. Basically, you can be able to do this by advertising in websites or magazines that potential clients visit. In everything you do, always consider your audience. For instance your cosmetics line can be the best but advertising it in sports magazines primarily read by men will not make you sell any of your products.However, if you are in doubt of your abilities to select the finest small businesses marketing strategy, then you can hire someone to assist you. Many small sized businesses may not afford the cost of hiring a marketing firm or an advertising agency, but you can join forces with other business professions to trade ideas or swap services. For instance, if you have a construction company then you can trade your skills in home improvement for another person’s skills in writing, web design or marketing. Also, you can trade ideas on advertising in order to order to establish what has been successful for others.