The fall season is in full swing and before you know it the year’s major holidays will be upon us. While this time of the year is always a point when people stop, reflect and give back to their communities and society in general, the fact is, as a local business every day of the year is a perfect time to be doing something that shows your local market how much you care and are a part of it.
Before anyone jumps up screaming how their company does this, that and the other thing to give back to its community or how a business has been immersing itself in the city or state for decades—you are the exceptions, not the rule.
I also understand and am fully aware how much the people and companies in the industry do give back. After all, except for the Screen Actors Guild, no other industry has anything like the Floor Covering Industry Foundation, which receives donations from people in the industry to help colleagues who have dealt with some type of catastrophic circumstance and suddenly are having a hard time paying their mortgage or medical bills.
And that is just within the industry, as I know how much charitable work retailers, contractors, installers and manufacturers do outside the industry as well.
Unlike previous generations, this one—the one that is going to be your biggest customer over the next 20 years—wants to know and hear about what a company is doing to better their lives, their communities and the world in general.
There is an old saying about giving without glory. Meaning you give and do good because it’s the right thing to do and you don’t make a fuss or noise about it. Some of the greatest philanthropists—even high-profile people—are never known about until after they pass away because they did all their good deeds silently, without asking for praise.
Here’s the thing, though. The world has changed, especially with millennials. Unlike previous generations, this one—the one that is going to be your biggest customer over the next 20 years—wants to know and hear about what a company is doing to better their lives, their communities and the world in general.
In fact, the more they hear about the good deeds done by a company the better chance of gaining their business because they want to support those who are giving back. But the only way they will know is if you tell them.
This doesn’t mean taking out a full-page ad proclaiming you made a donation to a local cause. Rather it means being proactive by incorporating your charitable causes in your marketing efforts in a way that is polite and professional. And, also, in a way that even gets the local community to rally around the cause as well. This is where social media can come into play in a major way. Just by starting a discussion about a local (or national) cause you are supporting, or posting some photos showing the time and effort donated by you and your staff to help a wounded veteran have a home—for example—can go a long way in creating future customers while helping to ensure the continued loyalty of current ones.
In fact, by getting them involved, you may even be able to help the cause you are supporting even more as your “fans,” “friends,” and customers may want to join in and ask how they can help.
Besides selling your customers the right products for their needs (whether residential or commercial) and getting these products installed correctly the first time, what better way is there to create loyal customers than having them be on your team, helping out a good cause?