Where does your business fit in? Building business recognition as a successful brand means understanding your customer base and the things that matter to them. Community-based marketing meshes your brand’s values with something impacting your customer base.
Community-based marketing is a strategy that centers around marketing to a specific group of people with something in common. A community-based marketing strategy focuses on shared commonalities, like location, workplace, industry, achievements, beliefs, or interests. Marketing to a community means bringing customers together with content that appeals to the group.
When enough people share a common need, goal, or interest, they often form an organized group that gives them a sense of belonging. For example, you might be familiar with your local junior football league, gardening club, or PTA. You may be part of online groups that focus on cooking techniques, pet ownership, or antique finds.
You could use this strategy to target local communities that meet in person or connect through social media. However, you might also consider strictly online communities that form on platforms like LinkedIn, Reddit, online forums, and Facebook groups.
The right message will create more brand awareness and trust. You can include messaging that targets specific community members in typical marketing materials, like event brochures and digital ads. Over time, targeted marketing efforts can boost your reach among potential customers, increase word-of-mouth marketing for referrals, grow sales, and improve customer retention with brand loyalty.
Community marketing is a tried and true way to generate goodwill and strengthen ties with your neighbors. Like-minded people naturally gravitate toward one another because of their shared interests or experiences.
In our post-pandemic world, there is a pent-up demand for engagement, connection, and community-building activities. Community-based marketing tactics offer the perfect opportunity to get your brand out there in a way that resonates with your audience. Here are four benefits you can typically expect from a community-based marketing strategy.
Since community-based marketing only requires identifying a specific target audience, it’s usually a low-investment, high-impact method for engaging existing clients and new prospects. Use community-centric activities to highlight the values your firm shares with your audience and the commitment you have toward enriching people’s lives.
In some cases, you may even encourage user-generated content due to a positive customer experience—this includes posts from clients sharing personal wins they’ve had with your firm.
Not all groups are ideal for your firm, so spend your time in places where you are likely to find loyal customers. Task your marketing team with identifying the communities that are right for your brand and contain solid prospects. Always assess the responsiveness and lead quality before choosing to work with a specific group.
Ideally, you want to use marketing strategies that continue to expand your customer base beyond the initial campaign. Community-based marketing puts you in contact with other professionals who share your interests and may increase referrals. Over time, you may be able to build advocacy for your firm within the group, creating a brand community that values your advice.
People are drawn to companies they can relate to. There are many types of communities, allowing you to choose groups centered around causes and interests that align with your company’s goals.
Community-based marketing can help you differentiate your practice, going beyond what you do to focus on who you are. Are you the “motorcycle guy?” Do you have more than a surface-level connection to veterans? Do people associate your brand with a certain sport or hobby? A community-centered marketing tactic helps you connect with clients and humanize your brand.
Community-based marketing is ideal for any firm that wants to specialize in products or services for a certain client base.
This strategy is particularly effective for independent financial advisors who tend to work with small, close-knit, niche communities. If you live in a small community and want to focus on local marketing, then your interactions with neighbors and attendance at community events could provide some huge wins.
An added bonus: encouraging employees to participate in community engagement activities as brand advocates can boost morale and build company loyalty. Just make sure your employees truly buy in and feel appreciated before asking them to go the extra mile for your firm.
There are many cost-effective ways to build positive energy around your business right within your local community. Here are some examples of successful community-based marketing initiatives that can increase reach, boost conversion rates, and bring in new customers.
Many teams will highlight their sponsors on banners, their uniforms, their programs, and more. Team sponsors are doing more than funding a pastime; they are directly supporting people in the community. Whether you support a children’s team or an adult league, you will gain the appreciation of the people participating.
Sponsoring the local college team or professional team helps increase brand recognition among the fan base. Plus, if you happen to sponsor a winning team, you might get some free publicity in the sports section of your local newspaper.
When you put your time and money where your mouth is, you’ll raise your profile among your neighbors, build trust, meet new potential clients, and demonstrate your skills. There are many valuable ways to volunteer your time, including:
You can take this even further by getting your whole team involved. Offer your employees a paid volunteer day, so they can support their own causes. Volunteering creates buzz in the community and generates job satisfaction for your staff. Consider providing employees with company-branded shirts to wear during these events to visually connect your firm with this outreach initiative.
If you’re thinking long-term (and you should be), then you should consider how you can impact people early on in life. Offer to visit the local high school or college to talk to students about investing, budgeting, etc. And, who knows, one of those students may become a client in the years ahead.
Create mentorship programs to help spark interest in young minds and cultivate the next generation of advisors. Consider how an internship or apprenticeship program could offer value within your community, and then look for ways to support underrepresented groups. Don’t limit your selection to students—consider the mothers or veterans who could excel as advisors and would be interested in making a career change.
Looking for more ways to support your clients, community, and neighbors while building your business’ brand? Here are some additional ideas.
Many business leaders understand that a dynamic, vibrant community is the foundation of a strong, sustainable business. Contributing to your community is both gratifying and an investment in the future that can pay dividends now.
Community engagement is just one element of a comprehensive marketing plan. For more information on successfully marketing your business, download our guide, Marketing Matters in Every Business Environment.
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