Local business and charity partnerships provide powerful marketing and public relations opportunities for both the business and the charity. We at the NALA feel so strongly about giving back that our program maintains an optional charity component and charity directory. The goal is to facilitate opportunity for charity partnerships with our members at both the local and national level.
Last year I posted an article offering reasons why SMBs should support charities. Recently I came across an article from Growth University called Small Business Marketing & Charitable Partnerships that offered a few simple tips to create effective charity partnerships of your own.
The goal of involving your business with a charity is threefold. Hitting all three below is a recipe for success.
- Improve the life of the charity
- Create a sense of goodwill with your customers and your community
- Create a positive buzz in your community.
Three tips for creating effective partnerships are:
- Create seasonal campaigns avoiding December. Many charities do well in December and struggle the rest of the year. Pick a charity you believe in and ask if they have anything coming up that you can participate in. Maybe you can sponsor a booth at a fundraiser or offer items for a silent auction, or even allow your business to be a donation drop-off point.
- Brand your campaign. If you name the charitable campaign in a way that makes it easier to spread the world, it can increase the level of attention you receive.
- Press the issue. Press releases are powerful methods of otherwise free advertising. The NALA offers a press release product that will not only write the release based information you provide, but also distribute it to the appropriate news agencies on and offline.
The press release is a valuable tool in an affordable marketing strategy for SMBs. To get the full value out of sending a release, it is essential to grab the reader/journalist quickly and inspire them to distribute your story to their readers.
As a NALA member, our Press Release product will write and distribute the release for you, but understanding the elements integral in writing a successful release may help you get the most out of working with our Press Release department.
I found an article called The Seven Elements of a Press Release: Everything You Need to Know that offered valuable information I wanted to share. I will summarize it here but the full article is linked above.
- Grab a journalist’s attention with an eye-catching headline. The headline should also give a brief overview of what makes the story newsworthy.
- Media contact information at the top so it’s easy to find.
- The first line of the first paragraph should include the release date, city and state. This helps the journalists know this information is relevant to their readers.
- The introduction paragraph is particularly important because it is often the only paragraph the journalist will read. It must tell the reader who, what, where, why, and when providing all the key information at the beginning with subsequent information of diminishing importance.
- The body should consist of at least two paragraphs and each subsequent paragraph offers information of diminishing importance.
- After the body, include a boilerplate or short paragraph about the company you have been referring to. In this section provide background information such as company history.
- Close the release with “###”.
Release writing style tips:
- Make sure the release is newsworthy and not a sales piece.
- Grab the reader’s attention with the headline and first paragraph.
- Stick to the facts, avoiding flowery writing or overuse of adjectives.
- Use strong verbs and avoid passive voice.
- Avoid hype and do not use exclamation points!!!!
- Be clear, concise, and complete.
- Proofread. Typos are the fastest way to ensure your release is never seen.
I recently watched a great short video on Entrepreneur.com from blogger Chris Brogan. The video offered a few great tips for small business engaging in email. You can watch the video here but below is a summary of what he had to say.
Chris quoted a survey from 2011 that said 4% of potential buyers over 18 can be reached via Twitter; 15% can be reached on Facebook; but 91% are willing to receive regular email communication from a brand they use. It’s safe to say that effective email marketing is far from dead. The important question is what makes it effective. Below are a couple of tips to hold up against your email marketing, particularly as more people read them on 3-inch devices.
- Simple and brief emails are best. 300-400 words max with one simple call to action.
- Do not send from “do not reply” email addresses. You are telling your customers you have no interest in speaking with them, which does NOT foster a good relationship. Instead use a real address and encourage your recipients to respond to you.
- Simple text is best. Large images won’t necessarily work on that 3-inch Blackberry, Andriod or iPhone screen.
- How often you send emails depends upon your business and what you are sending. Obviously daily deal sites send daily emails but that isn’t necessarily the best for everyone.
If you are like me you think of LinkedIn as a place to keep your resumes and maintain contact with past employers and co-workers. In recent months though LinkedIn has transformed their site into a full-blown business-networking site SMBs should really invest time in. As a member of the site you can join groups and get involved in discussions. I am a member of the Small Business Network, Social Media Boot Camp, and HP Business Answers to name a few.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are great but LinkedIn may be the best time use for a business owner no matter what the size of your business. LinkedIn claims over 135 million members in 200 countries and one of the largest Internet marketing research companies listed them as the #2 social networking site online.
I found a great article on Small Business Trends offering a few tips to get started.
If you want a simple introduction as to how and why to use LinkedIn check out this user-friendly, 8-minute video by Jim Kukral on SmallBizTrends. Even if you have used the site before this video provides great reminders about how to participant in the site.
The New User Starter Guide is really simple to use and explains setting up your account in getting started in 3 easy steps. The site also provides a short video on Small Business use on the site. Additionally, as small business entrepreneurs, you may find the section explaining benefits to your group particularly helpful. Some of the items covered on this section are making important personnel decisions, filling hard-to-fill positions, and generating awareness for your business.
Recommendations are an amazing tool LinkedIn provides. Check out Elements of a Good LinkedIn Recommendation for tips on what to say and how to ask.